What is image stabilization and when can it (and can’t it) help you

Image Stabilisation
(Image credit: Brian Worley)

Image stabilization (IS) is a lens correction system created by Canon to enable you to capture shake-free photos when using longer lenses, by steadying the elements to compensate for lens movement. 

You are probably used to the hand-holding rule, which says that you should shoot with a shutter speed that is the reciprocal of the focal length (or faster) to avoid shake. So, for a 500mm lens, the rule means a 1/500 sec or faster shutter speed. IS was developed to enable slower shutter speeds to be used while still avoiding camera shake.

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PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine is the world’s only 100% Canon-focused title on the newsstand. Launched in 2007, for 14 years it has delivered news, reviews, buying guides, features, inspirational projects and tutorials on cameras, lenses, tripods, gimbals, filters, lighting and all manner of photography equipment. 

Aimed squarely at enthusiast photographers who use the Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera systems, all content is tailored to Canon users – so everything from techniques to product tests are tailored to those using the EOS camera system.

Editor Peter Travers brings 14 years of experience as both a journalist and professional photographer, with Technique Editor Dan Mold shoring up the magazine with his 6 years of expertise. 

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