Short Description

Affordable Image Stabilization
Nikon Coolpix S9700 The Nikon Coolpix S9700 is an affordably priced digital camera with at least 6x optical zoom and and lens image stabilization for only $59.99.

Image stabilization prevents blurring images from camera shake. It's especially important to have image stabilization when buying a large zoom camera, or when shooting in low light situations because the images are at significant risk of being blurred. There are different types of image stabilization. Lens stabilization is the best, senor stabilization second best and digital stabilization the worst. If image stabilization is important to you than we recommend either lens or sensor based stabilization and don't recommend digital image stabilization.

Lens Stabilization

Lens based stabilization is the best and most versatile option. A portion of the lens group is typically moved horizontally and vertically to compensate for vibration/shake, depending on the implementation accelerometer, gyros and electro magnets and tiny motors do the work. Fortunately lens based image stabilization is not that expensive of an addition to most digicams but it can be with SLRs because each lens requires it. Since mid to high end dSLRs don't have image stabilization built into the body the only way to get image stabilization is to buy lenses with it built in - the cost of this adds up over time. SLRs with sensor shift can avoid this price premium on each lens. Nonetheless lens based image stabilization is king and that's why the most camera manufacturers use it in their best cameras. Additionally, it is the only option that provides stabilization during video recording.

Travel Zooms with Optical Image Stabilization

The following are some of the best travel zooms digital cameras with optical image stabilization.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V
from $368
GPS Built-in GPS Help
Great for travel
3D Takes 3D photos Help
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Screen resolution High resolution screen Help
921k dots

Learn more about the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX50V

Canon PowerShot SX700 HS
Canon PowerShot SX700 HS
from $299
External mic jack External mic jack Help
Record higher quality audio with a microphone
Screen resolution High resolution screen Help
922k dots
Movie format High resolution movies Help
1920 x 1280 @ 60fps

Learn more about the Canon PowerShot SX700 HS

Nikon Coolpix S9700
Nikon Coolpix S9700
from $60
Zoom Great zoom Help
30x
GPS Built-in GPS Help
Great for travel
Screen type OLED Screen Help
Bright and vivid

Learn more about the Nikon Coolpix S9700

Panasonic Lumix ZS30
Panasonic Lumix ZS30
from $269
GPS Built-in GPS Help
Great for travel
Zoom Great zoom Help
20x
3D Takes 3D photos Help
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions

Learn more about the Panasonic Lumix ZS30

Green arrow See more of the top travel zooms with lens image stabilization

Sensor Shift

Sensor shift can provide excellent results and provides a means of giving non image-stabilized lenses free image stabilization, this can lower the cost of your lens collection significantly and instantly modernize a collection of vintage glass. Some very high end full frame cameras do use sensor shift so it is indeed a viable option, although it is still largely used by the smaller makers of dSLRs, namely Sony and Pentax. Its use in digicams is more widespread. Sensor shift detects vibrations and physically adjusts the position of the image sensor accordingly to cancel out shifts in the image. One disadvantage to sensor shift is the image in the viewfinder is not image stabilized which can make composition harder. A further disadvantage is the inability to use image stabilization during video shoots as the image sensor typically must be locked. Finally auto focus performance in low light can suffer in cameras using phase-detection auto focus (typically SLRs).

Best Sensor Shift Digital Cameras

The following are some of the best cameras that incorporate sensor shift image stabilization.

Pentax MX-1
Pentax MX-1
from $310
Aperture Wide aperture Help
f/1.8
Screen resolution High resolution screen Help
920k dots
Screen flips out Flip-out screen Help
Great for movies

Learn more about the Pentax MX-1

Olympus Stylus XZ-10
Olympus Stylus XZ-10
from $161
Aperture Wide aperture Help
f/1.8
Touch screen Touch screen Help
Less buttons
Screen resolution High resolution screen Help
920k dots

Learn more about the Olympus Stylus XZ-10

Fujifilm FinePix S6800
Fujifilm FinePix S6800
from $155
Battery life Great battery life Help
700 shots
3D Takes 3D photos Help
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
High-speed framerate High speed movies Help
480 fps

