What is image stabilization, and how does it work?

Image stabilization
(Image credit: Olympus / Amazon)

Image stabilisation, also referred to as vibration reduction, optical stabilisation, vibration compensation, and shake reduction by different makers, is a way that your lens or camera body compensates for unwanted movement so you have a higher chance of getting a sharp shot. Image stabilisation really comes into its own when you are handholding the camera but cannot achieve a fast shutter speed and there is a strong likelihood of camera movement (shake) making your image slightly blurry. 

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Andrew James

Andrew makes his living as a photographer, videographer and journalist. For 26 years he was a specialist magazine editor, the last 13 of which were on Practical Photography magazine. A long-time expert in photographic techniques across many disciplines, he's a self-confessed photo generalist, and a font of creative knowledge to capturing just about any subject, although he has a strong leaning to wildlife and travel photography. Andrew's wide-ranging photography experience means he authors the long-running Photo Answers section for Digital Camera Magazine. His work as a journalist, guide and educator dovetails neatly into his commitment to Foto-Buzz - an online subscription community he founded, where Andrew writes articles, films tutorials and records blogs on all manner of photo-related subjects and techniques for enthusiast photographers.