Is VR really needed for the 70-200mm/f2.8?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joe_h|3, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Need a faster telephoto zoom for low-light conditions at events: Weddings, Parties etc...I shoot with a D300.
    Looking into getting the Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 HSM to replace the kit 55-200 VR that came with my D40. The Sigma has great reviews it seems and its a bit hard for me to justify spending over 2x the cost for the Nikon 70-200 2.8 but I am really curious to know if the Sigma wouldn't get the job done in low light conditions where the Nikon with VR would...
    Any help is appreciated!
     
  2. Joe,
    Given the scope of your question, the answer is absolutely.
    Generally you gain approx 3 to 4 stops advantage when hand holding over non-VR lenses.
    Be aware that VR lenses are best suited to static subjects and will do nothing to prevent image blur from moving subjects.
    For weddings they are a great help when using slower shutter speeds and flash when the goal is to capture ambient background light.
    VR has saved the day more than once for many photographers.
    That saving comes at a price obviously.
     
  3. For fast moving subjects, no. Otherwise, yes. VR comes in handy for wedding ceremonies, when you either can't or don't want to use a tripod/monopod.
     
  4. Wow, didn't realize a full 3 or 4 stops...
    I have been second shooting with a local pro who uses the Sigma on her D3 but I guess on the D3 she can get away with running ISO all the way to 2400 no problem, which is about double what I like to use...
     
  5. Love my 16-85mm VR zoom lens. I couldn't get the results I get with it without a tripod otherwise. And traveling through a crowded city with a tripod isn't my first choice. I can routinely get sharp results handheld at 1/30 second with it.
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you shoot weddings and events with a 70-200mm/f2.8, VR is a major plus. In fact, the only VR lens I use regularly with the VR feature is precisely the 70-200, which I upgraded from the older 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S. With VR. I can routinely hand hold it at 200mm and get vibration-free results at 1/60 sec or perhaps 1/30 sec in most situations. I would say I gain 2 to 3 stops of shutter speed.
    Subject movement is of course a separate issue.
     
  7. I'd advise the 70-200VR if you can save for it. I've used it once at a concert, D200, F2.8, 1/30s, iso1600 @ 200mm kind of thing. Decent for 8x10 :) Mind you, I had to time my shots so that the performers were relatively still.
    Even in normal day to day use in lowish light, the ability to shoot at low speeds at lower isos is a godsend.
    One thing I've observed is that vr actually adds a very slight softness if used at high shutter speeds. On my 70-300vr, I can notice it (on static subjects) that vr off is slightly better at higher shutter speeds.
    Alvin
     
  8. I use the 70-200/2.8 VR for a lot of sports/action type stuff where the VR isn't necessarily meaningful... but I also find myself bringing it out for other types of shooting where the VR is the difference between getting the shot, or not. I've frequently hand-held 200mm shots at 1/8th of a second, and it's VR to the rescue. 1/8th is pushing it, but with some practice 1/15th is surprisingly do-able. Routine, even. As Shun mentions above, you don't even think twice about 1/30th.

    But is it necessary? Not as necessary as a shorter, faster prime, or a good couple of speedlights, or a backup camera body if you're shooting weddings. But if you've got that ground covered, an f/2.8 zoom with VR is a hell of a tool to have in your bag.
     
  9. Joe, I would agree 100% with Shun and the others above. The VR makes a big difference when handholding longer lenses at lower shutter speeds. I have noticed this quite a bit on my 80-400 mm VR...even though it's Nikon's first VR design, it still helps. Get the Nikkor 70-200 VR.
    Dick
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    1/30 is my limit for hand holding at 200mm with VR. At anything slower, even VR is not going to perform miracles, but the bigger problem is that you will likely get some subject movement so that regardless of how great VR is, you will still get unacceptable results.
    You can use the most sturdy tripod or bolt your camera on concrete; subject movement will be the issue from 1/15 sec and slower. If the subject is walking or moving, you'll need 1/100 sec or 1/200 sec. So VR still has a lot of limitations.
     
