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I have a photography book that features a photograph taken from a helicopter with a 1 second exposure using a gyrostabilizer. Clearly these are very effective in damping out vibrations and making it easy to take photos under low light conditions.
Lens themselves are round: why not have a gyroscope
inside the barrel of the lens? It would spin up as you press the button, and only release the shutter when the gyroscope is up to full speed, then shut off again on release.
It would obviously add a bit of weight to the lens, but could not be any worse than lugging around a tripod or a gyrostablizer.
[It occurs to me that it would not damp vibrations along the axis of the lens (i.e., forward and back), but I suspect that this would not matter very much for distance shots, which is what telephoto lenses are mostly used for.]
Zeiss stabilized binoculars.
Purely mechanical. Gorgeous. Bring money. [bristolz, May 05 2002]
Canon stablized binoculars
Requires batteries, so these must have some servos or something. These used to be $1300 or more. I have found them down to about $600, lately. Amazon.com has the smaller pair for about $325! That's a good deal. [bristolz, May 05 2002]
Nikon Vibration Reduction (VR) System
This is now pretty much baked in some recent Nikon long lenses [jonball, Oct 28 2004]
||I suspect this would be very expensive. Isn't there a cheaper way?
||I was out with a friend last weekend who had a pair of stabilizing binoculars. By holding down a button, the image was no longer shaky and made birdwatching much easier.
||My Canon camcorder has an optically stabilized lens. Don't know if it uses a gyro or just inertia, but it works pretty well. You don't really even notice it until you turn it off; then you wonder how you could ever shoot anything handheld without it.
||I have one like that: mine's doing it electronically, selectively chopping off the borders of the image using an inertial sensor to counteract the shaking hand effect (you can see the image zoom a little as you turn this feature on). So not, I fear, a gyroscopic lens.