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Review by Markus Stamm, published August 2013
With the 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8, Nikon adds a normal prime to the Nikon 1 system, a lens that many consider essential for any "serious" system. On full-frame cameras, normal primes are usually 50mm f/1.8 lenses. If you correct for the CX crop factor for the Nikon 1 system of 2.7x, this lens thus at a quick glance resembles a standard 50mm f/1.8 lens. And, just like "real" 50mm lenses, it is quite affordable.
However, one should be aware of the fact that the small sensor of Nikon CX cameras also influences the DOF potential and thus the ability to separate the subject from the background. In this regard, the Nikkor behaves roughly like an f/5 lens on a full frame camera.
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 very good. It's based on a metal mount, while the lens tube feels more like plastic.
Common for CX primes, there are no control elements on the lens. Any functionality, including manual focus, is controlled through the camera. What looks like a focus ring in the product shots below is actually a fixed structure and does not turn. It's more than just a cosmetic feature, though, because it offers a welcome grip when mounting and removing the lens from the camera.
Unfortunately Nikon delivers the lens without a hood. A dedicated dome-shaped hood is available, but it adds another 20 EUR to the purchase price of the lens. Good news though: unlike with the 10mm f/2.8 prime, the front cap fits both the naked lens as well as the hood, so no need to spend even more money on a second front cap.
The AF speed is quite fast. Thanks to its stepless aperture, the lens is also suitable for video work.
The Nikkor is available in 3 colours matching the higher-grade Nikon 1 cameras: black, silver and white.
|Equiv. focal length||50 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. aperture||f/4.9 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)|
|Optical construction||8 elements in 6 groups incl. 1 aspherical element|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.3)|
|Dimensions||56 mm x 36 mm|
|Filter size||40.5 mm (non-rotating)|
|Hood||HB-N104, dome shaped, bayonet mount (optional)|
|Other features||stepless aperture|