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Thread: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

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    Exclamation Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Hello everyone,

    First of all I will present myself: I am a Nikon shooter for over 10 years, currently owning a d800, a d850 and a Z6. But lately my experience with Nikon has been very disappointing.

    In December 2018 I have decided to go Mirrorless and bought the Nikon Z6. After some photo shoots I did notice that sometimes the images were not sharp and with the FTZ adapter really blurry. I somehow blamed the autofocus until Nikon made a recall on the Z6 and Z7 because it has IBIS VR problems. I immediately checked my serial number but it was not in that list and I have started making tests to discover if my problem is from the IBIS VR.

    I have discover that indeed the blurry images were from the IBIS VR whenever I used the Mechanical Shutter with Shutter Speeds between 1/30s and 1/250, the worst being at 1/80s, 1/100s and 1/125s.

    Using the Electronic Front Curtain Shutter while the VR is turned on does not shake the sensor and some of you will say it's shutter shock. Well it's not because in my tests I tested also between two images: one with Mechanical Shutter + VR on and Mechanical Shutter + Mechanical Shutter + VR off, handheld and on a tripod. The sharp images where with the VR off, making the VR useless in that situation.

    Some of you will say: use Electronic Front Curtain Shutter (EFCS). Ok, but it has some disadvantages for example banding when using strobes or indoor lights, when you mostly need VR and the shutter speeds are between 1/30s and 1/250. Once again the VR is useless.

    I did test the d850 + VR lens to show that my test is not absurd or something. Also I have tested a Sony a7 III which passed all tests without any problems. Sony a7 III being a rival mirrorless camera with similar specs and price.

    Here are all my tests: https://z6blurry.000webhostapp.com

    Tested also another Z6 and a Z7 which had the same problem.

    Even though my serial number is not on the recall list I have took my camera to Nikon warranty and they said that the camera is in parameters.

    In my opinion the VR is not always usable and it has a a major problem. I would be happy if other Z6 and Z7 users test this problem.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    This issue was discussed on various fora at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, as you discovered when you posted in the 10-months old thread on dpreview.

    I also did a similar test in December 2018 (see https://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/6...tml#post774490) with the Z6 and the kit lens, although while hand-holding the camera because I do not use a tripod.

    Since then I kept the VR off except when shooting in low light at base ISO - I got sharp photos at 1/4 sec and ISO 100 handheld with VR on and EFCS off.

    On a recent photowalk in Old Town Alexandria I turned the VR on (EFCS off) and kept it on while moving around between shaded and open areas. I found a photo shot at 1/100s and it looks sharp in the focus area. My camera has the latest firmware and I am using the f/2.8 S standard zoom instead of the kit lens, but I am thinking that maybe the issue was fixed or significantly improved by firmware updates in my case. I will try to redo the test from December 2018 in the next couple of weeks. My Z6 was also not part of the advisory.

    See also this note from the online Z6 manual (https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com...tion_reduction):
    To prevent unintended results, select Off when the camera is mounted on a tripod unless the tripod head is unsecured or the camera is mounted on a monopod, in which case Normal, Sport, or On is recommended.
    Shooting with the camera on a table is very close to shooting it from a tripod.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Marcus View Post
    This issue was discussed on various fora at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, as you discovered when you posted in the 10-months old thread on dpreview.

    I also did a similar test in December 2018 (see https://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/6...tml#post774490) with the Z6 and the kit lens, although while hand-holding the camera because I do not use a tripod.

    Since then I kept the VR off except when shooting in low light at base ISO - I got sharp photos at 1/4 sec and ISO 100 handheld with VR on and EFCS off.

    On a recent photowalk in Old Town Alexandria I turned the VR on (EFCS off) and kept it on while moving around between shaded and open areas. I found a photo shot at 1/100s and it looks sharp in the focus area. My camera has the latest firmware and I am using the f/2.8 S standard zoom instead of the kit lens, but I am thinking that maybe the issue was fixed or significantly improved by firmware updates in my case. I will try to redo the test from December 2018 in the next couple of weeks. My Z6 was also not part of the advisory.

    See also this note from the online Z6 manual (https://onlinemanual.nikonimglib.com...tion_reduction):


    Shooting with the camera on a table is very close to shooting it from a tripod.
    That is a good test you did there, did not find it when I have searched the internet, only the one on dpreview.

    This shake usually appears between 1/30s and 1/250s with Mechanical Shutter and VR on, in my tests the worst being at 1/100s, 1/125s and 1/160s. I think that is why you got sharp photos at 1/4s

    The new f2.8s is much much sharper than the f4s so maybe that is why. Million thanks for doing the test again. You can look at my mini site and try with the same settings as they work every time to see a difference.

