Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 Nikkor

Lab Test Results

  • Nikon J1
  • Blur

  • Chromatic Aberration

  • Vignetting

  • Geometric Distortion

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image of Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 Nikkor

SLRgear Review

April 23, 2012
by Andrew Alexander

At 77 grams (just under 3 oz), the 10mm ƒ/2.8 1 Nikkor is the lightest lens Nikon currently produces, and probably one of the smallest. With just 6 elements in 5 groups, the lens produces an equivalent field of view of 27mm when mounted on a Nikon J1 or V1 camera.

The 10mm ”pancake” lens was built specifically for the Nikon CX mount, and will not fit on other Nikon cameras. It does not ship with the optional HN-N101 round lens hood. The lens takes 40.5mm filters, and is available now for around $250.

Sharpness

The 10mm ƒ/2.8 pancake lens produces very sharp images, even straight out of the gate at ƒ/2.8. Technically it’s not absolutely sharp at this aperture – there is some very light corner softness – but by ƒ/4, this has disappeared and the lens produces tack-sharp images. Equally good at ƒ/5.6 and just very slightly less so at ƒ/8, there’s only a slight amount of softness even fully stopped-down to ƒ/11.

Chromatic Aberration

Unfortunately, in so small a package, something’s got to give, and the lens shows some amount of chromatic aberration throughout its range of apertures. Fortunately this is mostly confined to the corners, where it is especially evident (showing as green-magenta fringing in areas of high contrast).

Shading (”Vignetting”)

When used wide open at ƒ/2.8, the 10mm pancake produces corners in images which are 2/3 of a stop darker than the center. Stopping down to any other aperture reduces this to just under a half-stop; but that’s as good as it gets.

Distortion

There is some prominent barrel distortion when using this lens: specifically, +0.5% in the corners. This is fairly noticeable if you put subjects on the edge of the frame, otherwise, not so much.

Autofocus Operation

The 10mm ƒ/2.8 1 Nikkor pancake uses a very fast focusing system, focusing from close-focus to infinity in well under a second, and doing so very quietly. Attached 40.5mm filters will not rotate during focus operations.

Macro

This lens is a very poor substitute for a macro lens – just 0.06x magnification, and a minimum close-focusing distance of 20cm (around 8 inches).

Build Quality and Handling

Small and light is the order of the day for this lens, which uses 6 elements in 5 groups, two of which are aspherical and use a super integrated coating to reduce flare. Using this lens with the Nikon J1 or V1 produces a camera you would have called a point-and-shoot in the early 2000’s, but in this case, with a 10-megapixel sensor and much better optics. Altogether, the J1 and 10mm ƒ/2.8 package weighs in at just under 18 oz, which makes a perfect walkaround combination.

The lens itself doesn’t have much to complicate it – in fact there are no control surfaces of any kind, not even a focusing ring. The ring that you see on the front of the lens is for show, it doesn’t turn – but it does provide another place to hold onto. All focusing operations are conducted from the camera, including manual focus. Other 1 system lenses employ optical stabilization, but unfortunately, there’s just no room left over in this lens to provide the same system here.

The HN-N101 lens hood is a small, round hood that screws onto the front of the lens to provide some additional resistance to flare. It’s an optional accessory and will run you about $20 if you feel it is necessary.

Alternatives

Right now, the only alternatives in the Nikon 1 system are other Nikon 1 lenses.

Nikon 1 10-100mm ƒ/4.5-5.6 PD-Zoom Nikkor VR ~$750
Three times the price, but ten times the range – the 10-100mm also offers VR. At the 10mm point, the prime is somewhat sharper at ƒ/4, but also offers the faster ƒ/2.8 aperture. At ƒ/5.6 and smaller, they’re equally tack-sharp. Otherwise, the 10-100mm is similar when it comes to distortion, corner shading and chromatic aberration.

Nikon 1 10-30mm ƒ/3.5-5.6 Nikkor VR ~$-
The odds are that if you’re a J1 or V1 owner, you already have this lens. It also features VR, and is as sharp as the 10mm prime at that focal length setting. Of course the 10mm prime goes one stop faster at ƒ/2.8. Otherwise, it’s a bit better for CA performance; corner shading and distortion are about the same.

Conclusion

While the Nikon 10mm ƒ/2.8 1 Nikkor seems to produce some very sharp images, it’s not without a cost in chromatic aberration, distortion and corner shading. All of these traits one might say are the hallmarks of a point-and-shoot camera lens, except those are usually fairly soft, too, which is not the case here. So if you’re not too fussy about optical performance in the corners of your images, for what the lens offers – an extremely light wide-angle platform – it’s a bargain, and well worth a very small space in your bag.

Product Photos

Sample Photos

The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.


Still Life shot

VFA target

As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ”VFA” target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.

SOURCE:http://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/nikon/1-10mm-f2.8-nikkor/review/