Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 Review

November 9, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 is a perfectly OK lens for a kit zoom. Centre sharpness is entirely adequate at all focal lengths, especially wide open and stopped down a notch. The extreme borders are visibly softer, at least at the 10mm setting where they won't sharpen up until you hit f/8, but this isn't uncommon with kit lenses and won't be causing you headaches unless you wanted to make really big prints. Chromatic aberrations are quite well controlled, and vignetting isn't much of an issue, either. Close-up performance is absolutely stunning for a zoom lens, which is great news given that currently there are no dedicated macro lenses available for the Nikon 1 system. Bokeh is fine when you can throw the background sufficiently out of focus, but it's not always easy to do given the very short [actual] focal lengths and slow maximum apertures on offer.

In terms of mechanical quality and features, the small lens is surprisingly well built for the price, and comes with Vibration Reduction on board. However, it's controlled via the camera menu and there's no focus mode switch or focus ring on the lens, either. The latter makes manual focusing an awkward exercise that you won't want to perform very often. We did like the collapsible barrel design and the fact that unlocking the lens powers on the camera as well, if needed.

Auto-focus speed with the lens mounted to the Nikon 1 V1 is blazingly fast in good light, allowing you to photograph fast-moving subjects with ease. Due to factors inherent in the 1 System cameras' design, low-light focusing is a lot less spectacular, though.

Available in various kits and priced at just £179 on its own, the Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 is a perfectly fine kit zoom that should have a place in the bag of every Nikon 1 system user.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 3.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5