Image Stabilizers on Compacts - What's Your Take?

Canon SD 700 IS

I'm researching an article on image stabilizers for compact cameras. I'm going to start out by testing the Canon PowerShot SD700 IS, which I should have in my hands within a week or so. But I would like to test other image stabilizer compacts too, and am interested in your comments about them.

If you have experience with any current image stabilizer compacts, or have one you recommend that I test, please post a comment. Also, I'm fascinated by the technology behind these cameras. So if you have any inside info on image stabilization, point me in the right direction.

I'll be sure to report back on what I find...


My first experience with image stabilizer is with the Panasonic line of cameras. My brother started the whole thing with his Lumix DMC-FZ20, which is an excellent camera. After test driving his for a couple of days, I set out and purchased the DMC-FX7, a tiny camera that fits in my pocket, but took excelent photos. I am now purchasing another one, the DMC-FX01.

So the question is, does the optical image stabilizer (OIS) work? YES! It does. Prior to this camera, I own several cameras and ran into the problem of blurred pictures because of my unsteady heands. No more! My pictures are sharp and I have more keepers than before. I just love it.

Please note that the Panasonic camera has two OIS modes: mode 1 and mode 2. Mode 1 will attempt to compensate for your hand shake ALL THE TIME, even before you take the shot. The result is steady picture on the LCD. Mode 2 only compensate for your hand shake at the moment you take the picture. So which mode do I use? I have the camera on mode 2 because it produces better pictures.

Of course, the Panasonic is not perfect, but the OIS feature and the Leica lens are the two reasons I choose this brand over others. Cheers.

Thanks for the overview of the Panasonic cameras. I had heard good things about their image stabilization, and your note confirms that. Thanks for posting!

The Canon SD700is is my 4th Canon Powershot camera (although I'm a Nikon shooter for DSLR). I didn't expect the IS to be very helpful as I am used to Nikon VR on a 70-200 2.8. I have to say I am really impressed by the little 700is. My wife used it last weekend to take pictures of our kids from a boat at anchor and nearly all of them are tack sharp of kids in the water and diving off the boat.
My few informal experiments of picking a distant object and shooting with IS set on "Shoot Only" vs. "Off" seemed to make a big difference in the sharpness of my handheld shots.