Nikkor 18-200 VR on Nikon D80

VR EFFICIENCY TEST

Updated: November 6, 2006 - Padova

I photographed the following scene with my new 18-200 VR (actually, VRII) lens @200mm, using a Nikon D80 body. I focussed on the group of cars in the center. Camera setting was: ISO 400, shutter priority, shutter speed from 1/125s to 1/15s (4 shutter speed combinations). All shots are JPEG L, normal quality, with no post-processing of any kind.

For each shutter speed I used three different shooting configuration:
(i) standing with no support;
(ii) standing while leaning against a vertical support (e.g. a wall);
(iii) kneeling on the floor, with elbows resting on a horizontal support (e.g. a table).

For each configuration I took ten continuous shots with VR off and 10 continuous shots with VR on (normal setting). For each of the 4x3x2=24 different shooting combinations (total 240 shots) I selected the 4 best shots, for which I am comparing below crops 240x160 pixel wide, shown at 100% magnification.

When the quality difference among the four best crops is small, I am also indicating how many good shots (considering the given shutter speed, not in absolute terms!) I got out of 10, to give an idea of the behaviour of the shot distribution beyond these four. Of course the definition of "good" here is subjective, and this number is only meant to compare results at fixed shutter speed, but different shooting configurations.

For comparison, on the last column of each row I show - bordered in red - the crop from a reference shot, taken with a shutter speed of 1/800s VR On, to show what one can expect under best conditions.

The white dot covering part of the car licence plate was added for privacy protection reasons.

At the end of this page I summarize my conclusions. If you wish, feel free to drop me an email. Thanks!


Full frame of the reference shot:


Shutter speed 1/15s - f25

No support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

No support. VR On. 8/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR On. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR On. 4 best shots + reference:


Shutter speed 1/30s - f18

No support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

No support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR On. 7/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:


Shutter speed 1/60s - f11

No support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

No support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR Off. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR Off. 7/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference.


Shutter speed 1/125s - f8

No support. VR Off. 8/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

No support. VR On. 9/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR Off. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Vertical support. VR On. 10/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR Off. 9/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference:

Horizontal support. VR On. 8/10 acceptable. 4 best shots + reference.


My Conclusions

Bottom Line: For best results, leave VR always On, and shoot hand-held with no support.


Updated: February 10, 2009 - Padova