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Nikon 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 Pancake Review


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Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £229

Owing to the very small sensor size used in Nikon 1 cameras, a large conversion factor exists between the true focal length of 1 Nikkor lenses and the equivalent angle-of-view on a full-frame camera. For APS-C cameras, which include dSLR and some CCS cameras, this factor is x1.5 but for Nikons CX-format sensors (which measure just 13.2×8.8mm) it is x2.7.

As a consequence, the 10mm lens tested here behaves much like a 28mm lens on a full-frame dSLR, except that the small image size makes it very hard to record out-of-focus backgrounds even when using wide aperture settings.

There are no moving parts on the outside of the lens: there is what appears to be a rotatable ring but in fact this is totally cosmetic. All aperture and focussing adjustments are applied via the cameras menu interface. On the downside this is inconvenient but on the upside it means there are no tiny gaps through which rain or sand might enter the lens and impede its operation.

Although applying focusing and aperture adjustments via the camera is inconvenient it is not awkward. In manual-focus mode the OK button activates an enlarged view of the scene, which can be moved and rescaled without the need for Twister-like contortions across the back of the camera.

Similarly, in aperture priority mode the aperture setting is directly adjustable via the up/down toggle on the top edge of the back-plate.

The aperture range offered by Nikons 10mm lens extends from f/2.8 to only f/11, which is distinctly restricted for a lens of this type. With such a narrow aperture range it would be reasonable to expect the MTF results to remain above the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel level at all settings and in fact only the f/2.8 figures dipped below this threshold.

There were, however, clear signs of chromatic aberrations on the high-contrast test target. Nevertheless, and as is often the case, real-world photographs proved to be almost totally free from colour fringes ‚ but there was some issue with image noise, which may be attributable to the small sensor size.

Sample images


The 1 Nikkor 10mm prime lens is a competent performer but some buyers may also wish to consider the 1 Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR zoom, which can be obtained for the same price or slightly less. It would be interesting to review that lens too because as things stand it appears to be the more versatile and capable option.

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