Dueling Image Stabilization Comparison Lumix, Sony & Olympus

Posted Dec. 7th, 2015 by Daniel J. Cox

Dueling Image Stabilization Comparison Lumix, Sony & Olympus

I found a very interesting video tonight that was shot by one of my colleagues at Panasonic, Matt Frazer. For those interested in comparing image stabilization in current models of cameras, this video shows a great deal. Based on in-lab comparisons, the new Lumix GX8 performs better than any of its competitors in the category of image stabilization. Matt takes us through Panasonic’s test lab in New Jersey to show how Panasonic US tests new products coming from Japan. It’ a great little video proving how much effort these guys are making to beat the competition.

I’ve been shooting the GX8 for several months now and I’m nearly done with a Blog post highlighting my experiences with this wonderful new camera. Something quite unique to the GX8 is the fact it has in-camera IS as well as in-lens IS that works in tandem to give what Lumix is calling Dual Image Stabilization. What’s interesting about this technology is this: when Olympus came out with in-camera image stabilization 2-3 years ago, my first thought was, I wonder if I put my Lumix lenses on the Olympus body, if the in-body IS would work with the Lumix lens IS. Guess what? It didn’t.

My amazing idea was shot down. However, I wasn’t the only one thinking about this concept. With the GX8 we now have what I hoped was possible, in-camera IS working in tandem with in-lens IS to give us concrete-like image stabilization that is hard to believe. You pull the GX8 up to your eye with the 35-100mm F/2.8 (70-200mm equivalent) and look through the viewfinder—you feel like somebody has dipped your feet in concrete and you’re a pillar with a camera sitting in your hands. It’s that stable.

Equally impressive is the fact that it took Panasonic only 1.5-2 years to best the competition by developing dual IS as opposed to simple in-body IS. This is what impresses me about Panasonic Lumix technology. Back in the late 80’s—1989 to be exact—Canon perfected autofocus with the introduction of the Canon EOS 1. It was a professional camera that took the sporting world by storm due to its impressive autofocus. Nikon had nothing to equal it in AF until the F5 came out in 1996. That’s seven full years before Nikon was able to catch Canon. When it comes to image stabilization, Canon had their first IS lens in 1995 and Nikon had their first VR lens in 2000. That’s another five years of being behind the competition. Understanding that five years today is an eternity is what made me jump on this Lumix bandwagon. Panasonic engineers make things happen fast! In the case of the GX8, they not only brought in-camera IS to the Lumix line, but they bettered it by adding the ability for the in-camera IS to work with the in-lens IS. That’s leadership, and that’s why I predict these guys will have a serious chunk of the market in the not too distant future.

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There are 7 comments on this post…
  1. JomsOn Jan. 28th, 2016

    How I wish the 5axis stabilization works while filming in 4K ….

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Jan. 28th, 2016

      I’m guessing it will eventually happen Joms. That would be a huge advantage.

  2. RayOn Dec. 16th, 2015

    Hi Dan,

    I have to say I have grown quite fond of my GX8 and have been very impressed with the dual IS + 20 megapixels + the quality of the 12-35 2.8 and the 35-100 2.8. What a powerful compact package! In Tahiti I pretty much carried the Sony A7Rii with the 16-35mm and the GX8 with the 35-100mm. Worked great and frankly it was sometimes hard to tell the which camera I used without looking at the metadata.
    Starting to really look forward to the Scotland – Ireland trips in 2016. I went through the Scotland itinerary and it looked to me like Tanya really out did herself with the itinerary. Can’t wait to see the Highlands!
    Wishing you and Tanya a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year,

    Ray & Margie

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 16th, 2015

      Great to hear Ray. It’s taken me a little while to get used to the Rangefinder style of the GX8 but I’ve been shooting one for several months now, actually just finished an assignment where I shot two GX8’s exclusively for over a week. Took my GH4 out and could not believe how much difference there was between the two cameras. The GH4 is starting to show it’s age. I’m really liking the GX8 myself. Can’t wait for the update to the GH4 whatever and whenever that will be. The Dual IS in the GX8 is absolutely astonishing. Thanks for adding your thoughts Ray. Say hello to Margie for me and see you in Scotland. Have a great Christmas.

  3. DeanOn Dec. 8th, 2015

    Yep, it looks like Panasonic caught up to Olympus in the world of IS. However, Olympus recently obtained a patent for a dual IS camera system (Patent Publication No. 2015-141390 – Aug. 3, 2015). Kind of reminds me of when Canon and Nikon would take turns leapfrogging each other with technological advances. Aren’t we lucky to be the beneficiaries of this competition?

    The upcoming Olympus 300/4.0 was apparently delayed to add IS to the lens. While that was no doubt good news for Pany shooters, it was almost certainly not just added to the lens for them. With the new dual IS patent, can there be any question that future Olympus cameras will take advantage of not only the superior Olympus 5-axis in-camera IS but also IS in the lenses? Oh what fun it is to be a MFT shooter!

    Warmest wishes for the Holidays to you and the incomparable Tanya (who doesn’t need an upgrade to remain “Best in Class!”)

  4. Mike GOn Dec. 7th, 2015

    Do you expect the next iterations of the G and GH series to have in-body stabilization to allow for dual stabilization?

    • Portrait of Daniel J. Cox

      Daniel J. CoxOn Dec. 7th, 2015

      Mike, I really have no idea but based on how poplar the new Dual IS is in the GX8 I would be surprised if most of their future serious cameras don’t have the Dual IS. Exceptions might be low cost point and shoots and she of the all in one cameras.

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