The other day I started my day like any other. I woke up in the bedroom in my parents’ house at 12:30pm and started scrolling through my phone. After I rolled out and fell flat on the floor, I got dressed. Then I hopped in my car, drove to get Starbucks, and pumped it intravenously into my veins. That sweet, sweet java got me all wired. Soon, I pulled out Excalibur: otherwise known as my Sony camera. With jittery hands and lack of proper handholding techniques, I took photos as I pleased. Then I brought a tripod to photograph the night sky and turned off the IBIS. After shooting my photos, I took yet another shot but this time without IBIS on. And something horrifying happened.
What I’m about to tell you is going to seem shocking. So I ask that you steel yourself and that if you’re really in love with your camera, that you stop reading here.
When I took the photo without IBIS, my camera exploded. The moment happened almost as if in slow motion in cinema. My arms shook constantly as I refused to hold the camera the proper way, control my breathing, and do all the things that photographers have mastered for years. My shaking hands were too much for it though, and within moments the Sony camera ceased to exist. It was as if Dr. Manhattan had suddenly made it disappear from reality.
Had I become Dr. Manhattan?
How did these photographers of the past do it? Just what did they go about doing to ensure that they got sharp photos without IBIS? All I had studied was Cartier-Bresson, and so I always felt that sharpness was a bourgeoise concept that could only be solved with IBIS.
I panicked. And so I went home to get my backup camera, which had IBIS activated. But the truth is that my heart instead yearned to pick up my Leica. I drew the rangefinder to my eye, framed up an image, and snapped a photo. And again, the camera exploded.
Eventually, I realized that only cameras with IBIS could really be useful for photography and that only those could be worthy of being in the hands of one such as myself: Dr. Manhattan.
Finally, I picked up my other Sony camera and fired a frame. At least, a camera with IBIS that could stand up to the hands of a being that vibrates with such frequency to become one with the speed force. But even this one started to shake. Quickly, I deduced that the lens attached had image stabilization disabled. After turning it on, all was fine again.
I pondered over the years how the great masters photographed without IBIS. Had Ansel Adams trekked into the cold and found stability only because of how large his ego was? Had the photographers who photographed on tin types before him done 50 pushups a day? And what about the more dainty ones like Vivien Maier? Was she stronger than we all believed?
None of this made sense to me. Why would someone use a camera without IBIS? Surely there must be entire communities and families of photographers using cameras without IBIS suffering.