Nikon VR System

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by wmwhee, Mar 6, 2008.

  1. How does the Nikon VR system work, in simple terms? Is it a full-time system,
    always in operation, or do you switch it on and off? What are the drawbacks,
    if any, of lenses featuring this capability? Thanks. Bill
  2. Hi Bill. VR can be shut off. You don't want to use it while your camera is on a tripod, at least for the original VR. There's VR II now, but I don't know what Nikon's recommendations are regarding its use with a tripod.

    The drawbacks that come to mind are 1) lenses with VR are more expensive and 2) uses battery power to operate thus depletes your battery of power sooner when VR is in use.

    Has battery power been an issue for me personally? No, I always have at least one spare battery with me. That said, I've never had to go to the second battery during a day of shooting.

    In all, it works quite well, and I believe it's worth the extra expense.
  3. it works well when you need it... the drawback to me is that the images are likely slightly sharper when its off if you have the required shutter speed to make the image perfect already, and I always leave it on.

    VR shouldnt be looked at as anything magical, though, because it can't stop the motion blur on a moving object. Its really only useful if your subjects arent moving, or in the instance of panning. If you primarily photography people, its value is somewhat diminished, in my opinion.
  4. In addition to already stated, you may need to allow 2 or 3 seconds time to "park" floating element before you turn Off the camera. That is the time after removal of your finger from the shutter release button and before turning Off the camera.

    You may experience a delay when shooting, and there is need to wait for VR to fully rev-up to nominal rotational speed. Another reason not to use VR for sports, but there are others - like VR is effective at shutter speeds that you would not use for sports, etc. etc.

    For sharpest pictures turn the VR Off to make sure that the optical "shaker" element is in optimal parked location, so I would Turn off VR if light conditions are good.

    You may see an image shift in viewfinder with some DSLR under rare circumstances.

    Batteries with D200 will be depleted pretty fast when VR and AF or AF-S, and Auto Focus Assist light, etc. add up.

    Make sure you get USA version, since perhaps only Nikon has "know-how" how to fix them.

    Repair of VR lenses are more costly.

    The lens is more fragile and needs better care, even if built as a tank, has delicate elements inside.

    Most likely it will not last tens of years, like traditional Nikon lenses do, even if not used. The time will tell.
  5. just to add to what frank said, turning off VR before you turn off the camera will extend the life of both your camera and your lens.
  6. why, eric? I have never seen any claims or explanation as to how VR can shorten the life of the camera body. I doubt you are right. For more info for the OP, with more reliable information, visit Bjorn Rorslett's site, he is a very exacting photographer.

    I use a 70-300VR and do not baby it, as I travel a lot in the sub-continent and wilderness. It works great, and I expect it will last plenty more than 10 years...I never turn off the VR before turning off the camera, and never would. If either died, Nikon would be hearing from me pronto.

    Nikon say to not turn off the body 'while the VR mode is in operation.' I take this to mean that the VR is actually working to steady the lens elements. And this takes a miniscule time; and of course, who would turn off the camera while their finger is invoking VR - no-one. What does happen is after taking a shot, one turns off the camera when one desires. I have never heard chattering or other noises.

    Nor do Nikon say anything about damage to the camera...of course.

    In action, the claim of 4 stops is close to the mark, making this a wonderful handholding option, once the VF image stabilises. I also doubt it drains the battery much faster unless you really hammer the VR continually. What does wipe the battery is the energy-hungry LCD..
  7. I did some personal tests last week with the 18-200 VR and found the real improvement was more like 2 stops. Whether it's 2 or 4, it really helps to be able to use slower shutter speeds at longer focal lengths. On the other end, it's great on the wide end for hand held night shots of static subjects, ie cityscapes. For casual travel photography at night when you don't want to bother with a tripod, it's very cool. If you can afford it it's worth it, I doubt you'll regret having it.
  8. I use a 70-200/2.8 VR for concert and theater shooting. I get about the same percentage of sharp shots at 1/30 with VR as at 1/250 without. I find it useable down to about 1/15 before the percentage is too low to be practical. Perhaps it's practice, but I shake less now than I did at age 20.
  9. Thanks to everyone. What I have in mind is available light photography--in particular, photographs of people. I have a nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-f/4.5 kit lens. In the end, I might be better off using a fast prime lens for available light portraits. Thanks again. You have given me a better idea of the uses and limitations of lenses with vr capability. Bill
  10. I've reached a point in my life where arthritis has made hand-holding any shot a bad idea - I've been using a tripod or monopod 100% of the time for years now.

    And then I got an 80-400 VR in January before my trip to Yellowstone in February. And I got this shot hand-held at 400 mm in a bear & wolf sanctuary in West Yellowstone - HAND-HELD!!! BY ME!!! VR is an amazing piece of technology from my perspective.
  11. <<why, eric? I have never seen any claims or explanation as to how VR can shorten the life of the camera body. I doubt you are right.>>

    well, actually,not turning VR off when you turn the camera off can tweak the electronic contacts, which has led to both camera and body malfunctions. lots of people have had this problem, search on nikonians for more info. for best results, turn VR off before you turn the camera off.

    <<Nikon say to not turn off the body 'while the VR mode is in operation.'>>

    that's nikon's way of saying turn VR off before shutting the body off, which is exactly what i have just told you.

    <<Nor do Nikon say anything about damage to the camera...of course.>>

    they wont, either, until it happens enough. just trying to give some useful advice and maybe save someone the inconvenience of frying their lens or body. feel free to ignore it at your own peril. :)
  12. PS nice shot, bob.
  13. One place where VR is really effective, as Bob pointed out, is in really long focal lengths, because the shutter speed requirements have gone up so much at long lengths that the subject movement becomes somewhat irrelevant... Something I hadn't thought of before.
  14. I agree with Eric Arnold: great shot of the wolf, Bob. It's worth a thousand words about effectiveness of vr system. Thanks. Bill
  15. Bill

    there's an interesting article by Nikon on the VR in the 70-200 here:

    and here on VR in general:

    An interesting read for background information on the technology.

    All the best.

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