Rodney Campbell's Blog

Nikon Z 24-200mm Handheld VR Tests

by on Jun.27, 2020, under Life, Photography, Technology

Today I’m testing the Vibration Reduction (VR) capabilities of the new Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens. This is one of the first Nikon Z FX lenses to include VR in the lens. In theory the specs say the Vibration Reduction is rated for up to 5 stops

For these tests I waited till early twilight and shot with the 24-200 attached to my Nikon Z7 at 200mm handheld

Common wisdom would say that to shoot acceptably sharp images handheld with this combination would require a 1/focal length (1/200 sec) shutter speed. Probably even faster given the Z7’s 46MP high sensor resolution

The way I completed the test is that I

  • shot in Manual mode
  • with the aperture fixed at f/8
  • I adjusted the shutter speed and ISO between sets (doubling the shutter speed and ISO each time)
  • with Vibration reduction turned ON in the camera’s menu settings Note the 24-200 doesn’t have a physical VR switch on the lens like older F-Mount lenses. The function is completely controlled from the camera

On the Nikon Z50 DX camera body (which doesn’t have IBIS) the vibration reduction works alone. The lens adds 5 stops of built-in optical vibration reduction, but also works in tandem with IBIS on Nikon bodies that include IBIS like the Z6 and Z7

I shot sets at various shutter speeds – if we say that 1/200 sec is the target “normal” then I took sets of images at 1/6 sec (5 stops slower), 1/3 sec (6 stops slower) and 0.6 sec (7 stops slower)

For each set at a certain shutter speed I took 10 images handheld with good handholding technique

When reviewing these sets of ten images in post I had roughly 4-6 images which were as sharp as what you see below. The rest would be what I would call not acceptably sharp to varying degrees. Still a 50% hit rate to me is more than acceptable at these very slow handheld speeds

In this post I’ll be showing pairs of images taken at the different shutter speeds handheld. The first of the pair is the complete image frame and the second is a 1600 pixel wide 100% crop from the frame. I’ve tried to align the 100% crop across the sets so you’ll see roughly the same spot on the tree

Vibration Reduction On (5 Stops)

VR On (5 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/6 sec at f/8, ISO 250

Vibration Reduction (5 Stops)

VR On (5 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/6 sec at f/8, ISO 250

Note: These photographs (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger. To see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer click any of the images.

Vibration Reduction On (6 Stops)

VR On (6 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/3 sec at f/8, ISO 125

Vibration Reduction On (6 Stops)

VR On (6 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/3 sec at f/8, ISO 125

Vibration Reduction On (7 Stops)

VR On (7 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 0.6 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Vibration Reduction On (7 Stops)

VR On (7 Stops)

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 0.6 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Lastly here is what you get when you take the shot with VR turned off – yes a blurry mess

Vibration Reduction Off

VR Off

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/2 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Vibration Reduction Off

VR Off

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/2 sec at f/8, ISO 64

Finally here’s one I took wide open at 200mm, earlier in the day at a more sensible 1/200 sec shutter speed handheld

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR @ 200 mm, 1/200 sec at f/6.3, ISO 280

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