Nikon VR Lenses

Bee on Daisy

What is VR in Nikon lenses and what is all the hype about it. Well VR stands for Vibration Reduction and it reduces the effect of any camera and lens vibration.

How does it Work?

The Nikon VR System works by adjusting elements within the lens to compensate for camera shake of the lens and camera. Motors are used to control the elements to reduce the camera shake. The angular movement of the lens is detected, both vertical movement and horizontal, together with the velocity of movement and the amount of compensation is calculated via a micro computer within the lens, to move the VR unit of the lens to compensate for the lens movement.
The built in microcomputer inside the lens, calculates the amount of lens element movement necessary, using the data from the angular velocity sensors.
The VR operation of the lens is activated by lightly pressing the shutter release button. When the camera shutter release button is lightly pressed, the VR elements in the lens give  a smooth viewfinder image. During the exposure however, the algorithm changes to compensate for every slight movement of the lens.
With most interchangeable VR lenses, VR operation is activated by lightly pressing on the shutter release button. When a photographer is recomposing a picture while keeping the shutter release button half pressed, the system can instantly tell whether camera movement is intentional or caused by camera shake and act accordingly. For example VR does not compensate for recomposing movement that camera movement, because if it did, the photographer could have difficulty accomplishing the desired composition.

Generally the image blur caused by camera shake occurs when shutter speeds are slower than 1/focal length of the lens. With the implementation Nikon’s latest VRII system, the lenses give an ability to shoot at four times lower shutter speed than you could obtain without the VR functionality.

When should the VR functionality be Switched on

In general I only use VR at slow shutter speeds. For example with the 105mm VR Micro lens I would only use VR at shutter speeds of less than 1/100 of one second. At these low shutter speeds I see significant advantages with the VR operation. I have actually used the 105mm Micro lens at shutter speeds of 1/6 second an have obtained sharp images. It should be noted that VR does not work well with macro work once the reproduction ration is les than 1:10 so turn it off for macros.

VR is also now provided with some of the wide angle zoom lenses. With the 24-120mm zoom I have obtained sharp images at 24mm with a shutter speed of 1/4 second, which is quite remarkable.

Where the VR functionality really shines is with the super telephoto lenses, where hand held sharp images can be obtained in some case with shutter speeds down to 1/50 second.

Which Lenses Have VR

In the Nikon Lens Reviews we have listed all the Nikon lenses which have VR built in.