Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Started Jan 15, 2012 | Discussions
Juggernaut122
Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Hi,

Can someone tell me why this is happening?

1) I have a canon point and shoot camera sx-130 with 12 x optical zoom (about $200 retail).
I am comparing it to my D5100 with the 55-200 mm lens.

2) At full zoom (which are pretty darn close to identical in the 2 situations) the canon pictures are much more clear.

3) settings for each camera
-Canon sx-130: 1/60 iso 200 - image stabilization on - hand held
-D5100: 1/125 iso 320 - VR on - hand held

4) I am taking a picture of a ball.
-With the canon I can clearly read the "made in china" words on it
-With the D5100 the "made in china" words are a blur that cannot be read.

5) When I turn the VF "OFF" (yes OFF), I can read the "made in china" words much better, but it is still not as clear as the $200 canon point and shoot.

Can anyone help me with this situation?

Is the Nikon VF known to be not as good as the Canon image stabilization?

With a slower shutter speed and costing $600 less than the Nikon setup, I would expect the Canon pictures to be worse than the Nikon, but the canon shots are clearly better.

Are SLR's with relatively cheap lenses known to be inferior to point and shoot zoom lenses?

Is my lens defective?

I hope someone can help me clarify the situation.

-In the images below, I listed from worse quality to best:

(Note that I am cutting and pasting from the full size image for all of them - there is no post processing zooming here.):

-Top image, is Nikon with VF ON

Middle image, is Nikon with VF OFF (I am NOT mixing the two up. I do NOT have it reversed - these are the results I get each time - I can see the VR trying to stabilize things while I shoot, but these are the results I get every time)

Bottom image, is Canon sx-130 point and shoot with IS on.

Thanks!

Juggernaut

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Nikon D5100
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GMack Senior Member • Posts: 2,928
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Try it in Live View with and without the VR. You could also be having some - not unheard of - AF issues too with either the lens or the camera.

In my own experience, Canon P&S cameras are maximized for sharpness right out of the camera and usually are fixed around an optimum high shutter speed and optimal sharpness f/stop of the lens. You may see a bit of a moire around the details in the Canon if you push the enlargement. Nikon takes a bit of PP work and/or raising the settings in the menu to maximize the sharpness.

Imo, I'm still not that sold on VR. I turned it off once on my 70-200mm f/2.8 and the thing shook like crazy on the tripod as it's supposed to be switched off on the tripod, but I wasn't expecting that! That's a huge mass moving around inside to do that by simply turning it off.

Mack

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Juggernaut122 wrote:

Hi,

Can someone tell me why this is happening?

1) I have a canon point and shoot camera sx-130 with 12 x optical zoom (about $200 retail).
I am comparing it to my D5100 with the 55-200 mm lens.

2) At full zoom (which are pretty darn close to identical in the 2 situations) the canon pictures are much more clear.

Similar situation but not really a good apples to apples situation. Sensor size, pixel density, and in camera JPEG engine all have an impact. May not be a big contributor here but can be. It would be nice if you could post the full OOC JPEGS for a proper comparison. There is also significant difference s in focus that can cause the thing your seeing. Try using Live View focus on the D5100 for a better comparison of the two cameras (your D5100 PDAF focus may be at fault in this case)

3) settings for each camera
-Canon sx-130: 1/60 iso 200 - image stabilization on - hand held
-D5100: 1/125 iso 320 - VR on - hand held

5) When I turn the VF "OFF" (yes OFF), I can read the "made in china" words much better, but it is still not as clear as the $200 canon point and shoot.

The 55-200 may be having difficulties with it's VR unit. Not an unheard of situation. Some 18-105 units also seem to have a wide variation in VR abilities. May not be the case but just a thought.

Is the Nikon VF known to be not as good as the Canon image stabilization?

Nope...both are quite good.

With a slower shutter speed and costing $600 less than the Nikon setup, I would expect the Canon pictures to be worse than the Nikon, but the canon shots are clearly better.

Many things can cause the phenomenon here...again, try a Live View comparison.

Are SLR's with relatively cheap lenses known to be inferior to point and shoot zoom lenses?

Nope, but there can be a significant variation one lens to the next, be it same model or different price point.

