These days, many camera bodies and lenses benefit from image stabilization. But do you know which company came up with the idea?
If you answered Panasonic, you are correct! And it did so all the way back in 1988, with the Panasonic PV-460 camcorder – the world’s first video camera with an optical image stabilizer.
• The best Panasonic cameras have brought many innovations over the years
Other companies would later make their own breakthroughs. In 1995 Canon became the first manufacturer to make a lens with optical stabilization (the Canon EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM), and in 2003 Konica Minolta was the first to produce a camera with in-body image stabilization (the Maxxum 7D DSLR).
Panasonic, though, came up with the idea – while its engineers were on a trip to Hawaii, no less.
"The development of image stabilization has a long history, dating back to around 1980," according to an article by the official Lumix Magazine. "An employee named Oshima, who was engaged in the research and development of gyro sensors for use in car navigation systems, went to Hawaii with a colleague with a video camera.
"The video camera at the time was so large that it could be carried on the shoulder, and when a colleague tried to take a picture of the scenery while driving, it would be very blurry.
"However, when Oshima saw the rotation of his colleague's body trying to prevent it from shaking, he realized that the movement was similar to the movement of the gyro sensor he was developing at the time.
"The gyro sensor development team for car navigation systems that I was working on at the time had been dissolved for some reason, so I came up with the idea of applying the technology we had cultivated to image stabilization for cameras."
Today we take stabilization for granted, whether we're shooting with the best mirrorless cameras, camera phones or telephoto lenses. But, were it not for a clever engineer on a busman's holiday to Hawaii, things may have been very different.
For more information on the development of image stabilization technology, make sure to check out the full Lumix Magazine article.