Did you know: Apple iPhone 6 Plus seems to rely on software stabilization for video, while OIS is used for images only

Did you know: Apple iPhone 6 Plus seems to rely on software stabilization for video, while OIS is used for images only

The Apple iPhone 6 Plus is the first iPhone to come with optical image stabilization (OIS), and this feature brings quite the noticeable difference when you compare images between the iPhone 6 Plus and the iPhone 6, which lacks optical stabilization. The effect OIS has is of less blur and a sharper, better-looking image - something particularly well noticeable in low light.

One would naturally assume that the iPhone 6 Plus uses the optical image stabilization in video as well, but all obvious evidence suggests the contrary - the OIS functionality seems to be disabled during video recording. How can we tell? Simple, just take any phone with optical stabilization and start recording a video. If you have an iPhone 6 Plus alongside, you would notice that when tilting the phone the other phone equipped with OIS would stabilize the footage quite visible in live view, while the iPhone 6 Plus would not. This factual evidence suggests that optical image stabilization is only used by Apple for still images.

We have no official confirmation from Apple, but here is what the section about optical stabilization on the company's official website says:


Notice that there is no mention of video in this section, something that is quite telling.

Keep in mind, though, that while apparently the iPhone 6 Plus does not use optical image stabilization for video recordings, it does use the excellent Cinematic Video Stabilization. This software algorithm is applied after you capture the video (that's why there is a clear difference in the stability of recorded video as you see it in liveview in the camera, and after that - when you actually watch it from the Photos app), and it removes a lot of the nasty jittery effect. It may not be as stable as you get with optical stabilization, but the difference is not drastic either.

What is the reason for Apple not using optical image stabilization, though? Our educated guess would be that Apple was not content with how video appears blurred and wobbly around the edges with OIS, while with software optical stabilization, that effect could be minimized. So even though optical stabilization seems to be disabled, that could be done for a good reason.

Related phones

iPhone 6 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A8, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 2915 mAh(24h 3G talk time)

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27 Comments

2. Simona unregistered

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3. EcoCare

Posts: 444; Member since: Jul 30, 2014

Sounds like stupid idea for me. Software IS reduces FoV and probably image quality, but why Apple is still being a smartass? And don't forget mono sound recording in their videos, in 2015. Sigh.

6. jesusnexo unregistered

Talking about iPhone. I'm in mine without ad locker and realized this page is infested with ads it's just stupid. I never realized this while on my nexus 5

7. hound.master

Posts: 1044; Member since: Feb 27, 2015

Haha most of the adds are blocked for me due to filtering so i guess it's not that bad.

8. TyrionLannister unregistered

Apple is really smart. It knows that OIS is not very good for panning as the module has to reset after it reaches it's 0.5 or 1 degree limit which causes a little jitter. Software stabilization on the other hand has no such issue and hence is much smoother. And this is like 6 month old news. Almost everyone knew about this.

11. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Side effects of software stabilization are much worse (narrow field of view, blur). Stop the video at any point(try 0:43 for example) and see how bad the quality from iphone 6. OIS>SIS by far.

18. mixedfish

Posts: 1544; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

Narrow FOV is not a disadvantage, the closer to 35mm the better. But reduction of quality is another issue.

44. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Narrow field of view is a disadvantage. When taking a wide shot, the shot should actually be wide. if face the camera in landscape and the photo comes out looking like you took it in portrait mode, then what is the point in landscaping the shot? The reason I tilted the camera on its side is because I wanted all the surrounding stuff too. if I didn't I wouldn't have chose it. Maybe for YOU its not a disadvantage. However side by side videos, show it is a terrible disadvantage.

15. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

P.S. You can add software stabilization to any video after you've taken it (YouTube can even do it automatically) but you can never add OIS.

19. TyrionLannister unregistered

The important thing is, no one adds IS after taking video.

21. Shocky unregistered

Actually you can do this and I have... :)

38. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Of course. It reduction the quality of the video.

34. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

I am willing to bet is you surveyed 1000 iPhone users and asked them if they knew the 6 Plus didn't have fully implemented OIS on the rear camera 999 of them would say NO they didnt know. Here is the thing. The iPhone 6 Plus costs $749/799 retail. People who know what OIS is expect OIS to be availble 100% of the time when usign the camera for whatever. On Apple's own website it sames for the camera that it has automatic image stabilization when shooting phonts and just has video stabilization when shooting video. What does this tell me? NOTHING. It just tells me one is automatic and one isnt. Am I to assume what it means? Stuff like this for a non-tech person should be spelled out. I am more tech knowledgable than most people who own iPhone, and guess what? I dont even know what it means. I assume it means the cameta has some type of automatic image stabilization feature and when when shooting video this feature is not being used. What this doesn't tell me is what type of effect this has on my shots. There own iinfograhic does even say the device has OIS, it says "automatic image stabilization". That's not even a technical term. tech terms would be the camera has optical image stabilization. Telling me its automatic means nothing. Why? because whether its SIS or OIS, both are automatic features that don't require me to do anything. However both are not the same and we should know which is being used...PERIOD. The camera on the Note 4 and S6 uses Optical Image Stabilization...PERIOD. I dont need to lok up what that means because it means its image stabilization is handled with the cameras hardware either way video or photos. There is nothing that needs clarification.

13. noler

Posts: 326; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Yes, we know it for almost a year. phonearena, only now did you know about that?

14. Nathillien unregistered

Ouch, that hurts.

20. Shocky unregistered

Might explain why the Galaxy S6 still has the option of software stabilization in videos. Can't say I've noticed any issues with video captured, looks great to me and very smooth. :)

24. Zack_2014

Posts: 677; Member since: Mar 25, 2014

Well the Video recording on the Galaxy S6 wobbles whether it's taken with OIS or Software Stabilization.

35. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Really? Where is it? Because turning video stabilization on would mean its being handled by the camera itself, turning it off would be nothing is being used except for you hold as still as possible, from what I can see. Please confirm how you know this difference specifically.

26. wando77

Posts: 1166; Member since: Aug 23, 2012

Have you guys even watched the note 4 vs 6+ video comparison at the bottom of the article? The note 4 footage is MASSIVELY superior and way more stable than the 6+. It's there to see for all

29. jove39

Posts: 2140; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

ohhh...you guys didn't know that...you should read anandtech.com

33. adecvat

Posts: 623; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Sammy OIS = iPhone EIS

36. aru2hot

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

Is it just me who feels Note 4 Video is better !

45. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The Note 4 video is better...PERIOD. The fans will always say their crap is better, even when a video in their face shows its not.

48. darkkjedii

Posts: 30833; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

And you're a "fan", so we know what to expect from you.

72. aru2hot

Posts: 21; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

I am just a fan of Tech and i have seen in some Videos where Apple's OIS looked better too.. so i was just saying about the video posted in this article .... Dont impose things on others dude... I love both Samsung and Apple ...

40. darkkjedii

Posts: 30833; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Really Apple.....reallyyyyyyyyyyy?

47. darkkjedii

Posts: 30833; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The videos actually flip flop, as far as being less jittery, and better looking.

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