How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS VR)
I got this lens recently and am very happy with some of my results but not all of them.
How can I tell if VR is actually working? Is there any audible or visible feedback if the lens is correcting for camera shake?
I have used it indoors for skating competitions and some of my shots aren't as sharp as I had hoped. I do understand that VR cannot correct for subject movement, just camera shake.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
D300, D200, 14-24mm f2.8 AFS, 28-70mm AFS, 80-200 f2.8 AFS, 85mm f1.4D, Sigma 150 Macro, 200-400mm AFS/VR, TC 14 & 17, 50mm f1.8 AF
#2. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 1MonstersINC Registered since 12th Dec 2006Sun 18-Feb-07 05:41 PM
You won't get sharp imnages with slow shutter speeds as VR only aids in camera movement, but I can easily see VR working on any of my VR lenses. I simply zoom in and half press and the image steadies. Along with the sound of the VR in operation, you should be able to see it working in your finder, especially at the long end.
Tastes just like Chicken!
#4. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 2KolinP Nikonian since 13th May 2006Sun 18-Feb-07 09:37 PM
>You won't get sharp imnages with slow shutter speeds as VR
>only aids in camera movement...
That's a broad and rather dismissive statement Carey!
It depends on how slow the shutter speed, and isn't this the whole point of VR? namely to compensate for slower than previously-normal shutter speeds?
To the OP, arcweldernorth, you may have seen this link before:
and it explains a subtle 'feature' of VR that makes it (IMO) almost impossible to prove that it is actually working properly at the moment of exposure, except by comparing lots of with-VR and without-VR shots taken under very similar test conditions.
The subtle points are (1a.) the VR gives us that nice steady viewfinder image when we half-press the shutter release, and (1b.) in a quiet room you'll probably hear the VR coils humming gently while it's working, but then - at the critical moment when we fully-press the shutter release (2.) the VR algorithm is quickly changed, it abandons any attempt to 'steady' our viewfinder image, the VR-controlled lens element(s) are quickly RE-centered, then during the exposure the VR system concentrates on keeping the image steady on the sensor instead.
The snag is that we can only see the proof of the second phase of the algorithm by looking at the captured image! The steady viewfinder image and the comforting 'hum' are only circumstantial evidence that VR is working (although they're a very good clue that it *is* working!).
I use VR a lot (except if tripod-mounted) and I have wished many times that I had real evidence that "Yes, VR caught that one good and solid", or as happens too often "Ooops! VR missed that one", resulting in a blurred or double-vision type image.
I get approximately one 'bad' VR shot about 1 time in 6, even with shutter speeds as high as around 1/160th Sec. Or, to re-phrase that point and to discourage replies telling me to use faster shutter speeds ... I get approximately 5 excellent (that's excellent) VR shots out of 6, even at shutter speeds as slow as 1/20th Sec.
So to answer your original question arcweldernorth, I don't think we *can* tell absolutely that it's working as intended except by chimping each time. Other viewpoints are welcome of course
#9. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 1tiny123 Registered since 06th Dec 2007Thu 22-Feb-07 12:12 PM
>when mine is on a tripod, I can hear it whirr when I press
>the shutter halfway. when I handhold, I havent noticed any
I have the 80-400mm VR and on a tripod you are supposed to turn off the VR. I didnt know and some of the pictures were blurry. After i read the instructions really well and posted something about it on here i was told not to turn on the VR while on a tripod. Have you been getting good results on a tripod with the VE on?
#13. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 9DigitalHeMan Registered since 03rd Aug 2004Sat 24-Feb-07 08:14 AM
The 200-400 is a different lens to the 80-400 - the VR in the 200-400 can recognise and compensate for a tripod, so it is safe to use, whereas with the 80-400 this is not the case
Nikonian in Amsterdam
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#3. "RE: never mind VR - subject speed is an issue" | In response to Reply # 0
>I have used it indoors for skating competitions and some of
>my shots aren't as sharp as I had hoped. I do understand
>that VR cannot correct for subject movement, just camera
Skating competitions are usually very fast action. For guidance on movement stopping speeds at 40 mph coming diagonally towards the camera Kodak suggest 1/1000. Trouble is there are a couple of qualifications.
