Does VR degrade image quality?

2

Comments

  • obajobaobajoba Posts: 206Member
    The only "problem" I have experienced from using VR is that is slows down AF. If I'm shooting football, handheld or on a monopod, my VR is off and I am fairly comfortable saying that it definitely results in a larger percentage of my photos being in focus. If I am shooting landscape/stills/stationary people handheld, then my VR is most definitely on.

    As far is IQ, I can't see how VR would cause degradation.

    And, lastly, I'm with @TaoTeJared , I have definitely lost more photos because I was concerned with IQ at high ISO (thus avoiding a higher ISO setting) than I have because of using VR. Thankfully, on the D4, I don't worry about running ISO1600 or ISO3200 (or higher) as long as I am < 1/1000th on the shutter. Above that, I feel like I lose saturation/contrast for sure.
    D4 | 70-200 2.8 VR | 24-70 2.8 | TC-17e II
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,451Member
    @obajoba Good point about AF. That is why I hate that pressing the AF-ON button on newer bodies activities VR.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,300Member
    From what I have heard it should be turned off when shooting with a tripod otherwise I think VR works very well at what it was created for and that is to give you a few extra stops when shooting...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2014
    Somewhere, in another thread, I suggested it made no difference if you left the VR on when using a tripod

    last night, when shooting Glastonbury Torr, after sunset with the new 80 -400 @ 400mm, I discovered it does and the difference is enormous

    I prefer to shoot with out a tripod but as the light dropped, one became essential

    but I did not turn the VR off

    Apart from some loss of colour depth, the hand held ones at 1/750 f 5.6 ISO 800 were fine

    but the later ones taken with a tripod 1/45 f8 ISO 100 were blurred and unusable

    Tests today in the studio confirm, a big degradation in quality if the VR is left on with this lens on a tripod
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    edited January 2014
    Some lenses have a special "Tripod" VR mode, and when using such a lens, you will need to manually switch the VR setting from "Normal" to "Tripod" when the camera is placed on a tripod.

    Other lenses will automatically detect being placed on a tripod, and will switch to Tripod VR by itself (there's no separate Tripod setting).

    Yet other lenses have no tripod mode at all, so you have to manually turn off VR when the lens is locked down on a tripod. The 80-400 falls into this category. However, you may still want to keep VR on when actively panning on the tripod.
    Post edited by Ade on
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited January 2014
    I would say it also depends on shutter speed. At the faster speeds 1/125 and above, the difference between VR on or off when on a tripod diminishes, upto about 1/500 or 1/1000 above which VR is theoretically useless anyway.
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,231Member
    I would say it also depends on shutter speed. At the faster speeds 1/125 and above, the difference between VR on or off when on a tripod diminishes, upto about 1/500 or 1/1000 above which VR is theoretically useless anyway.
    That's what I hear too. I turn it off at around 1/400 or so. The only lens I have that has VR is the 105 macro anyway. At 1/300th there shouldn't be much shaking.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • birdmanbirdman Posts: 115Member
    Generally speaking, IMHO and based on all evidence I've read on the subject -- yes, VR/IS elements slightly degrade IQ. VR/IS adds a lens element (correct?) to the optical formula -- which is not exactly Super-Low dispersion glass. However, the technological innovations in optics has come SO VERY FAR that I would think any reduction in IQ would be almost non-existent in the top-end lenses.

    There's a reason Canon didn't include IS on their stellar 24-70/2.8 II which has NOTHING to do with weight or cost. If IS didn't reduce IQ then I fiurmly believe Canon would've included it to further show up Nikon's own 24-70/2.8 --- which was universally regarded as superior to the 1st version of Canon's 24-70/2.8.
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    VR does not necessarily add a lens element to the optical formula.

    For example, the last non-VR 300/2.8, the 300/2.8 VR, and the 300/2.8 VR2 all have the same identical construction, with 11 elements in 8 groups including 3 ED elements.

    VR simply needs one or more lenses to be "floating" (to enable electro-magnetic control). This floating lens element can be one from an existing formula.

    And look at the Nikon 200mm f/2G VR II. This is the sharpest lens in Nikon's entire lineup, and it's a VR lens.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited January 2014
    My rule is whenever I mount my body and lens to my tripod or monopod, VR goes off. Their is a slight lag for all the elements to line-up at slower shutter speeds; thus if the shutter release is pressed down before the VR has fully finished its task, I have found that the image will show some blur.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Nikon actually recommends always keeping VR on while on monopods, and also on tripods if the lens has a special tripod mode:

    https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7676

    I think any lag for the VR to get ready before the shutter opens is a separate issue vs. whether or not the camera is on a tripod or monopod.
  • adamzadamz Posts: 842Moderator
    +1 golf - no VR on tripods, unless the tripod is on a moving surface.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I would say it also depends on shutter speed. At the faster speeds 1/125 and above, the difference between VR on or off when on a tripod diminishes, upto about 1/500 or 1/1000 above which VR is theoretically useless anyway.
    +1 Same experience/understanding. I found the threshold for VR (or my personal rule of thumb on a tripod) is:
    Over 1/500th: VR does effect quality as it thinks there shout be movement but their isn't, so it introduces "shake". Always turn VR off above 1/500th (1/750th for DX) tripod or otherwise.
    Zooms: if the shutter is lower than the widest focal length, Turn VR off
    Primes: Turn VR off always on a tripod

