This is a very common question I encounter in forums. Usually, the poster will enumerate ALL the lenses he has so that those who want to “help” can have a more precise and definite answer (to me, he’s just bragging really). The default response is to bring all lenses “just in case”. Well let me provide a more scientific response to this inquiry.
Lenses are region locked. If you purchased them in Australia, for example, then it will only work for region 4 just like the legit DVD you bought at your favorite video store. This is true especially for those lenses that have motorized autofocus feature and vibration reduction (Nikon VR/VR2) or image stabilization (Canon IS).
Let’s look at autofocus first. The engineers have already calculated the precise effect of coriolis force (the force caused by earth’s rotation) on your lens’es AF depending on your geolocation. Not only that but the effect of the Earth’s magnetic field have been taken into consideration as well. Using your lens in a different region will cause front-focusing (FF) or back-focusing (BF) problems or it may hunt (for it’s coded region), the latter being the most common issue especially in the dark when it gets confused by the wrong time zone (it thinks it’s still daytime, duh!!!). Makes a lot of sense. Electricity turns the AF motor which creates its own magnetic field that may counter Earth’s magnetic field. The FF or BF focusing issue depends on the amount of deviation from the precalculated values. So, unlike DVDs where region locking hurts the consumers and generates more megabucks for the producers, lens region locking actually HELPS the consumers.
What about VR or IS? This expensive lens add-on feature is also mechanical and electrical in nature. VR/IS has to move vertically or horizontally to compensate for lens movement. Again, gravity needs to be taken into consideration. Here in Australia for example, the engineers at CaNikon had to make a downward motion bias because of the fact that Australians are hanging upside down from Earth’s gravitational pull. This same principle also explains why we in Australia can eat more and have a higher body mass index cut-off for obesity because Earth’s gravity has a lesser effect when you are hanging upside down. So Australians, don’t be surprised when you feel dizzy when you travel to countries in the northern hemisphere. That’s not jet lag. That’s blood flowing away from your brain. This will compound the effect of blurry photos. First, there’s the VR/IS that has now been overcompensated and there’s dizziness.
So next time you plan to go for a holiday, leave your lenses behind and buy them at your destination. THEY ARE CHEAPER THAN HERE IN AUSTRALIA ANYWAY.
Seriously, if after reading my post you still can’t decide which lens to bring to your favorite holiday destination, please do us and yourself a favor: pack all your lenses in their original boxes (for maximum safety) AND BRING THEM BACK TO WHERE YOU BOUGHT THEM BECAUSE YOU ARE HOPELESS IN PHOTOGRAPHY!!!