  11. VR can even be helpful with lighter weight lenses. When I got my D2H in 2005 I was still recovering from a car wreck, occasionally walked with a cane and had shaky hands some days. The 24-120 VR was a big help for a couple of years when I got some motion blur from my own mitts even at 1/1000th sec.
    I was convinced after trying the 70-200/2.8 VR against the 80-200/2.8 AF in a local shop. There was no way I could handhold the 80-200/2.8 AF steadily enough to use reliably at less than 1/1000th sec. With the VR version, as well as the 80-400 VR, I could handhold down to 1/250th when panning with action, and down to 1/15th sec on motionless subjects. (I don't own either of the VR tele zooms, since I can rent locally when I need 'em.)
    Any kind of anti-shake technology is one of the best innovations of the past 100 years for handheld photography.
     
  12. Joe the 70-200 is the only VR lens I own and need. This zoom range and VR are a perfect match.
    The Sigma is a nice zoom and good IQ and value for the money. IQ is close to the Nikkor but no match :)
    The IQ in the center of the 70-200 Nikkor is amazing. This is what many like. The very edges are a bit weak and draw a lot of criticism. For my use that is not important. Others prefer a more even IQ and if no VR is needed the older 80-200 Nikkor is the best choice. This lens is almost as good as the 70-200 in the center. It is also a lot cheaper.
    Here in our local club I heard of a lot of sample variation in Sigma lenses. So if you buy a Sigma you might prefer to get a lens from a dealer with good support. The built quality does not match the Nikkor lenses but is OK for a lot of use when things get not too rough.
     
  13. I did not buy the 70-200 f/2.8 for its VR. I did buy it for its AFS motors. I still own my Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8. I got the 70-200mm for its AF speed. VR has not made a noticeable difference in how slow I can handhold the lens. Lets state up front that the VR is not the same as having a lens 3-4 f/stops faster. It in theory allows you to hand hold at slower shutter speeds. VR does help but I do not agree with the 3-4 f/stops. In many ways I view VR as a Placebo for photographers.
    In terms of Sigma or Nikon if you can afford the Nikon I would go with them. You have better build quality of the lens, better repair services and compatibility. With third party lenses you may need to rechip them if Nikon creates a new camera.
    I do not own any sigma lenses but I do own a Tokina 300mm f/2.8 and a Tokina 28-70mm f/2.8. I have used these lenses for over 10 years now with no complaint.
     
  14. I certainly appreciate all the responses thus far. I have the Sigma 18-50 mm 2.8 which I love and originally thought the 70-200 2.8 would be just as good of a fit, but now looks like I may have to reconsider and fork out the big bucks for the Nikon. Even with a speedlight, some of the wedding receptions are pretty dark and the VR would definitely be a help.
     
  15. I find VR to be very useful in dimly lit spaces like churches. I can shoot at 1/30th of a second with the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR G and 1.4x teleconverter, and unless the person is moving rapidly, but photos are always sharp. Without VR, I'd have to shoot these images at at least 1/250th of a second in order to nullify the effect of camera shake. VR is your friend.
     
  16. The currrent issue (july) of Pop Photo has a write-up on the 70-200 Nikkor. Not surprisingly, they give it high marks.
     
  17. I have, use and prefer my AF-S 80-200mm but I use it mostly for sports/action. For your purposes, I think VR would likely be a significant plus. You are likely to be grateful for the VR assist long after you've forgotten the extra cash.
     
  18. I own the D300 and the Sigma. If you can save up for the Nikon. If you need it right away then I will recommend the Sigma. Practice with the lens to get used to the weight.. Do you have the battery grip for the D300?
     
  19. Joe, the new Sigma 70-200 received an excellent review but there are more differences than VR between it and the Nikon version....
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0806/08061602tamron70200review.asp
    Nevertheless, the Sigma looks like a great option for those on a tighter budget, especially if it can be used with a tripod or monopod. Both of these lenses are a bit chunky at over 3 lbs.
     
  20. "In many ways I view VR as a Placebo for photographers."​
    So did I, Ralph. Until I was hit head-on at highway speeds, cracking six vertebrae in my back and neck. Things change. So did my opinion of IS/VR and similar technologies.
     
