What Is the VR in a Camera?

by Fritzi Newton

VR, or vibration reduction, is becoming commonplace in the world of digital imaging. This mechanism enables the photographer to more easily steady the camera without incurring image blur when shooting with a slow shutter speed.

VR or IS

Vibration reduction is available on both

Depending on the digital camera manufacturer, VR is also known as image stabilization (IS) or shake reduction. The feature is available on both "point and shoot" and single-lens reflex cameras.

When needed?

Vibration reduction is especially beneficial in low-light situations.

According to Digital SLR Guide, VR is put to best use when shooting in low-light environments; when shooting with a longer, and consequently heavier, lens; and when shooting in a situation making it difficult to hold the camera steady, as in a rocking boat.

When unneccessary?

Vibration reduction is not necessary when shooting in bright settings.

Vibration reduction is not needed when shooting with a fast shutter speed, as there is little danger of image blur.

Tripod usage

It is advisable to turn off vibration reduction when using a tripod.

Photographer and author Scott Kelby recommends turning vibration reduction off in combination with tripod use to "reduce any shake caused by the VR or IS searching for movement."

Camera or Lens?

Some manufacturers build vibration reduction into the camera lens, rather than the body.

Not all digital camera manufacturers build VR/IS into their camera bodies. While Sony, Pentax, Samsung and Olympus do, Nikon and Canon embed the feature in their camera lenses rather than in the camera.


About the Author

Reference librarian Fritzi Newton stokes her passion for words as the editor of and contributing writer for Highly Recommended, a daily blog for a nationally recognized public library system. Her additional experience as a grant proposal writer has resulted in the creation of innovative library initiatives. Newton graduated from the University of Maryland.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera camera repair 1 image by Oliver Woelki from Fotolia.com