105 VR, VR effect at macro distances tested

Started Apr 7, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Matt F Senior Member • Posts: 1,655
105 VR, VR effect at macro distances tested

I got my 105 VR a couple days ago, and I have been doing some experiments on the VR effectiveness at macro distances. Nikon of course has said that VR does not work at macro distance, but some posts here had said that it did. Obviously this stuff is extremely hard to rigorously test -- I have no idea if I am above or below average in my hand holding ability, so your results may be very different than mine.

The bottom line is that Nikon is right -- it does not really help. I am finding that hand held at 1:1 and 1:2, I need a 1/250th shutter speed to guarantee critical sharpness. At 1/125th all my shots have a bit of motion blur (though not very much). I need to do another round of testing between those two speeds to see where the cutoff is.

Testing my 60mm micro, I find that I can get 100% critically sharp shots at 1:1 or 1:2 with 1/125th hand held if I am careful. At 1/100th I get about 40% of them critically sharp, and at 1/80th about 20% are sharp, and below that none.

So I guess the smaller degree of magnification with 60mm vs. 105mm makes more difference close up than the VR does.

On the other hand, the 105 VR is far more pleasant to actually shoot macro with. The auto focus is way better, and having the extra working distance is tremendously helpful. I have not actually tried to compare image quality, bokeh, etc. yet. When they have enough shutter speed, I would say both are equally sharp.

I am debating whether or not to send the lens back. I bought it mainly in the hopes of being able to shoot hand-held macro at slower shutter speeds, and it definitely does not deliver on that account. It certainly is nice as a portrait lens, but since I already have the 70-200 VR, I am not sure it will do anything that lens does not do in that department (haven't tried any direct comparisons yet). On the other hand, it really is nice to use, and delivers great results when it has a fast enough shutter speed.

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-- Pmatt
Gallery - http://www.silentcolor.com

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