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55-200mm DX VR Test

Curtis Ritchie , Apr 05, 2007; 11:44 a.m.

I received my 55-200mm DX VR lens yesterday and have been playing around with it.

The attached photo reflects what I am seeing. All shots were taken at 200mm while varying shutter speed and turning the VR on and off. The improvement at slow shutter speed (<1/50 second) shows dramatic improvement but at higher speeds thw VR seems to actually degrade things.

So it would seem from this one time very inexact test that one should only turn the VR on under lower light conditions.

I'm curious if others have experienced this or should I do some more extensive investigation.

Responses

Aaron Linsdau , Apr 05, 2007; 12:12 p.m.

VR improves your keeper ratio...it doesn't guarantee. The roof on the birdbox looks overexposed on your VR shot, making it tough to tell.

Ilkka Nissila , Apr 05, 2007; 12:37 p.m.

I guess you get what you pay for. In the 70-200mm VR is very reliable and certainly improves sharpness at 1/200s.

Shun Cheung , Apr 05, 2007; 01:14 p.m.

VR helps you eliminate some camera shake at slower shutter speeds. If you want to test the effect of VR, I would shoot a series of 20 shots at 200mm and 1/50 sec, hand held, 10 with VR on and 10 with VR off. You should be able to get A HIGHER PERCENTAGE of sharp shots with VR on, but subject movement is a separate issue.

It is a percentage game. Looking at just one sample at a shutter speed is largely meaningless.

Elliot Bernstein , Apr 05, 2007; 01:29 p.m.

I would repeat the test taking 5 shots of each setting, making sure you hold the camera as steady as possible for each shot, and see if you get similar results. If you do, there may be something wrong with your lens.

I have the non-vr version and get nice results with it.

Shun Cheung , Apr 05, 2007; 01:34 p.m.

If I put my 70-200mm/f2.8 VR on a tripod and shoot a still subject in a series of 10 shots, I can get pretty constant results.

If I hand hold at 200mm and 1/50 sec with VR, I see a lot of variation from image to image. The effect of VR is not constant; it works better in some shots and not so great in some others. That is why you need a larger number of samples to increate your odds.

Curtis Ritchie , Apr 05, 2007; 02:18 p.m.

Thanks for the inputs. Upon further experimentation I have found that it's very important to hold the shutter release button in the depressed position long enough to allow the VR time to function properly. If you're too fast on the trigger the results are not good. Being careful about this I'm now pretty consistently getting noticeable improvement at 1/200th and even more dramitic improvement down in the 1/25-1/50th range. This is covered in the VR directions which I didn't read initially. RTFM!

Tito Espina , Apr 05, 2007; 02:23 p.m.

I received my copy last weekend and have been playing around with it awhile. I am somewhat stunned at the quality you were able to get, meaning, those don't look good. As I understand the VR feature, you need to press the shutter half way down to activate it; and then depress all the way to take the shot. (I pause for about a millisecond until I hear the gizmo stop making noise, and then I shoot.) Did you take care to do this or did you just snap away?

The samples I get are much better than what you show. In fact, I'm quite happy I took the chance on a $250 lens with VR. It's small, light and looks plenty sharp to me. As long as the plastic and glue hold out, I think I'm good to go.

Curtis Ritchie , Apr 05, 2007; 04:39 p.m.

After further practice I'm quite pleased with the lens VR performance. Here is the uncropped image and crops of the birdhouse with and without VR taken at 200mm and 1/50th. And the performance is pretty consistent provided that I don't get too trigger happy.


55-200mm DX VR at 200mm & 1/50th second

Dave Lee , Apr 05, 2007; 04:57 p.m.

At 1/200sec shutter speed, as your test shows, quality can go down if you leave VR on. So yes, VR is only meant for slow shutter speeds. People think VR will improve all your shots. This isn't true, I've posted that fact before. Thanks for your test.

A tripod is a better solution than VR anyway.

Dave

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