• Issues with Nikon S200 lens-nikon-200mm-f2g-ed-vr-ii.jpg

    Knowing something about Nikonís logic in their VR technology probably wonít make you a better photographer. But I found it interesting and thought you might as well. Camera shake has been around since the first pinhole camera was invented and is currently alive and well. So itís interesting to note the direction Nikon has taken in using VR technology.

    Nikonís basic philosophy in their camera product design is to be as user friendly as possible. So with VR they had a choice to either put the technology in the camera body or in the lens optics. There are two major reasons they put VR technology in the lens optics. First if itís put in the body then it would only be the sensor it would apply to and the photographer would not see the VR effect through the viewfinder. By putting it in the lens optics the effect also could be seen in the viewfinder. But that is problematic in that the VR effect seen in the viewfinder is different from what is seen by the sensor. If they used just the sensor technology then what would be seen in the viewfinder would be very weird and not very user friendly. So Nikon developed the technology for both the viewfinder and for the sensor and the technology to put them together in the lens. Now not only do you see the effect of the VR in the viewfinder but also you will get that same picture exposure on the sensor. The second reason to putting it in the lens is that Nikon found out that no two lenses with differing focal lengths and types of use would have the same camera shake. The camera shake of a 300mm lens shooting a football game will be different from a 85mm macro shooting a close up of a flower. And different again from shooting a wedding with a number of different lenses. These differences are not efficiently controlled with an in body VR system. So Nikon opted to use the in lens optics and customizes each lens VR system to get maximum effect with each lens size and type.

    There are times when you want the VR system working but need to move the camera to recompose or to pan the shot without the VR trying to make corrections. This would not be an unusual circumstance so Nikon has included as part of the VR CPU chip programming the ability for the system to recognize this type of motion. In most cases this movement is horizontal. So the CPU turns the horizontal aspect of the VR system off and on with the starting and stopping of this type of movement. The recomposing or pan motion is not interfered with by the VR. The vertical VR remains on. So when you are using that long lens, panning and zoomed in on that deer running across a field the VR is still working and not interfering with the shot.

    With the introduction of the VRII technology the system effectiveness has been extended up to four stops in shutter speed. The VRII has introduced a sensor device with a quartz transducer. That device provides for very stable performance and the detection of very slow movements. This device makes possible the four stop shutter speed reduction and substantially extends the usefulness of any lens.

    Nikon has also recognized that there are other types of camera shake in addition to a photographer hand holding for his shots. So now they have divided the VR function into Normal and Active. The Normal/Active function switch is available on some of the longer lenses, such as the 70-300mm, f/4.5-5.6, VRII. The Normal function does its job on the low frequency, low intensity camera shake usually found in hand holding. The Active function is designed to work on high frequency and high intensity camera shake as might be encountered while shooting from a moving car or from the coupling platform of a moving passenger train, a streetcar, or fast moving boat. Shooting with Active function turned on however does not have the panning feature found in the Normal function.

    One of the new technologies Nikon is just now introducing in their VR function is tripod mode. The vibrations encountered by a camera mounted on a tripod are altogether different from being hand held. The tripod mode will eliminate the vibrations of mirror bounce and the shutter opening and closing and any other minor vibrations that might affect the tripod. Currently this VR technology is only available on the Nikkor 200-400mm, f/4G IF-ED, AF-S, DX VR. Without the tripod mode Nikon recommends that the VR system be turned off when tripod mounted. The exception to that is when you are tripod mounted and shooting free motion with a loose ball or mount then the VR should be on. Nikon also recommends the VR be on when shooting from a monopod.

    So whatís in the future? Nikon has done a fantastic job with VR technology to date but itís all been concentrated on the camera shake. So what about subject VR? Motion blur? Sounds great. From what I understand Nikon is working on it.
    This article was originally published in blog: Nikonís VR & VRII Ė An Overview started by Joseph Bautsch
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. fotojack's Avatar
      fotojack -
      Excellent article, Joseph. Very well laid out and explained. This should be interesting reading to those just starting out and wonder about what exactly the VR does, and the benefits to their photos.


      › See More: Article: Nikonís VR & VRII Ė An Overview
    1. Joseph Bautsch's Avatar
      Joseph Bautsch -
      Jack, thanks for the kind comments. It's most appreciated.
    1. Patrick Molloy's Avatar
      Patrick Molloy -
      Good article Joseph. I learnt a lot about VR. Thank you.
    1. Joseph Bautsch's Avatar
      Joseph Bautsch -
      Thanks Patrick. I'm glad it was of value to you.
    1. sfholla's Avatar
      sfholla -
      Joseph, Your article was extremely well done and very informative on what VR is all about. I am curious to know the comparison between the first version VR I versus the new version VR II in the 70-200mm f2.8 and 300mm prime 2.8 lenses. Anything you can share with the group? Thanks in advance. Happy 2012!
    1. texaslimo's Avatar
      texaslimo -
      Great article! All I need now is a few hundred more like this~
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