Using a VR (Vibration Reduction) Lens with Your Nikon D3200

By Julie Adair King

Some Nikon lenses, including the 18-55mm lens sold in a kit with the D3200 camera body, offer Vibration Reduction. On Nikon lenses, this feature is indicated by the initials VR in the lens name.

Vibration Reduction tries to compensate for slight amounts of camera shake that is common when photographers hold their cameras by hand and use a slow shutter speed, a lens with a long focal length, or both. That camera movement during the exposure can produce blurry images. Although Vibration Reduction can’t work miracles, it lets most people to capture sharper handheld shots in many situations than they could without it.

Here’s what you need to know about taking best advantage of this feature with your D3200:

  • Turn Vibration Reduction on or off by using the VR switch, labeled in the following figure. On the kit lens, the switch is located directly underneath the Auto/Manual focus switch.

    You can turn off Vibration Reduction when you use a tripod.
    You can turn off Vibration Reduction when you use a tripod.
  • Vibration Reduction is initiated when you depress the shutter button halfway (which also initiates autofocus and exposure metering). If you pay close attention, the image in the viewfinder may appear to be a little blurry immediately after you take the picture. That’s a normal result of the vibration-reduction operation and doesn’t indicate a problem with your camera or focus. Wait until the viewfinder image returns to normal to take your next shot.

  • With the kit lens that came with your Nikon D3200, turn Vibration Reduction off when you mount the camera on a tripod. You’d think there wouldn’t be any harm in leaving this feature turned on all the time, right? Not necessarily. When you use a tripod and your camera is immovable, Vibration Reduction might try to adjust for movement that isn’t actually occurring, which can have a negative effect on your photos.

  • For other lenses, check the lens manual to find out whether your lens offers a similar feature. Vibration Reduction may be called something else by other lens manufacturers, such image stabilization, optical stabilization, anti-shake, vibration compensation, and so on. In some cases, the manufacturers may recommend that you leave the system turned on or select a special setting when you use a tripod or pan the camera (move it horizontally or vertically as you take the picture). For the kit lens that came with your Nikon D3200, however, you don’t need to disable Vibration Reduction when panning.