Is my lens defective?

Possible.

Middle image, is Nikon with VF OFF (I am NOT mixing the two up. I do NOT have it reversed - these are the results I get each time - I can see the VR trying to stabilize things while I shoot, but these are the results I get every time)

Just a note:

There are two VR modes. Pre-exposure mode gives you a stabilized image in the view finder and is what you notice when you say " I can see the VR trying to stabilize things while I shoot". This mode has nothing to do with the final captured exposure so no need to worry about letting it finish. When you go from half press to full press of the shutter release button, The VR mode changes. The VR element is re-centered and the VR algorithms change from "pre" to "during" exposure mode. This all happens during the time the mirror goes from down to up. Not sure how it works on non Nikon lens.
http://www.nikon.com/about/technology/core/software/vr_e/index.htm
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/microsite/vr/index.htm

Go to the Nikon's Original VR functions button and then to Centering Prior To Exposure button under it.

Here are examples of No VR...VR stabilized in the view finder...and VR with no view finder stabilization (no pause at half press of the shutter release).

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

GMack wrote:

Try it in Live View with and without the VR. You could also be having some - not unheard of - AF issues too with either the lens or the camera.

In my own experience, Canon P&S cameras are maximized for sharpness right out of the camera and usually are fixed around an optimum high shutter speed and optimal sharpness f/stop of the lens. You may see a bit of a moire around the details in the Canon if you push the enlargement. Nikon takes a bit of PP work and/or raising the settings in the menu to maximize the sharpness.

Good advice.

Imo, I'm still not that sold on VR. I turned it off once on my 70-200mm f/2.8 and the thing shook like crazy on the tripod as it's supposed to be switched off on the tripod, but I wasn't expecting that! That's a huge mass moving around inside to do that by simply turning it off.

That should not happen. My copy has never reacted that way.

Mack

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Example

Here is an example of the same thing happening with the 18-105mm

This was an extreme example. In this case 2 of 10 shots would be sharper with VR "off" while the other 8 sets would be equal or slightly better with VR "on". 1/200s seemed to be the place where it happened most often. Slower than 1/200s, all VR "on" shots were significantly sharper. This doesn't seem to happen with any of my other VR lenses. Good Luck

Juggernaut122
OP Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Mako2011 wrote:

Similar situation but not really a good apples to apples situation. Sensor size, pixel density, and in camera JPEG engine all have an impact. May not be a big contributor here but can be. It would be nice if you could post the full OOC JPEGS for a proper comparison. There is also significant difference s in focus that can cause the thing your seeing. Try using Live View focus on the D5100 for a better comparison of the two cameras (your D5100 PDAF focus may be at fault in this case)

-- hide signature --

Juggernaut says: -It seems to me that live view works a little better - about as good as VF off, but the $200 point and shoot still beats it every time - a bit frustrating.

http://www.nikon.com/about/technology/core/software/vr_e/index.htm
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/microsite/vr/index.htm

Go to the Nikon's Original VR functions button and then to Centering Prior To Exposure button under it.

-Juggernaut says: I am not sure that this function to adjust the VR exists in the D5100 - I don't seem to be able to find it in any of the menus and I don't see it in the manual.

I am attaching the full size images (didn't know we could do that here - very cool!)

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Juggernaut122
OP Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Juggernaut122 wrote:

Juggernaut says: -It seems to me that live view works a little better - about as good as VF off, but the $200 point and shoot still beats it every time - a bit frustrating.

-Juggernaut says: I am not sure that this function to adjust the VR exists in the D5100 - I don't seem to be able to find it in any of the menus and I don't see it in the manual.

I am attaching the full size images (didn't know we could do that here - very cool!)

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
raunak Forum Member • Posts: 98
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

The focal range of the sx-130 is 5mm-60mm. Due to its smaller sensor, it gives the field of view of a 28-336 mm lens. You used a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second at max zoom for the canon which is fine if you go by the rule of shutter speed being no slower than the reciprocal of the focal length.

In case of the nikon, the focal range is actually 55-200 mm. So, going by the same rule you should have maintained a shutter speed of atleast 1/200th of a second at the long end. VR can save you sometimes but for critical sharpness you better use higher shutter speeds. I can see you only used ISO320 where as you could have easily gone up to 800-1600 on the D5100.

