We have discussed different Autofocusing techniques used in smartphones in the past. Whenever you check the specifications of high-end phones, a term you might have seen is the OIS. So what exactly is OIS? Well, OIS is short for Optical Image Stabilization. It is a technology used to take good quality photographs even when your phone is shaking. It can be described as a self-correcting technology. How is Optical Image Stabilization differs from Electronic Image Stabilization?. Let’s find out.

How does Optical Image Stabilization work?

One thing to remember is that this technology is useless if the subject of the photograph is moving. It can only correct the blurriness of the photo if the subject is still and the phone is shaking. For eg, a moving car photo would be still blurred even if the phone has OIS. However, a photo taken of a house while you jump with the phone would be perfect without any blur.

Whenever your hand moves, it will automatically shake the axes of the phone. It would be impossible to hold a still pose for a long time with your hands. So the OIS works with a mechanism that works inside the camera which moves the camera lens in the opposite direction of a shake so that the movement is compensated and the lens remains still.

Optical Image Stabilization working

One thing to remember is that the lens is small, so only small shakes can be compensated. Large movements cannot be compensated for using OIS. The mechanism involves a cup of gyroscopes that measures the velocity and the angle by which the phone moved and while you take the picture, the little microcontroller moves the floating lens that has a motor attached to it. This moves the lens to compensate for the external movement.

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Optical Image Stabilization Lens correction

                                                                                          OIS (Lens Correction)


The pictures below are taken while jumping. One of the phones had OIS and the other didn’t. The difference in the quality of the picture, as can be seen, is huge. The photo taken while jumping using the Google Nexus 6P is on the left side and that photo is blurred. While on the right side, the photo is taken while jumping using the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 which employs the Optical Image Stabilization technology. As can be seen from the two photos, the phone with OIS took the photo without any blurriness even when the phone was subjected to jitter. This feature is especially useful when you are inside a moving vehicle and needs to take a photo of a still object outside the vehicle.

Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) vs Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) Difference


Electronic Image Stabilization

Now, what is EIS? How does it differ from OIS? EIS or Electronic Image Stabilization or Digital Image Stabilization works while you are shooting a video. Now in the case of OIS, the correction for blurriness was done through external mechanisms involving gyroscopes, motor, etc. In EIS, the correction happens electronically. The whole correction process is digital. The processor shifts the picture around digitally inside of its memory to compensate for the movement happening outside.

This technique is sometimes called a plan and slant. This is the angular movement to as pan and slant, which is the angular movement related to pitch & yaw. Similar to OIS, Electronic Image Stabilization technology also cannot prevent blurred photos if the subject is moving. It only prevents blurred photographs while the phone is shaking.

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