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Nikon publishes lens VR performance results according to the new CIPA standard

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A while back CIPA introduced a new standard for image stabilization that will make it easier to compare the IS/VR effectiveness between different lenses/cameras and manufacturers. Today Nikon published a new Nikkor lens VR performance table according to the new CIPA standards:

FX Nikkor Lenses VR Performance in stops (CIPA standard)
AF-S Micro NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED 3.0
AF-S NIKKOR 200mm f/2G ED VR II 3.0
AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II 3.0
AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR 3.0
AF-S NIKKOR 500mm f/4G ED VR 3.0
AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR 2.5
AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR 4.5
AF-S NIKKOR 800mm + AF-S TELECONVERTER TC800-1.25E ED 4.0
AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR 2.5
AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR 4.0
AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR 3.5
AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR 3.5
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II 3.5
AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR 4.0
AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED 2.5
 AF VR Zoom-Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED 2.0
AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR 4.0
AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II 3.0
DX Nikkor Lenses VR Performance in stops (CIPA standard)
AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR 3.0
AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR 3.5
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR 3.5
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR 3.0
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR 3.5
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II 3.5
AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED 3.0
AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR 3.0

Longer focal length lenses tend to have a Vibration Reduction (VR) function to compensate for image blur caused by camera shake. The function is built into the lens itself and is not camera dependent. When VR is not used a fast shutter speed is required to prevent image blur. When VR is active, slower shutter speeds can be used to produce an image without blur. The effectiveness of the VR function is measured in terms of how many shutter speed 'stops' advantage VR provides over normal use without VR.

From the 1st July, 2013 CIPA introduce a standard for Image Stabilization preformance for Digital Cameras. Nikon comply to this standard together with other manufacturers. The CIPA standard allows users to compare product VR performance in a way that is easy to understand.

This change means that VR performance figures (number of 'stops') provided in Nikkor lens product documentation and user manuals before 1st July 2013 may differ from the CIPA VR performance figures provided below.

I have not seen any data from other manufacturers, but it will be interesting to do some comparisons.

Source: Nikon EU

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  • D4ve

    Wish they would drop DX and just focus on serious photographers. We could use something between the D800 and D600.

    • val1s

      I wish they’d stop funding all the pro development with the profits from the dx sales :)

    • FDF

      Still looking for the “real successor” to D700?

    • bernard

      What’s actually needed is a complete lineup, D625, D650, D675, D700N, D725, D750, D775.

      That should cover it.

      • Nawab

        you almost forget the anti-alising, high speed, high megapixel, (E,H,X) variants

        • bernard

          Oh yeah. You’re right!

      • UnknownTransit

        They should start with D610, D710 and D810 or they’ll run out of numbers.

      • Rick

        that’s starting to sound like CPUs to me…imagine Nikon cranking out cameras like Intel..then the camera replacement would be like 6 months on average lol

    • patto01

      It would definitely filter out all but the most serious photographers since they’d have to increase prices on FX cameras/lenses to make up the lost revenue. D600: $7500, D800: $10,000, D4: $18,000. Your D700 replacement might only be around $8500 so you could probably afford the “trinity” at around $20,000!
      Of course, Canon probably wouldn’t go along so Nikon would go out of business and you could buy whichever Pro level Canon you like.
      Actually, you could just jump to medium format; that’s where all the REALLY serious photographers are…

    • Lardinio

      Who says serious photographers don’t use the DX system? Who says everyone who uses FX are serious photographers? Any without the money DX brings in, how will they finance their innovation in FX? Also the only reason I shoot Nikon FX now is because I upgraded from Nikon DX. If Nikon didn’t have a DX system I’d probably be shooting a 5D Mark II right now!

    • Neil

      They do, it’s the D700. :) It’s been out for a while, though.

  • Rick

    wow..interesting. I can only imagine the version ones to all the super telephotos (200, 300, 200-400) have less than 3 stops of VR.
    Surprised the 24-85 vr has 4.5 stops, and 16-35 only has 2.5 stops..

