VR or fast?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by art_kramer, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. I was wondering if a VR lens is better than a fast lens. I have an older sigma ex f2.8 and was wondering if i should get into some newer lens's with VR and if the pics would be better. maybe even the optics are better too, even though the lens is is slow.
  2. It depends. If you like a shallow dof, an f2.8 will be better than an f4. You can get fast lenses with VR, but they're expensive.
  3. Two things to consider Art: VR will do nothing to stop subject movement or reduce depth-of-field. If those things aren't important to you and you mainly shoot handheld with fairly static subjects, then VR may be more useful to you than a wide aperture.
    Ideally of course, we'd all probably like constant wide aperture lenses with VR, and at the same price, size and weight as slower lenses.
  4. I was wondering if a VR lens is better than a fast lens.​
    A question that can't be answered without considering usage and user preference (in addition to needing a clear definition of what constitutes "better"). Given the choice (and having the budget), I would go for fast AND VR.
    VR certainly makes a lens more complicated with more things to go wrong. In order to implement it, the optical design needs to make compromises that aren't necessary for a lens without VR. Operator error - like not letting VR settle - can lead to blurry images and a hideous bokeh. The fact that there excellent lenses out there with VR shows that the lens designers know how to handle those compromises and additional challenges.
    Personally, I am now going a dual route - zooms with VR and primes for fast and shallow DOF. It works for what I shoot but is not going to work well for someone with different shooting interests.
    When I can't carry a tripod or when one isn't allowed, VR can help me get images. But VR can't freeze subject motion - so for that, a fast lens is required.
  5. Do you almost always use a tripod? Are you almost always shooting faster than 1/500s? If so, VR won't do much for you. You need to analyze what and how you shoot to find your answer. You gave us no idea of either. FWIW, i don't consider f2.8 "slow" at all.
    Kent in SD
  6. It's one of those age-old questions you can throw into a discussion. There is no right answer. Personally, I prefer something faster, since I am often using aperture to control depth of field, and if I need to stop camera shake, I will just rest the camera on something, or use a tripod or a monopod, which both beat out VR's capabilities. Plus, at such wide angles, I don't find VR to be as much of a lifesaver as with something like a 70-200mm or a 300mm (but again, tripod/monopod beats out VR).
    And as Kent said, f/2.8 is slow?!
  7. On FF f4 is the new F2.8, there is an article in one of the photo mags to that effect.
    Digital FF cameras have very good high iso, and f4 will still allow subject isolation.
    The high iso allows you to have fast shutter speeds.
    On DX APS-C while the high iso is much better than it was especially on 16mp cameras,
    if you want good DOF isolation then speed is king. The new Sigma f1.8 18-35, the
    new Samyang 16mm f2.0 come to mind as new fast lenses for DX. There are lots of fast
    50mm , 85mm primes with f1.4 , so a whole kit of fast lenses could be assembled to
    make up a kit that doesn't need VR and can shoot at 2 stops slower equivalent ISO, meaning
    less noise , shallower DOF, less shake, and the ability to stop motion something VR won't
    give you. If you use a monopod like I do it helps me shoot a one shutter speed or ISO slower
    factoring in the faster lenses. I go with faster lenses, then I can add filter, tele adapters
    and other devices without losing too much light, and being concerned that the VR isn't going
    to work with the TC or I am going to exceed the AF spec limit.
  8. If you have the $'s get fast and VR. You can stop a fast lens down, but you can't open up a slow lens. Often I shoot in venues that require faster than 2.8 even with a D3s and high ISO to stop action, which VR won't do. So, fast non-VR primes such as the 85/1.8 work for me, also. When there is a little more light, the 70-200/2.8VR is great to use.
  9. not sure which 2.8 lens the OP is talking about replacing. if it's a 300mm, i say, go for it.
  10. When shooting events, I find a faster shutter speed to be particularly useful, so DoF issues aside, the faster lens makes more sense unless I ca get away with a little ISO boost.
  11. You make it an other/or, while it can be and/and.... and even then, there is a lot more to consider.
    i should get into some newer lens's with VR and if the pics would be better. maybe even the optics are better too, even though the lens is is slow.​
    • VR does not make "better photos"; it can only help avoid unsharpness due to camera/photographer movement. VR is not a magic cure;
    • Newer lenses tend to have better optics, leading to better resolution and less artifacts such as flare, ghosting etc. (but this is not a 100% rule);
    • The quality of optics is not necessarily related to the aperture. There are fabulously sharp f/5.6 lenses, and fuzzy f/1.4 lenses. Faster lenses, however, tend to be expensive and tend to be built against higher standards (befitting their price) - but again this is not a 100% rule.
    In a choice between VR and aperture, it completely depends which problem you are looking to solve, as Rodeo Joe described before. Do you want to keep high shutterspeeds to freeze movement, or work with shallow DoF, fast lenses are the way to go. Do you often get unsharp photos because your shutterspeed is a bit too long, but subect movement is not a huge concern? VR solves that just fine. Based on your OP, it's impossible to tell which is right for you.

