VR Tests, Pass 3, Part 1: The Manual is Right

Yes, this topic has been annoying me quite a bit; why do you ask?

I was doing a set of tripod-based tests tonight, under the conditions I’ve established for the planned hand-held series, to produce example of just how sharp this target should look through this lens. (One of the questions last time was whether I was expecting too much sharpness.)

I was shooting very carefully, doing nearly everything I could to eliminate sources of vibration: tripod, LiveView mode (so the mirror was up), remote release (so my touching the body didn’t introduce any vibrations), contrast-detection focus (so any alignment issues in the other AF system won’t cause focus errors).

I shot 5 copies of each test case; each group of 5 looks substantially the same, indicating that my procedures were at least consistent from shot to shot.

Here’s one of the full frames, reduced to a sensible jpeg size, to give you an idea of what the setup was. All the images after this will be 100% crops from the center when you click through the thumbnail.

Full frame of 1/13sec VR off exposure

Full frame of 1/13sec VR off exposure

First, here are 100% crops from a few shots without VR at various ISOs and shutter speeds:

VR off, 1.30sec

VR off, 1.30sec

VR off, 1/25sec

VR off, 1/25sec

VR off, 1/13sec.

VR off, 1/13sec.

Now, here are 100% crops from a few shots with VR at the one ISO (Lo.1) and shutter speed (1.30sec) I tested:

VR On, 1.30sec

VR On, 1.30sec

VR on, 1.30sec

VR on, 1.30sec

VR on, 1.30sec

VR on, 1.30sec

That, as the saying goes, is just not right.

The manual says to NOT use VR on a tripod. Based on this step of the experiment, I have to say that the manual is definitely right on this one! (The manuals for various generations of Nikon VR give different answers to whether it should be used on a tripod. I checked the manual for this specific lens, and it definitely says not to use VR on a tripod. They’re right!)

So, some day soon, the rest of the test, actual hand-held shots with VR on and off, using this same target.

4 Responses to “VR Tests, Pass 3, Part 1: The Manual is Right”

  1. Nikon Watch » Blog Archive » On Tripod? VR OFF! Comparison Shots- Rumors and News - D3x, D700, D800, D400, Digital Rangefinder Says:

    [...] I’ve never tried test shots of a VR lens on a tripod with VR on vs off, but David Dyer-Bennet has and we’re the better for [...]

  2. DD-B » Blog Archive » VR Tests, Pass 3 Part 2: Not Impressed Says:

    [...] It’s a playpen! « VR Tests, Pass 3, Part 1: The Manual is Right [...]

  3. On Tripod? VR OFF! Comparison Shots - Nikon Freaks Community Says:

    [...] I’ve never tried test shots of a VR lens on a tripod with VR on vs off, but David Dyer-Bennet has and we’re the better for [...]

  4. On Tripod? VR OFF! Comparison Shots | fotonieuwtjes.nl Says:

    [...] I’ve never tried test shots of a VR lens on a tripod with VR on vs off, but David Dyer-Bennet has and we’re the better for [...]

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