Also, at the same aperture, the canon will have a much deeper DOF due to its smaller sensor - so your blurry result could also be a result of the markings lying outside of the focal plane.

Hope this helps. Try again with faster shutter speeds and see the results.

 raunak's gear list:raunak's gear list
Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Tamron SP AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF) +3 more
Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Juggernaut122 wrote:

Mako2011 wrote:

Similar situation but not really a good apples to apples situation. Sensor size, pixel density, and in camera JPEG engine all have an impact. May not be a big contributor here but can be. It would be nice if you could post the full OOC JPEGS for a proper comparison. There is also significant difference s in focus that can cause the thing your seeing. Try using Live View focus on the D5100 for a better comparison of the two cameras (your D5100 PDAF focus may be at fault in this case)

Juggernaut says: -It seems to me that live view works a little better - about as good as VF off, but the $200 point and shoot still beats it every time - a bit frustrating.

Try bothe cameras at 1/30s and you might be less frustrated.

-Juggernaut says: I am not sure that this function to adjust the VR exists in the D5100 - I don't seem to be able to find it in any of the menus and I don't see it in the manual.

That's built into every VR lens...not a camera function.

I am attaching the full size images (didn't know we could do that here - very cool!)

go here http://www.dpreview.com/members/settings/profile

And under the "Privacy and Safety" tab check "Allow" under "allow download of original" That way we can download the pic to ViewNX2 and check the camera settings you used. That assumes you uploaded pics/files as they came from the camera vs any change in Photoshop or the like. Good luck

Juggernaut122
OP Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

raunak wrote:

The focal range of the sx-130 is 5mm-60mm. Due to its smaller sensor, it gives the field of view of a 28-336 mm lens. You used a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second at max zoom for the canon which is fine if you go by the rule of shutter speed being no slower than the reciprocal of the focal length.

In case of the nikon, the focal range is actually 55-200 mm. So, going by the same rule you should have maintained a shutter speed of atleast 1/200th of a second at the long end. VR can save you sometimes but for critical sharpness you better use higher shutter speeds. I can see you only used ISO320 where as you could have easily gone up to 800-1600 on the D5100.

Also, at the same aperture, the canon will have a much deeper DOF due to its smaller sensor - so your blurry result could also be a result of the markings lying outside of the focal plane.

Hope this helps. Try again with faster shutter speeds and see the results.

Hi Raunak,

Thanks for the input.

I did find that, as you said, if I used a faster shutter speed that the images were then as clear (and sometimes more clear) than the sx 130.

I am totally a newbie at dslr photography and I certainly know I have alot to learn.

I don't know enough about the relationship between the lens and the sensor, so I assumed that I would get a similar shot when the camera's were set to similar settings - clearly not true.
So the 1/focal length rule has to do with image clarity?

I am still confused as to why at 1/60th the canon shots are clear but takes 1/200 for the nikon if they have equivalent image stabilization abilities...perhaps it has nothing to do with VF (but then what does VF do for us?)

It almost makes it seem like having a smaller sensor is a good thing in this case (although I understand that usually that is not the case).

If there were no VF or IS, would the same rules apply?

Thanks!
Juggernaut

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Juggernaut122 wrote:

raunak wrote:

The focal range of the sx-130 is 5mm-60mm. Due to its smaller sensor, it gives the field of view of a 28-336 mm lens. You used a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second at max zoom for the canon which is fine if you go by the rule of shutter speed being no slower than the reciprocal of the focal length.

In case of the nikon, the focal range is actually 55-200 mm. So, going by the same rule you should have maintained a shutter speed of atleast 1/200th of a second at the long end. VR can save you sometimes but for critical sharpness you better use higher shutter speeds. I can see you only used ISO320 where as you could have easily gone up to 800-1600 on the D5100.

Also, at the same aperture, the canon will have a much deeper DOF due to its smaller sensor - so your blurry result could also be a result of the markings lying outside of the focal plane.

Hope this helps. Try again with faster shutter speeds and see the results.

Hi Raunak,

Thanks for the input.