Learn more about the Fujifilm FinePix S6800

Pentax XG-1
Pentax XG-1
from $339
Zoom Great zoom Help
52x
Screen flips out Flip-out screen Help
Great for movies
Announced New Help
July, 2014

Learn more about the Pentax XG-1

Green arrow See more of the top digicams with sensor-shift image stabilization

Digital Image Stabilization

Although theoretically capable of reducing blur, we do not recommend digital image stabilization because it is difficult to ascertain how good the software algorithms will be in range of conditions, especially in low light when they are most needed. Theoretically by reducing the resolution of the sensor and using the outside border to approximate sensor shift image stabilization should be possible but typically digital image stabilization is a technique utilized in lower end cameras and again the effectiveness across all conditions cannot be guaranteed. We suggest you stick with either optical or sensor shift image stabilization.

Ultra Affordable IS Cameras

The following cameras use lens image stabilization and are ultra affordable illustrating that there is no need to settle with digital image stabilization.

Nikon Coolpix S3600
Nikon Coolpix S3600
from $60
Size Really small Help
Super compact 97x57x19 mm
Focus points Many focus points Help
99
Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama

Learn more about the Nikon Coolpix S3600

Nikon Coolpix S9700
Nikon Coolpix S9700
from $60
Zoom Great zoom Help
30x
Screen type OLED Screen Help
Bright and vivid
Screen resolution High resolution screen Help
921k dots

Learn more about the Nikon Coolpix S9700

Fujifilm FinePix T500
Fujifilm FinePix T500
from $68
3D Takes 3D photos Help
View photos in 3D on 3D televisions
Size Really small Help
Super compact 99x57x18 mm
Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama

Learn more about the Fujifilm FinePix T500

Sony CyberShot DSC-W800
Sony CyberShot DSC-W800
from $78
Size Really small Help
Ultra compact 50x22x54 mm
Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
Weight Light-weight Help
125 g

Learn more about the Sony CyberShot DSC-W800

Green arrow See more of the top digicams with sensor-shift image stabilization

DSLRs with IS

Although many manufacturers only offer image stabilization in lenses, some DSLR manufacturers do offer IS in the body meaning you can use it with all of your lenses.

Pentax K-3
Pentax K-3
from $897
Low light performance Low noise at high ISO Help
1,216 ISO
Cross type focus points Many cross-type focus points Help
25
Screen size Large screen Help
3.2"

Learn more about the Pentax K-3

Pentax K-50
Pentax K-50
from $397
Light sensitivity High ISO Help
51,600 ISO
Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
Shoot in extreme weather
Image stabilization Image stabilization Help
Sensor shift

Learn more about the Pentax K-50

Pentax K-500
Pentax K-500
from $580
Light sensitivity High ISO Help
51,600 ISO
Image stabilization Image stabilization Help
Sensor shift
Shutter lag Barely any delay taking photos Help
162 ms shutter lag

Learn more about the Pentax K-500

Sony SLT A58
Sony SLT SLT A58
from $448
Autofocus Phase detection video autofocus Help
fast and accurate
Panorama In-camera panoramas Help
Stitches together multiple photos into a panorama
Viewfinder size Large viewfinder Help
0.65x

Learn more about the Sony SLT A58

Green arrow See more of the top entry level DSLRs with image stabilization

Discussion

Showing 3 comments

Avatar for Dude-e Dude-e (1:39 PM, May 06, 2014)
Old link, here's the new one. Very nice animation
http://nikon.com/about/technology/life/imaging/stabilization/index.htm
 
Yohanes Martino (6:00 AM, March 24, 2012)
Why Snapsort don't accept lens image stabilization for DSLRs and Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras?
 
Avatar for Alex Black Alex Black (6:22 PM, July 14, 2010)
Nikon has an indepth article describing the different types of image-stabilization found in Nikon cameras here:

http://www.nikon.com/about/technology/life/stabilization/index.htm

It includes an animation that tries to show visually how each method works.