How To Use Image Stabilization on a Camcorder

Image stabilization is an important, yet over looked feature on digital camcorders. It's designed to eliminate a shaky image caused by a shaky camera. Shaky cameras can be caused by a few different things. The biggest culprit is shooting hand held, but even if you are using a tripod you can suffer from the shakes too. Anytime you touch the camera provides an opportunity for your shot to suffer, like when you're hitting the record button. Shakes are even more extreme when zooming because a little shake becomes magnified.

Know What Stabilization System You Have

There are two types of stabilization systems that camcorders use. Those are electrical and optical stabilization. Consumer camcorders incorporate the electrical system. Because a digital camcorder is a computer in itself, electrical systems use software that attempts to correct a shaky lens. The effectiveness of this system varies from camera to camera.

The optical systems are found in professional cameras and are superior to their electrical counterparts because they mechanically stabilize the image through the lens before it is projected onto the image sensor. This also varies from camera to camera so it is best to do a little research on line before heading out to the store.

Turning the Image Stabilization On

In order for the image stabilization to work you need to turn it on first. All camcorder are different in how to accomplish this. Some have a switch on the outside while others can be accessed through the menu. Consult with your camcorder's operations manual if you are having difficulty locating it.

Read What Other People Have to Say About the Camcorder Before Buying

You wouldn't buy a car without giving it a test drive and you should treat a camcorder the same way. Before going to a store, do some research on line to see what other people think about it. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches by hearing about someone else's bad time rather than experiencing it yourself.

Test It Before Buying It

Here's a quick test that you can do in the store to get a rough idea of how well the image stabilization works. Pick the camera up and turn the function on. Then zoom all the way out and hold the camera at arms length. You should be able to see how shaky the image looks on the LCD

Take the image stabilization function seriously and test it out before buying because it will have an huge influence in how your work turns out.

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