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When to turn VR to ACTIVE?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by flygirl1, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. I am leaving on a Alaskan cruise this Friday and am trying to get everything together, including my thoughts. Now, up until now I have just used the VR in normal mode, but now if I am on a ship, large or small, would one then put the VR to ACTIVE mode? Thanks for you help:smile:.

  2. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Right or wrong mine is always on

    You excited yet.
    Can't wait to get with you when you get back for the .....whole story:>)))))

    Wish I was going
  3. :biggrin::biggrin: I know, I cannot wait!!! I have most things packed. The 70-300VR has an normal/ active switch as well as an off/on switch. I do have mine on and normal all the time, but I think on a moving platform you should turn the switch from normal to active. Does the 80-400 have that normal/active switch? I was not sure, seeing that the 70-300 is the only VR lenses I have.

  4. DBrim


    May 30, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Active is generally for use from moving vehicles or other situations when vibrations are particularly severe.

  5. Thanks:smile:. I guess I will play it by ear, so to speak. If the boat is smooth then I will try just leaving it on normal, but if there is quite a bit of movement, I will turn it to active.

  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Yes I have normal and active
    always on active
    Like I said, right or wrong thats how I shoot
  7. Ahhh, well you learn something new everyday.:cool: :smile:. Thank you much Gale!!

  8. moffo


    Oct 20, 2005
    Central TX
    I'm pretty sure that 'active' damps vibration both up down and right left, while 'normal' has more of an effect in one direction or the other. If I'm panning, I use normal; if I'm moving (I shoot from horseback) I use active.
  9. Thanks. That gives me a good idea then:smile:.

  10. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005

    Dampens and senses vibrations both horizontal and vertical, generally from fairly stationary positions as a photographer.


    For use when your position is moving and changing direction horizontally. In this mode the VR dampens vertical vibrations and assumes any movement horizontally is from your car, fast boat (not cruise ship speed) plane or other fast moving platform, yourself, and not from panning, and dampens them too.

    This info is from the manuals of my lenses, and while I didn't quote them perfectly, that is the summary of what they say, at least my lenses that have an active switch on the VR.

    Also further notes: In normal mode the lens/camera can detect normal panning movement and still reduce vibrations horizontal.


    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2007
  11. Hi Nancy! I'm assuming you're talking about your 70-300VR lens listed in your signature? If so then the difference between normal and active is when you are panning your shots.

    In normal mode, the system reduces shake both horizontally and vertically but has the ability to detect if you are panning the lens. As an example, if you were standing stationary and tracking a fast moving car or bird with your camera in a wide arc then the lens would continue to reduce shake vertically but would instantly quit reducing shake horizontally in the direction of your panning shot. It "assumes" that you are panning and then decreases the chances of the horizontal vibration reduction working against you in this scenario.

    In active mode, the camera does not distinguish camera shake from panning and therefore continuously reduces camera shake in both vertical and horizontal axis. This is useful when you are in a moving vehicle or a small boat as your body tends to pitch around while you try to maintain balance and those types of movement may be misinterpreted by the lens as panning. In this scenario it may then quit reducing shake either vertically or horizontally even though you actually want the shake reduction working in both directions.

    In short, on your cruise normal mode is fine on the deck of a ship as it doesn't move enough for you to be swaying the camera with your body like you would be in a smaller boat or car. This mode will allow you to track wildlife if you need to pan along with them. If you are just doing stationary shots then Active mode is fine and can be left on all the time as Gale mentioned. It just won't disengage if you need to do a panning shot.

    Lastly, make sure the VR switch is turned off if you use a tripod. Also, if you are shooting handheld, make sure you depress the shutter button half way and wait for a second for the VR to stabilize before you depress the shutter completely to take the shot (when you have VR on). Otherwise you'll get an Out Of Focus shot as the stabilizer is not fully in position yet. You'll actually see the image stabilize in your viewfinder so you'll know when it's ok to take the picture.

    Have a nice trip and cheers!
  12. Thank you both very much:smile:. I think I have got it and ready for Alaska!

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