Why I love the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6

I must confess that I made a big mistake when I bought the Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens. I should have bought one at lot sooner!

NOTE: Click to enlarge images.

NIKON 1 V2 + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 800, 1/500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 800, 1/500, f/5.6
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-160
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-160

The CX 70-300mm is one of those lenses that just feels good in your hands when you shoot with it. It’s light and compact. A real joy to use.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-250
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/4000, ISO-250
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 220mm, efov 592mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 220mm, efov 592mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-220

I can carry it around all day long and never get tired. If anything, having it in my hands invigorates me and causes me to keep shooting.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKON 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/3200, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 800, 1/3200, f/5.6
Nikon 1 J5 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-160, 275mm
Nikon 1 J5 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-160, 275mm

Focusing is fast and accurate, even in lower light conditions. And, because of its comparatively short minimum focusing distance I get images with it that were impossible with other similar focal length zoom when I was shooting with full frame gear.

NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKON 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 400, 1/320, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKON 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 160, 1/640, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 160, 1/640, f/5.6

It provides good sharpness throughout the zoom range. I regularly shoot mine wide open at the long end and I’ve never been disappointed.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 72mm, efov 194mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-4500
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 72mm, efov 194mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-4500
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKON 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, ISO 400, 1/6, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70mm, ISO 400, 1/6, f/5.6

The VR is simply wonderful. If you love to shoot hand-held like I do, you’ll find that the CX 70-300mm is a bit of a godsend.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6, ISO-500
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/6, ISO-500
Nikon 1 J5 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-4000, 216mm
Nikon 1 J5 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-4000, 216mm

It allows photographers to shoot at an equivalent field-of-view of 810mm at quite slow shutter speeds. I have no hesitation shooting mine at 1/30th and even at 1/15th. Heck…at times I push myself and try shooting as slow as 1/6th with it just to see what happens – the wagon wheel and pheasant images above are two such experiments.

NIKON 1 V3 + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 6400, 1/125, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 282.7mm, ISO 6400, 1/125, f/5.6
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 250mm, efov 675mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 250mm, efov 675mm, f/5.6, 1/1250, ISO-220

I love the way it renders colours.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 @ 124mm, efov 333mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-280
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 @ 124mm, efov 333mm, f/5.6, 1/200, ISO-280
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-220
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, efov 810mm, f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-220
NIKON 1 V3 + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/1600, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 1600, 1/1600, f/5.6

Some folks complain that it’s ‘expensive’. “Compared to what?” I ask myself. At about $1,000 what else could someone buy that provides the same reach and image quality? I can’t think of any other lens in any interchangeable lens format.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm (efov 810mm), f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-720
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm (efov 810mm), f/5.6, 1/3200, ISO-720
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/320, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/320, f/5.6

Is it perfect? Of course not – there’s no such thing as a perfect piece of camera gear.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 @ 157mm, efov 424mm, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-2500
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 @ 157mm, efov 424mm, f/5.6, 1/50, ISO-2500
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 3200, 1/60, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 291.4mm, ISO 3200, 1/60, f/5.6

Yeah, it would be nice if it was a constant aperture f/4…but how much bigger would it be and how much more would it cost?

NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 160, 1/2500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V3 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 160, 1/2500, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f/5.6

Does it deliver outstanding sharpness when shooting teeny, tiny objects at a distance? Not really…but few lenses do, especially at this price point. It does suffer from focus breathing so the Nikon 1 30-110mm is a better choice for maximum magnification when using extension tubes.

NIKON 1 V2 + 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 250, 1/250, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 250, 1/250, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129.4mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f/5.6
NIKON 1 V2 + 1 NIKKOR CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 129.4mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f/5.6

The Nikon 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 is like an old, trusted friend who never lets you down. What more could you ask for?

NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/100, f/6.3
NIKON 1 V2 + NIKON 1 CX 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300mm, ISO 200, 1/100, f/6.3
Nikon 1 V2 & Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-400, 300mm, efov 810mm
Nikon 1 V2 + Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-400, 300mm, efov 810mm

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9 thoughts on “Why I love the Nikon 1 CX 70-300 f/4.5-5.6”

  1. Even though I don’t have this lense, I’m thinking about getting one since it makes so much sense compared to buying a huge lump to carry around with my massive full frame body. Just wanted to say this is one of the most sensible articles on photography I’ve read. Great shots. Huge amounts of common sense. Well done.

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback Jon – much appreciated! I’m glad you enjoyed the article and found it helpful. What Nikon 1 body do you plan on using with the 1 Nikon CX 70-300 zoom?
      Tom

  2. No question a brilliant amazing lens. Likely the best Nikon lens I have ever used on any system. I know there is better glass but none for the N1!

    The long reach and small size are perfect for so many things.

    If you are on the fence, save your pennies, fall off and spend the money. It is worth it!

    Mike

  3. Great article and pictures. I agree 100%.

    I love my CX70-300 and it gets done great long shots – I’m very surprised at the quality and sharpness.

    I have the 70-300 mk2 on the Olympus EM-1 and the CX is optically better, it appears sharper.

    Yes, it’s expensive but not when you compare it to what a full frame equivalent would cost, and it’d be a lot bigger!

    I’m pleased I bought it.

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