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Image stabilisation underwater - yes or no?

Discussion in 'Underwater Photography' started by Steyr, Jul 24, 2020.

  1. Steyr

    Steyr Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    I'm looking to buy a new camera and am tossing up between the Sony a6400 and a6600. One of the key feature differences is in-body image stabilisation on the a6600. For the a6400, its lens only, so a decision on whether to use it needs to be made before the dive.

    I've seen several discussions from people who know better than I do, arguing either for or against the use of image stabilisation underwater. Most likely, if the experts can't agree then it's not a big enough issue to worry a hobbyist like me, but I'm keen to hear what people here think.

    When is OIS useful underwater? (Shooting wrecks? Wide angle reef shots? Macro nudis?)
    When is OIS not useful underwater? (Shooting fish? Pelagics? In heavy surge?)
  2. davehicks

    davehicks ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Seattle
    Leave OIS for underwater use. There is no penalty for using it in my experience. I can't guarantee there is a tangible benefit without testing, but I've never seen it cause a problem.
  3. WS007

    WS007 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Empersdorf (Austria)
    IS is certainly an advantage in low light conditions with natural light, e.g. grottos and caves. With EM1II I can make exposures of 1/2 s without real support (but must of course be very careful). The greatest advantage is when making video - it makes the movie much less shaky...

  4. WS007

    WS007 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Empersdorf (Austria)
    Here examples from last week - maybe not the best examples for cave photos, but they show the benefit of IS for handheld 1/4s and 1.6s exposure:

    Schwob likes this.
  5. VsubT

    VsubT Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Eastern Europe
    There were cameras people tried to use for freefall video a few years ago where stabilization was a problem. Did similar research when I was looking for a new camera recently, and ended up with the a6600. I did not come across any examples where in-body stabilization was a problem under water.

    The biggest advantage of the a6600 for my purposes is the battery size, but I understand its autofocus is also really good. Now I just need to get the thing underwater!


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