When you first get into photography, you hear a lot of terms you’re not familiar with. One such term is image stabilization. Image stabilization usually has two forms. You can either get a lens that is stabilized or a camera body that has a stabilized sensor. In both cases, the internal elements of the body shift a little in order to maintain their position when you are taking a photo. For example, if you have locked focus on someone’s face and you are taking a photo handheld, the camera sensor or the lens elements will adjust their position slightly to minimize the effects of any movement that may be introduced in a handheld shot.
So how important is stabilization? Well, it depends on the kind of photos you take.
Not Very Important
If you take mostly street photos in good light, then you may not need stabilization. If you use a tripod to take landscape or architecture shots, be it a single image or multiple ones for an HDR photo (check out this site to learn more) then you don’t need stabilization either.
You do need stabilization if you shoot handheld photos in all sorts of lighting conditions. If you find that your photos turn out blurry because of a low shutter speed at night, then a stabilized lens can help you out a little. You definitely need stabilization if you shoot a lot of handheld video though. A shaky video just doesn’t look as good as one that is smooth. You don’t want to spend hours filming for a video and then realize that your footage is shaky, so using a stabilized lens or body is almost a given if you’re serious about shooting video.
So the next time you make a purchase for your photography kit, give a thought to whether you need a stabilized piece of equipment or not. If you don’t need it, then save some money by getting non-stabilized lenses and use it to get some other essentials, like a stable tripod.