  21. VR definitely helps but I am in your camp. I can't justify paying over 2x as much to get it. The Sigma 70-200 HSM is tough to beat for $749.00
     
  22. I might get some flack for this but I think this is going to be my game-plan for the time being...
    Buy the Sigma which I should be OK with for the most part except for the darker places. For the darker places I can buy (which I was planning on anyway) a Nikon 50 mm 1.8 and zoom with my legs, but have the faster aperture to get me by when the Sigma won't cut it. On places where I know are exceptionally dark I will just rent one of the Nikon VRs to use for the day.
     
  23. I opted to get the Nikon 180 f/2.8 rather than the 70-200 VR zoom because I rather like primes and I'd read such great things about it. I have to say, while it makes extraordinary pictures, it can be quite challenging to use. I don't have any hand tremor, but I do have inexperience at shooting long lenses handheld (I suppose this lens will give me the experience, though...).
    What I've noticed is that even in the bright sun where shutter speeds are more than fast enough to counteract any hand shake, it can still be difficult to wield the lens. This is because hand shake makes framing difficult, too. VR not only helps stabilize your images; it also helps stabilize what you see in the viewfinder, making it easier to frame and focus.
    Since you already have the 55-200 VR, try setting it to 200mm, turning the VR off, and using it that way for an extended outing. See if you can get a decent number of clear shots handheld (make sure your shutter speed is at least 1/200). See if you have any difficulties framing and focusing. Then you can decide if the VR feature alone is worth enough to you to justify the price.
     
  24. In many ways I view VR as a Placebo for photographers.​
    A placebo? Do you mean that they think that it makes them better but it really has no effect? I was reading some John Shaw quotes on the Nikon website the other day. In the past, Mr. Shaw stated that he rarely takes a serious photo without the use of a tripod. Yet, now with VR, he's taking many successful more handheld shots. Somehow, I can't imagine John Shaw falling for a placebo effect.
    Autofocus is definitely a placebo candidate. It makes people think that they're in focus when they're actually focusing on someone's belt buckle. Auto-exposure, especially when combined with LCD screens and histograms - yep, there's definitely placebo potential there. Auto white balance is a another one. How many photographers today understand the color of light and the creative aspects of color correction (or non-correction)? Every automated feature has the potential to give photographers a false sense of security. I wouldn't single VR out as a particularly disagreeable culprit. In cases where it doesn't improve the image, the results are clear to see, even by a novice. I don't think VR is fooling anyone. It's a tool, and it works surprisingly well in some cases, and somewhat poorly in others.
     
  25. Ditto Lex, similar story.
    VR works very well.
     
  26. Lex you are the second person to have brought that point to my attention. Scott Bourne and I chatted about VR and he brought up a similar point. With medical conditions I do see your point. One of the reasons I shoot a D3 is for the Viewfinder, because I have some retina damage. A viewfinder like a D70s is harder for me to use. I agree it helps with body movement but 3-4 f/stops I do not buy.
    Dan you have to understand, I find tripods extremely impractical. I have not owned one for still photography for 15 years. I have not used one since I stop shooting 4X5. I mainly shoot people (I couldn't shoot nature, or landscapes if my life depended on it) so tripods are completely impractical in my line of work. As for hand holding a 70-200mm f/2.8 I can do it about 1/8-1/10 comfortably but I come from the F2 days.
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    One thing I really dislike are those "zoom with your feet" comments. It really doesn't make any sense. Frequently you cannot get closer, perhaps because you don't have time or you don't have space. It can be dangerous to get too close if it is a wild animal, sports, or a busy street with traffic. When you shoot weddings, if you get too close it can be very intrusive ....
    If the 70-200mm/f2.8 VR is too expensive, you may have to live with one without VR, but getting closer with a shorter lens is freqeuntly not the answer. Otherwise, why would you buy a 200mm lens at all?
     
  28. Handholding a 200mm lens on a DX body (like the D40), you shouldn't use a shutter speed slower than 1/300th of a second (without VR). The D40 can't even sync the flash that fast. Using the lens indoors in dim light, at fast shutter speed, without a flash is going to cause problems.
    On a tripod, you don't have that concern.
     
  29. The D40 can't even sync the flash that fast.​
    The D40 actually has a 1/500 sync, so he shouldn't have any problem with flash at that shutter speed. However, the D40x's sync is lower, 1/200.
     
