Regardless of the camera format that I’ve owned I’ve always preferred to use zoom lenses for still photography. Since I now shoot exclusively with the Nikon 1 system I thought it may be fun to write an article on my pick of lenses for an ‘unofficial’ Nikon 1 trinity.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
In my mind the Nikon 1 trinity would be composed of three great Nikon 1 zoom lenses: the 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6, 10-100mm f/4.-5.6, and the 70-300 f/4.5-5.6.
All are joys to use and combined they provide Nikon 1 owners with the capability to shoot from 6.7mm to 300mm, or an equivalent field-of-view of 18-810mm when compared to full frame gear.
I know…I know…some folks are thinking that none of these zooms are constant aperture so they can’t be compared to the ‘real’ Nikkor pro zoom trinity (i.e. Nikkor f/2.8 professional zooms).
Let’s set the perspective of the article upfront…this is NOT a comparison with the Nikon full frame pro trinity. It is simply an article that focuses on what I believe are the three key Nikon 1 zoom lenses to own in terms of getting the broadest functionality along with solid image quality. Many photographers who prefer using zoom lenses, like I do, could find that this combination meets the vast majority of their imaging needs.
In total all three of these Nikon 1 zooms weigh 973 grams, or about 2.15 lbs. This is less than many full frame zoom lenses weigh individually. At full list price in Canada, this combination of lenses currently retails for about $2,250, which is below what some single full frame zoom lenses cost.
I appreciate that this is not an inconsequential amount of money for most people. Before investing in camera gear we all need to think long and hard about our needs and what camera format, brand, model and lenses best meet our needs. For those of you who may be at least considering the Nikon 1 system hopefully this article will be of interest.
Let’s start with the ‘core’ lens in my ‘unofficial’ Nikon 1 trinity, the one that most folks would likely use most often, the 10-100mm f/4-5.6.
When Nikon first introduced this lens I was very sceptical about it since I already own the 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom and I wasn’t sure that it would make sense to invest in one for my business.
After shooting with it for several weeks and capturing a few thousand images I became a convert. I really grew to appreciate its smaller size and lighter weight when compared to the PD version. The focal length is exceedingly practical, enabling users to capture a wide range of subject matter.
Another benefit of this particular lens is its relatively short minimum focusing distance. This makes it quite handy photographing flowers and small birds and animals at zoos and similar facilities.
I found the focusing to be quite fast and accurate and the lens performed pretty well in lower light conditions. The VR works well likely adding about 3 stops. Using extension tubes works fine with this lens although I do prefer the 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens for that application.
At the long end of the zoom when fully extended this lens, like many zooms, is a bit soft. Not distractingly so and certainly doing some work in post helps.
In Canada the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 retails for about $600 and provides a lot of flexibility and good image quality for the investment.
If you are considering buying into the Nikon 1 system and are unsure whether to choose a kit with the 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom or the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 I would definitely recommend the 10-100mm if you have the extra money.