    VR is designed specifically for each lens model and fine tuned to the lens's designed purpose. VR for a 18-55 is different than the 16-85, 70-300, 70-200, etc. Pro lens VR is better than consumer as well.
    Generally speaking, IMHO and based on all evidence I've read on the subject -- yes, VR/IS elements slightly degrade IQ. VR/IS adds a lens element (correct?) to the optical formula -- which is not exactly Super-Low dispersion glass. However, the technological innovations in optics has come SO VERY FAR that I would think any reduction in IQ would be almost non-existent in the top-end lenses.

    There's a reason Canon didn't include IS on their stellar 24-70/2.8 II which has NOTHING to do with weight or cost. If IS didn't reduce IQ then I fiurmly believe Canon would've included it to further show up Nikon's own 24-70/2.8 --- which was universally regarded as superior to the 1st version of Canon's 24-70/2.8.
    I would caution on what you read and question their experiences and how old the information is. Most arguments against VR/IS I have seen are always rooted in the additional cost that people don't want to pay. Many are also due to the miss-use or lack of understanding of how to properly it.

    Canon has said clearly that they didn't include IS to the new 24-70 due to adding $1,000+ cost to the lens.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2014
    Can anyone explain, as a VR presumably compensates for any vibration it detects, why it cannot detect the camera is on a tripod and turn it self off ? likely wise, if the shutter speed is set so high as to have no effect
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    Many Nikon VR lenses do just that: detect if the camera is on a tripod and turn itself off, or place itself into a special "tripod" mode.

    However not all VR lenses have that capability. Some require you to manually place the VR setting to "tripod" mode, while others must be manually turned off.
  • michael66michael66 Posts: 231Member

    With all of the times that you should NOT use VR or that VR would not help, it sounds like there aren't all that many times when I should use VR. Just when I hand-hold the lens at a slow SS. Am I getting that?
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2014
    michael66
    it sounds like there aren't all that many times when I should use VR


    If you have been shooting with VR on and are happy with your results. I would do some tests before turning it off (unless you normally use a tripod or always shoot at 1/1000 or above )

    The great thing about shooting digital, is you don't have to wait till you get back to the darkroom ,to see the results. Take some shots with VR on and VR off and using the magnifying button and check the results for your self

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I would say any time you are hand holding your camera leave it on.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I just don't see the degradation in any of my pictures. Maybe all mine are blurry? I haven't ever noticed a problem leaving vr on except in the case of a tripod and long exposure.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Ok I was on my phone so my response was short. Now I am on my computer. I think there are misconceptions about what VR is going to do for you. The problem with low light shooting and getting blur with VR is you are shooting ridiculously slow shutter speeds. If anything is moving it is going to blur. So I don't think this is a characteristic of VR as you need to up the ISO to get your shutter speeds up. Basically handheld it should always be on. There is no instance where you are going to be hand holding your camera steady enough to not possibly benefit from VR. Nikon suggests tripod...still I think you get vibrations and slight movement although less. It is possible if it is being held steady enough it might degrade the pictures as VR kicks in and tries to compensate when it isn't needed. The last situation when you are doing a long exposure...well you better just have the camera steady as it is the only way to get a non-blurry image. I even keep my VR on while using a monopod. I just don't see any problems from it being on and I always keep it on. I have lost plenty of shots to blur from not having vr and having handshake while I don't know of any that are bad enough with VR on to say the aren't usable. But it seems many swear by turning it off...maybe I am wrong.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Here are examples where it is useful...

    1/8 shutter speed hand held
    DSC_0128

    hand held
    DSC_0011-1

    200mm hand held at 1 second
    DSC_0094-1_6

    but it isn't going to help if stuff is moving...
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited January 2014
    Tcole . Like you I always left VR on, but at 1/45 with the new 80_ 400 @ 400mm it defiantly must be off on a tripod ( no I am not pixel peeping the difference is very noticeable
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited January 2014
    Tcole . Like you I always left VR on, but at 1/45 with the new 80_ 400 @ 400mm it defiantly must be off on a tripod ( no I am not pixel peeping the difference is very noticeable
    I haven't ever compared though...wonder if the different generations of the VR make any difference. Or because of the long focal length has something to do with it. I am just curious if there is something in that equation of focal length to not get shake and what vr can compensate for, but I guess that doesn't make sense if you weren't getting it without it on.
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I would be curious to see someone do a comparison or see exanples. People have said but never shown I don't think.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited January 2014
    Even here...my 18-200 with VR on and on a tripod with 10 second exposure. The chimney is sharp and there is motion blur where the earth moved, but I don't see anything wrong with the part of the picture that isn't moving.
    Night Try
    original here
    http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4006/4465478689_ca61543996_o.jpg#sthash.9v2F5Il9.dpuf

    1/60 on tripod with VR on
    DSC_0172-1_4


    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
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