Sometimes I put my viewfinder to my eye before I turn on my camera. When I turn it on, the viewfinder image slightly shakes and moves a bit vertically. This also happens when I look through my viewfinder and press the shutter when the camera has been on, but not used for several minutes.

My camera is a 8 month old Canon 550D and I use it with a Sigma 18-50 mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM lens.

As it happens sometimes, the behaviour is hard to reproduce and hence I can not give you more information about the problem.

Does anybody know why this is happening?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ It's probably the image stabilisation settling as it powers up. \$\endgroup\$
    – forsvarir
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you maybe explain how the IS affects the movement of the viewfinder image? I thought that the 550D had lens based IS, so if the lens supports it, the lens mechanisms would stabilize the image. With a sensor based IS system I would understand that the IS is causing this as the sensor would be moved during an IS initialization. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:17
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ As I understand it, when you power up the lens stabilisation it has to settle. That's why it's a good idea to activate the stabilisation, before you take your first picture (otherwise you can end up with blurring as the stabilisation settles). Once the stabilisation has warmed up, you should have any wobbles. However, to maintain the image stabilisation the lens needs to draw power, so the lens will usually power down the image stabilisation after a while if you're not actively using it (which is why you get it after leaving it for a couple of minutes). \$\endgroup\$
    – forsvarir
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may want to take a look at some of the other questions / answers around image stabilisation including this one: photo.stackexchange.com/a/6041/5551 \$\endgroup\$
    – forsvarir
    Commented May 21, 2012 at 8:29

1 Answer 1


As forsvarir says, it's most likely the optical stabilisation initialising.

And to clear up one of you comments; In a DSLR you will only see a stabilised image in the view finder with a stabilised lens. When you look through the view finder you're not seeing a picture that have been captured by the sensor first. So any stabilising happening on the sensor is not visible through the view finder.

With a mirror-less camera where you use the screen instead of a view finder, sensor stabilisation will be visible.


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