    • Eric Calabos

      If you can live with 24-85 ugly distortion, its hell of a lot of bang for the buck

      • patto01

        The 24-85 that came with my D600 has very little distortion and that is easily removed in post. Maybe if you used the virtual horizon in Live View it would help. You could move to the viewfinder when you’re a little more experienced ;-)

        • umeshrw

          When you have to tilt, you have to tilt. That is when a better lens helps.

          • patto01

            I wish I knew a way to apply formatting to text here. Maybe if I could bolden the wink at the end of the paragraph, people could see it better.
            Obviously a better lens helps, and in many ways and circumstances. I just get annoyed at all the posts that belittle gear and/or people. I often find myself defending gear I don’t even own.
            I try to comment in a humous way when possible, but other times…

            Typically, I only tilt at windmills!

            • Drazen B.

              “I often find myself defending gear I don’t even own.”
              Then you should stop doing that. And once you actually have the new 24-85mm in your hand, then come back here and write about it.
              As Eric said, the lens is a heck of a deal for the money, albeit with one of the largest barrel and pincussion distorsions ever seen on lenses in this zoom range. I own it and know this, and it also pains me to having to fix it in post.
              Don’t forget the larger the distorsion the more softness at the edges and corners introduced once corrected in post.

            • JakeB

              >> Don’t forget the larger the distorsion the more softness at the edges and corners introduced once corrected in post. <<
              Good point Drazen, people seem to forge this 'little' fact when throwing statements around like "easily correctable in post" willy nilly.

            • fred

              Yes, often means “Easily softened in post”. ;)

              Also, keep straight lines away from the edges, you get better results.

            • patto01

              I do own the new 24-85 (see my original reply to Eric Calabos). I was referring to DX cameras that some FX Snobs ridicule. Also, in my follow-up post, I indicated that I was joking (the bit about the wink) in this case. Also, I use the 24-85 in those cases where the distortion will be minimal or won’t matter because I’m taking photos of my dogs at the park or something like that, and I don’t want to carry my larger, heavier lenses.
              Lastly, and most importantly, having shot film for years with mediocre lenses, I have nothing to complain about with any of my equipment. Personally, I think a lot of the people on here act like spoiled little kids and nothing is good enough for them. Not you of course ;-) <- Notice the wink? It's usually indicative of humour or, as in this case, a poor facsimile.

            • Drazen B

              I agree.
              You’ve got a wink from me ;-)
              It’s wonderful when people can have normal and rational conversation on blogs and forums, it’s something of a rarity these days…
              cheers.

            • umeshrw

              I did see the wink but I thought it applied only to last sentence. As far as rest of post goes the distortion of 24-85 is very difficult to remove even in post even when leveled with virtual horizon. Hence my reply.

            • patto01

              I guess it depends on the subject matter. As I pointed out earlier, it kinda depends on what you’re shooting and how important it is. I would have never bought it but it came for free with my D600, last December. It is, however, useful for situations when a light weight, mid-range zoom is optimal. I don’t generally use it when I’m on the clock or taking photos that I’ll want to print.
              Even so, it is much better than some of the lenses I depended on, some years ago…

    • RumpelHund

      Maybe the visibility of motion blur is somewhat linked to general lens sharpness?
      When you look through the bottom of a bottle instead of a 10k$ lens the bottlebottom image does not degrade with shake whatsoever. Wonder if that runs into the calculation…

      • 51Gold

        lol

        That’s actually funny!

        So if I only buy awful glass, I can use lower shutter speeds and no one will notice any difference!

        Unfortunately, as long as you don’t show photos side by side, some “clients” and clients probably wouldn’t, and I bet that even when showing photos side by side, some would pick the “wrong” ones for the wrong reasons!

    • fred

      Looks like with the big tele’s the 600mm will get revamped next. It’s VR result is less than 3, less than the others.

  • Neil

    I’m really glad to see an industry standard for VR/IS performance. All the vague marketing terminology obfuscates the real benefits. And maybe this will temper the “why doesn’t this have VR3 when this other has VR3?” stuff? We can maybe see a true measure of the benefit as they improve things.

