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One thing you can be sure of with a Nokia Lumia is that for imaging, whether photos or video, you’re handling the best mobile camera tech on the market. There’s many elements to this, but one that’s dramatically changing the quality of people photos and films, and the way they take them, is Optical Image Stabilisation.

Shooting in the dark

When you’re looking to shoot in the dark, you’ve got a few options: using a more sensitive sensor, a high-speed lens, or a longer shutter time. The first makes your picture noisy; the second is not only expensive, but bulky, which isn’t effective for the smartphone market; and third, though it works, makes camera-shake more prominent, resulting in blurry pictures.

The solution to this last problem? Image stabilisation. If you’re a regular reader of Nokia Conversations, you’ve doubtless heard about image stabilisation—it’s a feature of point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras, which first made an appearance in the Nokia Lumia 920 and can now be found in the Nokia Lumia 925 and Nokia Lumia 1020. In simple terms, it attempts to eliminate camera-shake by using a very accurate sensor—a gyroscope—to detect and react to camera movement. A lens element in the camera then shifts to offset that movement. Bingo!


Incredibly fast reaction time

Where Nokia’s unique Optical Image Stabilisation, created in conjunction with ZEISS, differs from and outstrips its competitors, though, is in moving not one lens element in compensation, but in shifting the entire assembly of optical components. There are two advantages to this tactic: one, the camera can compensate for a much greater amount and form of movement—it picks up and cancels out about 50% more movements per second than convention OIS set-ups—and, two, the system has an incredibly fast reaction time—that is, approximately 300 times faster than the average human reaction time. That’s 500 movements every second—talk about sensitive!

So say goodbye to judder and unintentional motion if you’re using a Nokia camera, and say hello to precise handheld imagery like you’ve never seen it before. An easy way to see how it works is with video comparisons like this fantastic one shot by Mark Guim from The Nokia Blog.


Better and sharper photos

What are the specific benefits of Optical Image Stabilisation in real-life terms? First of all, of course, it makes low-light photography considerably less stressful. Shutter speeds in lower light are slower, in order to let enough light through the aperture to process the image, and so slower shutter speeds tend to exaggerate camera shake, resulting in less precise images. With Nokia’s OIS technology, shaky camera-work in dimmer conditions can be compensated for to a much greater degree than before or than by conventional stabilisation technologies.

nokia low light competition 1

Because the effects of camera shake are reduced,  you can now shoot at speeds as slow as 1/4 of a second before shake becomes a noticeable issue. That’s eight times slower than previously. The upshot is, of course, that Nokia’s OIS makes your low-light photos look better and sharper than ever.


One-handed photography 

Secondly, OIS advances also mean that one-handed photography is sharper and easier than ever—which is a particular boon for the snap-on-the-go smartphone shutterbug. This applies to video recording as well as still photography, which ought to be good news for parents and sports-fans alike.


OIS in video recording allows the camera to differentiate between intended movements (dramatic pans and tilts) and unintended jerks and jumps. And that is, of course, what we all want from smartphone camera technology—image-making that replicates or surpasses the performance of high-end optical technology, even without a tripod. So, whether still or at a gallop, your Nokia-made imagery has never been as precise or impressive.

It’s pretty clear from the tons of videos and photos out there that OIS on your Nokia Lumia isn’t only changing how we take images but their quality too. We’ve touch on some ways, but what about your own personal experiences. Let us know how OIS has unrocked your world in the comments below.