When we first got a look at Konica Minolta's "chip shift" Anti-shake System in the DiMAGE A1 (forerunner of the current A2), we said, Wow, put something like that in a digital SLR, and you'd have image stabilization across the system's entire lens line.
And Konica Minolta did. Or, we should say, will do when the Maxxum Digital SLR is introduced this fall. KM was mum on how similar the new Anti-shake system would be to the one currently used in the A2, but we suspect the fundamentals will be the same.
It will be an interesting addition to the competitive mix, given that Nikon's and Canon's stabilization systems are available only in dedicated-and higher priced-lenses. A spokesman for Canon questioned whether KM would be able to make Anti-shake work across the lens line. "Konica Minolta's approach may require a new set of lenses with larger coverage (circle of illumination) to accommodate the movement of the image sensor during the stabilization procedure," he said. "Canon's IS lenses, on the other hand, already have this capability incorporated in their design."
KM would say only that, because the new Maxxum Digital SLR will use a smaller-than-35mm APS-C size chip (16.7x25.1mm), current Maxxum lenses "in theory" could work with Anti-shake. (The 35mm format requires a circle about 43.5mm, while the APS-C chip requires only 30.1mm diameter.)
Nikon and Canon, of course, have the estimable advantage of a large installed base of digital SLR users, both consumer and professional, while Minolta is rather late to this game. Both Canon and Nikon stated that they will continue to develop anti-shake lenses and work toward further improvements in these systems.
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