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OIS in Zoom lenses


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  • 2 weeks later...

It isn't easier. It's a marketing decision. A zoom is going to be heavier and slower than a prime in its range and harder to hold steady. The market for primes is much smaller than the market for zooms and they're more likely to be bought by people with a specific interest and, probably, better technique.

I know these are great facts because I made them up myself and I'm impressed. Actually the 18-55 is lighter than the 16 1.4, but I suspect the average buyer is much more likely to buy a zoom and is happy to pay for stabilization rather than learn camera holds and body bracing to steady a lens. A really quick look tells me the only primes with OIS are the 80 macro and the 200. The only zoom without is the exceptionally heavy 16-55. That an inexpensive and light lens like the 15-45 has OIS suggests to me that it's a marketing decision - even in a budget lens people will pay for the anti-shake.

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It's probably a number of factors. Here are some possibilities:

  • people buy primes because they value maximum image quality, while people buy zooms because they value convenience
  • people who buy primes might be expected to be more experienced at holding a camera steady, and to own a tripod, than purchasers of zooms
  • people who buy primes might value a smaller lens
  • a number of the wide-angle primes were designed for use with the X-Pro1, and thus had to be kept rather small to minimize blocking of the optical viewfinder
  • many primes are available with large apertures if you want faster shutter speeds, while fast zooms are rare
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