The first qualification is 12 foot from the subject with the standard lens for the format (35mm on DX) which gives about a 12 foot wide subject. If you are cropping tighter you may need 1/2000 or even 1/4000 for head and shoulders. The second qualification is 1/10th of an inch edge blur on an 8x10 inch print is acceptable. Viewing at 100% is a much bigger magnification needing around 2 shutter speeds faster still.
With the shutter speeds for perfection in mind the most likely issue is subject movement. Shooting head on gains 1 shutter speed back and the slower speed coming out of a corner can get another shutter speed back.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#5. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 0
The 200-400 is generally a poor lens for indoor sports because it is too slow (aperture wise).
To test your VR, pick a indoor stationary subject that is in lower light and try to shoot it with and without VR. You should instantly see the difference.
#6. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 0
Three signals that it's working: 1) may hear it click as you press shutter release halfway; 2) may hear it hum after it turns on; and 3) will hear it click off within ~1 sec. after releasing the shutter.
You will also see the image stablize through your viewfinder -- be sure to wait 1-3 seconds to allow the VR to engage and begin compensating for camera movement.
Maybe you're firing away too quickly (before VR locks in)?
#10. "Well Said" | In response to Reply # 6cafields Registered since 26th Sep 2006Thu 22-Feb-07 05:46 PM
>You will also see the image stablize through your viewfinder
>-- be sure to wait 1-3 seconds to allow the VR to engage and
>begin compensating for camera movement.
>Maybe you're firing away too quickly (before VR locks in)?
When I first obtained my 18-200VR I wasn't very pleased until I found that I need press the shutter button half way and then count to 2 or 3 before snapping the shot to allow the VR to engage. Now I'm very happy with the results using VR. If I'm shooting an action shot, I'll hold the shutter button half way down and wait for the appropriate moment, that way I'm ready and am not 3 seconds behind the shot. I'll release the shutter to let the system "relax" and save my battery when nothing's happening.
C. A. Fields
C. A. Fields
#7. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 0
I use my VR on my 70-200 for handheld shots. Nikon recommends turning it off when you use a tripod. (Apparently, the VR can set up a vibration on a tripod that can actually work against the sharpness of the shot!) So I guess the first thing to check is that you have it turned ON if you are holding it!
When I shoot outside, I never hear a thing. I can tell if it is working by seeing the image suddenly go still in the viewfinder as I half press the shutter button! It is a little eerie after a lifetime of shakey images in long lenses like a sniper using all his strength and holding his breath to stop that image moving from the crosshair!
When I shoot indoors where it is quiet, I can hear the slight whirring sound as it kicks in. But in an indoor rink, you would not be able to hear it if there were other people around and skating on the ice. All those sounds would dampen out the lens motor's very slight sound.
In other words, it should be quite visually obvious if the image stabilizes when using such long focal lengths as 200-400 as you half press the shutter button.
Proud to be a Montreal Nikonian
#8. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 0
I have not had time to check and it would only prove that the camera THOUGHT that the VR was working but I am nearly certain that I remember an entry in the EXIF file that indicates VR on or off, and Active or not also.
I usually use Opanda EXIF reader for something like this so I am near certain that is where I saw it. If anyone knows a better EXIF examiner I would liove to hear from you.
#11. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 8KolinP Nikonian since 13th May 2006Sat 24-Feb-07 12:09 AM
Nope! The status of VR is not recorded in the EXIF data on a D200.
I explained this in an earlier post in this Nikkor Lenses Forum but my post was mysteriously deleted (possibly because I mentioned D2X firmware and D200 firmware .... neither of which is lens-related ...)
But no, the D200 doesn't (yet) record the status of VR on an attached lens.
The D2X camera does, but only since its last firmware upgrade.
I don't know if the more recent D2XS records VR status but it's logical to assume it does.
#12. "RE: How can I tell if VR is working? (200-400mm f4 AFS" | In response to Reply # 11RRNikon Registered since 21st Jul 2004Sat 24-Feb-07 01:28 AM
I also recently obtained the 200-400 and the instruction manual clearly states the VR on this lens works while tripod mounted. I've had mine out three times now and it has worked very well in very windy conditions mounted on a tripod with the VR on. How I can tell if it is working in high wind conditions is I can see the image in the view finder "snap" to.
Here are some examples: http://www.railroadphotoessays.com/forum/showthread.php?t=848