1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon CX

Distortion

The Nikkor shows a distortion characteristic that's fairly typical for kit zoom lenses. At the short end, there's a pronounced amount of barrel distortion. Zoomed to 14mm, the issue is reduced considerably already. Some traces of barrel distortion are still left at 18mm, however for most subjects the lens can be called free of distortion from this focal length onwards.

It is worth mentioning that Nikon decided not to use software correction to reduce distortion. The basically distortion-free images delivered by this lens at 24mm and 30mm are a result of optical design, not algorithms in the camera firmware or RAW converter.

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.

Vignetting

Light fall-off towards the corners is generally well controlled, except for the shortest focal length wide open, where the lens shows vignetting well above 1 EV.

The chart below shows the vignetting characteristic based on NEFs converted by RAW Developer, which does not apply any correction.

Unlike distortion, Nikon chose to have vignetting corrected in the camera when shooting JPG (or using Nikon's View NX or Capture NX software to convert NEFs). The chart below shows the vignetting based on the same images as the previous chart, but automatically corrected by the camera firmware.

MTF (resolution)

In the range of 14 to 18mm, the lens delivers excellent center resolution with very good borders and extreme corners wide open and stopped down to f/5.6. From f/8 onwards, diffraction begins to take its toll and reduces the sharpness.

At 24 and 30mm, the center resolution is still excellent wide open with very good borders, but the extreme corners drop to good values here.

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

The level of lateral CAs (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) is around 1.5pixels for most of the zoom and aperture range. However, CAs can easily be corrected in software, in fact the Nikon 1 cameras automatically do so if you shoot JPGs.




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