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.
I’ve believed from the start that Nikon 1 cameras are capable of great results. Before I bought the V1 last November, I counted myself lucky when one of my images on flickr was viewed 100 or 200 times. Although I’m perfectly aware that flickr views are meaningless, it’s nice to be able to produce photographs, which interest people. The fact that many of my images taken with the V1 are rather popular (500 views on average) reassures me that I’m not a deluded fanboy praising the camera to the skies. Other people seem to like the output the V1, especially with the 18.5mm f/1.8, is capable of just as much as I do. I now have over a dozen photos with over 1000 views (UPDATE: over a 170 photos as of 12/2013). Here are some of them:
I’m not a big landscape shooter. I usually don’t have the patience to carry a tripod, mount my camera and use the remote. Often I shoot landscapes “from the hip” or out of a driving car. At this day and age, where almost every serious camera has more than 16MP, the V1 is not what would one would consider a resolution monster. And resolution is one aspect which is pretty important for landscapes. Years ago I used to have a Nikon D40, which only had 6 Megapixels, so I’m not bothered with only having 10 on the V1. One thing that bothers me though is the corner performance of the Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at wide angle. Otherwise it’s an excellent kit lens, but the corners at wide angle are nothing to write home about. Nikon should most definitely up the corner performance of this lens in the 2nd edition/revision or release a faster, IQ-wise more serious, standard zoom. Both the wide and telephoto ends of the 10-30mm are great when taking photos from up close, and the lens does focus really, really close for a kit zoom. Take a look at some of my macro shots with the 10-30mm. Landscapes are however still possible with the kit lens. Like any Nikon the V1 has excellent WB, metering and color out of the box. All images are available on Flickr in Full HD. Just click on the image you would like to view larger.
The Nikon V1, with its small size and thanks to the electronic shutter silent operation, is a perfect cat capturing machine. Which lens you end up using for cat pictures is up to you. I use the Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 and the Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8. If you get close, you can achieve nice bokeh with both of them. The 18.5mm is best used at full aperture at f/1.8 and the 10-30mm at the long end, also wide open, if bokeh is what you are after. Here are some cat samples with the V1 and both the Nikkors.
I find that the Nikon V1 with the Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 is a nice, carry anywhere set up for long exposures provided you have a strong grey filter (like the B+W ND 3.0 1000x) and a step-up ring on hand. Even when shooting at ISO100 there is some grain visible at 100% magnification, which I don’t find disturbing at all. In fact V1’s noise reminds me of film grain. It is kind of organic, pleasant to look at, if you are an ex analogue user like me. The following six photos were all taken using a Nikon V1, the Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, the before mentioned B+W 1000x and a tripod. Hope you enjoy them. 🙂
The Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 has an exceptional image ratio. Without any additional close-up or achromatic lenses you can fill the frame with larger insects, like some butterflies. I’m expecting that with a close-up lens you can come pretty close to a 1:1 macro lens. That’s the reason I’ve bought a Marumi DHG200 (+5), but didn’t have the time to test it so far. The Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 on the other hand is no macro wonder, but still pretty good for a “nifty fifty”. The problem with this lens is that because of the shorter focal length (I use the 10-30 at 30mm for macro), you get more spacial distortion the closer you get. Don’t get too close, or features of various insects will get distorted. In the following you will see what these two lenses can do without the use of close-up lenses. As I’ve said, the 10-30mm is pretty impressive for a lowly kit zoom. 😉