Sensor shift image stabilisation corrects shake in 5 axes
Apple was granted a patent for the tech in 2015
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Optical image stabilization was a technology that revolutionized the smartphone camera. Introduced first by Nokia back in 2012 with the Nokia Lumia 920, Optical Image Stabilisation, or OIS, has since become a staple feature across smartphones. Apple has been using OIS in their iPhones since the iPhone 6s, this has been a feature on the back of which Apple has built some incredible experiences. Now according to a report by DigiTimes, Apple may be planning to use sensor-shift based image stabilization for the iPhones coming out in 2020.
Unfortunately, there are no specifics mentioned by DigiTimes on how Apple will be implementing this tech, but if the company does go ahead with it, the implications could be huge. Optical Image Stabilisation requires the addition of extra elements in the lens assembly, along with coils and magnets, increasing the overall size of the module. Additionally, OIS is only capable to correcting shake in 2 axes, whereas sensor-shift based stabilization can counter shake in 5 axes. With a sensor-shift based stabilization system, the iPhones could theoretically stabilize shake when it comes to pitch, yaw and even roll. This would mean that for those shooting video, you could get impressively stable footage, although, not as impressive as the one you’d get from using a gimbal. Sensor-shift based image stabilization really differentiates itself in low light, where lens-based IS is not effective enough.
What’s interesting about this report is that Apple had filed for a patent back in 2015 for sensor-shift based technology. At the time, it wasn’t clear whether the company would use this for image stabilization or sensor-shift based high-resolution capture. Functionally, the fundamental technology behind achieving sensor shift based image stabilization and high-resolution photos is the same. The sensor shifts to achieve the desired result, it's just the implementation that differs ever so slightly.
As of now, there is nothing besides the DigiTimes report saying that Apple will move to sensor-shift based image stabilization. Apple does have a patent for the tech that they were granted in 2015, but we feel it may be too soon to expect Apple to switch to such a drastically different tech for the iPhone cameras.
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