Shaky hands result to blurry and out of focus pictures when using a handy camera. It frustrates a lot if not all photographers especially the beginners. There are people who refuse to take pictures for others because they are afraid that they will capture blurry pictures. Although the tripod is an excellent solution for a shaky hand, some people finds it inconvenient to bring it or set it up all the time. Shaky hands become particularly problematic when taking pictures in low light environment using a camera with slower shutter speeds. Learning this tormenting problem of photographers, digital camera makers invented image stabilization (IS) technology to help people with shaky hands capture perfect moments without the need of tripods or steady platforms to place their camera when taking pictures. Image stabilization is also known as Vibration Reduction (VR) and Optical Stabilizer (OS) depending on the company that made the product. Take note that image stabilization feature may not prevent blur if a subject itself is moving; but there are camera manufacturers that claim IS reduces or eliminates blur even when caused by moving subjects. There are three basic types of image stabilization: lens-shift, sensor-shift and gyro stabilizers.
For lens-shift, the stabilizing mechanism is located in the camera lens. This technology works best for cameras with longer focal lengths. Nikon, Sigma, Canon, and Leica use this technology in their products. The advantage of this technology is that the image will appear stabilized in the viewfinder since the image is externally stabilized. The disadvantage of this IS technology is that the lens should be bought separately from the camera. Thus, you need to spend few hundred to several thousand dollars for the lens. Another drawback is that the focal length you desire may not be available for this IS technology.
Sensor-shift IS technology eliminates the need to spend more for separate lens as the stabilization sensor is built in the camera itself. Unlike lens-shift technology, the image recorded into the camera is the only object stabilized and not the one in the viewfinder. This technology can be found in some models of Pentax, Sony, Samsung, and Olympus which can cost anywhere between 200 to 1000 dollars.
Third but not the least is the gyro stabilizer which is unique from the two IS technology as it acts as a free-floating tripod. Lens-shift and sensor-shift counteract camera shaking by pulling in alternative direction, shifting to compensate the movement of the camera. The gyro stabilizer is a battery-powered device with two encased wheels attached into the tripod socket of the camera. After being powered for few minutes, the 2 wheels within the attached device will spin at a rate of 22,000 RPM. Acting as a tripod, gyro stabilizer provides sharper, non-blurry images. But you need to shell out $1000 and above to purchase one.
Best Point and Shoot Digital Cameras for Shaky Hands
Most of the cameras in the market today have any of the image stabilization technology above but I highly recommend the following popular digital cameras: