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DX Lenses vs VR? What is the difference?


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#1 Art

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:23 AM

Hi everyone, I have a Nikon D90 with a DX 18-135mm lens. It is a nice lens but I am curious what the difference is with this lens vs the VR lens? I didn't realize there were two types of lenses in this category when I purchased and only noticed the "VR" this past weekend, when I was out buying a camera for a family member. Which one do you recommend as the better lens? Is one model older than the other or obsolete? Thanks Art

Edited by Art, 28 July 2010 - 08:24 AM.

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#2 Dennis

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:44 AM

DX is the sensor size. There are two sizes currently, DX and FX. Your D90 uses DX lenses. VR (vibration reduction) is an option that a lens may have or may not have. The two terms are not related to each other. VR s a way for the lens to reduce vibration while hand holding. Which can help in low light situation and hand holding the camera. VR is a new thing and is being added to more and more lenses. Hope this helps with the terms.

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#3 Gary Poole

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 08:47 AM

Hi everyone,

I have a Nikon D90 with a DX 18-135mm lens.

It is a nice lens but I am curious what the difference is with this lens vs the VR lens?

I didn't realize there were two types of lenses in this category when I purchased and only noticed the "VR" this past weekend, when I was out buying a camera for a family member.

Which one do you recommend as the better lens?

Is one model older than the other or obsolete?

Thanks

Art

DX and VR are independent features. You can have both, neither or only either of the two.

DX means that the lens is intended for use on DX sensor cameras. All Nikon DSLRs are DX except for the D700 and D3 series that have an FX sensor. The DX sensor is smaller than a FX (35mm film frame size) sensor. DX lenses produce an image circle that will not cover the full FX frame. This allows them to be made smaller and less expensively for a particular focal length and maximum aperture. Note that non DX lenses work very well on DX cameras, sometimes even better than they do on FX cameras.

VR stands for Vibration Reduction. VR lenses have a servo mechanism inside that compensates for camera motion, allowing you to take hand held pictures at lower shutter speeds than with a similar non VR lens. Note that VR only compensates for camera motion and not subject motion. VR will not freeze a rapidly moving subject, you still need a fast shutter speed for that.
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#4 Art

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:22 AM

Thanks, that clears that up. I am also looking at some literature and it states that I do have VR and "it is equivalent to shutter speed 3 stops faster". I haven't been this excited about Photography in years. The D90 has made me rediscover photography. The one thing I have noticed is that it is a little more frustrating taking pictures than when I was using mechanical cameras. I am still getting used to all the buttons and options. I guess there is a learning curve to this but it seems to me a major distraction to the old days I am used to where you simply turned a knob and a ring and bracketed your shots and you were done! LOL Frame the picture and push the button. Also, the Nikon 5700 I had made me lazy, primarily it was point and shoot. However, I am pumped and already thinking Telephoto and Macro for my next purchases!!! :) Art

Edited by Art, 28 July 2010 - 09:24 AM.

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#5 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:18 PM

Hi Art, You know, you can shoot that way :D. Well, almost. You'd need a D300 to be able to go fully retro and grab that aperture ring and give it a twist :D For the most part you can think of your shooting settings as film. A different film for each set of settings. If you were comfortable shooting one film you understood well, you can do the same by finding a set of picture control settings you like and just leave it there. And you can shoot manual exposure just like the old days. Just because a button is there does not mean you gotta use it :D. (for the most part!) It does take some time. It took me a year or so to get fully assimilated but once i got there I never looked back. And I never missed all the film and processing charges!

#6 Art

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:31 PM

Hi Neil, Oh, don't get me wrong, I love digital. Best thing ever for photography. You can take a 100 pictures without worrying about the cost, delete 99 of them for the one perfect shot and take another 100. I can't tell you how happy I am not to do contact sheets any more!! LOL Typically, I would agree with you. However, I have made a vow to learn the camera like the back of my hand so I have to learn these buttons! Right now, I have some GRAPH on my monitor I have no idea how it got there. I take a picture and it looks like the camera is doing an heart diagnostic on me! :) So, I am trying to figure out how I turned this on... so I can turn it off! Here is a shot I took of my Roulette wheel. I think I took about 35-40 shots to get this one. Couldn't do that affordably in the old days! It would have been a roll of film plus developing. Trust me, I am a convert in a big way. What I am struggling with is that FEEL. The depth of field in this photo is not quite what I want and it may take another 30 shots to get the right one, still. Art

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Edited by Art, 28 July 2010 - 05:33 PM.

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#7 JSwarce

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 05:51 PM

Right now, I have some GRAPH on my monitor I have no idea how it got there. I take a picture and it looks like the camera is doing an heart diagnostic on me! :) So, I am trying to figure out how I turned this on... so I can turn it off!

