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"digital image stabilization" - for still pictures?

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carmatic    54

okay guys, trying to keep a calm head here, but i've got an olympus fe-4010 here and its 12mp pictures are worse than the 3mp pictures i can get out of my phone camera...

i thought that maybe i could 'compensate' for it by using one of the built in modes, and one of them was labelled as 'digital image stabilization' ... at first i thought it was for shooting video, but it snapped pictures instead... then i thought it must be some kinda firmware bug, but the manual confirms that its really only gonna take pictures

and it seems to make no difference at all with regards to the motion blur in the pictures, not that i can spot in the previews on its lcd anyway...

so im thinking, 'digital image stabilization' = less shutter speed with increased iso ? but thats halfway to the 'sports mode' anyway, isnt it?

i feel like washing my hands after handling that camera, lest some of its suckage seeps through my skin...

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Andre    9

How about some sample shots for the rest of us to evaluate on.

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the evn show    138

If I had to make a rough guess as to why you might not like the image quality:

  • Your camera attempts to keep ISO and shutter speed low which leads to blurry photos.
  • Your camera ramps up the ISO settings when it's trying to expose your photo leading to noisy images
  • a 12 megapixel image finally allows you enough detail to see how crumby the photos are Try zooming out 75% - does it still look bad?
  • Your phone does more post-processing than your new camera. You're comparing a color corrected/exposure compensated image with one 'raw' from the camera.
  • Differences in image compression settings

My money is on the first

Keep in mind that there are almost certainly a lot of sacrifices made in that camera in order to get "checklist features" like a high megapixel count and large zoom range. Image quality is going to be compromised a better quality 12 MP camera (like the Pen series of compacts) but it probably shouldn't be worse than a phone camera.

We'll need pictures to comment on. Take two photos at the same time/place: one with each camera, and we can probably tell you more. Do one picture completely hand held - then take a second picture of the same subject with both cameras sitting on a table (hands off except to press the shutter release button)

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carmatic    54

We'll need pictures to comment on. Take two photos at the same time/place: one with each camera, and we can probably tell you more. Do one picture completely hand held - then take a second picture of the same subject with both cameras sitting on a table (hands off except to press the shutter release button)

thats going to be quite difficult to judge, the cameras are gonna take perfect pictures whent they are perfectly still, and the 'image stabilization' would be meaningless, but i would need to somehow shake the camera in a controlled way to test for image stabilization

these are still pictures, so nothing to do with image stabilization or anything... for the phone it is its default camera setting, for the camera its the 'image stabilization' mode with no other settings as far as im aware

its daytime now and i tried to take a picture with great contrast

resized the camera image to match the phone's 3.2mp resolution with paint.net, and compressed it slightly to stay under the 2mb size limit

the phone image is the 446kb one, the camera image is the 1.16mb one ... the white balance is chosen by the cameras automatically, so the camera's image looks bluish compared to the phone's

comments, anyone? to me it seems that the phone image is sharper, maybe thats because the camera lacks an image sharpening option so it outputs it unprocessed... plus the phone's picture looks very artifacted while the camera shows that it is a real camera

when it is night time i will try to take another pair of pictures to see low-light performance... the camera goes up to 1600 iso, but the phone only has a 'low - medium - high' iso setting, and both seem to have equal amounts of noise for the same light level...

post-61271-12662106462102_thumb.jpg

post-61271-12662107588062_thumb.jpg

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carmatic    54

and here is another picture from the camera, this time using the 'outdoor scene' setting, as in not using its 'digital image stabilization' setting

you can see that the noise performance is increased with no 'digital image stabilization', so i really think its just increased sensitivity and higher shutter speed to minimize motion blur

post-61271-12662119468138_thumb.jpg

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Bubbabyte    14

first off, no dissrespect but that is a horrible sample image to give the results your looking for. You need to find an object or have a single focus point to be able to fully tell. The second image gives the appearance of being sharper because of the jpeg conpression and auto sharpening of the camera, but that's it.. you can tell by looking at the 100% image the IQ is very bad. The SLR shot above looks to be focused on the window pane itself which is very clear and at f/7 you can't expect things on the street to be incredibly clear and sharp, however they aren't compressed like the other camera shots. I don't see any issues with the shot at all, it looks like it should IMO. I think you just need to get used to your dslr and get a feel for how it works, because as i said, you took a shot at f/7 (exif says focal length is 5mm, which can't be right) but depending on what your focal length ACTUALLY is, you can't expect to see everything so far away in focus being that it's obvious you focused on the window pain, which is very clear.

and here is another picture from the camera, this time using the 'outdoor scene' setting, as in not using its 'digital image stabilization' setting

Built in digital image stabilization can often be worse if used when it's not needed. If you are using a tripod or some form of steady shot at 1/250, you don't need IS, and having it "may" make the cause the image to blur slightly due to the IS trying to compensate for not moving, sounds ridiculous but it's true. However it's not a HUGE difference, both images are reasonably clear as i said in my other post, they look as they should with those settings.

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carmatic    54

yeah i agree its not ideal, but i cant open those window panes and i dont have anywhere else to put my camera

ive been reading the manual about the focusing modes of the camera, like face recognition, moving object tracking, etc, and my phone definitely cant do that, but right now im trying to figure out how to get it to focus on something outside the window

im thinking of using the optical zoom and holding the camera with my hands , just to see what 'digital image stabilization' does other than add noise to the picture

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carmatic    54

this is with 'digital image stabilization' at maximum zoom

post-61271-12662266509856_thumb.jpg

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spikey_richie    272

Olympus compact cameras are very poor in dark situations, my mini mju is rubbish in the house but my E500 SLR has no issues. Can you take a picture either with the flash on, or outside where it's light?

