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How do you explain why VR/OS/IS is not always good?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Retief, Nov 30, 2005.

  1. I am having difficulty explaining, in simple terms, why the panoply of Vibration Reduction/Image Stabilization does not mean that you can shoot any moving subject anywhere anytime with this turned on and sharp, in-focus subjects every time. I have tried to explain that there is "settling time" involved and the difference between horizontal and vertical movement, on/off a tri(mono)pod and the end result is puzzled looks and people who think I am an idiot, don't go there..... :wink:

    So, what I am looking for is the "Dummies Guide To Explaning This", and if it includes a quick comparison between Nikon/Canon/Sigma so much the better.

  2. marc

    marc Guest

    vr - vibration reduction

    nothing to do with the subject,

    vr is for camera shake or hand shake

    specifically at low shutter speed, probably below 1/100 or lower

    vr gives you some latitude in slower shutter speeds, that is all

    if you are shooting at 1/15 , then a vr lenses may be like shooting at 1/40 or so.

    vr is internal to the specific lens and acts like a small gyroscope.

    so when you move or shake the vr internally keeps lens in one position so you can get the shot.

    nothing to do with subject at all.
  3. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  4. Yup, I know that and YOU know that, but I keep having people insist that VR on the 70-200 makes it a much better lens for shooting moving football players than a non-VR 80-200 AFS. My comment to them is that it takes a second for the VR to "snap-in", so this sure doesn't help there either. I'm just trying to find a way to explain it in simpler terms, that will actually get through. It may be that there is no way......
  5. When I shoot sports (football, soccer, etc.) I don't run VR early on. But since i'm shooting f/5.6 to f/8.0, as the daylight wanes I'll switch on VR as I'm usually shooting either monopod extended a lot (very top-heavy and unbalanced), running around, or handheld (and in sports situations my technique is terrible). I do my best to keep my shutter above 1/100 to mitigate subject motion (though occasionally i'll purposely slow it for a kick etc.), but without the VR I would have more problems with camera shake.
    VR is not the end-all. When the light is good I keep it off- it drains my batts, and causes problems once i'm above the safe handholding shutter speed.
    It does, as you said, cause a SIGNIFICANT delay in shutter release, and if you have been running VR, it still causes a measureable delay.
    It does help once the light gets low, but apart from that for most sports it is unnecessary with these lenses.
  6. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  7. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    VR allows you to handhold at slower shutter speeds than normal, but slower shutter speeds mean blurred moving subjects.

    If they can't understand that then maybe they should think about getting a different hobby.:smile:

    I posted an image last night that was shot handheld at 1/5 sec with 24-120 vr. There is no way I could have done this handheld without VR. https://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=57553
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  8. Thanks, Harrison, that makes sense. Most of my Sports Shooting is with the Sigma 120-300f2.8 so I don't have the advantage of VR there, I just deal with the issues of shake when they happen. That is an interesting thought on kickers, though, I'll have to give that one a try.

    The issue of the "settle time" is one that seems to confuse folks terribly, which puzzles me as I think it is quite simple and easy to understand. I find the VR on my 70-200 to be great when I am trying to photograph a bird in my backyard in the very early morning or dusk, when I am lucky enough to have the hold still for a couple of seconds :smile:
  9. First off, of course you could have done that shot handheld without VR. The only consequence would be that people would think you had taken a picture of a Cauliflower instead of the cute little baby :wink:

    I think you make 2 very good points here. The problem is that I have, well more than once, found myself drawn into a conversation because someone is incorrectly spouting off about the advantages of VR. It has, as you have shown, superb abilities in the right situation, I just want to find better ways to explain when it is not a good idea and why.

    You folks are providing me some good ways to explain this better.


    Oh, yeah, nice image :smile:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  10. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hiya Bill,

    When dealing with a moving subject, VR is only useful for stabilizing panning. VR does not stop a moving subject, it stops a moving photographer. When you put the camera on the tripod, a moving photographer doesn't affect it, so you turn VR off. When the subject is still and the photographer is holding the camera, turn VR on.

    If they still don't get it, I say it slower and shout.

    The issue of settle time is different. It comes up when the photographer thinks they are doing things right and still getting blur from movement. Then I say that it takes half a second for VR to take hold.

    And I never talk about beings inside the lens - most people think I'm nuts already!
  11. cwilt


    Apr 24, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I think Chris has explained it the best I have seen yet.

    Who would think that?:rolleyes:  :wink:
  12. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    I Detested VR for moving subjects

    I missed to darned many shots because of that second in which it takes the VR to settle. It's just too long in many shooting situations.

    With the 200-400, my keeper ratio went way up when I turned the VR off on moving (running or flying) subjects.

    Honestly...I would only use it for either long exposure handheld shots or when shooting from a bouncing around car, horse, airplane, boat, etc. (I suppose you could use it when riding a camel or a bicycle as well).
  13. Compares to IS? Yeah, can handle that one.
    IS works about the same as Nikon VR.
    Performancewise, Canon's IS is a step behind in one area, but a bit more advanced in another.
    IS lenses claim in most cases 2 stops of correction, only more recently can they claim 3 stops- Nikon Claims 3, but practically you can even get 4 or more (I've shot handheld at 200mm 1/5 sec with a sharp result after letting VR settle for 5-7 secs). Nikon's improved VR II in the 18-200 claims 4 full stops.
    IS lenses seem to be more capable when shooting on tripods- they have an automatic deactivation feature or something like that. Only recently has VR had Tripod mode.
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