You can always find circumstances where using a tripod isn't practical or desirable and where shutter speed will be slow due to low light levels and/or a need to stop down for large DOF -- even with a WA lens. And I prefer to shoot with as low an ISO as I can manage. VR sometimes helps me do that. Do I find VR necessary on a WA lens? No. Do I find it useful? Yes.
Sat 29-Dec-12 02:31 PM | edited Sat 29-Dec-12 02:34 PM by GiantTristan
Completely agree with you, I have never missed vr on either the 14-24/2.8 or the 24-70/2.8 on the D700. Even for the 70-200/2.8 vr my default setting for vr is "off". However, I find the "vr active" setting very useful when shooting from a rocking boat. I used vr a lot when I was shooting with the D70/18-200 vr, even at low focal lengths.
Like almost any feature, you can do without it if you want. You can skip auto ISO (why not change it manually), you can skip exposure automation (manual is fine), you can skip auto WB (I often do), you can skip auto bracketing (do it manually), longer exposure times (use your watch and the Bulb setting), ...keep going down the list. That doesn't mean those aren't helpful features at times. VR is the same. I've appreciated having VR in my 16-35mm when I was photographing the interior of dark cathedrals and tripods weren't allowed. I've also appreciated it when shooting street scenes at night where a tripod would have been very awkward to use. VR enabled me to use a lower ISO for better dynamic range and less noise and/or a smaller aperture for greater depth of field. However good your handholding technique is, VR improves it and expands the range in which you can shoot. That's not a bad thing in my opinion.
Sat 29-Dec-12 10:10 PM | edited Sat 29-Dec-12 10:11 PM by gheck58
I love the new 16-35VR, very versatile in it's range. Shooting outdoor or with a tripod you may never need the VR but where I think this lens shines is indoor and evening imagery. The lens will stand up against anything out there in the pro category without the VR so consider it a bonus. Unless you need 2.8. And getting rid of the no tripod signs isn't going to mean your still going to have one with you when you need it.
There is an argument for learning the skills of taking good shots WITHOUT VR. It is possible to become too reliant on VR. From what I have read here, it would seem that there are times when it fails, or falls short.
"Today is the tomorrow that yesterday you spent money like there was no"
Sun 30-Dec-12 03:04 AM | edited Sun 30-Dec-12 03:15 AM by gheck58
VR is designed to help you hand hold at the lowest possible shutter speed and still get a sharp image, period. Sure good hand holding techniques are always good but sometimes there just isn't enough light. VR only fails for those who ask to much of it or when your shutter speed is just to slow or when you shake too much. So, depending on the lens and focal length you learn what the lowest speed you can get a way with is. Sure there are people (young, with steady hands or propping themselves against something) that can get sharp images at slow shutter speeds. But with VR I know I can confidently shoot at least 3 shutter speeds slower. And I would rather do that and not raise the ISO if I don't have too. VR in many cases means getting the shot or not. Given a similar lens I would take the one with VR any day. As an example, I can normal hand hold at about 1/50 pretty confidently but not guaranteed. However, indoors that is usually at a wider f/stop also and then I have to sacrifice any depth of field I might want. This image was shot at 16mm at 1/100 at f/11 because I wanted as much depth as possible. 1/100 is not real slow but not very fast either when the wind is blowing or you don't have a steady hand. VR changes all that.
While good handholding technique will always improve the keeper rate, good handholding technique combined with VR increases the keeper rate even more. The slower the shutter speed, the more helpful VR is. That said, there are limits to everything. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
When I can't use a tripod or a fast shutter speed I find VR to be useful now that I am older. Knowing and mastering good technique doesn't help when you are no longer capable of holding anything steady.
I'm with Randy here on this thing about getting older. I am pleased with my 16-35 VR capability and even though I may think my technique at hand holding only gets better with age, my shots at 1/30 and slower are proving me wrong. I'll take that VR feature and say thanks.
VR is not magic. It's a sophisticated application of physics and optics that, like most technology, sometimes helps and sometimes doesn't.
The old adage was that you could handhold a lens at the reciprocal of the focal length. I realize there are debates about this rule with FX versus DX or whether the D800's extra pixels require upping the shutter speed, but none of this matters. I'm only using that number as a starting point.
When shooting with a 200mm the recommendation is that you not go below 1/200 sec. But sometimes the situation — low ISO, higher F shop for DOF, lousy light — make achieving that speed impossible. With, say, a three stop VR benefit, you can work at 1/25. A very nice benefit!
Let's apply this to a wide angle lens. With a 24mm. The old adage says you can handhold at 1/25. Hmmm, you are already down in the shutter speed range achieved by VR on your telephoto, and you got there not with VR but because you are using a wide angle lens. Would VR be useful, so that you could handhold to 1/3 sec? Occasionally. Not too often.
Referring to two images above:
Shooting at 16mm at a shutter speed of 1/100 is fine. Guarantees great sharpness (wind on leaves excepted). But VR did very little to help, it as a tripling of the minimum handheld shutter speed that froze camera movement — like using that 200mm at 1/500 sec.
