The Nikon 1 System has been out for a little over a year and a half now, and Nikon is now starting to release a series of lenses geared toward the more advanced/serious photographer. When the Nikon 1 system debuted, the only lens that wasn’t a “consumer-level” zoom was the 10mm f/2.8 prime. After adding an 11-27.5mm zoom last year (I don’t know why), Nikon has now released three lenses that are quite nice for more serious photography.
Because the Nikon CX-format sensor is a 2.7x effective crop (compared to 35mm format), depth of field is quite strong, even at traditionally wide apertures. For example, at 20mm (roughly 54mm equivalent), and f/2.8, the hyperfocal distance is a mere 24 feet! With a similar lens on a 35mm body, the hyperfocal distance would be 113 feet. So fast lenses are a must for the Nikon 1 system if you want to get shallow depth of field.
The other drawback of the 1-Nikkor lens lineup was the lack of wide lenses. The 10mm lens is similar to a 28mm lens on a 35mm format camera. That’s not really wide. For creative wide shots, it’s nice to have something with the equivalent angle of view of 24mm or wider.
Three Serious 1-Nikkor Lenses
Last summer, Nikon indicated that they were working on at least three new lenses for the Nikon 1 system. In the fall, we got the 18.5mm f/1.8 AFS 1-Nikkor (similar to a 50mm prime). About a month ago, the 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR zoom was released (similar to a 18-35mm wide zoom). Today, Nikon announced the release of the 32mm f/1.2 1-Nikkor prime (equivalent to 86mm).
Price Tag to Match
The two newest lenses are not inexpensive. The 6.7-13mm zoom runs about $500 US, and the new 32mm f/1.2 lens has a street price of nearly $900. These lenses are clearly aimed at the enthusiast camp, as anyone who wants to create low-light portraits with soft backgrounds will want the new 32mm lens, while photographers looking to capture unique wide perspectives will gravitate towards the 6.7-13mm lens. I purchased the 18.5mm lens last year, and I really like it. It’s fast, sharp, and weighs next to nothing. It’s also the least expensive of the group (under $200).
Although I dread opening my wallet yet again, these new 1-Nikkor lenses should be excellent choices for more serious images while still traveling extremely light. I plan to purchase them soon.