I did find that, as you said, if I used a faster shutter speed that the images were then as clear (and sometimes more clear) than the sx 130.

I am totally a newbie at dslr photography and I certainly know I have alot to learn.

I don't know enough about the relationship between the lens and the sensor, so I assumed that I would get a similar shot when the camera's were set to similar settings - clearly not true.
So the 1/focal length rule has to do with image clarity?

Not clarity. On a DX body (with no image stabilization... lens or body) a good rule of thumb to avoid the affects of camera shake it to use a shutter speed 1.5 x the focal length (1 x focal length for FF bodies). In the case of the 55-200 at 200mm...a 1/300s would be a place to start. VR can allow you to use much slower shutter speeds in an effort to lessen the effects of camera motion (subject blur do to motion of the subject can not be lessened with stabilization). Good hand hold techniques can also be very affective and even help VR to a point.

I am still confused as to why at 1/60th the canon shots are clear but takes 1/200 for the Nikon if they have equivalent image stabilization abilities...perhaps it has nothing to do with VR (but then what does VR do for us?)

Your lens may be off from time to time...VR is Not perfect. See the 18-105 examples. Also, try the 55-200 at 200mm at 1/100s and your Canon at 1/45s (equalized for focal length) and see what you get.

Juggernaut122
OP Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Mako2011 wrote:

Not clarity. On a DX body (with no image stabilization... lens or body) a good rule of thumb to avoid the affects of camera shake it to use a shutter speed 1.5 x the focal length (1 x focal length for FF bodies). In the case of the 55-200 at 200mm...a 1/300s would be a place to start. VR can allow you to use much slower shutter speeds in an effort to lessen the effects of camera motion (subject blur do to motion of the subject can not be lessened with stabilization). Good hand hold techniques can also be very affective and even help VR to a point.

Ok, so I think I am starting to understand. Thanks.

I always thought the ability to use a faster shutter speed was a bonus, but not a requirement. I suppose the fact that more light comes in will make the image tend to blur more the slower the shutter speed if not using a tripod - sort of like good bokeh with a wide open lens?

I attached comparison shots - the canon at 1/60 vs the Nikon at 1/1000 shutter speed - alot closer now in clarity (plus I think the Nikon has slightly more reach - just barely).

I am still confused as to why at 1/60th the canon shots are clear but takes 1/200 for the Nikon if they have equivalent image stabilization abilities...perhaps it has nothing to do with VR (but then what does VR do for us?)

Your lens may be off from time to time...VR is Not perfect. See the 18-105 examples. Also, try the 55-200 at 200mm at 1/100s and your Canon at 1/45s (equalized for focal length) and see what you get.

I tried the canon at 1/40 (closest it has) - definately coming out more clear than the Nikon (which I still have to increase to over 1/200 to get close) - and the canon does it with ease - whereas with the D5100, I have to hold my breath and focus on keeping still just to come close. (Images NOT attached).

I'm mostly concerned that I might have a defective lens...Is there any real way to know?

Thanks!
Juggernaut

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Juggernaut122 wrote:

I'm mostly concerned that I might have a defective lens...Is there any real way to know?

Thanks!
Juggernaut

Yes, take a shot at 1/60s with the 18-200 VR "on" and another with VR "off" Handheld. Do it a few times for a good sample then post two Out of Camera Jpeg here to compare........then...

... go here http://www.dpreview.com/members/settings/profile

And under the "Privacy and Safety" tab check "Allow" under "allow download of original" That way we can download the pic to ViewNX2 and check the camera settings you used. That assumes you uploaded pics/files as they came from the camera vs any change in Photoshop or the like. Someone with experience with that lens will provide feedback as to if it looks comparable to their experience.

mosswings Veteran Member • Posts: 8,272
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Mako2011 wrote:

Juggernaut122 wrote:

I'm mostly concerned that I might have a defective lens...Is there any real way to know?

Thanks!
Juggernaut

Yes, take a shot at 1/60s with the 18-200 VR "on" and another with VR "off" Handheld. Do it a few times for a good sample then post two Out of Camera Jpeg here to compare........then...

... go here http://www.dpreview.com/members/settings/profile

And under the "Privacy and Safety" tab check "Allow" under "allow download of original" That way we can download the pic to ViewNX2 and check the camera settings you used. That assumes you uploaded pics/files as they came from the camera vs any change in Photoshop or the like. Someone with experience with that lens will provide feedback as to if it looks comparable to their experience.

Mako, the D5100 shot is a 1/1000 second, well above the speed where VR makes any difference..but I guess that was your point. 1/60 with the 18-200 will put the shutter speed square in the range where VR should be doing something.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Olympus Stylus 1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +5 more
Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

mosswings wrote:

Mako, the D5100 shot is a 1/1000 second, well above the speed where VR makes any difference..but I guess that was your point. 1/60 with the 18-200 will put the shutter speed square in the range where VR should be doing something.

Yes, just trying to get the OP to take a few pics from a fair sample (that we can download) that can actually be used to gauge weather his 18-200 is operating correctly regards VR. Otherwise, it seems a mute point trying to compare to the Canon P&S. Afterwards, maybe once we can establish his 18-200 is in good shape.

These two pics, at 1/125s, have me wondering and I can't check the full EXIF.

toomanycanons Forum Pro • Posts: 11,605
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Every lens is sharp in some areas and not in others. Usually center is the sharpest. I have to say that I've done tests like this a lot with point and shoots vs my Nikon DSLRs and I've never had my point and shoots be clearer, not once.

But when I do these tests I have all cameras on a tripod. I can't speak to VR vs no-VR, because I turn the VR off if my camera/lens is on a tripod. Maybe I'll do a test just with my 55-200 with VR vs non-VR. Don't have any Canon point and shoots left in my arsenal to compare!

Mako2011
MOD Mako2011 Forum Pro • Posts: 23,531
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

toomanycanons wrote:

Maybe I'll do a test just with my 55-200 with VR vs non-VR. Don't have any Canon point and shoots left in my arsenal to compare!

It would actually be very helpful at say 1/60s or 1/125s as it would give us a great comparison for the OP. Thank you

Juggernaut122
OP Juggernaut122 Contributing Member • Posts: 640
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

Mako2011 wrote:

Yes, take a shot at 1/60s with the 18-200 VR "on" and another with VR "off" Handheld. Do it a few times for a good sample then post two Out of Camera Jpeg here to compare........then...

... go here http://www.dpreview.com/members/settings/profile

And under the "Privacy and Safety" tab check "Allow" under "allow download of original" That way we can download the pic to ViewNX2 and check the camera settings you used. That assumes you uploaded pics/files as they came from the camera vs any change in Photoshop or the like. Someone with experience with that lens will provide feedback as to if it looks comparable to their experience.

Hi Mako,

I had uploaded shots taken at 1/125 with and without VR.
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=40331768

I now allowed them to be downloaded for your review.

If getting 1/60 shots will be more helpful, I can do that tomorrow - please let me know.

Thanks!
Juggernaut

 Juggernaut122's gear list:Juggernaut122's gear list
Olympus Tough TG-4 Canon G7 X II Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM +1 more
d3xmeister Senior Member • Posts: 2,660
Re: Problem with Vibration Reduction - VR with Nikons?

You are all making a HUGE MISTAKE.

If the Canon 60mm is 35mm equiv. of 336mm than you should use a shutter speed of at least 1/320 when hand held. With IS on you can use much slower SS, as demonstrated (1/60)

The Nikon 200mm 35mm equiv. is 300mm. So again, for safe had holding you need at least 1/320 according to the well known rule. Anything lower and you will rely on VR.

I also use the D5100 with the 2 kit lenses and I found the VR not that good. To be honest after some tests I decided to keep it off all the time.

So shooting both cameras at the longest end and the same shutter speed is fair enough. You will find that the Canon IS is much better. My Canon S90 IS works wonders where my 18-55mm VR is a waste of time. Probably other Nikon lenses, the more expensive ones do better.

AlbieSky Veteran Member • Posts: 3,338
Shutter difference too

There is no shutter vibration in a SX130; whereas, the Nikon will also be affected by the shutter vibration.

 AlbieSky's gear list:AlbieSky's gear list
Nikon 1 J1 Nikon 1 V2 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR +10 more
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