What is the Difference Between the Stabilization Mode 1, 2 and 3? (2023 Updated)

Welcome back! Recently most people have been asking about the difference between  the Stabilization Mode 1, 2, and 3 and how to use them. In this post, I will explain in easy words – what image stabilization is and how it works? And what are its modes?

Image stabilization is nowadays, one of the most important factors to choose between cameras. There are new other concepts in the stabilization like stabilization modes and types. Here I will be explaining in detail the stabilization modes and how stabilization works. Let’s start.

The Stabilization Mode 1 is preferred for static photography as it compensates for movements in all directions. On the other hand, Mode 2 is preferred for Motion photography as it corrects vibrations in either the vertical or the horizontal direction. The 3rd mode is better for the correctness of vibrations in an exposure.

Difference Between Stabilization Mode 1, 2

The difference between Stabilization mode 1 and mode 2 is that mode 1 is used for static photography while mode 2 is used for panning or motion photography. Mode 1 stabilizes the vibrations in all directions while mode 2 stabilizes motion in 2 directions either, vertical or horizontal.

Which Mode of Image Stabilization Should You Use?

Most mid-range or high-end level Canon lenses have three different modes of Image Stabilization for different scenarios.

Mode 1

Mode 1 is the more commonly used stabilization in handheld situations for static subjects. As long as you keep your shutter button halfway, it will be active and when you look through your viewfinder, moving your camera slightly to the left, or right, you can see how the image is stabilized.

Mode 2

In Mode 2 same as Mode 1, the image stabilization gets activated as soon as you press your shutter button halfway down. The difference between this mode is that this mode is designed to pan with your moving subjects, for example, birds in flight or moving animals.

When you move horizontally left or right, the image stabilization will compensate for up and down movement. The same implies if you pan in a vertical position, the camera will compensate for the left and right movement. The image stabilization won’t interfere with the panning direction that you are moving in.

Mode 3

Unlike Mode 1 and 2, in Mode 3, the image stabilization gets activated once you press your shutter button completely to take the image. This can save a lot of battery and can be very useful if you are constantly distracted by the movement of the image stabilization in your viewfinder and maybe you prefer more natural feel when looking through your camera.

How does Image Stabilization work?

Now let’s talk about the working of IS. Not all lenses have built-in image stabilization, so please make sure you got the right lens. There are different types of image stabilization that can compensate for any camera shake when you handhold the camera. In this post, I will talk about both, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Digital Stabilization.

What are the Types of Image Stabilization?

Image stabilization is a technique that helps to compensate for an unintentional movement of the shakiness of the hand while clicking a photo or a video. When not using a tripod, this shaking is quite normal even for professionals. It’s where Image Stabilization kicks in.

Some smart people sat down and developed a technology called Image Stabilization (which is known by different names) to help eliminate motion blur and unintentional movement of the camera while capturing handheld footage and images. Image Stabilization has 2 types:

Optical Image Stabilization

In Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), the work is done inside the camera or lens instead of a software change. In this type of IS, there is a small gyro sensor in the camera or lens that detects small movements and then compensates for it by moving the sensor in the camera or glasses in the lens in the opposite direction.

Optical Image Stabilization has generally two types, camera-based image stabilization, and lens-based image stabilization.

Camera-Based Image Stabilization

This type of image sensor moves in the opposite direction in order to compensate for the movement of the camera detected by the gyro inside the camera and hence the footage is smooth and stabilized.

Lens Based Image Stabilization

The camera-based image stabilization works best unless you are using a longer lens. For longer lenses, you need lens-based image stabilization as well. There are small glasses inside the lens which focus the light on the sensor. The movement of these lenses compensates for the unintentional movement to eliminate shake.

Digital Stabilization

In this type of IS, there is no setup in the camera but actually, the camera has software that’s doing all the necessary work. The camera captures multiple frames and then combines all the frames into one making a smooth and stabilized video. This type of stabilization is mainly used in videos.

Should We Leave Stabilization On all the Time?

I personally have my image stabilization ON all the time. I take a lot of pictures with bare hands and also take photos in lowlight conditions and therefore I almost always keep image stabilization ON.

Well, there are certain situations when you wouldn’t need image stabilization for example when using a tripod or when you set the shutter speed to a very lower number, especially for stars photography.

Which Stabilization Mode to Use and How?

Personally, I prefer to have my image stabilization on mode 1 unless I do motion photography. Then I switch to mode 2 and tend not to use mode 3 because I prefer the stabilized view in my viewfinder.

The only time I switch off my image stabilization is when I do astrophotography or night photography when my camera is on a tripod.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mode of stabilization?

Modes are settings for stabilization for example in mode 1 vibration in all directions is corrected while in mode 2, vibration in only 2 directions is compensated.

Which Stabilization Mode is the Best?

It depends on the scenario. Mostly while taking pictures of static objects, you should stay in Mode1, and for moving subjects switch to Mode 2.

When to Turn Off Image Stabilization?

You should turn off image stabilization when using a tripod as there would be no camera shake due to hand. Also, you should probably turn the IS off when doing astrophotography.

What are the stabilizer modes on the Canon 100-400?

The stabilizer modes are there to act differently for different types of photography. Mode 1 is for still objects and stabilizes the vibrations in all directions while Mode 2 is for panning photography and stabilizes the sensor or lens in either a horizontal or vertical direction.

Final Verdict

When finalizing my post, I will repeat the necessary points briefly. Image stabilization is a process for making the footage smooth by eliminating motion blur and shakiness.

There are a few modes of image stabilization. Mode 1 is used for static photography, and it compensates for shaking in all directions.

Mode 2 is used for panning photography or say motion photography when we move the camera in either a vertical or horizontal direction. We take photos of the subject in motion with this Mode

The third mode is for when you don’t want your viewfinder to show you the results of the image stabilization. This mode of IS starts working after the shutter button is clicked.

That’s all for now. Please let me know in the comments down below if you still have any queries. Good day.

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