Despite some optical weaknesses and fixed focal length, the Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens is a perfect companion for the Nikon 1 cameras. While Nikon did produce some pancake lenses in the past, they were not as relevant and popular on SLRs. With the introduction of the Nikon 1 compact camera system, pancake lenses are now going to regain their popularity, largely due to their fast speed, low weight and very compact size – the three main reasons why people buy such lenses in the first place. When mounted on the Nikon 1 V1 or J1 cameras, the Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 is a very natural fit; it easily fit my winter jacket pockets when I was traveling in New Mexico, something I could not do with the gigantic 10-100mm superzoom.
As for the optical performance of the Nikon 1 10mm, it has a very impressive center frame sharpness and contrast across the aperture range, especially between f/2.8 and f/4, progressively getting worse from f/5.6 and onward due to diffraction. Its corner sharpness and contrast are also good, peaking at around f/5.6, but generally weaker than other current 1 Nikkor lenses due to green / magenta chromatic aberration. Distortion and vignetting are tolerable, while lens flare and ghosting are controlled well.
The two biggest weaknesses of the Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8 lens are rather noisy AF (when compared to the near-silent AF of the Nikon 1 10-30mm VR) and lack of image stabilization / vibration reduction. But it is understandable why Nikon designed the lens this way – those features most likely would have significantly increased the size of the lens. Overall, given its small size and low price, it is a great little lens that I would not hesitate to buy for the Nikon 1 cameras. I very much hope that we will be seeing more and better pancake lenses from Nikon in the future.
Nikon 1 10mm f/2.8
- Optical Performance
- Bokeh Quality
- Build Quality
- Focus Speed and Accuracy
- Size and Weight
Photography Life Overall Rating
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