Tristan's night shot is very nice and VR helped. But without VR most people wold get that shot, especially if they fired two or three frames. A normal lens at 1/50 is, well, normal. If you had shot this at 1/30 or lower, you have gotten a lot of VR benefit.
The not-discussed question is whether or when VR may harm the shot
Things to remember about VR: • VR is of more benefit with longer lenses • Above a certain speed, VR does not help • VR can introduce a slight delay in shot acquisition • VR changes the composition • VR and tripods usually don't mix (this is lens dependent)
Do I use VR? Sometimes. Below 1/250 sec. and when shooting still subjects. For action, even theatrical shoots, the fraction of a second delay hurts. And I'd rather up the shutter speed, when I can, to kill camera motion. If not, I may use VR.
Jon Kandel A New York City Nikonian and Team Member Please visit my website and critique the images!
Sun 30-Dec-12 04:28 PM | edited Sun 30-Dec-12 05:11 PM by GiantTristan
>Tristan's night shot is very nice and VR helped. But without >VR most people wold get that shot, especially if they fired >two or three frames. A normal lens at 1/50 is, well, normal. >If you had shot this at 1/30 or lower, you have gotten a lot >of VR benefit.
Jon - Thanks for making my point: The 24-70/2.8 has no VR. I also took a similar picture with a Zeiss 35/2, also no VR, which dropped the iso to 1000 but was not wide enough to catch the reflection. By the way - all shots I took were critically sharp. Doing this picture with an f/4 lens and good IQ would have been more difficult. This is the very reason why Nikon only equips its slower lenses with VR.
Sun 30-Dec-12 11:55 PM | edited Mon 31-Dec-12 02:59 PM by gheck58
"This is the very reason why Nikon only equips its slower lenses with VR."
Not really. 70-200 2.8 VR. 200 2.0 VR, and 105 2.8 VR. I believe Nikon equips those lenses they make with VR where they believe they will most benefit the pro or the ameture.
I believe Nikon would have put VR in the 24-70 (it would have been perfect then) but it probably would have been a $2,500 lens at the time. Now with Canon introducing a 24-70 IS you can bet Nikon will be about 1 year behind.
I ran into a situation at the Air & Space Museum at Dulles. I had my D800 and 24-70 F2.8. No tripods or monopods are allowed, lighting is very poor, subjects are large and long (aircraft), many are very dark (SR-71), no room to get reasonable distance, secondary lighting not possible and second floor moves with people walking. You need good DOF which limits aperture, and fast shutter but lighting is poor. Very high ISO will show up on dark subjects, ended up will very slow shutter speeds. This is where VR would have been beneficial for me. I did get a few good shots, but feel that VR would have improved keeper ratio. That darn D800 shows up every artifact of my poor skills!!
The pros can get special permission to shot with tripods and additional lighting during off hours, not so for us "plane" folks (pun intended)!!
Anyway, I have since got ahold of the 16-35 VR and when I return to the museum hopefully will have better results.
I got a majority of very sharp images at the Udvar Hazy Museum two years ago, but I'd have certainly loved to have had VRII lenses available at the time. I used a lot of rifle techniques, controlling my breating and squeeeeeeeeeeeezing the shutter, and took advantage of rails and walls when I could. I'll take any advantage I can get and will be up in front of the line if and when VRII version of the 24-70mm f2.8 emerges. That is my primary lens, along with a 70-200mm f2.8 VRII which I absolutely love. I find the 14-24mm f2.8 pretty hand holdable, although I can only imagine what being able to hand hold it at 1/2 second at 14mm would allow!
Back in the day, although I pertty quickly saw the uses of an SLR with interchangable lenses, I first questioned why anyone would want internal metering on a camera, then zoom lenses, then auto exposure, and even digital technology. But I'm finally all in today! I'll make the best use I can of whatever I can get my hands on.
Mon 31-Dec-12 11:04 PM | edited Tue 01-Jan-13 12:35 AM by laddad
I have always felt that camera bodies come and go but a good lens should be mine forever. I sold my Nikon FM, Nikon FTN, Nikon D70s and D200 but I still own a sweet Nikon Macro AIS 55mm f/2.8, and an ever sweeter Nikon 8mm f/2.8 fisheye. They are immaculate and work as well as they did 30 years ago. I worry that the SW motors and the coils of the VR mechanisms today will never stand the test of time. I doubt that many of the VR coils will be working even 15 years from now. How long will Nikon support older lenses? It is my understanding that Nikon does not repair many of the earlier AF-I lenses from less than 20 years ago. I like VR but I would prefer a faster lens even if it does not have VR. Maybe I'm nuts but I question the hardiness of the VR mechanisms over time.
As far wide angle and VR goes, I very pleased with my non-VR Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8. It has excellent IQ, fast aperture and seems to be more solidly built that the Nikon VR 16-35 f/4.