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 Post subject: Limitations of VR?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 11:44 am 
Gordon, or others.

I have no DSLR yet, but I am considering a D80.

I read somewhere that VR can actually make the pictures less sharp if you hold the camera really steady or use a tripod. I can only assume that this is due to jitter in the electronics. Is this a real effect and is it a real problem? I had hoped that VR was a switch on and forget option effectively always making your images sharper or at worst just as good.

As I have a fairly unsteady hold, I wanted the benefits of VR at relatively high shutter speeds and wider angles (eg even 1/60th at 28mm equivalent I would say my hand holding is not 100% reliable and I wanted VR to be able to help here.)

I was going to jump straight in with a D80 and 18-200 VR, but I’d say I never really used telephoto much before and lived with my 35mm 28-80 98% of the time, rarely using the 80-200 I have, so it was the VR and I thought great optical quality that was attracting me, but it seems that the quality is only great considering its spread and that I might get just as good quality over a shorter zoom spread for much less money and weight

And now there are doubts that the VR will do what I really wanted and the so useful Nikon kit test here makes me feel the 18-55 & 18-70 are optically just as good; with the smaller one being so light I may prefer this. I have to say that but for the rotating end, the 18-55 looked to me from the tests here a better lense that the 18-70. Except I am a very keen on polars. Bugger.

The price is not the issue – I am happy to buy any of the four as I deserver a treat (!) but what I want are:-

Image Sharpness, good contrast, low vignetting and preferably low weight. And VR that gives me benefit in the 1/30th to 1/250th shutter range. For landscapes and family photos. I like good engineering, but I don't need bomb proof.

As I have seen the 18-55 for £69 I may well get this and then consider the VR later. Given the lead time, I may have no choice!

I realise I must get to a shop and try some of these combinations out. If I find the 18-135 too heavy, then I guess that throws out the 18-200. I am assuming no one will have a 18-200 to try !

So can you answer the questions on the VR and what do you think is my best choice, given my preferences?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 7:49 pm 
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Hi NickNick,

what makes you doubt the effectiveness of VR? I have it, I love it, and as I belong already to the "elderly" I need it. It works miracles, giving me the chance to shoot at incredible slow shutter speeds to capture that available light.
But not only this: VR also allows you to have a greater depth of field, because you can stop down the aperture. This is esp. important with larger magnifications like macro or telephoto shots.

As to your question regarding the lenght that you need. Consider this: I firmly believe that changing lenses is a BIG inhibitor for certain opportunities. So I'm sure that you will use the rage between 80-200mm of a new 18-200mm when you have mounted it. It's a lovely lens and it's without competition, and considering your preferences you don't even need to carry a second lens around with you. That actually saves weight!

Consider the options...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:15 pm 
It wasn't me that was doubting it as such, but a reviewer somewhere (don't recall where!).

You raise a good point - I rarely used my 80-200 because I rarely took it with me or could not be bothered to change it, or missed the opportunity.

Oddly though the only commercial picture I ever took was handheld with my 80-200. It was a cracking shot and sharp as a pin. (Sadly the subject was a fatal motor racing crash).

I have steady shot on a video camera and its fantastic. I also have a new Canon 850IS, bought for its wide angle and IS function but have not been out of the house with that yet.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 8:34 pm 
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Go for the D80 18-200mm combo! You'll never regret :D
From my signature you can see where the "gaps" are: Ultra wide and high quality macro. But as a general purpose lens/body combination: it's unbeatable!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2007 10:42 pm 
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Hi Nick, Thomas is right, you might think you *only* need the VR at long focal lengths, but it can also prove invaluable at wide angle too.

Imagine being able to handhold a wideangle shot at, say, one quarter of a second. This gives you enormous flexibility when it gets dim, or if you're using a large depth of field. It also lets you achieve those blurred water effects without a tripod.

So yes, VR is worth having at any focal length!

As for the image quality, any lens with an 11x optical range isn't going to be perfect, but I believe the 18-200mm is still very good and the benefits and convenience far outweigh any lack of ultimate quality.

Oh and yes, you should switch off VR (or any other anti-shake technology) when mounted on a tripod.

Gordon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 10:01 am 
I'm another advocate of the 18-200 VR lens. I'm using it on a D80 as well and it's just an absolute joy to shoot with. For a beginner like me, it's also very forgiving and a lens that I can't see myself growing out of for many years to come.

In fact, a couple of weeks ago I was in Barcelona at a friends wedding. While my other friend was swapping between two lenses to get the shots he wanted and often having to use the flash, I was free to take wide shots of everyone as well as coming in for some tight head shots of the bride/groom. The lens just gets out of your way, leaving you to take the shots that you want, when the opportunity arises.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 9:55 pm 
Gordon,

I am sort of convinced, but there is this nagging question which was the point of the post on the first place - why do you need to switch it off when its on a tripod?

As a related aside, I have just taken my first set of photos with my IXUS 850IS at a concert. Handheld as you can imagine. Set to night mode (presume that means high ISO) and IS on, flash off. Very pleased with the resiults. Don't really need to be convinced of the benefits of IS/VR, just want to understand the limitations.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 10:21 pm 
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Hi Nick, the reason VR, IS or other stabilisation systems should be switched off when you're using a tripod is because the camera is already steady in this position and the stabiliser might get confused and move a little - thereby actually introducing a slight wobbling effect!

So stabilisation should be ON when handheld or using a monopod, but OFF when mounted on a tripod.

If you're panning while taking the shot, say, to blur the background of a racecar zooming past, then stabilisation should be turned OFF or it will keep trying to compensate.

More sophisticated stabilisation systems actually have a mode designed for this very situation which only stabilises in the vertical axes, but ignores the horizontal one. So you're safe to pan horizontally, while enjoying stabilisation vertically. Neat huh?

The Nikkor 18-200mm offers this option and calls it Active mode. Canon calls theirs Mode II. If your camera or lens has only one stabilisaiton option, then it'll either stabilise both axes or neither. So if you were panning with such a product, again turn it OFF.

Gordon


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 7:58 pm 
OK thanks. I guess its just what I expected - but spending that sort of cash I want to be sure it will not fall short of expectations.

My local dealer sometimes have stock of these so I think I'll wait until they have one and try it for size/feel etc. I am begnning to see several benefits I might not have considered before - you can more often set aperature priority and get the lenses sweet spot, use a polar filter without having to go wide open for example. And of course overcome my naturally poor hold. And I can see that with the extra focal length and VR I will be more tempted to take shots I never considered before.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2007 8:38 pm 
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See also Cornelius' first impression of his 70-200mm VR
Quote:
the VR lens even at 150mm+ allows me to shoot at 1/30th providing clear and great images

here: http://www.cameralabs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=414

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