What VR/IS/OS can and cannot do for you

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Senior Member
Jun 15, 2007
The Tiny Red Dot
I thought I'd share my experience with VR/IS/OS lenses here so that there is a right expectation of what it does, as well as what it does not do. Had a discussion with some people about it, so I tot I'd just post this to share...

Before I bought a VR lens (I'm a Nikon user), I read up about it and found that there were great reviews about it, and how many stops more it can achieve, etc, etc. It is when I bought my 1st VR lens, and used it did I learn the following...

VR is to stabilize the handshaking. It is like putting the camera on a tripod and taking a picture. Hence, you can achieve a slower shutter speed while taking a picture. At 200mm, it has saved me many photos from my handshake as a minute handshake becomes magnified at that distance. It is a wonderful feature to have!

However, a VR lens is not a fast lens (e.g. a f/2.8 lens). Even in a low light environment (without flash), you can take pictures at a slower shutter speed while it compensates the hand movements. It does not make the shutter speed go any faster (based on correct exposure), so even if your hand does not shake, the subject may have moved, and the picture still becomes blur. It is similar to putting the camera on a tripod and taking a picture in low light environment without flash.

A fast lens would have a greater aperture and allows more light into the camera, so a faster shutter speed can be achieved. My ideal is to have VR on a fast lens! :D

So... here's my 2 cents about VR/IS/OS lenses...

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