“Vibration Reduction”; Nikon’s tradename for optical image stabilization. The camera and lens sense the degree of camera motion, and deflect elements in the lens to cause counter-vailing motions, resulting (if it all works right) in a sharper image. They claim about a 3-stop improvement (in terms of lower shutter speeds usable hand-held).
The rule of thumb is that you can safely hand-hold the camera down to a shutter speed of 1/(focal length). This is a 35mm rule of thumb, and it’s the 35mm-equivalent focal length that matters here. So for a 200mm lens on a full-frame DSLR, the safe shutter speed (by rule of thumb) is 1/200 sec. Or, with VR, about 1/30.
The following test photos are small crops from the center of the frame, containing the focus point. They were all shot hand-held, free-standing (I wasn’t leaning against anything).
I score that as 1 and 2 acceptably sharp, the rest not.
And now some examples shot with VR off.
None of the VR off examples are acceptably sharp.
So; the VR off case certainly works as expected, no hope. The VR case produced two acceptably sharp photos a full 4 stops below where it should have been okay by rule of thumb. And a lot of failures, but I was seriously pushing the limits here.
Next post will be another run, a bit more careful, with 10 shots of the same test subject for each series. But this is getting long enough and ugly enough as it is.
Officially it’s “AT-X 124 AF PRO DX”. Their first shot at a crop-factor DSLR lens, and quite a big success; lots of people on the net like it for example.
A previous round of test shots when I first got this lens is here.
And why am I testing this when I’m leaving DX and about to sell it? Well, I needed to test my old 28-70, and I decided I should include other lenses as sanity-checks, so I’m looking at more than one set of results.
So not so shabby really, I don’t think.
There really isn’t anything much wrong with this by f/8.
The 24mm end is pretty fuzzy in the corner too, at f/4.
Pretty nice, especially in the center. Possibly better than the Nikkor at f/5.6, even.
I’ve had this since the Australia trip; is that 1983? I’d gotten out to 28mm with the Vivitar Series 1 28-90 zoom, and was finding myself using the wide end of that a lot (I’d previously had a 28mm for my Miranda Sensorex, which I never liked and rarely used; I might have had one in the Pentax system too). It’s an old manual-focus lens, but it was thought to be very good at the time. How will it stand up on modern digital?
These are somewhat cluttered — the wall wasn’t really wide enough (I guess I should have walked in closer really), so there’s stuff overlaying the bricks in the edge shot. Try to ignore the out-of-focus foliage!
And I clearly wasn’t considering this carefully, because I only shot an f/5.6 test of this one.
The results aren’t stellar; definitely soft, even at f/5.6, even in the center. Well, it’s only one test image, perhaps I focused badly or held unsteadily. Or not. On the mental list for consideration.
This will be of rather limited interest; but I failed to find the information on the web when I needed it, and when I figured it out myself (which turned out not to be hard) I made a note to perpetuate the information, as it were.