A standard-range zoom lens for Nikon's new CX-format cameras.The 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 is one of two lenses offered with the new Nikon 1 camera bodies. Covering an angle of view equivalent to 27-81mm in 35mm format, this lens is suitable for all kinds of general photography, including family snapshots, scenery and portraiture. It features a retracting design, similar to the Olympus 14-42mm kit lenses (which cover the same 3x zoom range). . . [more]
The 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 is one of two lenses offered with the new Nikon 1 camera bodies. Covering an angle of view equivalent to 27-81mm in 35mm format, this lens is suitable for all kinds of general photography, including family snapshots, scenery and portraiture. It features a retracting design, similar to the Olympus 14-42mm kit lenses (which cover the same 3x zoom range).
The 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6. (Source: Nikon.)
Despite the smaller sensor in the Nikon 1, this lens is actually slightly larger and heavier (though a little shorter) than the Olympus equivalent. The table below compares key specifications of both lenses.
1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm
M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm
Micro Four Thirds
Sensor crop factor
Angle of view
77 - 29 degrees 40 minutes
75 - 29 degrees
12 elements in 9 groups
8 elements in 7 groups
MSC Screw drive
No (but in camera bodies)
Dimensions (retracted, diameter x length)
57.5 x 42 mm
50 x 56.5 mm
Build and Ergonomics
The 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 comes in five colours (black, white, silver, pink and red), matched to the two Nikon 1 bodies. Like the cameras, it's made in China and appears to be fabricated mainly from polycarbonate plastic. Build quality is good for a plastic lens and it's a good match for the Nikon 1 V1 body used for our review.
There were occasions when we changed lenses and this lens didn't make proper electronic contact with the camera body, which locked it in the retracted position. Removing the lens usually fixed the problem, although sometimes it required a couple of tries.
The optical design of this lens consists of 12 elements in nine groups. It includes three aspherical lens elements to improve edge-to-edge sharpness and minimise chromatic aberrations. The diagram below shows the positions of the various elements.
The optical design of the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, showing the positions of the aspherical elements. (Source: Nikon.)
A seven-bladed iris diaphragm closes to a circular aperture designed to produce smoother out-of-focus elements in shots. Internal focusing supports use of angle-critical attachments like polarisers and graduate filters.
The zoom ring is approximately 20 mm wide and has a 15 mm wide band of dimpled, rubber-like material to provide a secure and comfortable grip. A prominent button on the user's left hand side of the lens barrel must be held in to extend and retract the inner barrel.
Pressing the button in and rotating the outer barrel switches the camera on - and you can't switch it off again until the lens has been retracted. With the inner barrel retracted, the lens protrudes 43 mm from the camera body.
In use, the inner barrel extends by a further 23 mm at both the 10mm and 30mm positions, dipping back to roughly 17 mm between the 14mm and 18mm focal length settings. Maximum apertures range from f/3.5 at 10mm through f/4 at 14mm, f/4.5 at 18mm and f/5 at 24mm to f/5.6 at 30mm.
There's no focusing ring because the cameras support manual focusing via an on-screen bar indicator, magnification and rotation of the dial around the arrow pad. There's no distance scale, no depth-of-field indicator and no markings for infrared focus correction.
No lens hood is supplied but it appears one is available (HB-N101). However, it's not listed in the printed manual supplied with the camera - nor on Nikon Australia's website.
On the basis of our Imatest testing using JPEG files from the Nikon 1 V1 camera, the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 turned in an adequate but uninspiring performance. The highest resolution came from the 14mm focal length a couple of stops down from maximum aperture.
All focal lengths showed their highest resolution when stopped down between two and three notches. Some edge and corner softening was evident at all focal length settings, while diffraction reduced resolution from f/8 onwards. The graph below shows the results of our tests.
Lateral chromatic aberration remained solidly within the 'low' band throughout the focal length and aperture ranges in our Imatest tests. To confirm this, we found traces of coloured fringing in test shots taken in contrasty lighting. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.
Barrel distortion was very obvious at the 10mm focal length, with slight pincushioning visible at 30mm. Vignetting (edge darkening) was negligible at all focal length settings.
Backlit subjects were generally handled well and the lens was relatively flare-free as long as the light source was outside the frame. Bokeh was smoother than you'd expect from a lens of this format.
As this lens is specific to the Nikon 1 system and one of only four lenses available currently, we can't make our usual 'buy/don't buy' recommendations. If you're attracted by either of the Nikon 1 camera bodies, this lens is the only standard-range zoom lens on sale at present.
(Based on JPEG files from the Nikon 1 V1 camera body.)
Rectilinear distortion at 10mm.
Rectilinear distortion at 30mm.
10mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/8.
30mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/5.6.
Close-up; 30mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/5.6.
Depth-of-field for 30mm focal length at f/5.6; ISO 100, 1/640 second.
Depth-of-field for 30mm focal length at f/8; ISO 100, 1/200 second.
Depth-of-field for 30mm focal length at f/11; ISO 100, 1/125 second.
Depth-of-field for 30mm focal length at f/16; ISO 180, 1/125 second.
10mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/9.
Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%, showing slight coloured fringing.
30mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/9.
Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%, showing slight coloured fringing.
Backlit subject; 16mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/7.1.
More sample images can be found with the reviews of theNikon 1 V1.
Picture angle: 77 degrees to 29 degrees 40 minutes
Minimum aperture: f/16
Lens construction: 12 elements in 9 groups (including 3 aspherical lens elements)
Lens mounts: Nikon CX
Diaphragm Blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
Focus drive: Stepping Motor
Stabilisation: Lens shift using voice coil motors (VCMs)
Minimum focus: 20 cm
Maximum magnification: 0.21x at maximum telephoto position
Filter size: 40.5 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): Approx. 57.5 mm diameter x 42 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange when lens is retracted)
Weight: Approx. 115 grams
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