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Review by Markus Stamm, published November 2011
The 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 is the first prime lens available for the Nikon 1 system. It's a wide-angle lens that offers a field of view equivalent to a 27mm lens on a full frame camera, a focal length that is covered by three of the four CX lenses introduced at system launch.
On paper, the lens doesn't offer much over the 10-30mm kit zoom. The minimum focus distance is identical to the zoom lens and with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 the prime is less then a stop faster than the zoom at the wide end, which features f/3.5 here. Given the small sensor size of the Nikon 1 system, the difference between the two lenses regarding depth of field potential is almost negligible. The small advantage the prime gains with its slightly larger aperture in terms of shutter speed, it loses on the other hand due to the lack of optical stabilization.
The main difference and real advantage of the 1 Nikkor 10mm is its small size and weight: it's a pancake lens. Especially combined with the smaller of the two current Nikon 1 cameras, the J1, it offers a very small package, that unlike the zoom kit is really pocketable.
In this review we will have a look at how the lens performs on our current CX test camera, the Nikon V1.
The build quality of the lens is excellent. It's based on a metal mount and most of the small lens barrel is made of metal, too.
There are no control elements on the lens. Any functionality, including manual focus, is controlled through the camera. What looks like a serrated focus ring in the product shots below is actually a fixed structure. It's more than just a cosmetic feature, though, because it offers a welcome grip when mounting and removing the lens from the camera.
Nikon delivers the lens without a hood (and also without a pouch). A dedicated screw mount hood is available, however the price of almost 30 EUR seems a bit steep for the tiny metal ring you get in return, especially since the default clip-on lens cap delivered with the lens no longer fits when the hood is mounted. Of course Nikon offers a solution for this issue, too: a dedicated screw mount cap (read: inconvenient and slow to apply and remove), that sets you back another 30 EUR.
To be fair: in our field tests the lens handled backlight very well, it takes really nasty light to produce flare or glare. So, usually the hood is not really needed.
The AF speed is quite fast and very similar to the 10-30mm VR lens, however the pancake does not feature a completely silent AF drive. In photo mode, it is audible (but not to a disturbing degree). Switched to film mode, the AF speed is reduced, which results in a significantly lower noise level. Combined with its stepless aperture, the lens is still suitable for video work, but given the noise level of the AF and the lack of VR, it's not the primary choice for this kind of application.
The lens is available in several colours matching the corresponding cameras.
|Equiv. focal length||27 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/7.6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||6 elements in 5 groups incl. 2 aspherical elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:16.7)|
|Dimensions||55,5 mm x 22 mm|
|Filter size||40.5 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||HN-N101, barrel shaped, screw mount (optional), also requires optional HC-N101 cap|
|Other features||stepless aperture|