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Thread: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Help VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    I have been using regular lenses for lots of years. Are the latest VR lenses really worthwhile? The Nikon lens I am looking at states a 3 stop improvement. I use a tripod when necessary.

    I guess, to answer my own question, any improvement is worthwhile.
    Now I can see the darkness .

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    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    If you are shooting stationary objects, then the VR lenses are amazing.

    If you are shooting moving objects (like kids and birds) then it doesn't do much good. The VR corrects for camera shake pretty darn well, but objects in motion cannot be so easily corrected for.

    VR is definitely worth having, but fast glass is still needed for things like hummingbirds (telephoto and high shutter speed requires lots of light.)
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

  3. #3

    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    It really depends on what you're shooting.

    If you need to stop action (like fast sports or wildlife - kids included ) VR won't be a great improvement, since you need fast shutter speeds anyway.

    If you do a lot of static stuff, like macro work, you already use a tripod, so VR won't make a difference there either.

    For most other handheld situations, VR really helps.

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    Flashaholic chew socks's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by apontes View Post

    If you do a lot of static stuff, like macro work, you already use a tripod, so VR won't make a difference there either.

    For most other handheld situations, VR really helps.

    Actually you are supposed to turn off VR when shooting on a tripod, but i do agree it helps when hand held.

    I think the "is it worthwhile" question really depends on how often you are shooting hand held in dim light.

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    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by chew socks View Post
    Actually you are supposed to turn off VR when shooting on a tripod, but i do agree it helps when hand held.

    I think the "is it worthwhile" question really depends on how often you are shooting hand held in dim light.

    I am an old school photographer - 1/60 or less goes on a tripod, normal lens. For telephoto I use the guideline of the length in MM equals the shutter speed. For example 300mm would equal 1/300 sec, 500mm would equal 1/500 etc , slower speeds than those would require a tripod.

    I did order a 55-200mm VR lens - I'll fool around with that and compare it to my 70-300mm lens
    Now I can see the darkness .

  6. #6

    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Its a literal day and night differences between some lenses.

    Many many review sites show that you can easily get 3 stops of performance increase, 4 if its a particular long focal length.

    Take a typical APS-C tele with 250mm. You would need at least 1/500s exposure to be sure. With VC, you can go with 1/100 or slower, which will still be fine for most subjects.

    On shorter focal lengths, the effect is not that pronounced, especially as the problem of subject movement becomes worse.
    With a 18-55IS from canon, i can shoot 1/5s at 18mm and know the result will be sharp... but its useless if anything alive is in the picture...

  7. #7

    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by will View Post
    I did order a 55-200mm VR lens
    Im going to tell you right now, that lens in really nice. You'll really like it. I have a couple of Tamron AF lenses without VR and I really wish they had it on them (the 300mm tamron in particular) because, face it, you cant always have the tripod in some situations and thats usually when Im using them.
    Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. - 3 Nephi 12:16

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    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    I have a running discussion with a friend of mine. I generally like normal -> telephoto -> super telephoto - Zoom lenses for the most part, I did pick up a Sigma 600mm mirror lens ( 900 on a digital camera ) He likes ultra wide to wide lenses. He convinced me to get an 18-35mm zoom. I use that once in awhile, but I tend to leave the 70-300 on the camera.

    It sounds like the 55-200mm vr lens will suite me just fine. I have been looking on ebay for an 18-55mm vr. I'll stop looking for now.

    thanks for the information posted here.

    will
    Now I can see the darkness .

  9. #9
    Enlightened marokero's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Image stabilization on the lens will help stabilize the image you see on the viewfinder, regardless if the subject is still or in motion. That's a plus when you want to do careful framing, or you are tracking a fast car or kids for that matter If your subject is near, VR will give you a stabilized image, and a flash will help freeze the action for you. If your subject is far, and you still want to freeze the action, the only solution is to use a higher ISO and/or use a higher shutter speed - or both.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    YES, vibration reduction is worthwhile! Especially if you are using normal or medium telephoto zooms. For me, the point of using these types of zooms instead of a slew of prime lenses is portability and speed of setup. And just like the zoom helps you setup the shot faster, the VR will help you capture the shot faster in more conditions without the need to setup a tripod. In fact, for me, I value VR more than zoom range. Prime lenses + a tripod will always yield better results, of course, but only if you have them available and are able to set everything up in time. The only time I really use my tripod anymore is if I am heading out to do some landscape photography or if I want to be in a picture with everyone else.

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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    What camera are you putting that VR lens on? If it is an older camera then VR won't work.

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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    VR is godly.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by PCC View Post
    What camera are you putting that VR lens on? If it is an older camera then VR won't work.
    Nikon D70s

    The lens and the camera are compatible.

