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How important is Optical Image Stabilization to you when looking at a smartphone camera?

Posted: , by Chris P.

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How important is Optical Image Stabilization to you when looking at a smartphone camera?
As the smartphone, as a commodity, becomes more and more standardized, we're quickly getting to a place where even "white box" vendors have the basics right, and above the minimum acceptable threshold. Even wildly unpopular companies can nowadays get you a smartphone with the same hardware as the big brands out there, but at the faction of the cost. This trend has been progressing steadily, and why would it not -- after all, the average Joe is looking for a few basic functions out of his smartphone and that's it.

And as these otherwise tiny companies are beginning to offer more and more competitive products, it's becoming increasingly hard for us and consumers both to really separate a really complete package from one that just gets the basics rights. What's more, even big brands are betting on different areas, while leaving others as low priority. This, as some of you may have been noticing, has given a rise to content we do that aims to objectively measure parts of the equation that are not necessarily a priority for a particular brand. Cameras with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) are one such example, but we do like to know our audience which gets us to this poll.

So what say you, is OIS a feature you're actively looking for a camera? And if so, how important is it to you? Or, do you happen to not care at all? You tell us!

Phonearena polls
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How important is Optical Image Stabilization to you when looking at a smartphone camera?
59.98%
986 votes
(986 votes) I regard OIS highly, so it's very important to me
36.98%
608 votes
(608 votes) It's definitely a nice extra, but not a game-changer for me
3.04%
50 votes
(50 votes) I'd rather have manufacturers spend their effort and resources elsewhere

1644 votes

36 Comments
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posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:15 2

1. walnuttt (Posts: 109; Member since: 11 Apr 2014)


Very important as it makes photo quality superb, less shaky and blurred.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:31 4

9. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


It is a 'must-have' feature on my next smartphone purchase. No OIS, I keep my Maxx and don't use my upgrades.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:35 5

10. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Not needed, my Xperia Z2 has steady shot, and takes beautiful pics at night.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:37 8

13. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5954; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


Try doing an apples-to-apples compare between the Z2 and an L1520 in low light, then post back.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 09:28 6

20. PunyPoop (Posts: 741; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


Give me L1520, then I might consider comparing it.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 09:31

21. MrTzr (Posts: 128; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)


Steady shot doesn't help unfortunately when taking pictures.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 11:27 1

25. buccob (Posts: 1564; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


It does... it is basically a fancy name for digital image stabilization

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 12:48

27. MrTzr (Posts: 128; Member since: 26 Jun 2013)


Thanks, I didn't know that. I thought that the DIS (SS) was only available on the Z2 when taking video's. I hope that it works as fine as on the video's, as SS seems to do a good job to keep the video steady.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 11:42 3

26. boosook (Posts: 1090; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


As an Xperia user, I say that it's not the same thing at all. Steady shot is a digital stabilizer, i.e. it just boosts ISO so you can have shorter exposure times but at the expense of quality, while an optical stabilizer can avoid camera shake and keep ISO low at the same time. The results are impressive, you just have to try it and you won't come back.
Optical stabilizers have been one of the greatest innovations in camera technology during the last 10 years, if not the greatest. It's definitely just abot time for this technology to be massively deployed in smartphones too.
Just as noone would buy a digicauple of m without OIS right now, it will be the same with smartphones in a couple of years, when even samsug and apple will come to it.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 22:52

35. Svelte (Posts: 2; Member since: 27 Jan 2014)


phase detection autofocus is also good for fast focus in video mode especially for tracking and moving object.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:18 2

2. jaytai0106 (Posts: 1462; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


It would def be a nice feature. But for someone who doesn't like much photo or taking photo in more optimal condition like me. It's not a deal breaker. I'm not on the go too much when I have to take picture. Maybe in the future it will be an important for me, who knows :D

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:19

3. buccob (Posts: 1564; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


This is a very nice thing to have, if the manufacturer care to put it in the device...

It helps with Video and low light photography but I rarely shoot video clips (specially if I am the one moving) and I already take satisfying low light pics without it... so not a must for me, yet.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:19 2

4. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2866; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Why is 3rd option given? Not needed IMO.

