Three weeks ago I bought a used Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 lens for my Nikon 1 V1. It wasn’t exactly in pristine condition, but the price was too tempting to let the opportunity pass. As the luck would have it, my EN-EL15 battery died just several days before. The 30-110mm arrived sooner than my replacement battery from ChiliPower. Since going by its cosmetic condition I wasn’t sure that it would even work, I was biting my nails, waiting to test the lens out. And as you probably know, if you’ve bought enough used gear online, there are many conman out there. Luckily the 30-110mm turned out to be an excellent workhorse in disguise of an ugly duckling. 🙂
Achromatic close-up lenses are one of the most popular options among photographers who want to get a taste of macro photography without breaking the bank. They are a special kind of close-up lenses with multiple lens elements instead of just one. This minimizes chromatic aberration and ensures better image quality at the borders of the frame.
Two highly regarded achromatic lenses are the Marumi DHG200 +5 and Raynox DCR-250. They cost almost the same, around 50-55 bucks. I own both of them and I’m more than satisfied with their build and image quality. That being said, there are some differences that will make you prefer one over the other, unless you want to own both. 😉 So let’s get to it!
I’ve added lots of photos taken with the Marumi DHG200 + 5 with the Nikon 1 V1 and 10-30mm and 18.5mm f/1.8 as well as Olympus OM-D E-M10 and 45mm f/1.8. There are now more photos of the said cameras and lenses with and without the Marumi attached to them. And last but not least there are also full resolution comparison images taken with the Nikon and Olympus gear, so that you can get a better idea of the boost to magnification ratio it provides. You can check out the review here.
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More than two years after release Nikon still doesn’t offer a native macro lens for its Nikon 1 system. This means that if you intend to take macros, you are left with a few “odd” choices. The most powerful, but also the most expensive and bulky solution is to buy the FT-1 adapter and a DX or FX Micro-Nikkor, like the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8G ED, 85mm f/3.5 IF-ED or 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. These lenses will allow you to achieve even greater image ratios (above 1:1) on N1 cameras than when used on DX or FX Nikon DSLRs. Including the FT-1 adapter these setups will cost you from $530 up to $1000. The other two solutions are intelligent extension tubes for existing Nikon 1 lenses (you can’t buy a “dumb” tube, because AF will not work, and “by wire” MF and aperture control on N1 lenses need power from the camera) or achromatic and close-up lenses. Both are considerably cheaper, but also less powerful. BUT, depending on your expectations, cheap solutions such as extension tubes and achromatic lenses could be just the right thing for you. One of my main reasons for investing in Nikon 1 was low size and weight, which was the reason I wasn’t ready to add so much weight and bulk to my photo bag with the FT-1 and a full grown Nikkor. I ended up buying the Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens with a 52mm filter thread and a 40.5mm to 52mm step-up ring instead, which turned out to be perfect for my needs. At least until Nikon releases a native Micro-Nikkor for Nikon 1, in which case I will get that lens and use it WITH the Marumi. Here is what the Marumi looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and 10-30mm.