    I know about the table as being a tripod variable, but the d850+VR lens works perfect also the Sony a7iii works without any problems. And I also did handheld tests. I tried to cover all possible tests and in my opinion all prove that Mechanical Shutter + VR on are blurry, while other settings share a similar sharpness. Also I agree with disabling the VR when using shutter speeds below 1s.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    did you update to latest firmware?
    KR
    Ps. sorry, now I see you did. I do keep the EFCS on all the time, it goes to mechanical automatically above 1/250 as far as I remember. When walking and moving (perhaps turning hasty) while taking the picture it can make some blurry images (the natural behavior of EFCS), but else I havn't experienced it, always IBIS on except for tripod. Apart from that at 5.6 and onwards the 24-70/2.8 and /4 are more equal except for the FF corners that are sharper on the /2.8 - see Photographylife's tests. The /4 hold up quite well in fact, just one shall be aware and keep the figures in mind..
    Last edited by Thorkil; 6 Days Ago at 13:41.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorkil View Post
    did you update to latest firmware?
    KR
    Yes, all tests on the mini site are made with the latest firmware.

    One thing I did notice about a firmware update is that at option d5 - Shutter type, they forced as default the Auto Shutter, besides the Mechanical Shutter and Electronic Front Curtain Shutter (EFCS). The Auto Shutter switches from Mechanical Shutter to EFCS at shutter speeds below 1/320s, which is exactly the shutter speeds when this shake starts to appear. This was actually their first attempt to fix the problem, after that they made the recall for some serial numbers with VR problems

    As a notice Sony a7iii does not have an Auto Shutter option, just Mechanical and EFCS.


    EDIT:
    I did had the chance to play a little with the new f2.8s and it seemed sharper to me than the f4. I wanted to buy it, but with this problem for the Z system I don't see why I should invest more and not move to Sony.

    You should try the test I did in the mini site, at least you will know if you have the problem or not. Because some are saying they don't have this problem at all, some say they have this problem and some say this is normal for 2019 comparing to the past cameras that have similar problems.
    Last edited by renesys; 6 Days Ago at 14:15.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    I shall see if I can carry out a test like yours some day..but I'm very happy with my Z7, and I do get some very sharp pictures I think. And if I don't, like these https://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/2...tml#post795900, its my own fault, while the pictures of the ladies dining in the street with the waiter behind, I was taking while walking by, hastely turning around to do a hasty and unnoticed hipshot without stopping, but for my own part I like the unavoidable blur created that way, while it correspond with the action. The same with the big fellow carrying the baby, he was too close, out of my manual set DOF, so it had to be an unfocused hipshot, but just took it along for the sake of the mood.
    I would encourage you to insist on Nikon to look at your problem, or insist of taking it back, and try another Z7/Z6, why its so handy and unproblematic carrying its tasks out (to mee and a lot others it seems). The best and most userfriendly camera for me til this day. Sony makes really good pictures too but its the Z that correspond with my hands and my mind...
    (Ps. if money wasn't an issue, I would also like to have the 24-70/2.8S (but keeping the /4 for handy-walking) while it renders so fine, and are extremely sharp in an exquisite way)
    Last edited by Thorkil; 5 Days Ago at 00:17.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorkil View Post
    I shall see if I can carry out a test like yours some day..but I'm very happy with my Z7, and I do get some very sharp pictures I think. And if I don't, like these https://www.getdpi.com/forum/nikon/2...tml#post795900, its my own fault, while the pictures of the ladies dining in the street with the waiter behind, I was taking while walking by, hastely turning around to do a hasty and unnoticed hipshot without stopping, but for my own part I like the unavoidable blur created that way, while it correspond with the action. The same with the big fellow carrying the baby, he was too close, out of my manual set DOF, so it had to be an unfocused hipshot, but just took it along for the sake of the mood.
    I would encourage you to insist on Nikon to look at your problem, or insist of taking it back, and try another Z7/Z6, why its so handy and unproblematic carrying its tasks out (to mee and a lot others it seems). The best and most userfriendly camera for me til this day. Sony makes really good pictures too but its the Z that correspond with my hands and my mind...
    (Ps. if money wasn't an issue, I would also like to have the 24-70/2.8S (but keeping the /4 for handy-walking) while it renders so fine, and are extremely sharp in an exquisite way)
    Would highly appreciate your effort. Mostly I am also happy with my Z6 it's a great camera and that is why I am disappointed of. But without a fix for this, investing in the Z lenses is not that wise. I am in the middle of explaining and trying to get it fixed with Nikon, hopping for a fix. I have the z6 for almost one year, so no way to give it back


    Some nice pictures you got there, well done. For your street photography you can leave it in Auto Shutter with the VR on and you will not have problems.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by renesys View Post
    Would highly appreciate your effort. Mostly I am also happy with my Z6 it's a great camera and that is why I am disappointed of. But without a fix for this, investing in the Z lenses is not that wise. I am in the middle of explaining and trying to get it fixed with Nikon, hopping for a fix. I have the z6 for almost one year, so no way to give it back


    Some nice pictures you got there, well done. For your street photography you can leave it in Auto Shutter with the VR on and you will not have problems.
    I hope the best for you (so you can keep a Z .. and post some picture here ).
    Perhaps propose a half price refund or 60%, and a special attractive offer for a new one, for all your inconvenience?...and they keep you as customer, that ought to be fair.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Renesys, I am sorry that you are facing these issues with your Zs.

