I’m aware that my Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm F1.2 review is very late – pretty much everyone, including Nikon, has given up on the Nikon 1 system. But on the off chance that you are one of those people, who have incurably fallen in love with the this tiny system, my findings could still be of some use to you. So, what is the Nikon 1 32mm F1.2 and how does it perform?
I’ve been using the Nikon 32mm F1.2 prime lens for many months now and I have owned and used the Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens for much, much longer. I think it’s safe to say that I know both lenses inside and out. Looking at their properties – like focal length, suitability for beautiful bokeh, and so on – one inevitably arrives at the conclusion that these two lenses serve the same purpose inside their respective ecosystems and that therefore they are very much comparable. In my opinion both of them are great lenses in their own right. There are huge differences in the image quality department, however, which I’m going to discuss in the following article.
In my Olympus 45mm F1.8 VS Nikon 1 32mm F1.2 AF Speed Comparison I am comparing the AF speed of these two lenses in three different lighting conditions: daylight, low’ish indoor light (light coming from the window) and very low light.
If you own a Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f/1.4 ASPH and use it on an Olympus micro 4/3 camera, then you are surely aware of the terrible noise the lens makes when you go back and forth between very bright and very dark subjects. Fortunately this so called “rattlesnake noise” issue can be solved quite easily with a fast dive to the camera menu. Check out the following video to see what you have to do.
Google recently released a free and interesting Android app called PhotoScan for all those who don’t have a real scanner or don’t have the time or patience to scan their family photos. It is meant to be user friendly and it really is quite easy to use. But, it is not perfect yet. There are some minor glitches and some missing features which will hopefully be ironed out with an update. Also the image quality is sufficient for online use and printing of smaller photos, but not for enlargements. Check it out in my following video.
I usually test my own gear and I normally need quite a lot of time to form my opinion about a specific piece of kit. It’s different this time around. I’m testing out a sample of the mighty Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm f1.2 lent to me by my friend Jan H. Maaso.
The 1 Nikkor 32mm f/1.2 needs no introduction. Being an f/1.2 lens and one of the most expensive ones the Nikon 1 system has to offer, it’s the most prominent lens in the system. Many people who know next to nothing about the Nikon 1 system are aware of its existence. Due to it being out of my reach financially, I wouldn’t have been able to try it out if it weren’t for Jan agreeing to part with it for a couple of months.
I’ve had the Canon FD 200mm F4 Macro for about a month now and I’m still getting used to its size and weight. It’s a massive lens, but due to its long focal length it allows you to sit back and shoot macro subjects from a long distance. You don’t have to worry about scaring away insects and arachnids you are photographing, but you have to concentrate really hard to keep the lens/camera combo from shaking too much. In my experience the 3-axis IBIS in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is definitely overwhelmed by the massive shake. What resolves this issue to some degree is activating the high speed burst mode. Shooting with 8 frames per second improves the odds of capturing at least a few sharp pictures tremendously. “Spraying and praying” is most definitely the way to go, when it’s windy, your subject is moving and you are shooting handheld. Since I’m one of those lazy macro shooters, who can’t be bothered to get up before sunrise or to lug a tripod, it’s windy and my subjects are very active most of the time when I’m go out to do macro photography.
I’m now gonna show you some of the images I’ve taken since last time.
The Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 is the shorter and more affordable of the two telephoto zoom lenses available for the Nikon 1 system. It has a complex optical design consisting of 18 elements (with two ED glass elements) in 12 groups and features a collapsible barrel, mechanically coupled zoom ring, image stabilization (Vibration Reduction in Nikon speak) and an aperture with seven rounded blades. In full frame terms it offers a focal length range of 80-300mm. This is a versatile range, which is useful for portraiture, close-ups (and even serious macro with extension tubes or achromatic close-up lenses) and less active or skittish animals. Due to its compact size and low weight the 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 is even useful for travel photography and the occasional landscape. It is, however, too short for serious bird and wildlife photography. Its bigger and more expensive cousin, the 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, is far better suited for these kinds of subjects.
The Ricoh GR Digital III is a seven year old camera. It was introduced in the summer of 2009. This was way before serious compact cameras with 1” sensors – such as Sony RX100 series, Canon G5 X, G7 X (II) and Panasonic TZ100/ZS100 – hit the market. At the time there were only a handful of pocketable serious cameras to choose from. What made the Ricoh GR Digital III stand out for me, were its 28mm equivalent prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.9, a for its time speedy operation and auto focus thanks to the GR ENGINE III image processor and the lovely 920,000 dots 3 inch LCD screen, which looks great even by today’s standards.
With a size of 1/1.7” its sensor was considered very large for a compact camera at the time. And, to top it all off, it was one of the few compacts to offer RAW capture, which made all the difference in terms of achievable image quality and post processing headroom.
All of these (and many more) features had their price, of course. The tiny GR Digital III was released with a hefty £529.99 / $699 / €599 price tag. One could buy an entry level DSLR with a kit lens or a double kit for the same amount of money. But still, getting the Ricoh was worth it, if you wanted a serious and very capable carry-anywhere camera. In my opinion it’s worth it to buy a used one even today, so many years after its release. Keep on reading to find out why.