OIS is a huge plus plus.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:20 5

5. hassoups (Posts: 385; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


Look at the nexus 5 with OIS. Probably the worst camera on a flagship. OIS, imo, is overrated everywhere but Nokia's cameras period.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:22 1

6. MarkArigayo (Posts: 240; Member since: 18 Dec 2013)


OIS was the main reason why I decided to try a G2, and it really works as expected.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:35 1

11. marlboro (Posts: 94; Member since: 27 Mar 2014)


same here! but for now I will bring my z1 all day this spring break!!!

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:26 4

7. pwnarena (Posts: 976; Member since: 15 Feb 2013)


not that important as shown by apple and sony.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:47 2

14. shuaibhere (Posts: 1676; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Add samsung to the list...note 3 great for daylight photos...

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:48 1

15. shuaibhere (Posts: 1676; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


Add samsung to the list...note 3 is great for daylight photos...

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:28 4

8. mokhtar (Posts: 271; Member since: 06 Jan 2014)


not important for me ... i have steady shot and it works so great , and with the new steady shot in the z2 would be great .. cant wait to test it

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:36 2

12. sip1995 (Posts: 943; Member since: 07 Feb 2014)


I remember when Nokia introduced OIS on the lumia 920....that was awesome.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:54

16. Jason78 (Posts: 75; Member since: 10 Apr 2013)


1-2 years ago I would have said it was nice to have. Today it is a requirement.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:54 1

17. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3315; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Phones already take awesome pictures and videos without OIS, but OIS sure makes them even better!

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:57 1

18. kshell1 (Posts: 1143; Member since: 05 Oct 2011)


Its not 100% necessary, but it definately helps, My moto g takes amazing pictures when it is in good light, now if its in low light? forget it

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 08:59 1

19. NokiaFTW (Posts: 2058; Member since: 24 Oct 2012)


OIS is one of the main reasons why I picked up a Lumia 1520.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 09:50

22. p51d007 (Posts: 84; Member since: 24 Nov 2013)


I'm kind of old school...it's not that important to me, because I've been taking photos with an SLR, now a dSLR for 30 years. I know how to hold a camera STILL, or, if it's something moving, I don't use the default camera program, but have one that mimics iso, shutter speed & f/stop. It's nice to have, but not that important for my usage. I'd rather they spend the time on making the sensor size LARGER and improve the lens elements, and give us the option to shoot in RAW mode to avoid the post processing headaches associated with a heavily compressed jpeg image.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 09:55

23. drgoll (Posts: 1; Member since: 14 Apr 2014)


Extremely important, I have essential tremor and couldn't take a good picture without it

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 10:57

24. AppleHateBoy (unregistered)


Must have IF it works well and everything else(like software, optimizations, sensor size, MP etc.) has reached a particular level.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 13:58

28. wargreymon (Posts: 181; Member since: 05 Nov 2013)


After using G2 with OIS and then G Flex which is same but without I realized how awesome OIS is. So many less blurry pics its laughable at using burst mode etc and then trying to find a non-blurry pic one phones without OIS.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 16:24

29. alrightihatepickingusernames (Posts: 440; Member since: 29 Dec 2013)


I don't use the camera on my phone that much so I wouldn't miss it. DIS would be enough for what I do but if an OEM puts OIS on a phone that I want I certainly won't complain.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 19:02 1

30. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


I have shaky hands, so it's pretty important for me. But as long as it has a fast shutter speed and good digital stabilization, it's not a necessity.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 20:06

31. mattkl (Posts: 180; Member since: 01 Feb 2010)


OIS is definitely a nice extra but I don't believe any smartphone camera has a shutter, all digital.

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 20:37

32. -box- (Posts: 3878; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)


Actually the Lumia 1020 has an actual mechanical shutter

posted on 14 Apr 2014, 21:20

33. mattkl (Posts: 180; Member since: 01 Feb 2010)


Ok thanks, makes since for that beast camera. Any others have shutters?

posted on 16 Apr 2014, 01:24

36. Berzerk000 (Posts: 4108; Member since: 26 Jun 2011)


Sorry, I wasn't trying to be technical. As long as it takes pictures quickly, OIS isn't a necessity.

posted on 15 Apr 2014, 20:13

34. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


OIS? Hell, I barely care that it has a camera at all.

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