Sunday, 14 September 2014

Nikon 1 lens lineup

The Nikon 1 format is still fairly new, but they have managed to launch a respectable lens lineup already, covering most photographic needs. Here is an overview over the existing lenses that fit the Nikon 1 CX system.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedJan 8th, 2013
Equivalent focal length18-35mm
Filter thread52mm
Hood suppliedYes, HB-N105
Lens elements/groups11/7
These days, no system is complete without the standard extreme wide angle zoom lens. This lens from Nikon is not very wide, for such a lens, with only 18mm (equivalent) in the short end, but this should be sufficient for eye catching wide pictures of landscapes and cityscapes.

Generally, the lens is considered to be quite good considering the size and price.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8

AnnouncedSep 21st, 2011
Equivalent focal length27mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedNo
Lens elements/groups6/5

One of the first lenses announced for the Nikon 1 system was this very small wide angle pancake lens. Here, I am comparing it with similar lenses for other systems.

I find the lens to be very good in terms of image quality, and it focuses quickly and very inaudibly.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 AW

AnnouncedSep 19th, 2013
Equivalent focal length27mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedNo
Lens elements/groups6/5
This lens is the same as the Nikon 10mm f/2.8, except that it is built into a water and shockproof chassis.

As the lens has a longer collar behind the mount, it can only be used with the Nikon 1 AW1 waterproof camera. In the future, further waterproof cameras to support it may appear.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedSep 21st, 2011
Equivalent focal length27-81mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedNo, HB-N101
Lens elements/groups12/9
The very first kit zoom lens for the Nikon 1 system, it has since been superseded by the Nikon 1 11-27.5mm (for inexpensive kits), and Nikon 1 VR PD 10-30mm (for premium kits).

Most appear to think that the performance of this lens leaves something to be desired, and that the newer lenses are better.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR PD 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedMar 13th, 2014
Equivalent focal length27-81mm
Filter threadNone
Hood suppliedNo
Lens elements/groups9/7
The newest kit zoom lens, typically sold with the most expensive camera kits. It extends automatically when the camera is powered on, and features power zoom through the ring. I find it hard to operate the zoom smoothly, especially while recording video.

I have compared the lens with some other pancake zoom lenses here, finding that it does pretty well.

It is not possible to use filters or a hood with this lens, which is a bit unusual. It has an automatic lens cap, just like most compact cameras.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.0-5.6
AnnouncedJan 8th, 2013
Equivalent focal length27-270mm
Filter thread55mm
Hood suppliedNo, HB-N106
Lens elements/groups19/12
The second superzoom lens launched by Nikon. It has gotten a good perception as an all around lens, and is often perceived as having a good build quality and giving good image quality. It is one of the few Nikon 1 lenses which has a metal bayonet mount.

Getting this lens can be an alternative to having both a kit zoom lens, and the 30-110mm tele zoom lens. Having this lens means that you don't need to change lenses all the time.

However, as this picture tells you, using the 10-100mm gives you a smaller maximum aperture over most of the focal length, compared with having the two shorter zoom lenses:

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR PD 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6
AnnouncedSep 21st, 2011
Equivalent focal length27-270mm
Filter thread72mm
Hood suppliedYes, HB-N102
Lens elements/groups21/14
This is a somewhat odd lens. It is a large, and expensive video oriented lens, featuring power zoom operated through a lever. A motorized zoom is often used when recording video, as it is the only way to zoom smoothly.

However, the lens is odd since there hasn't really been any video oriented Nikon 1 cameras. Perhaps this lens will be revived once a video oriented camera appears, in the mean time, it is mostly a niche lens.