  30. Shun,
    Although I know there are a slew of photographers that exclusively use fast primes over telephoto zooms...I do understand your point about not being "over intrusive". I wouldn't need the long end for sports or animals as much as to photograph people. In any instances where I need the 200mm range but having trouble handholding I can utilize a tripod, or as said before, rent the Nikon until I am able to make the big purchase myself.
    So far, on the weddings that I have 2nd shot at, my main lense is my 18-50mm and there haven't been many instances where I have been shooting long with the 200...I think it would be much easier for me to justify spending $1700 if it was on what I would consider to be my main lense - a wide to mid range zoom like the 17-55 2.8...
     
  31. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When I shoot weddings, at least during the ceremony, I tend to use longer lenses so that I can shoot from a little farther away or from the side. Frequently my wife shoots video or when there is a separate videographer, I don't want to get in front of them and block their view.
    I simply don't like the frequently used expression "zoom with your feet." To me it does not make any sense, and when you change the distance from the subject to the camera, the perspective also changes. Otherwise, Joe, I think your plan to rent the 70-200 VR when necessary sounds reasonable. I was fortunate to get mine a few years ago when it was $1400. The price is quite extreme today.
     
  32. VR is a gimmick. I usually leave it on anyway. The only VR lens I have is the 70-200. When I forget, my pictures come out fine nonetheless.
    Btw, VR can be useful for action shots where you're panning with a moving subject. But you should use non-active or passive VR.
     
  33. Here is my basic take of on VR. The rule for focal length and shutter speed is a very rough guideline. It is great guideline for an inexperienced photographer. But as one experience and skills increase this guideline becomes extremely insignificant. VR effects seems to be much significant on the inexperienced shooter and those with physical disabilities like Lex mentioned, than those shooters that have experience shooting long lenses and no physical disabilities.
     
  34. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Unless you have super-human capabilities, most "average" photographers have some difficulty hand holding at slower shutter speeds because our hands are not that steady, and that becomes a bigger problem for telephoto lenses because of their higher magnification. I bought my first SLR back in 1972 and have been an active photographer ever since, so I have 30+ years of experience. Obviously I am not 25 years old any more :); otherwise I don't have any physical disabilities and I find VR a great help when I need to hand hold the 70-200 at 200mm at roughly 1/125 sec and slower. As I pointed out earlier, I already had the 80-200mm/f2.8 AF-S and I upgraded to the 70-200 VR solely for the VR capability and it sure makes a huge difference.
    Additionally, VR is a great help for a lot of casual photographers who prefer the convenience of not using a tripod or other proper support in situations where most serious photographers would use a tripod.
     
  35. Well, VR is certainly not a gimmick as someone else stated. I shoot wildlife not weddings, but it has really changed the way that I shoot. I rarely take a tripod anymore when stalking creatures. And on my 200-400 lens it helps not just at very slow shutter speeds, as I also see mentioned a lot on these forums. Granted you're talking about a 70-200 but at the 400 end of my zoom I could easily get blur from the camera at anything under 1/500th of second on a regular basis if it wasn't for the VR. So even if the subject is moving, the VR still helps. As for how slow the shutter can be, attached is a monkey I shot at 1/15th of a second at the longer end of my zoom (and with the additional reach of the D300's crop factor). The monkey was just there for a second before jumping away. It was the only L'Hoest monkey I saw on a recent trip to Uganda and I wouldn't have gotten a shot without the VR. I also have the 70-200 VR which I use a lot and the VR is very useful to me (even at somewhat faster shutter speeds, the shots just seem sharper).
    [​IMG]
     
  36. hus

    hus

    I own a D300 as well and I tried my 70-200 on it with VR on and off and there's difference. It really helped especially at 200mm. Great for wedding. Below 1/15 might be unacceptable though. The thing is it won't stop motion blur. Would be great if it did. Maybe one day they will...
     
  37. I remember reading it as a supposedly "true" anecdote when I was ayoung. That version had violinist Jascha Heifitz being hailed by a man on a New York street. The man asks Heifitz, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" And Heifitz replies, always "without breaking stride," "Practice! Practice! Practice!"