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carmatic    54

and this is the 'best aparture and exposure' setting at maximum zoom

so what exactly is the purpose of digital image stabilization? all it did was add noise, holding the camera freehand has no effect on motion blur... as far as i can tell, it changes the 'exposure program' and increases the 'iso speed' ...

post-61271-12662268164546_thumb.jpg

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Argote    73

?

(exif says focal length is 5mm, which can't be right)?

5mm is normal for a P&S camera.

What model do you have (exactly)?

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Bubbabyte    14

5mm is normal for a P&S camera.

What model do you have (exactly)?

yeah, i was thinking it was an SLR.

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the evn show    138

thats going to be quite difficult to judge, the cameras are gonna take perfect pictures whent they are perfectly still, and the 'image stabilization' would be meaningless, but i would need to somehow shake the camera in a controlled way to test for image stabilization

That was the point. Compare the same shot with as little trickery as possible to get an idea of how each one sets up the shot.

  • Nokia: F/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600.
  • Olympus: F/2.7 ISO 100, 1/250.

In this case you can see your phone is using a higher shutter speed and larger aperture in order to expose the scene. Your camera has a high F-stop (making for a larger depth of field) but a much slower shutter speed. If this is a typical example of how each will auto-expose the scene then we've got a working explanation for your bluriness.

A higher shutter speed will reduce the effects of camera shake. You moving the camera while the picture is being exposed has much less effect when the exposure lasts 1/1000 than 1/30 seconds.

so what exactly is the purpose of digital image stabilization? all it did was add noise, holding the camera freehand has no effect on motion blur... as far as i can tell, it changes the 'exposure program' and increases the 'iso speed' ...

The best way to see the impact is to setup both pictures to be identical - something where you'd need a 1/30 or 1/20 shutter speed will be the easiest to see: Try shooting indoors with just ambient light, no flash.

Hand hold one shot with your phone, one with your camera without image stabilization, and then again with stabilization. At higher shutter shutter speeds you aren't going to see a difference because the exposure is so quick that you can't really move the camera enough to ruin the shot. I have a pretty-passable Olympus point-n-shoot with manual settings, I'll try and come up with a comparison later today. I've found the built in stabilization to be very good, but we might be comparing different stabilization technologies.

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the evn show    138

Here's an example of basically the same shot taken from the same place showing the effect of the in-built image stabilization of Olympus point and shoots.

The "big" picture is a centre-crop of the middle 50% of the picture, it's the resized to about 10% of the original image size. Fairly standard settings

were used: ~85mm focal length, ISO 160, F5.6, 1/15s exposure. You can see that when zoomed out they look reasonably similar: the resizing hides many

of the fine details.

When you look at the 100% view on the right side you can see the effect of stabilization. The very minor movements of my hands are drastically reduced

when stabilization is on. That allows you to see details at 100% that are blurred out when stabilization is disabled. The slower your shutter speed and the

more zoomed in: the more helpful stabilization can be. There are limits to how helpful stabilization can be, but when it does work it's very nice.

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carmatic    54

that is very interesting....

is your camera using optical image stabilization , or digital stabilization just like mine?

the thing is, with my camera's 'digital image stabilization' , the exif says

Exposure time:  0.004
Exposure program:  5
ISO speed rating:  160
Flash:  24

and with the 'best aparture and exposure' mode, with auto iso, the exif is

Exposure time:  0.008
Exposure program:  2
ISO speed rating:  80
Flash:  16

everything else in the exif's are identical

so its just doubling the ISO and halving the exposure time, as well as tweaking the camera flash which was not used in my daylight shots... and that's their idea of 'digital image stabilization' ?

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the evn show    138

that is very interesting....

is your camera using optical image stabilization , or digital stabilization just like mine?

The marketing bit for my camera is worthless fluff, but it looks like there's some sort of mechanical process involved

The E-P1's three-mode In-body Image Stabilization system compensates for up to four shutter speed steps in the still shooting modes…The camera's Mechanical Image Stabilization automatically compensates for camera shake in low-light situations…

The section for your camera is a little more vague:

DIGITAL IMAGE STABILIZATION.

With high ISO and faster shutter speeds you can capture sharp, blur-free images, with lower noise, even when your subjects are on the move.

I guess we were comparing different systems after all. I assumed the stabilization mechanism would be similar across the range of olympus cameras. When I use my tiny olympus camera I can't hear any motors running when stabilization is on and assumed it was digital. You can easily hear canon's stabilization when it's running (though the IS system is in the lenses rather than the body: maybe that matters).

so its just doubling the ISO and halving the exposure time, as well as tweaking the camera flash which was not used in my daylight shots... and that's their idea of 'digital image stabilization' ?

I think your assessment is probably right. They crank up the ISO and call that stabilization so they can write it on the side of the box. All the credit, none of the cost: it's pure marketing nonsense like "digital zoom".

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carmatic    54

I think your assessment is probably right. They crank up the ISO and call that stabilization so they can write it on the side of the box. All the credit, none of the cost: it's pure marketing nonsense like "digital zoom".

i think your mechanical image stabilization is more like speakers than motors, as in a attractive/repulsive forces on magnets directly mounted on the mechanism, rather than using motors to move it

and yeah, the low light performance of my camera is forgettable, and the lens has an abberation which makes the lower part of the picture go out of focus... i just want to wash my hands everytime i touch the camera so that the suck doesnt seep in through my skin...

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