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Image Stabilizers

In order to get a sharp non-blurry shot taken from hands (or in motion), you need to take into account the shutter speed when shooting – because the longer the shutter speed, the more you can smear on the picture.

Almost always, if the lens aperture opens to a size greater than F2.8, they write that the lens is ideal for shooting in the evening and even at night. In some ways, they are right, but working and taking off from my hands, I came to the conclusion that the VR stabilizer is more suitable in the lens than a large aperture.

Taking from his hands and using the golden rule that the number responsible for the shutter speed should be greater than the effective focal length. For example, if you shoot at a focal length of 35mm, the shutter speed should be no longer than 1/35 of a second, usually 1/60 and shorter shutter speeds. But when you use a lens with vibration reduction, this rule changes a lot.

For popular and well-known manufacturers of cameras and lenses, there is a designation of the function of reducing vibrations. Below is a list of the most popular notation.

Built-in lens stabilizers:

Canon: IS – Image Stabilization (Image Stabilizer)

Nikon: VR – Vibration Reduction

Panasonic: O.I.S. – Optical Image Stabilizer (optical image stabilizer)

Sony: Optical Steady Shot (Optical Shooting Stabilizer)

Tamron: VC – Vibration Compensation (Vibration Compensation)

Sigma: OS – Optical Stabilization (Optical Stabilizer)

Stabilization built into the camera:

Pentax: SR – Shake Reduction

Olympus: IS – Image Stabilizer (Image Stabilizer)

Sony: SSS – Super Steady Shot (Super Shooting Stabilizer)

Konica Minolta: AS – Anti-Shake (Anti-shake)

I will explain the benefits of vibration reduction using the example of a Nikon 18-105mm f / 3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor vibration reduction lens (calculations can be made for other lenses). If in order to get an acceptable picture at a focal length of 105mm (which is already an average telephoto), you need to use camera parameters, at which the shutter speed should be less than 1/105 or even 1/150 (considering crop) according to the rule described above. Usually the number of shutter speeds that can be set on the camera corresponds to 1/125 seconds. Given that this lens, like most of the zoom is not fast (dark) at the aperture of F5.6, you need to use high ISO values, which will give a lot of noise.

If you turn on the VR function on the lens, you can shoot at exposures of the order of 1/20 second with the same success, thus reducing the ISO.

Why it happens? The manufacturer in the technical specifications indicates that a lens or a camera with vibration suppression can work with exposures several steps shorter (longer) than without it. In this case, it is 3 steps.

One step in the photo means a difference of 2 times. Three steps will give a difference of eight times. 2 ^ 3 = 8 (two to the third degree). So we get 1/125 divided by 8 is approximately equal to 1/15 of a second.

These calculations are really close to the truth, but due to the fact that manufacturers wind indicators, a less true value is learned only in practice.

For a given lens at 105mm focal length (which, in terms of EGF gives 157 mm), the minimum shutter speed when shooting with hands is valid in the region of 1 / 15-1 / 30.

An example of a photo made with hands, shooting options in the caption picture.

Vibration reduction by example
1/25 sec ISO 1600 F5.6 105 mm Nikon d40 + Nikkor 18-105 VR 3.5-5.6 handheld shooting

All of these calculations are valid for any lenses or suppression systems.

As we can see in the photo above, with a shutter speed of 1 \ 2 seconds (which is a very long shutter speed under normal conditions), we get absolutely acceptable picture quality from hands at low ISO.

Previously, just a couple of years ago, photographers, with long exposures, should have used a tripod, or high-aperture lenses.

When working with high-aperture lenses, such as 50mm F1.4 50mm F1.8 and shooting in difficult conditions, lenses with vibration suppression are a significant competition, and sometimes they win.

The luminosity of F5.6 and F1.8 differ by about 3 steps, if to be precise, the difference in the magnitude of the light flux is 9 times the difference. (because the change in the F number two gives an area change 4 times, from here 5.6 / 1.8 = 3.11, and the difference in area is 3.11 ^ 2 = approximately 9).

We get that winning with a high-aperture lens gives a decrease in shutter speed by 9 times, and when using VR by 8 times. In practice, both methods work when shooting in poorly lit areas.

For me personally, it is convenient to use both vibration suppression and high-aperture fixes. Each has its own merits.

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