    There is nothing superhuman about being able to shoot at slow shutter speeds handheld. All you have to do is shoot quality images for 7 days and nights straight. You should then have no issue shooting slow handheld images. ;) Or you could simply could use these low light photography techniques.
     
  38. Instead of the Sigma, you might want to consider the AF-D 80-200 f/2.8 in case you can not get the 70-200VR (like I could not...). I tested it against the Sigma on a D80, found the autofocus of the Sigma to be around the same speed as the 80-200, but wide open, the Nikon was certainly better. So I've got the 80-200, and now a D300 and any concern on AF speed: no need to worry. For non-sports, it's fine.
    I've used it for weddings, though, and VR would have been an added bonus there. But one thing to ask yourself: do I make enough on these photos to buy me the 70-200VR, or is it a hobby where you maybe should be more mindful of a budget because there are no returns? In that latter case, consider the 80-200 f/2.8 and a 85 f/1.8.
     
  39. You can SEE the difference VR makes by looking through the viewfinder IMO. Zoom out to 200mm (300mm is even more noticable if you have a 70-300mm VR lens) and frame a shot. For me the image throught the viewfinder is definitely shaky. Depress the shutter halfway to engage the VR and watch how the image seems to change from a shake to a very slow waver - at least that's my experience.
    I'll admit, I naturally have shaky hands (noticable enough that people have commented on it - but they have never been a hinderance attempting things requiring fine motor skills such as soldering or building models and such. But it's definitely not an asset for photography.) If you have really good technique then you might not require VR but for me it's a plus.
    So, count me in a VR fan. Oh, and Brent, I'd love to get to an E3 convention when my kids get older - for now I'll just have to watch in on G4 Tech TV. And what, no pictures of Oliva Munn or Morgan Webb? LOL. Great shots.
     
  40. VR is great. You can see it work even while looking through the viewfinder. I would consider a 3rd party lens similar to the 80-200 2.8 but none of them have VR, which IMO is essential especially when zoomed in at 200mm. I think once you'd try it you'd be convinced.
     
  41. Do you need it? Absolutely not. It is a relatively new feature, and 100% of my favorite photos of all time were taken before ANY telepoto was widely used, let alone one with VR or IS.
    If used properly, does it do what it claims to do? Absolutely. It is a wonderful and useful tool.
    What it does is one thing: It works to counteract the visual effects of camera shake. It thus allows the use of slower shutter speeds than one would normally be able to use for a sharp shot hand held. With slower sutter speeds come all the effects thereof, including more motion blur. You should also know that it can make quickly composed and shot pictures even more blurry, even at fast shutter speeds, so should not be engaged if the light is good enough for a hand held shot. That is pretty much all you need to know. Your specific situation will have to determine whether it is worth the extra money to you or not.
     
  42. I should clarify what I just posted. Let me change that one passage to:
    You should also know that it can make quickly composed and shot pictures even more blurry, even at fast shutter speeds, so should be allowed to "settle in" before you fire off a shot. This also applies even if the light is good enough for a hand held shot without it. When you raise the camera and fire a shot quickly, the VR parts are still shifting around trying to figure out what to do when you actually take the shot, so the shot becomes unsharp.
     
  43. One of the things I see people implying is that VR is for "casual photographers" or snapshooters not willing to put in the time to learn proper hand holding techniques or set up a tripod. While that may be true VR as well as other advancements like autofocus allows many people to enter photography. Not everyone has the physical make up to hold a camera steady or carry a tripod. This should not bar you from being a photographer. When I got my first Nikon F I use to practice lining images up in the split image prism but with 55 year old eyes I would lose many shots without the aide of autofocus so these advancements (not gimmicks) make photography more inclusive. Note that VR/IS has trickled down to virtually every P&S camera which is a good thing.
    I think there was a similar implication that Shun debunked that real photographers zoom with their feet and lazy people zoom by twisting he zoom ring. I hope we are well past the primes vs zoom debates.
    One thing I don't think anyone has mentioned is that VR keeps your view finder image steady when you half press your shutter. I find it disconcerting to try to compose an image in the viewfinder if the picture is dancing around (if you can hand hold a 400mm lens without the image moving about in the viewfinder kudos to you but I can't do it and that's with years of practice). VR solves that problem too.
     
