One of the many ways that our COOLPIX, Nikon 1 and DSLR cameras help you to take steady and sharp images is by using VR (Vibration Reduction) technology. So we thought we’d take a closer look into exactly how that technology works.
The diagram below explains how the VR mechanism works. Essentially two lens sensors independently detect pitching and yawing, then provide instructions to two Voice Coil Motors (VCMs) that command the VR optical system to compensate blur.
The technology itself is activated upon pressing the shutter-release button halfway. This corrects image blur, providing a stable image for the viewfinder, the AF sensor and the metering sensor. Whilst other camera manufacturers have their own VR systems, ours differ to many others in that we help to correct blur in the viewfinder image as well as in the captured image. One of the ways we do this is by incorporating our VR system into our lenses. This leads to more precise focusing and exposure metering as is explained by the images below.
VR is effective for capturing great shots when shooting at night. If a scene is too dark to be corrected by increasing the ISO sensitivity, VR will step in to provide more effective blur reduction too. If you find that your images blur when you shoot with slower shutter speeds in dark scenes, then click here to see the difference VR technology can make to this. You can also see the results below – the image on the left is taken with VR off and the image on the right is taken with VR on.
Another benefit of VR is that it’s really effective for accurate focusing. Clearly, the area which you choose to focus on is integral to the composition of the image, especially for telephoto and macro shooting as these require you to focus on a very small area. Because our VR system is incorporated in the lens, blur in the viewfinder image is effectively corrected giving you a clear and stable viewfinder image which enables more precise focusing. The image on the left shows the front subjects in focus as intended and the image on the right shows how without using VR the focus can sometimes shift unintentionally.
Our VR system can also be utilised for panning shots taken in normal mode, using our Panning Detection function. For example, instead of correcting the horizontal blur of a car moving across a road, VR detects sideways camera movement and automatically suppresses the blur-correction function, reducing only blur in the vertical direction, allowing you to capture clear shots of moving objects. What’s more, this is effective regardless of the camera’s orientation or direction of movement. The below image shows how this works.
Our VR System offers Normal mode as well as Active mode, to help cover various shooting situations. In Normal mode, slow and wide camera movement is regarded as recomposing movement and VR operation is controlled accordingly. In Active mode, however, even large amounts of camera movement are compensated for, to give a smooth viewfinder image. You might find this mode quite useful particularly when shooting from a moving vehicle or some other unstable position.
Whilst tripods do help to prevent image blur, camera shake can still occur due to the movements of the quick-return mirror or shutter curtain, or winds. This camera shake movement has different characteristics compared to normal camera shake caused by handheld shooting but the VR technology in some of our lenses makes it possible to detect and compensate this type of camera shake, as well.