Canon EOS R image stabilization will be in-body and in-lens hybrid

It's no secret that Canon is working on an in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system for an upcoming iteration of the EOS R. The only question was what form that stabilization would take – and now, thanks to a freshly uncovered patent, we know that the company is developing a dual IBIS and lens IS system. 

As it stands, the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS RP both lack any kind of IBIS, though a number of RF mount optics do possess lens-based stabilization. 

According to the new patent, discovered by Canon News, the company intends to couple its in-lens IS with new in-body IS to create a tandem stabilization system.

This is the model favored by the pioneers of mirrorless stabilization, Olympus and Panasonic, in their high end bodies. Olympus' Sync-IS, for example, amplifies the 6.5 stops of IBIS in the Olympus OM-D E-M1X to a whopping 7.5 stops when using a compatible lens. 

Canon's dual IBIS and lens IS stabilization system, described in the latest patent (image: JPA 2019-087937)

Canon's dual IBIS and lens IS stabilization system, described in the latest patent (image: JPA 2019-087937)

As described in the patent (2019-087937), the image sensor is movable in order to counteract movement and provide stability. 

"The imaging element 101 is movable in a direction intersecting the optical axis of the imaging optical system 210 (indicated by a broken line in the drawing) by a shift mechanism (not shown).  For example, it is possible to shift in a plane orthogonal to the optical axis or to rotate in a plane orthogonal to the optical axis about the optical axis as a rotation center. In the following description, the case of shifting the imaging device 101 will be mainly described."

Likewise, the patent describes optical stabilization in the lens itself: 

"The antivibration lens 204 can be shifted in a direction including a direction component orthogonal to the optical axis by a shift mechanism (not shown ) at the time of antivibration. That is, it may be shifted in a plane orthogonal to the optical axis, or may be pivoted about a point on the optical axis."

Canon is concerned about the sensor drifting too close to the image circle (image: JPA 2019-087937)

Canon is concerned about the sensor drifting too close to the image circle (image: JPA 2019-087937)

As Canon News notes, potential issues come into play once the image circle has been moved by the in-lens IS, which then restricts the amount that the sensor can be moved by the IBIS (the fear being that the sensor could drift too close to the edge of the circle, impacting image quality). 

The art, therefore, becomes communication between the lens and body so that the camera knows how much it can shift the sensor – a computation to which the new RF mount, with its increased electrical contacts, should be perfectly suited.

Read more: 

Canon EOS R review
Canon RF lens roadmap: everything we know so far
Camera rumors 2019 – what are the new cameras coming out this year?

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.