I don't consider the Nikon 1 cameras video oriented, as they don't have a good ergonomy for video use. Further, they lack the choices of frame rates (24, 25 and 50 should be available, the latter two in PAL countries). Finally, the video bit rate is too low for serious post production work.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedAug 9th, 2012
Equivalent focal length30-74mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood supplied No, HB-N101
Lens elements/groups8/6
This is the kit zoom lens launched for use on the cheapest camera kits. It does away with the VR specification, having no optical image stabilization at all. Apart from that, it is actually a quite good lens. I have compared the lens with some other pancake zoom lenses here, finding that it does pretty well.
Nikon 1 Nikkor AW 11-27.5mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedSep 19th, 2013
Equivalent focal length30-74mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedNo
Lens elements/groups8/6
This is a special version of the normal 11-27.5mm lens, which is water proofed and built into a shock proof housing. Unlike the regular version, it is not collapsible, which is why it is so much larger.

As the lens has a longer collar behind the mount, it can only be used with the Nikon 1 AW1 waterproof camera. In the future, further waterproof cameras to support it may appear.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8
AnnouncedSep 13th, 2012
Equivalent focal length50mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedNo, HB-N104
Lens elements/groups8/6
A clever move from Nikon was to launch an affordable, fast normal lens fairly soon into the system life time. This kind of lens is favoured by many, since it is similar to the classic fast normal lens often bought together with an SLR camera some generations ago.

The lens gets good reviews, and is a cheap way to try a large aperture lens.

I would recommend the hood which I think is brilliantly designed.


Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6
AnnouncedSep 21st, 2011
Equivalent focal length81-300mm
Filter thread40.5mm
Hood suppliedYes, HB-N103
Lens elements/groups18/12
Since the start of the Nikon 1 system, this has been the standard tele zoom lens. As such, it does a good job, being very compact and light for this class of lens. It is often liked for the good image quality, and the quick focus.

With the fast AF-C capability of the Nikon 1 cameras, this lens is a good match for sports and wildlife.


Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2
AnnouncedMay 14th, 2013
Equivalent focal length86mm
Filter thread52mm
Hood suppliedYes, HB-N107
Lens elements/groups9/7
This is the Nikon 1 take on the classic portrait lens. A portrait lens is typically around 85mm (equivalent), and has a large aperture. To understand why a portrait lens is around 85mm, you can read this article.

Users of this lens often find that it has a very good image quality.

Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6
AnnouncedMar 13th, 2014
Equivalent focal length200-810mm
Filter thread62mm
Hood suppliedYes, HB-N110
Lens elements/groups16/10
In my opinion, this is the most exciting lens for the Nikon 1 system yet. The lens capitalizes on the smaller sensor, in the sense that it allows to create a small and light 800mm (equivalent) zoom lens. The lens is ideal for photographing birds and wildlife, as well as spectator sports.

My review.

About using this lens for birds in flight.

I would recommend getting the optional tripod mount.

Third party lenses

Not many third party Nikon CX lenses exist so far.

Rokinon 7.5mm f/8 fisheye
AnnouncedAug, 2014?
Equivalent focal length20mm
Filter threadNone
Hood suppliedBuilt-in
Lens elements/groups4/4
This lens is pretty inexpensive, at US$200. However, it has got some bad reviews so far online: Some concerns about the quality and precision of the mount. And some have reported poor flare performance, which is quite important for a wide angle lens.

The lens has a 162° diagonal field of view, which is not very impressive for a fisheye lens, as you would have expected 180° at this price. But it is still quite wide.

Even considering the relatively low price, this lens appear to perform rather poorly. I would not recommend purchasing it at this point.
Kenko Tokina 400mm f/8 mirror lens
AnnouncedSep, 2014?
Equivalent focal length1080mm
Filter thread67mm
Hood supplied?
Lens elements/groups6/2
A quite recent design from Kenko, this lens is offered for a number of mounts, including Nikon 1, Fujifilm X, Micro Four Thirds, Nikon F, Pentax K, and many more.

If you are interested in this lens, then I would recommend getting it with a Nikon F mount, and using it with the FT-1 adapter. That would give you another tripod mount, and you have the flexibility to use it on other mirrorless cameras later.

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