    Or course, I think what is also needed is a practical measure of VR/IS effectiveness for the average person’s handholding capability.

  • Photo-Jack

    This information is anything but relyable! Don’t know how they messured to come to this results.
    Take the AF-S 80-400 @ 400 with 1/30 sec (4stops down from 1/500) and see the results on a D800 and you’ll know that 4 stops is not reality

    • Neil

      It is likely very reliable via machine testing what the lens *can do*.

      Your statement is judging by results which is something else entirely. And factor in the person’s innate ability to handhold and you’ll get different results.

      • Remedy

        Where can I buy this camera holding machine? Oh wait i can’t and it’s a fkign idiocy. Thanks for proving pointlessness of this CIPA tests.

        • klootzak

          In polish langue cipa means vagina.

          • Remedy

            LMAO! Loving Your randomness. ;D

    • UnknownTransit

      You might not able to how a camera a still as someone else but you don’t represent the average. That’s okay cause humans are all different and are subjected to stress, inability to focus and nerve sensitivity that might affect your performance.

    • marko tedescchi

      The results just need to be a little more reliable than your spelling.

    • Jake

      Just an observation on the use of the D800 as an example of an “unforgiving camera”. Since its announcement the D800 has been elevated to a status that makes those who do not have one feel intimidated. There is no need to be. For starters, the 36 MP number needs to be looked at in a different way. The pixel density of the D800′s sensor is no higher than the pixel density of the D5100 or the D7000. Using a D800 means that one is using a consumer-grade D5100 but with a larger sensor surface.

      Camera tremor will be amplified as focal length increases but the phenomenon is not unique to the D800. Best results are always realized with good support. Vibration reduction is a tool that increases the number of choices a photographer has at his or her disposal. The ideal combination is not simply to have a lens equipped with the latest VR technology. The ideal is to have as many choices as possible, i.e., a lens with a large aperture, a lens with the most advanced VR technology, a camera body that performs well at high ISO settings, support, and the ability of control the light. Varying circumstances and conditions will then dictate the choice of tool or the combination of tools.

  • David

    D4ve you should learn more on the history of Nikon

  • Drazen B.

    So it appears:
    VR I – up to 2.5 stops
    VR II – between 2.5 and 3.5 stops
    VR III – up to 4 stops

    For some time I thought the VR III claiming 4 stops is just a marketing spiel but at least according to the list above it appears to hold true.

    • Pablo Ricasso returned

      Yeah, that sounds about right to me.

      • Remedy

        Of course it sounds right, everyone knows VR I in cheap 18-105 is as good as VRII in a professional workhorse lens like 70-200 II. Gimme a fking break. I haven’t seen bigger bullshit than this CIPA test since ages. What a fking joke.

        • Mike

          Higher price does not mean better performance. The price is justified by the aperture. And I suspect VR less efficient in larger lens.

          • Remedy

            So maybe stop suspecting and try the fking lens for Yourself. If You or those idiots from CIPA claim that 18-105 has better VR than 200-400 then You and them have no fking clue, like absolutely ZERO.

    • umeshrw

      You also have to add focal length factor in there. Higher the focal length the more pronounced the effect of VR No. it seems.

      • JakeB

        “You also have to add focal length factor in there…”

        No, not really.

    • Jon Tele

      For 70 – 200 f 2.8, it seems VR II is less capable (3.5 stops) than older VR version (4.0 stops). Really? wow.

      • Razzo Fernand

        Nope, you got the lenses mixed up. Read again carefully.

        …oh yes, and stop giving yourself a ‘vote-up’, it’s ridiculous especially in situations when you make an error in your observation like you just did.

      • Jurgen

        Dude…it’s the new f/4 lens not the older f/2.8 VRI that you’re comparing to the f/2.8 VRII.

        The older 70-200 f/2.8 VRI isn’t even listed above as it’s out of production now.

        • crunch

          he’s probably talking about AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (4.0)

          how is the an f4 an older version of the f2.8?

    • Mandrake

      Good overview, I believe some of those VR types could also sometime +/- 0.5 stop depending on a shooting situation.

