Nikon 70-200 VR soft focus

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by bikemech23, Mar 31, 2008.

  1. bikemech23

    bikemech23 TPF Noob!

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    Hi-

    I've got a 70-200 f/2.8vr on a D300.

    In reviewing some photos from a shoot in the rain the other day, I noticed alot of soft focus with the focal point right of center at f/3.2. It does not look like the results you would expect from a $1,800 lens, but then again, maybe my expectations are too high.

    I ran some tests today, and it looks like with the VR on, while looking through the viewfinder, the image in the viewfinder moves around and actually causes a blur/halo at shutter speeds of 1/13 and slower. When I turn off VR, the movement in the finder and blur in the image goes away. I tried again with VR on and bumped it down to f/10 and it also goes away.

    Does anyone have any experience with the effects of VR actually causing motion shake? This is the only 70-200 f/2.8 lens I've ever tried, and I'm unsure of exactly how sharp this thing should be. Lots of people say it's the sharpest lens they make, but all my other lenses (Nikon 10.5, Tamron 17-50, etc) are sharper at 2.8. Are there further tests that anyone knows of to see if it needs to be recalibrated?

    I will have to say that in 3 hours of shooting in heavy rain/snow with the camera exposed at all times, it worked perfectly and the lens hood did a good job of keeping the lens free from moisture till near the end of the shoot. Next time I will be wrapping the hood/lens interface with tape to prevent all moisture from getting in there. I'm amazed that we can shoot in these conditions without damaging the equipment. That is the exact reason I bought this camera and lens.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Problems with VR are well documented. That is why the lens has an off switch, and the manual says always switch it off when using a tripod. But this problem usually arises when the camera is stationary and there's no vibration to reduce. That said in handheld shooting situations it shouldn't occur.

    A bit of analysis shows though suppose you're shooting at 70mm and you have a shutter speed of 1/10th add a virtual 3 stops for VR gives 1/80th and on a D300 this shutter speed is still below recommended hand held shooting speed for a 70mm lens. At 200mm it would be even worse, so your results could be just that VR isn't a magic bullet as it seems but only offers slight improvements.

    With the sharpness there is not enough information. So you're shooting at f/3.2 What focal length? What distance? I can tell you with certainty that my 80-200mm is nearly tac sharp at f/2.8 over all focal ranges for distant subjects, but when I get towards the limits of the near focus distance it does get very very soft. Mind you this is not a macro lens so I should be happy that it focuses this closely at all.

    Give yours a test. Throw it on a tripod, turn VR off and shoot at various focal lengths focusing on subjects at various differences and see if your lens is totally out of whack or just suffering the same "problem" that the 80-200 has.
     
  3. bikemech23

    bikemech23 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Garbz- I've always been the type to just dive in and reference manuals when I run into a problem. I mean, how much can a manual tell me about using a lens anyways? Seems pretty straightforward.

    WRONG! I forgot that I am supposed to turn off VR for tripod use. Thanks.

    As for sharpness, what I have researched is fairly common. Center sharp focus is normal, and off center fringing/blur is also normal at f/2.8.

    It's a really nice lens, but I'm not so sure that I need VR now, which is good because I want something lighter anyways.

    This is a great forum! --Brad
     
  4. Fate

    Fate TPF Noob!

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    i love this lens :) should be sharp pretty much all the time.

    VR is amazingly useful in low light... i was shooting some portraits last night at around 7.30... could handhold 1/10 at 200mm... fun times :D
     
  5. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If I had to do it all over again, I would have bought the 80-200... it is every bit as sharp and I it mostly for sports or moving critters anyways (times when the VR doesn't help).
     
  6. shuttertothink

    shuttertothink TPF Noob!

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    Took some shots this weekend. Had the same problem with my 70-200VR at f3.2...

    Please see this photo:http://img241.imageshack.us/img241/5778/focus02ou5.jpg

    Can you see the fuzziness just north of center?? The batter's head?? It was taken at f3.2 in portrait with a 70-200VR/D200. If it was landscape, the soft area would indeed be right of center. Do you notice his feet are sharp?? This same thing happened in all my f3.2 shots.... sharpest area was always near the bottom of the pic. Yes... VR was "On".
     
  7. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That's motion blur dude justcause you are using VR does not mean it is going to make everything perfect.
     
  8. Bevel Heaven

    Bevel Heaven TPF Noob!

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    seriously people, do you think that just because you outlay 1800 bones for a lens that everything is all of a sudden going to be perfect in your fotos?? At f3.2 that is a pretty shallow DOF, and you are looking at motion blur thrown in there as well in the photo above.

    VR really makes a difference handheld and makes a HUGE difference in low light.

    But if it doesn't fit your style of shooting [your ability level], turn the damn thing off.

    Otherwise, change your f to something smaller to get a bit wider DOF, crank up the ISO on that fancy D300 and still get a very fast shudder speed. Try again.

    I used to be a very avid rock climber. outdoors. real granite. Yosemite actually. Leading comfortably 5:11d [yosemite] climbs like The Joker etc.. used to piss me off to no end that some clowns would approach a climb and announce IT CAN NOT BE CLIMBED [unless I pound on the rock with my hammer to make a little something to hold on to, or glue on a piece of rock etc]. We used to say, 'raise your ability level to make that pitch, don;t downgrade the climb to suit your ill preparedness' or someting to that affect.

    Relevant? Dunno. Anyways, go back and do some reading in your manuals, and go out and do a bunch of test shots, then go LOOK and STUDY each and every one of those test shots. Compare what you see versus what you read in the EXIF [settings] on each photo.

    This is how to learn how to take advantage of all the fancy new equipment.

    Oh yeah, hellofa rig you have there. Once you figure out how to use it be prepared to have your mind blown away with the results....
     
  9. shuttertothink

    shuttertothink TPF Noob!

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    I think you're missing the point.

    The DOF for this pic (when considering shooting data) is about 6.7 feet. Shot at f/3.2

    Please see: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

    The point I'm trying to make is that the pic in general is in "acceptable" focus, with the exception of an isolated area just north of center (the batter's head) which is well within the DOF but appears to be out of focus. This happens in other pics as well. As far as motion blur, you'd think his head would be one of the quieter areas of the pic, especially at 1/6400. His feet are moving but are in perfect focus (note the dirt being kicked up). This seems to mirror the issue of the original poster bikemech23, where he specifically mentions f/3.2. Does this issue occur only at f/3.2 with this lens? Is the VR function the culprit? I've yet to test it with VR disabled and/or a different f/stop.

    And my name isn't Dude, dude.
     
  10. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    Is it possible with this price kind of lens that Nikon will gives spare moment to have a good look into it?
    Or will they say: "Oh tough luck, you did not investigate thoroughly before you buy" ?
    Or will they say that it should be that way?

    Just a thought though.
     

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