Should VR Be On or Off?

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Vibration reduction or stabilization on your camera may seem confusing. VR is a great way to reduce camera shake, though it can also cause problems. So, when should VR be on or off?

Should VR Be On or Off?

VR should be on while shooting with a handheld camera, especially in low light. It will help you make sharp images even if you move the camera too much while pressing the shutter release. When you are shooting with a tripod and remote release, VR should be off.

A camera shake often results in a fuzzy shot that is seldom usable and requires reshooting or deleting. Several factors can contribute to camera shake – a long focal length, slow shutter speed, or shooting at night without a tripod.

Black nikon camera on a black surface

Effects of VR On or Off

  • The VR technology compensates for shaking during exposure, allowing handheld shooting at shutter speeds four stops slower than would otherwise be feasible.
  • Vibration Reduction is beneficial for macro photography on a tripod or when you need slow shutter speeds to get correct exposure (e.g., night shots). A slight vibration in the direction can render the image unusable.
  • VR can create a false sense of security that one can handhold any lens at any shutter speed without a camera shake. It is not true; even with VR activated, blurring may occur due to subject motion, mirror slap, and shutter shock.
  • VR systems may not perform well in extreme low light conditions.

When to Turn VR On

In general, you should always keep VR on. It doesn’t hurt the image quality, and it can help when the shutter speeds drop to the point where they are not safe anymore.

The best situation for using VR is shooting handheld in relatively low light. You’ll want to use it whenever you can’t get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion or when you want a slow shutter speed and don’t want to use a tripod or other support.

You can also use VR with panning shots, such as following a moving subject, although this feature is not available on every lens.

When to Turn VR Off

You don’t need VR if your camera is mounted on a tripod since there is no lens movement. Additionally, you cannot utilize VR to capture fast-moving subjects; it should be turned off while photographing sports or other fast-action scenarios.

VR can also cause problems in some circumstances, such as photographing at high shutter speeds, so it’s best left off if you shoot in bright light conditions or use a flash.

Some lenses have an option called “Active” mode that helps reduce camera shake when using very long lenses or taking pictures from a car or boat; it detects horizontal and vertical movement of the camera and then adjusts the lens accordingly. If you’re using this mode, you should turn VR off.

Related Questions

Does VR Affect Image Quality?

Yes, VR affects image quality, but not in the wrong way. It improves image quality by reducing the effects of camera shake, which tends to degrade image sharpness and introduce blur into images.

Do You Need Image Stabilization in a Mirrorless Camera?

Yes, image stabilization is essential for camera users of all stripes, including mirrorless cameras. Photographers need to take handheld photos in dimly lit situations — when shutter speeds are slower and subject movement is more likely to cause blur.


Although it is debatable which would be the best setting for VR, both sides have some pros and cons. It is up to you to decide what the best setting for VR should be. In the end, it’s an individual preference.