Toecabulary: Active VR Mode

Toecabulary: Active VR Mode

February 21, 2019
min read
Share this:

Toecabulary is the comprehensive glossary of photography terminology and techniques. Every week, you get to learn a new term defined and depicted in stunning photographs and videos. Click here if you wish to refer to this Dictionary of Photography in its entirety, or, click here to read all our weekly Toecabulary posts that discuss various concepts of photography in great detail.

In Nikon lenses, the Active mode is a mode of Vibration Reduction (optical image stabilization) which is best suited when you’re taking pictures from a moving platform, such as a boat or a car.

Note that the Active mode is NOT the panning mode. Most contemporary Nikkor lenses can automatically detect panning in the Normal mode itself.

Nor is the Active mode the same as the Sport mode, found in some lenses such as the FL super-telephoto trinity (600mm f/4, 500mm f/4, and 400mm f/2.8).

What is the Sport VR mode then?

Nikon says the Sport mode is best used when you have a moving – especially erratically moving – subject in the frame, such as a football player or a flying bird.

The benefits of using Sport over Normal, says Nikon, include a smoother view in the finder and better burst performance.

The Active mode, on the other hand, is designed for when the camera-lens setup itself is moving significantly, which is what happens when you’re shooting from an aircraft flying over the Okavango Delta, or a boat in Kabini or a vehicle in Bandhavgarh, whose engine hasn’t been turned off.

Another mode that Active mode is often confused with is the Tripod mode.

The Tripod mode is not an actual separate VR mode, but merely a technology that detects that the camera has been mounted on a tripod and disables VR.

When to use which VR mode?

  • If you’re photographing from a still platform, use Normal mode.
  • If you’re photographing from a moving platform, use Active mode.
  • If you’re photographing something moving erratically, use Sport mode if you have it.
  • If you’re photographing from a still platform off a tripod, or are panning with a slow shutter speed, stick to Normal mode.

Interested in improving your skills?

Imparting photography knowledge that eventually increases our attention and love for various details of life on this planet is at the heart of everything we do at Toehold. If you are a photography enthusiast and are interested in learning photography methodically from our ace photographers, explore our Photography Workshops and other related courses at Toehold Academy, or if you want to harness your skills and get mentored by our team of extraordinary photographers on the field, in real-time on our Photography Tours to destinations across India and abroad, explore our Photography Travel offerings.

Enquire About Our Photo Tours

Write to us and we shall get back to you on any enquiries you might have about our Photo Tours.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.