    But me, or all others, being sorry is just useless words for you and those experiencing such issues.
    Use this or that as shutter etc...is at most a workaround.

    Someone mentioned that this issue was known 10 months ago! No solution yet!

    OT, but the issue is not confined to Nikon. The forums are full of Fuji issues exhibiting similar performance...with the new 16-80mm lens ( it could be with others with OIS too ).

    No manufacturer likes to loose face. But customers have put their money in a defective product.

    You say Sony does not seem to exhibit similar issues.
    Well hopefully I won’t regret buying a Sony camera then!
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Thorkil - Really appreciate your kind words. Would really appreciate if Nikon fixes this problem on my Z6 and for others that have this problem.

    rayyan - Appreciate your comment. You said it like a boss, all is a workaround for this problem and we are paying for a defective product.

    The Sony a7iii did not have that problem, but it had some disadvantages compared with the Z6: Viewfinder is not that great, smaller LCD screen with useless touch screen, small crop when recording 4k30fps, but those are the specs and not hidden problems.

    A good example of this problem is this: Choosing between a Nikon Z6 and a Canon EOS R, let's say you want that IBIS VR and you notice that the Canon EOS R does not have it and uses the classical lens VR. What do you do? You buy the Z6. Than you see that the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 has the same price as a Canon 24-70mm with VR. Whaaaat? And than you notice that in some situations your Nikon Z6 produces blurry images with VR, where Canon EOS R has absolutely no problem with the VR lens for the same money? And that is the horrible truth.

    BTW: I have also tested the EOS R for a whole week, it's a fantastic camera for taking photos. But for video it's awful, the 4k crop is just awful.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    I was able to retest my Z6 today.

    Same wall, 24-70mm f/2.8 S at 70mm, mechanical shutter, handheld.
    I did 2 tests, one at 1/160s and one at 1/125s. I shot several shots at each shutter speed, alternating between VR On and VR Off.

    I could not see a difference in sharpness between VR On and VR Off.
    The only things that changed between December 2018 and today are the lens and the firmware.

    I'm guessing that the firmware updates fixed the issue for my camera.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Marcus View Post
    I was able to retest my Z6 today.

    Same wall, 24-70mm f/2.8 S at 70mm, mechanical shutter, handheld.
    I did 2 tests, one at 1/160s and one at 1/125s. I shot several shots at each shutter speed, alternating between VR On and VR Off.

    I could not see a difference in sharpness between VR On and VR Off.
    The only things that changed between December 2018 and today are the lens and the firmware.

    I'm guessing that the firmware updates fixed the issue for my camera.
    Firstly thanks for testing!

    Can you please test at these settings:
    -Focal Length: 28mm
    -Shutter Speed: 1/125s
    -Aperture: F4
    -ISO: 100
    -Focus: AF-S PinPoint in the same spot at the wall with minimal focus distance
    -Image quality: JPEG fine* at 24MP (best quality)
    -Picture Control: Standard
    -Active D-Lighting: Off
    -Long Exposure NR: Off
    -High ISO NR: Off

    You can do a test with Mechanical Shutter with VR on and VR off
    and a test with VR on with Mechanical Shutter and EFCS

    And post the pictures at full resolution here. That would help a lot

    Well in my tests I have the latest firmware, but not the new lens... From my knowing the IBIS VR must get data from lens, for example 28mm and maybe with the new lens it works like it should. This would actually be fantastic news.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by renesys View Post
    Firstly thanks for testing!

    Can you please test at these settings:
    -Focal Length: 28mm
    -Shutter Speed: 1/125s
    -Aperture: F4
    -ISO: 100
    -Focus: AF-S PinPoint in the same spot at the wall with minimal focus distance
    -Image quality: JPEG fine* at 24MP (best quality)
    -Picture Control: Standard
    -Active D-Lighting: Off
    -Long Exposure NR: Off
    -High ISO NR: Off

    You can do a test with Mechanical Shutter with VR on and VR off
    and a test with VR on with Mechanical Shutter and EFCS

    And post the pictures at full resolution here. That would help a lot

    Well in my tests I have the latest firmware, but not the new lens... From my knowing the IBIS VR must get data from lens, for example 28mm and maybe with the new lens it works like it should. This would actually be fantastic news.
    I am sorry, but I will not be able to do the test you asked for.