  44. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Paul, I didn't mean to imply anything. IMO there is aboslutely nothing wrong with being a casual photographer. I myself shoot my share of casual family snapshots, but I don't post those to the web. If one only shoots snapshots, that is perfectly fine, although one of our objectives here in photo.net is to get everybody become better photographers.
    I simply find the expression "zoom with your feet" highly misleading, especially for beginners. Zooming means changing the angle of view via chaning the focal length, but the relative position between camera and subject doesn't change. Once you move with your feet, you are changing the perspective and you'll have a very difference relationship between subject and background, not to mention that frequently you cannot get farther or closer as I have already pointed out earlier.
     
  45. Shun exactly - but let me add this aspect. A zoom lens and moving your feet gives you complete freedom to get exactly the perspective you want for the occasion. The combination allows you to change your position relative to e.g. the people you shoot and to choose the best and appropriate angle of view for that selected position.
    "Zoom with your feet" is a nice educational practice that everybody should do once in a while. But that is all there is to it since zoom lenses today offer image quality that leaves nothing to desire and is better than that of many primes.
     
  46. I think the VR is very useful on a 70-200/2.8 type lens when used on DX cameras. With the better high ISO options in (12 MP) FX cameras and shorter reach, I don't think VR is necessary at FL <= 200mm. This is especially for people photography as I find that subject movement is often a problem with exposure times longer than 1/200s, so the window of significant improvement due to VR is narrow, unless you find having slightly blurry people in your shots acceptable. In your case with the D300, there is no question that the VR would be very useful in a lens with this focal length range. The Nikon 70-200 has other advantages; it is very well corrected for CA and has consistent and beautiful bokeh which is very useful when photographing people in tight spaces.
    However, personally I mostly use focal lengths from 24mm to 105mm at weddings (on FX) and don't think I would need anything longer. Using a very long lens requires you to be far away from the action which means it is harder to keep foregrounds clean and also results in compressed perspective which to me looks unattractive. That said, I do occasionally use a 135 or 200mm to isolate a person e.g. the mother of the bride during the ceremony without getting close. I prefer in such situations to be a bit further away to avoid attracting attention. However, for the main events at weddings I think shorter focal lengths are more appropriate - often when long lenses are used people it results in the appearance of people stacked on top of each other like a pile of cards.
    There is another, practical aspect which often prevents the use of long lenses in indoor events: there isn't enough light. f/2.8 is quite slow, to be frank. In many indoor situations to get sharp pics consistently, f/1.4 or f/2 can be needed even on FX to stop movement. If you use flash you can use it to stop the movement of the person in the foreground but then you may have stuff that gets blurred in the background because of movement. I never liked this kind of an effect. Also, I prefer available light in many situations for stylistic reasons and use flash when I need to improve the quality of light (i.e. fill the shadows and introduce light into the eyes) in more formal photos. When I use flash I prefer to do it elaborately rather than just pop with on-camera flash and get all that glare and piercing catchlights. Being limited to flash only due to lack of an appropriate wide aperture would put me off shooting indoor events. Anyway, my point is that you may want to consider f/1.4 and f/2 primes also instead of just the telezooms. This is not to say that I claim they can do the same thing - primes are different and require a more planned approach to shooting since you always have to have the right lens for the shot. Although I respect Walter's point of view, I find plenty to complain about in the image quality of many of today's zooms. Even if you do have a zoom on your camera, if it is a good lens, its range is finite (typically 2-3x, so you still have to swap lenses from time to time), it is often a bit soft wide open (which is the only aperture that comes to play at most indoor events), it doesn't do close-ups well, and a lot of the time my subject matter is such that an aspect ratio of 2:3 is not appropriate so I have to crop anyway (though perhaps less than with the primes), and while it gives more freedom from a point of view of perspective and framing, a lot of the time there are physical obstructions that prevent you from choosing the best point of view so "complete freedom" is quite an exaggeration.
    Back to the original topic, yes, when used with the D300, the 70-200 partly due to its VR and also for its other characteristics would be an excellent choice for a telezoom for use in low light, provided that f/2.8 is adequate for the light you're shooting at.
     
