Vibration Reduction (VR) Technology
Detailed adjustments are made for each lens.
Due attention is paid to maximizing the compensation feature.
Nikon's VR function is always incorporated in lenses. Why is that?
When comparing in-lens and in-camera styles, the biggest difference is whether or not you can check VR effectiveness through the viewfinder. Generally, in-camera VR systems don't allow photographers to see how vibration will be compensated for through the viewfinder, while the in-lens feature that Nikon uses today does. As I mentioned earlier, Nikon believes that compensating for shaking only in final photographs is not good enough—it is also very important to play a role in helping photographers capture subjects. I think you will understand if you try taking a photograph with a 300mm lens, because it is quite hard to capture a subject with a long focal length lens. To take optimally focused photographs under such circumstances, as well as to capture key moments, Nikon uses an in-lens mechanism to prevent shakiness as seen through the viewfinder.
- Precisely detailed VR parameter adjustments are made according to the particular characteristics of a lens.
So you mean that Nikon focuses on user-friendliness when shooting.
In addition, Nikon's VR systems have different parameters for each lens model. Telephoto-zoom lenses and micro lenses are used in different situations. For example, a photographer will likely use a micro lens to take a close-up picture of a flower in a semi-crouching position. To fulfill our concept of VR features that reflect the photographer's intention, it is necessary to make adjustments according to such usage characteristics, and it would be difficult to do that if the VR feature was incorporated in the camera.
Certainly, an in-camera VR feature has to cope with various kinds of lenses, so it has to be adjusted for a general effect for some extent.
Detailed adjustments are made to individual Nikon lenses at the time of production, so it is possible to add appropriate parameters to the VR feature according to the characteristics of each lens at that time. I believe the in-lens feature has more advantages at present in terms of advancing accurate control of shaking.
So Nikon lenses are customized not by model but for each lens. That is amazing.
We can achieve higher performance in this manner. In any development project, we try to avoid overly depending on theory and place importance on actual shooting that reflects individual photographers' intentions.
Technical developments based on a hard look at 5 or 10 years hence. Challenges continue while taking many different directions into consideration.
You have been developing key VR technology for many years, Mr. Usui. Is there any difference between developing basic technology and developing a new product?
If we are involved in basic technology, we have to work in light of the near future as to how to incorporate current technology into products that will be released soon, and at the same time we have to consider the distant future and how to advance the technology. That can be difficult to accomplish. If we are satisfied with current conditions, we would soon be overtaken by competitors, so we have to tackle new things all the time. It is also important to make an effort to gather the widest range of the latest technological information.
- Mr. Usui's passion to make VR more sophisticated applies exceptional insight into digital photography.
How will VR develop in the future?
I hope to add VR features to many inexpensive lenses. Today most lenses feature autofocus, a situation that wasn't even imagined when autofocus initially began entering the market. I would like to see VR functions become more widely available. I also want to improve sensing features so that photographers' intentions can be more accurately reflected in images. I would like to undertake the development of a capability to cancel blurriness created due to subject movement, and VR features taking advantage of the characteristics of digital photography will be a future task as well.