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Review by Markus Stamm, published December 2011
The 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm is a compact tele zoom lens for the new Nikon 1 system. In terms of field of view it offers the equivalent of a 80-300mm lens on a full frame camera. It's available as part of camera kits, but can also be purchased separately for around 200 EUR/250 USD.
Like all zoom lenses introduced at system launch, the 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm is a collapsible lens. This means it needs to extend an inner lens tube to be operational. Most of the lens' volume is used by the outer tube, the actual glass elements are a lot smaller in diameter than the size of the lens suggests. Nonetheless, the Nikkor is very compact, both in absolute terms as well as compared to lenses in other systems offering a similar focal range. It's actually the first lens that gives an impression of the size advantages that are possible due to the small sensor size Nikon chose for the system.
Extending the lens when the camera is off switches it on, however retracting the lens does not automatically switch the camera off again or send it to stand-by. Apart from the zoom ring and the release button there are no other control elements on the lens. Any function except zooming (autofocus, aperture, VR) is controlled through the camera. This is also true for manual focus, there is no focus ring on the lens.
Move the cursor over the text marks below to see the lens in its retracted or extended condition
The build quality of the lens is very good. The lens is based on a metal mount, both tubes are made of high quality plastics, the nicely rubberized zoom ring in addition features metal elements.
As you can see in the product shots above, the lens extends quite a bit when unlocked. The total length increases even further with zooming towards the long end of the focal range. The lens features a duo-cam design (two inner tubes), nonetheless there is only a very minor amount of wobbling when fully extended. The dedicated hood is supplied with the lens.
The Nikkor features a fast and silent AF drive, which is unnoticeable when recording movies. Videographers will also appreciate the stepless aperture.
The lens also offers Nikon's optical stabilization system, called Vibration Reduction (VR). VR works in two modes, "Normal" and "Active". The latter mode should be used to correct for larger shaking, for example when shooting from a moving vehicle or during walking. According to the manual, both modes offer panning detection.
The lens is available in several colours matching the corresponding cameras.
|Equiv. focal length||81-297 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/10-15 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||18 elements in 12 groups incl. 2 ED elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||1 m (max. magnification ratio 1:10)|
|Dimensions||60 mm x 61 mm (retracted)|
|Filter size||40.5 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||HB-N103, barrel shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Vibration reduction (VR), stepless aperture|