    • David

      The 105 Micro is a VRI lens and interestingly has the same performance (3 stops) as the VRII lenses.

  • Jimmy

    I always thought that the VR performance on the 24-85mm kit lens was very strong, but now here’s the proof! ;)

  • Aldo

    I’m surprised to see no one is talking about how VR impacts image quality…

    • Roscoe Tanner

      Only those who find challenging to work with the VR on.

      The rest of us are just fine.

      • Carlo

        Too right. The guy must be suffering hand shake from those coffee’s he’s been drinking as pictured in his avatar.

        • Aldo

          Neither do you… the main lens I use is non vr

      • Aldo

        You don’t understand

        • Mandrake

          You seem to be stuck on ‘VR-degrades-photos’ myth. No it doesn’t if used correctly and in the right environments and situations that benefit from it.

          Just having a VR implemented inside the lenses don’t degrade nor impact image quality as you seem to believe.

          • Aldo

            It’s not a myth… just think about how vr works

        • Roscoe Tanner

          I’m not sure who is the one who “doesn’t understand”. Go back to your original post and read it again.

          You seem confused regarding what the VR is about.

          • Aldo

            I know… do you?

    • Pablo Ricasso returned

      Maybe you need to work on your technique a little more…instead of being a armchair photog commenting on every thread posted on this forum.

      • Aldo

        Another misfire… I think you need to ponder a bit before replying to a comment.

        • Pablo Ricasso returned

          Nothing to ponder here, it’s you who need to think before writing next time.

          • Aldo

            Try again

    • Aldo
      • Aldo

        Allow me to further explain… a vr score should also include how well the lens handles vr over all in respect to image quality…not just f stops

        • tmay

          Until that happens…

          In the meantime, the rest of us can use the chart to reference our own experience with specific lenses and extrapolate that experience to evaluate any other lens that have been measured for VR effectiveness.

          Not perfect, but a good start.

          • Aldo

            Well you really have no choice do you? And how would you compare across brands? Buy them and return them?

      • Aldo

        finally they get it =]

      • tmay

        Uhm,

        Nobody here is arguing that VR is a panacea for all situations, Thom is himself making a case for how to determine when to use VR and what mode to use, i.e., a set of simple rules, and even chastises Nikon for not implementing VR in the 24-70.

        If you can make a case that merely implementing VR in a lens is detrimental to IQ then this would be a good time to do so. Other than a marginal increase in weight and expense, I’m not seeing the downsides.

        • Mandrake

          “Other than a marginal increase in weight and expense, I’m not seeing the downsides.”

          Ditto.

          Aldo still seems to have issues understanding this for some reason, though.

          • Aldo

            No it is you who doesnt understand that the only way vr wouldnt impact your image is to have all the elements move in sync down to the sensor itself.

        • Aldo

          The bottom line is that very few here seem to know a little of the physics involved on how vr works and only speculate the side affects. By definition vr puts one or two elements out of perfect horizontal alignment at different extremes.

          • tmay

            Either VR does or doesn’t effect images when it is off. Simple. If your argument is true, then there should be sources that describe this limitation. Provide them. I can’t find any by search.

            Speculation on a particular mechanism in a device that includes substantial mechanisms doesn’t advance your argument. My speculation is that VR’s detrimental contribution to IQ in the off or “parked” position is probably a second order of magnitude, i.e., little contribution.

            • Aldo

              this is about VR when it’s on not off, and how VR should have a grade that involves something else other than an F stop number.

      • ablo Ricasso returned

        And you didn’t know this already?

        Back to lens basics, for you.

        • Aldo

          You just don’t know what to write. Of course I knew that’s why I started this topic . That is what you call obvious.

        • Aldo

          oh and btw… there is an awesome invention called smart phone! it allows you to be on the internet while going about your day outside of your home. You should try it sometime it is awesome!

