Nikon 70-200mm VR - stabilisation

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by vinodkutty, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. So, I received my 70-200mm VR a couple of days ago, and I've been
    playing with it indoors on my F80s body, taking portraits of people in
    available lighting with VR on (normal mode), with a shutter speeds as
    slow as 1/6 or 1/4 sec at 70-90mm and aperture at F/4 or 5.6 for a
    slightly larger DOF, on 400 film.

    Although I had read about the physical dimensions and weight of this
    lens, I was unprepared for what it actually looked and felt like. This
    is the first quality lens I've bought and definitely the largest lens
    I own, so it will take a little getting used to.

    The first problem I've encountered is keeping the lens stable. I brace
    my left elbow slightly in front of and against my ribs, with the
    barrel resting via the tripod mounting foot in my open palm, and thumb
    + forefinger rotating the zoom ring. I wonder if the mounting foot
    worsens the situation when shooting?

    Anyway, there is noticeable shake when looking through the viewfinder,
    and I have my doubts as to how well VR (normal mode) will eliminate
    this. I haven't finished the roll yet, so maybe I'm worrying too much.

    Any tips on how to do this right? I will be traveling soon and don't
    want to carry a tripod/monopod if I can avoid it. I do type a lot, so
    I hope it's not just that my fingers are weak 8-(

    Although I could do other things like using faster film, I'd like to
    start with a stable lens.

  2. I think you're overoptimistic in your choices of shutter speeds. Those pics will very likely be blurry. Even if the lens stabilization worked as well as a tripod, it's unlikely that your subjects are still enough for that long a time. I normally wouldn't want to shoot below 1/100 s for portraits. You can get individual sharp frames at 1/30 s but it's getting risky.
  3. The VR action is not obvious in the viewfinder; there is no slip-stick effect as with some other lenses. The best way to observe the action is to hold on some object before pressing the shutter release. The press half-way. You will see the rapid, random motions disappear, while the larger excursions remain, then reappear a couple of seconds after the releasing the button. The VR effect is velocity-dependent, so the high-frequency elements are filtered out during viewing. The VR is so effective, that it must lock in when the shutter is released. This would avoid the unpleasant, slip-stick effects in earlier VR lenses, which required a separate viewing mode to avoid. I don't see any difference between Normal and Active mode, but I haven't yet used the lens in a moving vehicle, for which Active mode is designated. Using a tripod with VR active does not cause any profound effects. The image tends to drift slowly to one extreme, but does not appear to vibrate or exhibit any instability.
  4. The same (similar) shot with VR off...
  5. Sorry, wrong picture. That was panning at 1/30 second at 200mm. This is the correct image...
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    VR might buy you 2 to 3 stops in terms of slower shutter speeds. If you use the 1/focal legth rule of thumb, 1/4 is way too slow for shooting at 90mm even with VR. Moreover, subject movement becomes a serious concern at such a slow shutter speed.

    When you say people portraits, if you mean set up shots rather than candid, PJ type shots, there is no substitute for good lighting. I would set up some flash perhaps with soft box, etc. and you also don't need ISO 400. If we are talking about candid shots, there are reason why that lens is an f2.8.
  7. As others have said, using 1/4 or 1/6 is rather optimistic for the 70-200, even with VR. At 200mm, I've got the odd sharp image at 1/15, but 1/30 is safer.

    As for your hand-holding method, that sound very much like the technique I use, which works for me. However, I have found it is better to remove the tripod foot when shooting hand held. If you want to keep the foot on, try rotating it so that it's at about 2 o'clock (looking from behind the camera).

    Stay optimistic - if you're not used to a lens of this size/weight, it will take a while to get used to. It's worth persevering because the 70-200 is a fantastic piece of glass!

  8. Firstly, thanks to everyone who replied. I've only recently started using photo net's forums and I'm impressed with the speed and detail of the responses :cool:

    Anyway, the bottom line from most of the replies is that I'm being optimistic with my shutter speeds and should stick with faster ones. I had heard of 1/5sec being successfully used with VR, hence my initial over-enthusiasm. I'll be more sensible now :cool: Actually, when I develop my film I'll know for sure (haven't gone digital yet ).

    Edward: thanks for the pics to go with your description.

    Even if I use faster shutter speeds, I'd like to know what the best technique is for hand holding a lens of this size. Brian: I tried your suggestion of moving the foot and it does indeed help to a small extent.


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