1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Lens

    leadpic_30-110mm_black

    Photo Review 8.3
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    1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 Lens

      In summary

       The kit tele-zoom lens supplied with the new Nikon 1 cameras.The 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 provides the tele-zoom lens in the twin-lens kit offered with the new Nikon 1 camera bodies. Providing a 3.7x zoom range, it covers an angle of view equivalent to 81-297 mm in 35mm format and is suitable for photographing sports and wildlife, with some value as a portrait and close-up lens. . . [more]

      Full review

       

      leadpic_30-110mm_black

      The 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 provides the tele-zoom lens in the twin-lens kit offered with the new Nikon 1 camera bodies. Providing a 3.7x zoom range, it covers an angle of view equivalent to 81-297 mm in 35mm format and is suitable for photographing sports and wildlife, with some value as a portrait and close-up lens.

      30-110mm_black-angle

      The 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6. (Source: Nikon.)

      Like the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, it has a retracting design, controlled by a button on the zoom ring. Relatively compact and lightweight, it comes with built-in vibration reduction (VR) and is supplied with a cylindrical lens hood (HB-N103) that reverses onto the barrel for storage.

      Build and Ergonomics
      Like the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6, this lens is made in China and appears to be fabricated mainly from polycarbonate plastic. It comes in five colours (black, white, silver, pink and red), matched to the two Nikon 1 bodies and is similar in design to the 10-30mm lens. Build quality is good for a plastic lens and it's a comfortable match for the Nikon 1 V1 body used for our review.

      The optical design is relatively complex with 18 elements in 12 groups. Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements are included to optimise light transmission and reduce common aberrations.

      30-110mm_diagram

      The diagram above shows the positions of the ED glass 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, driven by a micro-motor, supports use of angle-critical attachments like polarisers and graduate filters.

      The zoom ring is approximately 26 mm wide and has a 18 mm wide band of dimpled, rubber-like material to provide a secure and comfortable grip. As with the 10-30mm lens, 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 62 mm from the camera body.

      In use, dual inner barrels extend by a further 18 mm at the 30mm position and a further 16 mm when the lens is at 110mm. Maximum apertures range from f/3.8 at 30mm and 40mm through f/4.5 at 60mm and f/5 at 80mm to f/5.6 at 110mm.

      Like the 10-30mm lens, the 30-110mm lens has no focusing ring. Nor does it have a distance scale, depth-of-field indicator or markings for infrared focus correction.

      Performance
      Our Imatest tests on this lens, when fitted to the Nikon 1 V1 showed it to be capable of slightly higher resolution than the 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6. However, the differences occurred mainly at the 30mm focal length and with the lens stopped roughly half-way down.
      Slight edge and corner softening was evident at most focal length settings, with the 80mm focal length suffering less than the other focal lengths we were able to test (given the distance restrictions in our testing set-up). As with the 10-30mm lens, diffraction reduced resolution from f/8 onwards. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.

      30-110mm-lens-Res-vs-FL-graph

      Lateral chromatic aberration remained mainly within the 'low' band, straying just into the 'moderate' band with wider apertures at longer focal lengths and small apertures at 40mm. Slight coloured fringing was seen in test shots taken in contrasty lighting. The graph below shows the results of our tests with the 'low' band falling between the red and green lines.

      30-110mm-lens-CA-graph

      Backlighting was handled quite well, thanks to the provision of an effective lens hood. However, strong contre-jour lighting produced slight veiling flare, which was able to be corrected in post-capture editing.
      Barrel distortion could be seen at the 30mm focal length but the lens was largely distortion-free at 110mm. Vignetting (edge darkening) was negligible at all focal length settings.

      Bokeh was much as you'd expect, given the size of the camera's sensor. Out-of-focus highlights were slightly choppy at the widest lens aperture but areas without strong contrasts appeared quite smooth.

      Conclusion
      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 takes up where the 10-30mm leaves off and is the only tele-zoom lens on sale at present.

      IMATEST GRAPHS
      (Based on JPEG files from the Nikon 1 V1 camera body.)

      30-110mm_DSC_0163_YBL77_ca

       

      30-110mm_DSC_0163_YAR28_cpp
      30-110mm_DSC_0163_YBL77_cpp

      SAMPLE IMAGES

      30-110mm_DSC_0437_distortion-30mm

      Rectilinear distortion at 30mm.

      30-110mm_DSC_0445-distortion-110mm

      Rectilinear distortion at 110mm.

      30-110mm_DSC_0413_wide

      30mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/5.6.

      30-110mm_DSC_0415_tele

      110mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/5.6.

      30-110mm_DSC_0292_bokeh

      Close-up showing bokeh; 110mm focal length, ISO 250, 1/250 second at f/5.6.

      30-110mm_DSC_0425_fringing-30mm

      30mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/16.

      30-110mm_DSC_0425_fringing-crop-30mm

      Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%, showing slight coloured fringing.

      30-110mm_DSC_0426_fringing-110mm

      110mm focal length, ISO 180, 1/250 second at f/16.

      30-110mm_DSC_0426_fringing-crop_110mm

      Crop from the above image enlarged to 100%, showing slight coloured fringing.

      30-110mm_DSC_0273_backlight

      Backlighting; 110mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/800 second at f/8.

      30-110mm_DSC_0270_flare

      Slight veiling flare with strong backlighting; 110mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/500 second at f/7.1.

      30-110mm_DSC_0532_110mmf5.6

      Depth-of-field for 110mm focal length at f/5.6; ISO 100, 1/500 second.

      30-110mm_DSC_0534_110mmf8

      Depth-of-field for 110mm focal length at f/8; ISO 100, 1/250 second.

      30-110mm_DSC_0535_110mmf11

      Depth-of-field for 110mm focal length at f/11; ISO 180, 1/250 second.

      30-110mm_DSC_0536_110mmf16

      Depth-of-field for 110mm focal length at f/16; ISO 360, 1/250 second.

      30-110mm_DSC_0530_110mmf5.6

      Bokeh at 110mm f/5.6; ISO 100, 1/400 second.

      More sample images can be found with the reviews of the Nikon 1 V1.

       

      Specifications

       

      leadpic_30-110mm_black

      Picture angle: 29 degrees 40 minutes to 8 degrees 20 minutes
      Minimum aperture: f/16
      Lens construction: 18 elements in 12 groups
      Lens mounts: Nikon CX
      Diaphragm Blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)
      Focus drive: Stepping Motor
      Stabilisation: Lens shift using voice coil motors (VCMs)
      Minimum focus: 1.0 m from focal plane at all zoom positions
      Maximum magnification: 0.104x at maximum telephoto position
      Filter size: 40.5 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L): Approx. 60 mm diameter x 61 mm (distance from camera lens mount flange when lens is retracted)
      Weight: Approx. 180 grams

       

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      Rating

       

      RRP: $329

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Handling: 8.3
      • Image quality: 8.5
      • Versatility: 8.5
      • OVERALL: 8.3

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