      • Jake

        The discussion would be better served by a more precise reference to Hogan’s article on VR technology. Introducing a link that takes people to a dense page of text does little to move the conversation forward. In fact, the reference seems misplaced. At no point does Hogan question the value of making VR available, if it is used judiciously. Notice, for instance, that when discussing the impact of VR on image quality Hogan writes:

        “… Are there times when it shifts where it imparts a change to the image quality other than pure stabilization? I believe there are, though the impact is visually subtle. Some of the mid-range distance bokeh of certain VR lenses appears to be impacted by VR being on. Put another way, the background in the scene is slightly moving differently than the focus point in the optical path. This results in what I call “busy bokeh,” or bokeh that doesn’t have that simple shape and regularity we expect out of the highest quality glass.”

        • Aldo

          The link was merely to illustrate that there is a change in how the lens renders the image when vr is turned on as some people here are not aware of that. Of course it isn’t going to affect all the pictures the same…that is the nature of vr.

    • Spy Black

      Yeah, both Canon & Nikon have left VR out of their 24-70′s for good reason, it would destroy overall quality (even turned off), especially at the wide end. I bought a Tamron 24-70 with VR, and I soon understood why it’s not on the OEM lenses.

      • Aldo

        Agreed, therefore we should know how VR impacts a certain lens in terms of image quality when it’s turned on, much like we measure noise when ISO is turned up on a sensor for example. Yeah we are getting 3, 4, 4.5 stops of VR power… but at what cost? It may be negligible to some… but relevant to others.

        • Spy Black

          I think it’s a necessary evil. Gaining even 3 stops is certainly advantageous as well. So there is a trade-off. It’s a matter of how much you lose for a given lens design.

    • Remedy

      The impact is simple. It turns unusable blurry/moved piece of shit into a photography/image. That’s the impact.

      • Aldo

        Well I’m not arguing the advantages of vr. Not what this is about

  • Jon Ingram

    So I wonder which VR/VC/IS/OS system is the best? I like the new Nikon stuff but I don’t own any 3rd party stabilized lenses. I’ve heard the new Tamron stuff is good. From my experience with Nikon gear the #’s are about right in terms of hierarchy, except for I don’t quite get what they advertise, maybe take .5-1 stop away from each number and that is my real-world average benefit. Guess I should cut down on the coffee..

    • Aldo

      This is exactly what I mean… you can’t tell which vr system is better just by an f stop number… you need another point of reference. I mean if what they are trying to do is to make it easy to compare across brands, it would help to come up with some sort of chart for it. Also as vr becomes more aggressive…nikon should include two stages of vr within the button.. used as needed.

  • krikman

    Something is wrong with CIPA measurments.
    Just compare AFS-DX 55-200 and AFS 70-300.
    They must be -1…1,5 stops and 2-3 stops respectively.
    (Cheap VR lenses smash 2-3 px details while in VR. There is amplitude of VR and precision of VR, suppose CIPA measures amplitude only)

    So CIPA mmeasures tells a little about actual VR performance.

    • Laurentiu Ilie

      I was thinking the same thing. The 70-300′s VR is much better than 55-200′s VR. There’s something wrong here.

      • solartempest

        Why don’t you guys read the Vibratory Apparatus Verification method and actual CIPA DC-011-2012 draft standard?
        http://www.cipa.jp/image-stabilization/index_e.html

        Stop speculating and take some time to understand actually how the testing and assessment has to be completed.

        • Laurentiu Ilie

          I just have both lenses for almost 5 years now and I have used them a lot. There’s something wrong with the results or with the standard. I will analyse the method to see what exactly is wrong. Sometimes I even get better results with VR OFF on 55-200 and not just on one sample. Not the same story on 70-300. Or maybe all the 55-200 VR lenses I used/tested are defective.

          • solartempest

            Like all standards, I’m sure some equipment will perform better to the testing method than real life – maybe that is one of these cases.

            Of course, since the standard is new, it’s a fair assumption that none of the lenses were designed to be rated better by CIPA than they actually are.

        • Remedy

          I don’t give a phuck how the test were made when they are nothing more than an utter bullshit. This has ZERO relation to reality. It’s misleading, stupid and pointless as it tells NOTHING about the actual performance of the VR in lenses.

  • BobFather48

    This really should be a moderated discussion. Too much heat – no light.

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