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Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Lens Review

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 lens, which provides a 35mm equivalent of 86.4mm.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Nikon 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2
Price : £630
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm F1 (5)
This tiny telephoto lens for Nikon 1 system cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to an 86.4mm lens on a 35mm camera, which should make this an excellent choice for portraiture. It sports an incredibly fast f/1.2 maximum aperture, a silent wave focusing motor and Nikon's Nano-Crystal optical coatings to suppress flare. It costs around £630, which doesn't seem bad considering the specification. In this review we'll take a close look at how it performs.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Handling and features

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm F1 (2)
Even though this lens is incredibly compact and reasonably lightweight, at around 235g, it feels very well put together. The lens barrel has a high quality finish and the metal lens mount adds to the overall robust feel of the lens. It makes  a very good, balanced combination with the Nikon 1 V2 used for testing.

Autofocus is powered by a Silent Wave focusing motor, which moves the lens elements back and forth within the lens barrel quickly, resulting in fast autofocus that is accurate enough to use the fastest aperture with a good degree of confidence. Manual focus adjustments can be made at any time once the autofocus has engaged. A portion of the viewfinder is automatically magnified as soon as the focusing ring is turned, which makes confirming focus a doddle. The focusing ring has a silky smooth, action, which makes applying fine adjustments a pleasure.

Even though all the lens elements are moved back and forth inside the lens, the filter ring does not extend or rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated or polarising filters. Closest focus is 45cm, which is reasonably close when compared to an 85mm lens with a fast maximum aperture for a 35mm camera.
Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm F1 (3)

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Performance

At maximum aperture sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent and clarity towards the edges of the frame is good. Stopping down to between f/2 and f/5.6 results in a dramatic increase in clarity to outstanding levels. It's a shame the sharpness towards the edges of the frame doesn't improve as much, although it is very good between f/2.8 and f/5.6.

Resolution @ 32mm
Resolution @ 32mm

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon 1 V2 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are a little high towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture, exceeding 0.8 pixel widths. This level of fringing may become visible in images, especially along high contrast edges near the outer areas of the frame.

Chromatic aberration @ 32mm
Chromatic aberration @ 32mm

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon 1 V2 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is remarkably well controlled. At f/1.2 the corners are only 1.08 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the aperture stopped down to f/2.8 or beyond.

A slight amount of barrel distortion is typical with fast aperture lenses. Imatest detected 0.9% barrel distortion, which should pose few issues for general picture taking. If absolutely straight lines are required, you'll be glad to learn that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, so applying corrections in image editing software should be quite straightforward.

Nikon's Nano-Crystal coatings do a great job of suppressing flare and rettaining contrast much of the time. Under particularly harsh lighting, flare can occur and contrast can be lost, especially at fast apertures. In these cases it's advisable to use the supplied lens hood, which attaches to the lens via a bayonet fitting. Additional sample photos are available in the Equipment Database.

Nikon 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 Sample Photos


Value for Money

Although this lens is quite blatantly not an 85mm f/1.2 lens, you have to ask your self how else you could get any lens with a maximum aperture as fast as this for so little money. The fact the lens performs well only reinforces it's value, even if it will be only be realised by a small number of Nikon 1 camera owners.

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Verdict

With this 32mm f/1.2, Nikon have managed to produce a really interesting lens, which offers a good balance of excellent optical performance, good build quality and compact size for a pretty reasonable price. What more could you ask for? For the price... not a lot.

   

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  The Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 lens has excellent sharpness and fast focusing.  

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Pros

Excellent sharpness
Fast focusing
Very good build quality
Lightweight and compact
Low falloff and distortion

Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 Cons

CA a little high at fast apertures
Care needs to be taken under certain conditions to avoid flare at fast apertures

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
OVERALL  

Nikon 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 Specifications

ManufacturerNikon
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon 1
Lens
Focal Length32mm
Angle of View28
Max Aperturef/1.2
Min Aperturef/16
Filter Size52mm
35mm equivalent85mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus45cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements9
Groups7
Box Contents
Box ContentsFront lens cap, HB-N107 bayonet lens hood
Dimensions
Weight235g
Height47mm

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Comments


josa 2 25 Czech Republic
7 Aug 2013 6:54PM
Lots of money for few grams of glass and that damn corners, even mighty Zeiss doesnt care about it ...this will never work for anyone (Nikon), unless they come up with a great body. Small cars are fun to drive for short time but not for decades...

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