Here is a shot I took of my Roulette wheel. I think I took about 35-40 shots to get this one. Couldn't do that affordably in the old days! It would have been a roll of film plus developing. Trust me, I am a convert in a big way.

What I am struggling with is that FEEL. The depth of field in this photo is not quite what I want and it may take another 30 shots to get the right one, still.

Art


Art:

You have turned on the histogram display! This is very helpful for your picture-taking, but someone could write a whole chapter about histograms (right Darrell? :) ). To turn it off, just press the toggle dial (the one that looks like a circle) on the back of the camera UP or DOWN repeatedly. You will cycle through the various displays on the LCD screen until you get back to the full view display. One of the displays will show your highlights blinking. I find this really helpful when shooting outdoors or something with a lot of white in it. You will know right away what is over-exposed.

We call your need for more and varied lenses "NAS" around here. "Nikon Acquisition Syndrome"!! Sorry, there is no known cure! :)

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P.S. I like your roulette wheel picture just the way it is!

P.P.S. I highly recommend you get one of the D90 books on the market to learn all about your camera. They are much more helpful than the manual. Darrell has a great book that is available here! Look under "books".

Edited by JSwarce, 28 July 2010 - 06:01 PM.


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#8 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 06:21 PM

I would second the suggestion to get a book. I'd get Darrel's book :D The histogram is actually fairly simple. If you properly expose a gray card the histogram will have a sharp spike right up the center line. If it's to the left, it's under exposed, if to the right it's over exposed. If the scene is generally ligher or darker than mid tone you adjust accordingly. If the histogram spikes up the far right wall you have blown highlights, but I prefer the blinkies screen, as previously mentioned because then I see exactly what's blown and can determine if I care or can or have to live with it. It also pays to watch the color channels. The red channel in particular tends to blow first unless you have a lot of blue, in which case the blue has to be watched. I'll take a stab and guess that you wanted a thinner depth of field, probably by about a stop? If you're shooting by feel based on 35mm film, you will likely need to open up one full stop to get the same effect. That rough guide works if you increase your working distacne with the same lens, or if you go with a wider lens from the same working distance. So do what you always did, but right before you press the shutter open up one more stop :lol:. Let us know if it works! This is a great reason to get new, faster glass :lol:. We will help you to rationalize your NAS! It's all part of the service here :)

#9 Black Pearl

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 01:56 AM

I am also looking at some literature and it states that I do have VR and "it is equivalent to shutter speed 3 stops faster".


You don't have VR.

The Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED as you can see from the lettering doesn't have the VR bit. The other (and to be fair, better) kit lens that is supplied with the D90 is the Nikon AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-105MM F/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR and it is that one with the VR unit. If you have the first then take care as you won't get any of the benefits of Vibration Reduction that you may have read about and were expecting.

Edited by Black Pearl, 29 July 2010 - 01:59 AM.

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#10 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:16 AM

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but as far as I know all VR lenses have a switch on the lens that at least has VR-On and VR-Off positions. More advanced VR lenses also have Normal/Active and/or Tripod VR modes on the switch(es). I don't have the zoom lens in question, though.

#11 Art

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:12 AM

Sorry guys, busy with work and leaving for a week. I will pick up the book, seems like a good buy. Also, I fully understand the "NAS". I am a tropical fish lover. We have the same syndrome in that hobby to by bigger and better tanks! LOL I started with a big fish bowl, then went to 30g, then to 50g and I would love a 200g! Must resist the urgent, but really, resistance is futile. I want a big honking telephoto, so I know that will be in the cards one day. Boy, the D90 is a nice camera. I am just loving it! My problem currently is I am swamped with work. Art
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Posted 14 August 2010 - 11:34 PM

Art, simple explanation for DX and FX sensors and the compatibility of lenses.

You can use FX lenses on a DX (applicable models, D3000, 5000, 40, 40x, 50, 60, 70, 70s, 80, 90, 100, 200, 300, 300s, D1, D2, D2X, D2Xs) sensor with no loss in quality.
You cannot use DX lenses on an FX (D700, D3, D3x, D3s) sensor without vignetting but most Nikon cameras will automatically switch to DX mode when you attach a DX lens with the requisite loss in megapixel quality. The D3 drops from 12.1 MP to 5.1 MP when you put a DX lens on it.

VR as other people have mentioned, is the vibration reduction feature on a number of different lenses. You can use both Non-VR and VR lenses on any of the Nikon bodies. You can still get decent photography from a non-VR lens. You just need to use a tripod when you're not shooting alower than 1/70th of a second at 135mm.

Hopefully this is simple enough without getting into the nitty-gritty details of the matter.

Edited by photogbuff_1970, 14 August 2010 - 11:44 PM.





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