    The wall I am testing on is outdoors in a park, with no control over light. Today I had to use apertures between 1/8.0 and 1/13 to hold the shutter speed at 1/125s and 1/160s as needed. Also, I would not use AF-S PinPoint when handholding the camera - that would result in blurry photos for me. What works in my case to get sharp photos is AF-C with Wide (Small) using the AF-ON button, such that the continuous auto focus compensates for my (or the subject’s) movements.

    Perhaps you could rent the f/2.8 S zoom and test it in your setup to see if the issue is with your camera or not.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Darin Marcus View Post
    I am sorry, but I will not be able to do the test you asked for.

    The wall I am testing on is outdoors in a park, with no control over light. Today I had to use apertures between 1/8.0 and 1/13 to hold the shutter speed at 1/125s and 1/160s as needed. Also, I would not use AF-S PinPoint when handholding the camera - that would result in blurry photos for me. What works in my case to get sharp photos is AF-C with Wide (Small) using the AF-ON button, such that the continuous auto focus compensates for my (or the subjectís) movements.

    Perhaps you could rent the f/2.8 S zoom and test it in your setup to see if the issue is with your camera or not.

    Oh ok, you can use f8 or higher, just keep the shutter at 1/125s and you can use AF-C but in the same spot closest to the minimal focus distance.

    When you have the time, no worries. Million thanks!

    If your results are good, I will find one to repeat my tests or maybe buy one.

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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    For the record, I have not noticed any sharpness or shutter shock issues with my Z7, neither with mechanical only, nor EFCS. Almost never on a tripod.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    I was referred to your thread when I posted about sharpness issues with my Z6.
    I did test where I shot handheld at 1/100, 1/125 and 1/320. 6 shots at each shutter speed hVR on snd off for auto, mechanical and EFCS). One scene inside and one outside.

    Conclusion: output is sharper when VR is turned off with mechanical shutter. So I will send my camera tothe Nikon repair center. Hopefully it will be repaired under warranty.

    I do have the latest firmware and the serial number of my Z6 is not part of the service advisory.

    Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Photon42 - Thanks for writing your message, this is what puzzles me. Some have this problem and some don't. It is only fair that Nikon will repair the ones that are defective.

    PeterN - Thanks for doing the tests, hope you will have better luck as mine did not get repaired because the serial is not in that recall list. Unfortunately my only workaround is to use the Auto Shutter in d5 menu. Please keep us updated with your Z6.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    The local Nikon Repair Shop told me the camera is not part of the Service Advisory but could be send in because it is still under warranty.

    However, after some further/more thorough testing, I do not think it is worth it for me. I found that using the VR ON with the MS results in sharper images up to 1/80. From 1/100 upwards VR off works better. Using VR sport setting does not make things better in the 100-200 range.

    There are definitely situations where it is better (or safer) to use the mechanical shutter in the 1/100-200 shutter speed range (shooting in artificial light)and at high (1/2000 and above) it makes sense to use the mechanical shutter. Using the Auto shutter type is probably the best type to use because it switches automatically from ECFS to Mechanical at faster shutter speeds.

    Could you qualify the issue as a flaw? Probably yes, but I am not qualified to assess if there is a solution without redesigning the system.
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    Re: Nikon Z6 & Z7 - IBIS VR + Mechanical Shutter = Blurry Images

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterN View Post
    The local Nikon Repair Shop told me the camera is not part of the Service Advisory but could be send in because it is still under warranty.

    However, after some further/more thorough testing, I do not think it is worth it for me. I found that using the VR ON with the MS results in sharper images up to 1/80. From 1/100 upwards VR off works better. Using VR sport setting does not make things better in the 100-200 range.

    There are definitely situations where it is better (or safer) to use the mechanical shutter in the 1/100-200 shutter speed range (shooting in artificial light)and at high (1/2000 and above) it makes sense to use the mechanical shutter. Using the Auto shutter type is probably the best type to use because it switches automatically from ECFS to Mechanical at faster shutter speeds.

    Could you qualify the issue as a flaw? Probably yes, but I am not qualified to assess if there is a solution without redesigning the system.

    Same thing they told me but they did not repaired it, saying it's ok after testing.

    Yes, best work-around is Auto Shutter if the VR is turned on. In most of the situations it's ok, but yes, keep in mind the banding with flash/strobes and with some artificial lights.

    I qualify it as a problem, because others don't have this problem and some were recall for VR problems. I really hope for the extended recall.

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