When to use vibration reduction (VR for Nikon) and image stabalization (IS for Canon)

Many Nikon and Canon lenses now come with vibration reduction (Nikon) and image stabilization (Canon) options that you can either turn on or off. The advantages of VR and IS, is that you can achieve sharper photographs when hand holding your camera, especially in darker lighting.

This is very useful for times when it’s not feasible to use a tripod. For example, sporting events, museums or photographing moving animals like birds or fish. Those who have tried to photograph a flying bird while their camera sits on a tripod will understand the frustration. This is when you’ll want to turn on vibration reduction and image stabilization, then hand hold your digital SLR camera.

When to turn off VR and IS?

When you are shooting with a tripod and remote release (landscapes for example), you should turn off the lens VR and IS settings to achieve sharper images. Otherwise, when your camera goes looking for a vibration and doesn’t find one, it will continue to look for one, which can cause a slightly shaky result.

However, make it a habit to turn it back on again when your done photographing landscapes. I’ve been caught many times with it turned off, when I actually needed it on.

example of sharp image

Four wheel driving

Digital SLR Camera: Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi
DSLR Lens:Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
Exposure Program: manual
Exposure: 1/60th of a second
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 17 mm
ISO Speed: 100

Why this image is so sharp 

A couple of reasons as to why this image looks so sharp, is due to the use of a tripod and a remote shutter release. As it was not a hand held shot, I also turned off the IS (image stabilization) option on the actual lens. The weather conditions was very still, with virtually no wind to shake the tripod around.