Nikon 1 10-100mm VR Review

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Compared to Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8

The Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 is currently the smallest and the lightest 1 Nikkor lens, known as a “pancake” lens. Its optical characteristics greatly differ from the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR lens – it is a fixed focal length lens, its maximum aperture is much larger at f/2.8 versus f/4.5 (and minimum aperture is limited to f/11) and it has no vibration reduction (VR). Let’s see how the 10mm pancake lens compares to the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR lens at 10mm.

31) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 10mm @ 10mm Center Frame

Wide open at f/2.8, the Nikon 1 10mm performs better than the Nikon 1 10-100mm at f/4.5 (Left: Nikon 1 10-100mm VR, Right: Nikon 1 10mm):
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/4.5 Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8

Stopping down the 10mm f/2.8 lens to f/4 or f/4.5 does not make much difference. Even with both lenses stopped down to f/5.6, the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 still seems to be sharper:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10mm f/5.6

Stopping down to f/8 negatively impacts image quality due to diffraction on both lenses:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10mm f/8.0

And even worse at f/11:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10mm f/11.0

Looks like the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 can resolve details a little better in the center at maximum aperture, with its 1+ stop advantage.

32) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 10mm @ 10mm Corner Frame

The corners, on the other hand, tell a different story – the Nikon 10-100mm is clearly sharper wide open than the Nikon 10mm wide open, but shows signs of chromatic aberration:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/4.5 Corner Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 Corner

The corner sharpness of the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 is improved at f/4, so both lenses look about the same now, with the 10-100mm still at f/4.5:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/4.5 Corner Nikon 1 10mm f/4.0 Corner

At f/5.6 both lenses perform about the same, with the exception of green fringing visible on the 10-100mm:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10mm f/5.6 Corner

No major changes at f/8:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10mm f/8.0 Corner

Diffraction reduces resolution at f/11:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10mm f/11.0 Corner

33) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 10mm Conclusion

When comparing the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR lens with the Nikon 1 10mm pancake lens, we have to keep in mind that both lenses serve different purposes. The pancake lens is the most compact lens available for the Nikon 1 system today and it offers much faster speed (larger maximum aperture, over 1 stop of difference), which is useful for low-light situations. The Nikon 1 10-100mm lens, on the other hand, is a superzoom lens with image stabilization targeted primarily at videographers. If we are to talk purely about lens sharpness and performance, then the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 seems to have better resolution in the center and about the same corner performance when stopped down to f/4. Vignetting on both lenses is moderate at largest apertures with a bigger spread on the Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 lens, but once stopped down to just f/4, the Nikon 1 10mm looks much better. Unfortunately, the Nikon 1 10-100mm needs to be stopped down all the way to f/8 to significantly reduce vignetting at almost all focal lengths, except for 30mm, where it seems to have the least amount of problems (the same is true for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberration). The Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 also handles distortion, flares and ghosting better than the Nikon 1 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 VR does.


Compared to Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

Let’s see how the Nikon 1 10-100mm VR compares to the Nikon 1 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 VR kit lens that comes with the Nikon 1 V1 / J1 cameras. Comparing these two lenses was rather difficult, because there is no fixed position of focal lengths on the 10-100mm lens and I had to move slightly, then take a picture and check its focal length. As a result, the comparison image crops might not have the same field of view.

34) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-30mm VR @ 10mm Center Frame

Let’s see how both lenses compare at 10mm wide open (Left: Nikon 1 10-100mm VR, Right: Nikon 1 10-30mm VR):
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/4.5 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/3.5

Looks like the Nikon 1 10-100mm lens has slightly better contrast at f/4.5 than the Nikon 1 10-30mm lens is at f/3.5. The difference stays about the same when both are stopped down to f/5.6:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/5.6

Diffraction starts to affect image quality at f/8:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/8.0

And by f/11 it greatly reduces both sharpness and contrast on both lenses:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/11.0

35) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 10mm Corner Frame

Let’s see how the corners compare at 10mm:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/4.5 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/3.5 Corner

The wide open performance of the 10-100mm lens is very impressive – it is sharper than the 10-30mm. Stopped down to f/5.6, the 10-100mm still seems to be superior, although it is a close battle.

