I have to agree with you, Geo. For my purposes (landscapes), VR is not required, and I have read articles where people have stated IS has dropped the optical performance of Canon lenses. In fact, for 90% of my needs, AF-S is not required, that is one reason I have kept away from it. My new 300 F/4 is new, but the older non-AF-S version for a few reasons. One, from some information I have read it has better optical quality, it is lighter, a little shorter, and will still operate with my Kenko Pro 300 2x converter, where AF-S will not AF with this converter (requires the newer version). (Have to say that Moose Peterson was correct when he stated the newer AF-S version was not a good looking lens, the older version is better looking...not that that means anything when using it.) I will also let everyone know that on my F5, with the 2X Kenko converter attached, the 300 F/4 still autofocuses quite well; although there is a slight slow down in AF speed. Without the 2X converter, the AF speed is just fine. I know this lens has been kicked around for slow AF speed, but my tests at night in my hallway, focusing on a chair in another room, approximately 60 feet away from where I was standing, only light was in the hallway and room I was in, and the lens autofocused quite well with and without the 2X converter. I'll let everyone know what I think of this lens after tomorrow, where I will actually be using it under normal conditions out in the hills and wilds in TN.
One thing I have always stated, "fantastic photos were made prior to IS or VR, fantastic photos will still be made in the future without IS or VR.
Also, I would say that the 80-200mm F/2.8 Nikkor does not require VR. I have used this lens many times with a 2X converter, hand-held and never had a problem with camera shake. As you like the older manual equipment, I prefer the lenses without VR and I have always stated the if a person learns how to correctly hand-hold a long lens, VR is not that necessary. For the extremely long lenses, monopods work great, are not heavy, and can be used for self-defense agains wild critters.
For landscape photography, a good tripod has more to offer than VR or even AF-S, since the best films to use have low ISO ratings, and mountains don't move, except during earthquakes. However, these are my opinions and many people will disagree with them and that's what makes the world more interesting.
Eveyone have a great day...
--Take only photographs, leave nothing but footprints--