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Are V/R lenses a must?

edited December 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Like others who are new to photography, they buy a camera with lenses and some basic items. I am one of those. When I purchased my D3200, my lenses didn't have the V/R option. At that time I knew nothing about it. My pictures are blurry and it gets frustrating when trying to take decent pictures. Are there settings that can help with this, or do I need to replace the lenses with V/R?


  • edited December 2016
    You can get sharp pictures without VR, but it's more difficult and limiting, because you must often use faster shutter speeds.

    There used to be a sort of basic rule for camera shake on 35mm, or full frame, which was that the shutter speed should be approximately the reciprocal of the lens's focal length. So, for example, if you're shooting at 50mm, the shutter speed should be 1/50 or better (on older cameras 1/60 would be closest). With DX format, the rule still applies, but for the reciprocal of the cropped equivalent. So if you're shooting at 50mm, you should have a shutter speed of better than 1/70. If shooting at 300mm, your shutter speed should be 1/450 or better, and so forth. It's always a bit of a compromise, and the result is not necessarily that all your pictures will be good, but that you'll get a reasonable percentage of keepers.

    One compromise you may have to make is to crank up the ISO in poor light to allow for faster shutter speeds. That will give you a noisier picture, but less camera shake.

    You'll find that relatively short prime lenses often do not have VR at all, because they are not that hard to hold steady anyway. You just have to be careful with shutter speed.

    The D3200 in its US version should have come with the VR 18-55mm lens, which works pretty well.

    Part of the challenge may be met by practice and technique. Holding the camera well, learning how to depress the shutter without jiggling, and so forth, can be improved with practice. Viewfinder view works much better than Live View for this. Use a tripod whenever possible. Look around the web for other hints on how to hold and brace the camera, and see if any work. and practice a lot.

    For practice, it can be helpful to find an indoor scene in which there are little LED lights. Try aiming your camera at that scene (content not important, you're going to delete the pictures), and try different shutter speeds. Little round LED lights will go oval when the camera shakes, making it very easy to determine what shutter speeds you can handle.

    Sometimes it can help to set the shutter to continuous mode and take several pictures at once. Often the camera will be a little steadier after the first shot. When shooting digital, the best solution is to take more pictures than you expect to keep. Do not stint. Your D3200's shutter is good for something like 100 thousand shots or more, and unlikely ever to wear out, so just bang away and erase bad ones with abandon.

    VR, especially the second generation of VR, is very nice to have, the more so as your focal length gets longer. It's activated when you're viewing, and at long lengths it can even make viewing easier. It's quite possible to live without it, but with it you can shoot at slower shutter speeds, and often at lower ISO.

    The D3200 in its US kit should have come with the first-generation 18-55mm VR lens, which works quite nicely. If you just can't seem to get comfortable without VR, consider looking at used options for newer lenses. sells used lenses at a fairly reasonable price. They have a good warranty, and their grading is very conservative. The VR version of the 18-55mm is quite inexpensive, and you may find a decent bargain on the VR version of the 55-200mm or 55-300mm as well. The 55-300mm DX even used is not exactly cheap, but it has second generation VR and is easy to use. But before going that route, try practicing and improving technique.
  • edited January 2017
    VR must be switched off if using a tripod as it will introduce shake. So if you use a tripod a lot, buying a non VR lens is less expensive and an advantage. If you find it difficult holding a camera still on a cold day, or have been drinking and got the shakes, a VR lens is an advantage. Not that that would happen to a forum member.
  • edited January 2017
    Thanks for the tips. I think a little more practice and concentration on technique is in order.
  • edited January 2017
    I don't recommend drinking in general, but must confess that many many years ago, when just a young lad, I found that a couple of beers were good for hand holding. I could get a pretty good shot with a normal lens on a Nikon F at 1/4 second, and sometimes at 1/2. I got some nice portraits by candle light. The old F was a heavy beast, and not hard to hold steady, and resolution wasn't quite so critical on black and white film in soft indoor light.

    Nowadays with lighter cameras and sharp sensors we can't get away with it so easily. It does not, of course, have anything to do with no longer being 21. No no, not that!

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