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/5.6 Corner

Not much changes by f/8, besides diffraction:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/8.0 Corner

And f/11 looks rather poor on both:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 10mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 10mm f/11.0 Corner

36) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 14mm Center Frame

Zoomed in to 14mm, the Nikon 10-100mm shows superior performance at the largest aperture:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/4.8 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/4.0

Although the performance seems to be about the same when stopped down to f/5.6:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/5.6

Further f/8 and f/11 do not look as good due to diffraction again:

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/11.0

37) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 14mm Corner Frame

At 14mm corners look about the same to me:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/4.8 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/4.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 14mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 14mm f/11.0 Corner

38) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 18mm Center Frame

18mm looks about the same as 14mm:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/4.8 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/4.5

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/5.6

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/11.0

39) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 18mm Corner Frame

Although the 10-100mm appears slightly sharper at f/5.6 in the corners:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/5.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/4.8 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 18mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 18mm f/11.0 Corner

40) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 24mm Center Frame

Again, the Nikon 10-100mm appears to be sharper in the center:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/5.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/5.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/5.6

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/11.0

41) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 24mm Corner Frame

As well as in the corners:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/5.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/5.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 24mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 24mm f/11.0 Corner

42) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 30mm Center Frame

Finally, at 30mm the Nikon 10-100mm looks yet again sharper:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.3 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/5.6

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/5.6

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/11.0

43) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 30mm Corner Frame

And much sharper in the corners:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.3 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 10-30mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Corner

Even stopped down to f/8-f/11 range, the Nikon 10-100mm lens looks much sharper.

44) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 10-30mm VR Conclusion

Without a doubt, the Nikon 10-100mm VR lens seems to outperform the Nikon 10-30mm lens at the center, as well as in the corners at pretty much all focal lengths between 10mm and 30mm and apertures from maximum (f/4.5) to minimum (f/16). I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t, given the price and size of this mega-lens. While the 10-100mm VR lens is designed specifically for videographers, it certainly does have very nice optical features that also make it a great lens for photography (at least at focal lengths below or equal to 30mm). Despite the superiority in sharpness, I still prefer the Nikon 10-30mm kit lens, because it is much more compact and smaller. The sharpness differences above do not make a huge difference in the field anyway…


Compared to Nikon 1 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR

The Nikon 1 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR is a telephoto lens for the Nikon 1 cameras that is equivalent to a 81-297mm lens (think of it as something like the Nikon 70-300mm lens). Below is a comparison between the two starting from 30mm.

45) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 30mm Center Frame

The Nikon 1 30-110mm seems to perform better at 30mm, even wide open (Left: Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ f/5.3, Right: Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ f/3.8):
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.3 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/3.8

With both stopped down to f/5.6 the sharpness difference is reduced, but the 30-110mm still seems to be a little sharper in comparison:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/5.6

Again, diffraction kicks in at f/8 and the image quality starts to degrade:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/8.0

Stopped down to f/11, both lenses perform rather poorly:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/11.0

Again, I won’t be providing any f/16 crops, since image quality is very poor at the minimum aperture.

46) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 30mm Corner Frame

Let’s see how the corners compare wide open. Surprisingly, the Nikon 1 30-110mm in the corners does not perform as good in comparison at its maximum aperture of f/3.8:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.3 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/3.8 Corner

Stopped down to f/5.6 the Nikon 1 30-110mm gets much sharper, but still looks weaker in comparison:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/5.6 Corner

Stopped down further to f/8, the Nikon 1 30-110mm improves even more, reaching its sweet spot. But it is still worse than the 10-100mm in comparison:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/8.0 Corner

At f/11, diffraction reduces resolution on both lenses and they start to look about the same:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 30mm f/11.0 Corner

47) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 40mm Center Frame

Without the doubt, the sweet spot of the Nikon 1 10-100mm lens is at 30mm. Let’s see what happens when the lens is zoomed to 40mm. Again, the wide open performance of the 30-110mm is a little better:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/5.3 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/3.8

Nothing changes at f/5.6 – the 30-110mm is still sharper:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/5.6

Stopping down just reduces resolution:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/8.0

And at f/11 both lenses look about the same:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/11.0

48) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 40mm Corner Frame

Let’s take a look at the corners at 40mm. Once again, the Nikon 10-110mm shows better extreme corner performance wide open (1 stop of difference between the two):
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/5.3 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/3.8 Corner

Stopping down to f/5.6 does not make much difference:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/5.6 Corner

Although by f/8 both lenses start looking about the same:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/8.0 Corner

And even more so at f/11:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 40mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 40mm f/11.0 Corner

49) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 60mm Center Frame

At 60mm the center performance of both lenses seems to be about the same:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/4.5

Nothing changes at f/5.6:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/5.6

And at f/8.0:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/8.0

Plenty of diffraction at f/11 on both:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/11.0

50) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 60mm Corner Frame

Zoomed in to 60mm, the corner performance of the Nikon 1 10-100mm clearly weakens. Now both lenses are starting to look about the same wide open:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/4.5 Corner

Differences are further reduced at f/5.6, although the Nikon 1 10-100mm has some green fringing visible now:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/5.6 Corner

About the same at f/8:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/8.0 Corner

Again, losing plenty of resolution at f/11:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 60mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 60mm f/11.0 Corner

51) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 80mm Center Frame

Moving on to 80mm, lenses look about the same:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/5.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/11.0

52) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 80mm Corner Frame

As we get closer to the long range, the corner performance of the Nikon 30-110mm looks better due to less chromatic aberration:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/5.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 80mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 80mm f/11.0 Corner

53) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR @ 100mm vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 110mm Center Frame

At their longest range, again, the lenses seem to show about the same center frame performance, with a slight lead by the 30-110mm:
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/5.6 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/5.6

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/8.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/8.0

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/11.0 Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/11.0

54) Nikon 1 10-100mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR @ 100mm Corner Frame

And as expected, the 30-110mm looks better in the corners because it has less chromatic aberration (and less vignetting):
Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/5.6 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/5.6 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/8.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/8.0 Corner

Nikon 1 10-100mm @ 100mm f/11.0 Corner Nikon 1 30-110mm @ 110mm f/11.0 Corner

55) Nikon 1 10-30mm VR vs Nikon 1 30-110mm VR Conclusion

As you can see from the above image crops, the Nikon 30-110mm VR starts out sharper in the center and weaker in the corners, then catches up in the corners towards its longest focal length. Overall, I would say the differences are rather small when both lenses are stopped down to the same aperture, which is disappointing for the 30-110mm lens. I guess I just expected a little more out of a dedicated telephoto lens. At focal lengths below 60mm the Nikon 1 30-110mm has a 1 stop lead, but it also has a weaker corner performance. In terms of other optical performance differences, the Nikon 1 30-110mm has much less vignetting at f/5.6 throughout its focal range. The 30-110mm has more barrel distortion at 30mm, but less pincushion distortion above 60mm. Both lenses are equally allergic to flare and ghosting, which is why Nikon provided lens hoods. AF speed seems to be about the same on both lenses. As for lens build, the Nikon 1 30-110mm feels a little “plasticy” compared to the all-metal Nikon 1 10-100mm. Each lens has its advantages and disadvantages. The clear advantage of the 30-110mm is its compact size and light weight, while the 10-100mm is a much more versatile lens that almost packs the performance of both the 10-30mm kit and the 30-110mm telephoto lenses into one lens.

Nikon 1 10-100mm VR Review3.1666666666667Nasim Mansurov2011-12-22 01:11:03This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM lens with detailed information, image samples and comparisons to other lenseshttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
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