    I have a few of the screw type AF lenses, these are not compatible on all the newer Nikon cameras.
    Now I can see the darkness .

  14. #14
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    I could have sworn that I had read that the VR feature would not work on earlier Nikon AF cameras like your D70s (or my D70) but Ken Rockwell's site listed VR as "OK" so with these cameras so I guess I was wrong.

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    Buttrock Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    IMO IS or VR what ever it is called with your system it will help reduce blur or fuzzy images unless your using a tripod and or flash. I would opt to use it on every shot I take if it is available, anything that delivers a better image is a plus to me.
    will work for peanuts

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by PCC View Post
    I could have sworn that I had read that the VR feature would not work on earlier Nikon AF cameras like your D70s (or my D70) but Ken Rockwell's site listed VR as "OK" so with these cameras so I guess I was wrong.
    I checked a few places to verify they were compatible. Going forward, not all the newer cameras have the screwdriver drive feature for the older autofocus lenses.

    IS - Image Stabilization
    VR - Vibration Reduction
    Now I can see the darkness .

  17. #17
    Flashaholic* Alan B's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    The D80 and D90 do have the screwdriver type drive for the older AF lenses. I believe they are the lowest models to have that.

    VR is worthwhile at longer focal lengths such as 100mm and up. I wouldn't bother with it on an 18-55.

    I really enjoy my D90 and 18-200 VR. I don't use the 70-300 VR very much. The 18-200 rarely comes off the camera, and when it does it is usually for a macro lens.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    When I travel with my D300 I just bring along the 18-200 VR and perhaps a 50mm F/1.4 for low light. The 18-200 VR is fairly lightweight. If you have decent light at all, it gets great photos without the weight and hassle of carrying and changing lenses all the time. The VR makes it possible to get good results handheld, at night, if you are in an urban area. For better image quality and low-light usefulness, while retaining the flexibility of a zoom lens, I have a set of pro F/2.8 zooms (11-16mm, 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and 70-200mm) - boy, are they great! And boy, are they heavy!

    You can get rid of the complex distortions found on the 18-200mm VR lens with DXO Optics, the software is amazingy powerful and simple to use. It can also do some great stuff with bringing out detail in shadows. It won't make the 18-200 photos look exactly like they were taken on a pro lens, but it is a lot cheaper than buying a set of pro zooms.

    Edit: added an example handheld nighttime shot with the 18-200mm VR zoom, as shot, resized to 800x531. Nikon D300 1/30sec F/5 70mm
    Auto ISO chose 1400. That means there is some grain/noise visible if you like to pixel-peep.

    The VR feature is perfect for low-light shots of stationary objects.


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/31055544@N05/4124482794/
    Last edited by Max_Power; 11-22-2009 at 04:32 AM. Reason: added example photo
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

  19. #19
    Flashaholic chew socks's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by will View Post
    I am an old school photographer - 1/60 or less goes on a tripod, normal lens. For telephoto I use the guideline of the length in MM equals the shutter speed. For example 300mm would equal 1/300 sec, 500mm would equal 1/500 etc , slower speeds than those would require a tripod.

    I did order a 55-200mm VR lens - I'll fool around with that and compare it to my 70-300mm lens


    Sounds like a pretty good, but with VR i can actually handhold to around 1/15sec.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    I put the lens on my camera, it seems like I get better pictures hand held. I have been trying to get pictures at sunset here. Wind is a problem with trees and the like.

    The interesting thing - the instructions say to turn off the VR when the camera is on a tripod.
    Now I can see the darkness .

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Alan B's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Quote Originally Posted by will View Post
    I put the lens on my camera, it seems like I get better pictures hand held. I have been trying to get pictures at sunset here. Wind is a problem with trees and the like.

    The interesting thing - the instructions say to turn off the VR when the camera is on a tripod.
    When the camera is truly stable the VR (sensors, electronics & actuators) have a little noise that may slightly degrade the image. So it may be slightly better to turn it off.

    Try it both ways and see for yourself how much it matters. It won't be much if the VR is good.

  22. #22

    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    Also, most of the vibration control (i think all, besides the newest canon 100mm F/2 Macro) is only able to compensate translation vibration, like it is happening when handholding the lens.

    On a tripot, you would get rotating oszillations around the hard point. Trying to get rid of these will fail to do any good.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic Max_Power's Avatar
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    Default Re: VR lenses - Is vibration reduction worthwhile?

    I've added an example of a shot well-suited to VR in reply #18 - a night shot, handheld, of a building lit up for Christmas. It's a nice desktop wallpaper too.
    "What that thing needs, is more power." - Tim Allen

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