  47. To say that VR is just for casual shooters is ridiculous. As I stated earlier I don't shoot weddings so maybe that's a different thing, but for wildlife photographers it's a great technology no matter what your skill level. I agree with the posters that say that it isn't as useful in shorter focal length lenses, but there's a reason that most expensive long lenses from Canon and Nikon now include it. And a reason that most pros (wildlife pros) use it on their long lenses. When a tripod is practical, by all means, I use one, I but to drag one up a mountain, or through a rainforest for a day can inhibit the shots I get. I just hook the tripod foot of my 200-400 to my belt (allowing me to carry all the weight on my hip) and can hike all day and be ready for whatever happens to come into view. Incidentally, the VR of this particular lens also helps when on a tripod.
     
  48. can hike all day and be ready for whatever happens to come into view.
    Well, that fits one of the definitions of casual in Merriam Webster; "subject to, resulting from, or occurring by chance", as opposed to an approach where you plan the shots. (I don't mean there is anything wrong with this type of photography; I do a lot of it myself.)
     
  49. For me VR has not been all that significant. It does work but has had little impact on my shooting. I do use long lenses in low light, without tripods. But I am also old school I will take fast glass over VR every time. Fast glass with VR is a plus, but it is not a major feature to me. Most often I will use my 300mm f/2.8 (Non VR) with monopod but I have shot a lot with a monopod. That lens I is a pain to go below 1/125 handheld.
     
  50. Ilkka, the clear intent of the "casual shooter" comments were amateu/beginner vs. pro/advanced, not a style of shooting, but so be it.
     
  51. It's funny because it seems a lot people seem to think VR doesn't work for them. My best friend actually thinks it's counter productive, at least on his Nikon 18-200.
    I can't say, I don't own a VR lens, though I'd love to.
    Personally, if you're really concerned about image quality (and can afford it - which I could not), I'd go for the Nikon even forgetting the VR. I'm not saying Sigma isn't capable of good glass, but my personal experience has been that there is a qualitative difference between Nikon glass and Sigma glass (or for that matter, most 3rd party glass, but particularly Sigma).
    However, I own a number of 3rd party lenses, including a Sigma, because the money is significant and you sometimes have to compromise. What I usually do is buy the older Nikon lenses, which often are just as good and enormously cheaper (like, I have a Nikon 80-200mm push-pull).
    Yes, you do need quality glass, but in the end it's what you do with the camera that matters most.
     
  52. "Zooming with your feet" is not generally a good idea when on safari!
     
  53. Joe,
    if you're doing a posed portrait hand-held in avaiable light and you don't want to use flash, you can make sharp photo in 1/15 at 200m. Now I'd say it's pretty hard to do this without VR / IS. It's a great feature.
     
  54. Here's a sample pic I took over the weekend. This was taken under heavy shade inside a forest so my D200 @ iso 640 returned me an exposure of: F4 1/45 (I was caught off guard - should have opened up to F2.8)
    00TjHG-147003684.jpg
     
  55. And here's the 100% crop:
    00TjHT-147005584.jpg
     
  56. I forgot which eye I put my sensor on, anyways it's one or the other. The ability to handhold a 200mm with a cropped body camera @ 1/45 is really useful. That said, this shot was luck. Usually at 1/50 I would have to have a burst of at least 4-8 pictures, one *should* come back really good. Even with VR I still try my best to do the 1/FL rule. Also, I did not have a tripod plate for this lens and was not able to use my monopod. I'm certain with a monopod I would get more keepers @ 1/45 shutter.
    Alvin
     
  57. bmm

    bmm

    I am a primarily an AF-D prime shooter, who also has the 18-200VR as a general purpose lens. I only mention this to state that I have no particular attachment to zooms or VR lenses.
    But does the VR on my zoom noticeably work? Absolutely. And proof in the pudding is that with this slowish lens, the VR enables me to use shutter speeds that are not so far off those which I use with my primes, in equivalent conditions and with a still subject.
    Bottom line is I would be unquestionably happy to have VR as an available feature on any lens I use.
     
  58. You mean it wasn't actually shot on 2x3 sheet film, Alvin?
     

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