    If you talk about making better photos, neither really does that, but both a fast lens and VR can enable you to shoot scenarios that would otherwise be difficult. Which scenario matters to you... yours to decide. Personally, I find use for both.
  12. If you ask me, and I have to choose, I use to prefer a faster lens. VR is a nice feature, but I can live without it. With fast lenses, the creative possibilities are always higher; what Rodeo says.
    On the other hand, slower lenses tend to be smaller, and with a longer range. It could be also an advantage... specially for travel or for those who like to have a one-for-all type lens, etc. It this advantages are suited to you, it could be said that this lens will help you to be a "better" photographer.
    If you are asking about two same lenses, but in different versions like is the Tamron 17-50 (one with VR, the other without), looks like the one without VR is the winner; probably the optical design of the VR version have more compromises.
    You mention a Sigma f2.8; if you want to compare an older, non VR version, to a newer VR version like the Tamron for FF cameras, reading the tests I have the impression that the Tamron is a fairly better performer (right now I`m not aware that Sigma has a newer OS 24-70/2.8).
    I have read from people that are switching from the Nikon 24-70 to the newest Tamron, simply because they get "far better" photos with it, in part thanks to the VR and the improved image quality. Sincerely, I don`t believe it.
    It may be that for those who like to stay at the limits of the camera shake the VR system is saving their photos. But if you look at the test charts (Photozone), the performance is quite close, always with an slight advantage to the Nikkor (resolution wise).
    BTW, the charts doesn`t mention the lens design, construction and materials, which I personally find much better on the Nikkor, as usual.
  13. "On FF f4 is the new F2.8"
    read other mags^^
  14. VR's supposed to be most useful with long lenses. But the stuff I photograph with long lenses is moving too, so it's useless :)
    Ironically I only use it with wide to normal static scenes and have to review the results immediately because stabilisation is such a lottery.
  15. mm
    It depends.. VR does not help you focus better in low light circumstances...
    Fast lenses are mostly ( not Always ) heavier than "slow" lenses"
    ANd another 1000 pro's and cons for both types of lenses..
    Srry cannot realy answer this question, for me each lens has it's uses , sharp - less sharp, fast - slow, wide - long ...etc. each of them has different creative possibilities...
  16. If the camera has built in stabilization that kind of makes this question mute.
    Even if its only 2 stops of stabilization vs. 4 stops, it works with slow and fast
    lenses. And of course a fast lens need not cost more for some advantage.
    I have some older fast AIS glass and I wish we would get stabilization inside
    at least the DX cameras
  17. But the stuff I photograph with long lenses is moving too, so it's useless :)
    Stabilisation is useless for moving subjects?
    Oh, I don't think so. This would've been insanely hard to do without stabilisation: handheld shooting at low shutter speed for the prop blur makes IS/VR/OS pretty much essential.
    Likewise with this - again, (relatively low shutter speed for wheel blur, and panning for BG blur, makes stabilisation worth its weight in gold.
  18. ^^ people quoting out of context again so they can slay the white dragons and straw men.
  19. It's not an OR question. These are different technologies designed to solve different problems. A fast lens enables shooting at a faster
    shutter speed. This is great for freezing action. The cost is less depth of field, but this can be used creatively for effect. The lens can be used wide open whether you are shooting handheld or from a tripod.

    VR compensates for camera movement particularly in a shutter speed range where handholding can be an issue. VR
    has no impact on subject movement, and it works at all f-stops, so it is depth of field independent. VR is intended to assist handheld shooting only. It is not applicable to tripod use.

    It's like comparing fried chicken and ice cream. They're both good, but it's not really an either/or choice.
  20. I had a Sigma 50-150 f/2.8 with a D300s to shoot concerts, but when Sigma replaced it with an OS (VR) version, I went for it. I get more keepers now. I find the VR very useful since most of the time I'm not allowed to use a tripod or monopod in the venues.
  21. people quoting out of context again so they can slay the white dragons and straw men.​
    I did no such bloody thing. You made an uninformed, generalised, sweeping statement, it was (embarrassingly, ignorantly) wrong, and I said as much. What you might think you said self-evidently wasn't what you actually said, and nothing about what I quoted distorts, in any way, the gist of your comment.
    But OK, here's the whole thing:
    VR's supposed to be most useful with long lenses. But the stuff I photograph with long lenses is moving too, so it's useless :)
    In what way does that deviate, in terms of meaning, from the bit that I quoted, given that my response was solely in the context of using long lenses?
    You're not the only one who knows what "straw man" means - and on the face of it, you don't; and it is crushingly tedious when internet warriors like you throw out predictably clichéd, knee-jerk soundbites like "straw man" as an alternative to cogent, vaguely actually worthwhile argument.
    Oh yeah: and
  22. I'll add that some VR lenses include a mode that assists panning. A useful feature! I keep the VR on my 70-200/2.8 VR II
    most of the time unless I am using a tripod. I don't see any advantage to turning it off unless my shutter speed is very fast.

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