Nikon 1 lenses get DxO marked

I could not find a better DxO comparison for this Nikon 1 lens

The test results for the Nikon 1 lenses from DxO Mark are out. Currently there is no equivalent data from other manufacturers for a meaningful comparison - this will become more interesting once the Nikon 10mm f/2.8 lens ($249) can be put side by side with the Sony 16mm f/2.8 ($249) and Olympus 17mm f/2.8 ($249)  lenses.

Here are individual scores for each of the four Nikon 1 lenses:

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  • B2

    Looks ok to me

  • T.I.M

    LOL !
    Nikon 1 is not #1 !

    • pfeitosa_Curitiba-BR

      The only reason to buy a Nikon body is to use Nikkor lenses. Since you can’t (the adapter isn’t available for sale), I simply don’t care for System 1 – the new Pronea flaw.

      • me

        the adapter will be available, begining of next year.

  • RM

    Just goes to show how misleading these tests can be if a person looks at numbers only as to the quality of photo that is possible from a lens.

    • MJr


  • I thought lenses with small image circles were supposed to be able to reach higher resolutions. Still, I can’t get excited about a 2.7 crop factor.

    • iamlucky13

      No. For resolution measured in number of lines per mm at the sensor plane, the same physics apply to small lenses as to big lenses. The sensor has a high absolute resolution, but the lens doesn’t really change.

      A small lens does mean less glass to polish, so you can more economically make a high quality lens. However, we’re comparing a $250 lens to a $2200 lens. Really the score just shows the advantage of large sensors.

      I don’t think ~40 line pairs per mm is bad – it’s close to what the 35mm F/1.8G achieves. However, on such a small sensor it does mean fewer total lines resolved on the whole picture.

      Despite that, however, I’ve seen some darn good picture samples from the Nikon 1 (just not in Nikon’s promotional materials – their sample photos are mediocre). Anybody would be delusional in expecting it to out-resolve much larger sensor cameras and it doesn’t interest me much, but from what I’ve seen it performs very well for what it is.

      • The sensor has a high absolute resolution, but the lens doesn’t really change.

        When a lens is scaled down to create a smaller image circle, the aberrations also get scaled down.

        You might want to read a bit more up on that…

        A small lens does mean less glass to polish, so you can more economically make a high quality lens.

        Not that straightforward… smaller lenses need to meet tighter tolerances. The task becomes even more difficult when the lenses are interchangeable.

        And why do you think that all the money goes in to polishing?

        • fred

          > When a lens is scaled down to create a smaller image circle,
          > the aberrations also get scaled down.

          And then the image produced by the smaller sensor is enlarged more for viewing.

          • No. If the two different sized sensors (e.g. CX vs. FX) have the same megapixel count, the sampling is the same for a given lens design where the lenses have been scaled by the same factors.

            If you’re talking about different megapixel numbers then one might as well talk about film.

  • NickySix

    When will they stop with these tiny sensors? You can’t get the amount of light to these things to keep shutter speeds up – sure you can capture stills from movies but your at ISO 1600-3200 in daylight because you kept your ss at 1/500th-1/1000th to freeze action…

    • iamlucky13

      You’re misunderstanding the factors behind exposure. ISO is normalized to measured light intensity regardless of sensor size. In other words, it’s a rating that accounts for sensor size. The small sensor limits the maximum usable ISO, not the ISO you need to use for a given situation.

      A Nikon 1 shooting at 1/1000 second in broad daylight can use F/5.6 and ISO 100 just like a D3S does.

      The problem is that when the light dims, you might start to get objectionable grain at ISO 800 on the Nikon 1, while the D3S may show satisfactory results up to ISO 6400 or so.

  • KnightPhoto

    Does anyone have experience with DxOMark lens ratings? I use them to evaluate sensors all the time, but it’s not clear to me what these lens numbers mean in detail. Am surprised based on good results the lenses produce and decent Nikon MTF figures with the low lens numbers shown here.

    • lollo

      These tests mean nothing, even less than Photozone’s. And I talk out of direct experience.

  • Niko
    • +1 photozone is awesome!

    • KnightPhoto

      Thank you Niko. I trust Photozone results and I have always understood their results.

      They show the 1 lenses to be very good wide open to f5.6, even f8, and after that diffraction kicking in.

      The great thing about Photozone is they show how to optimize shooting a lens.

  • MrChad

    So a (~$200) 10mm lens shot wide open on a (~$600) 10MP pocket camera didn’t resolve as well as a (~$2000) 24mm lens stopped down on a (~$6000) 24MP DSLR, wow, shocking news.

    I own and use a Nikon J1 along side a Canon 5DII and a number of other DSLRs, the J1 isn’t bad at all. It gets a lot of flack for it’s small sensor but it’s a fantastic pocket camera and I think folks miss that. None of my DSLRs fit in my pocket.

    • JY

      Need more people with sensible brain.

      • PHB

        Yes, and these are not even the lenses that would show the advantage of the EVIL format in any case. They are low cost consumer lenses that sell for the same price as the low cost DX primes. So expect lower end performance.

        The interesting feature in my view is the distortion score which equals the pro lens. That is one of the areas where I would expect EVIL to do better.

        Comparing a $200 lens vs a $2000 one is nonsense. But a $500 short focus design should beat a $2000 retrofocus design.

    • Ben

      ++1. I am actually quite impressed with my V1-10f2.8 combo. Who cares for DxO, the results are just fine. Not 30×40″ print fine, but fine.

    • ennan

      I don’t own a Nikon 1 but I’ve tried out both the J and the V and I was impressed by it. They are really fast in terms of autofocus and they feel great in the hand. Image quality was a lot higher than I expected.
      People love to bitch about Nikon these days. It’s a shame cuz this camera isn’t targeted at those who love to moan. They’ve carved out a niche and I hope they do well in it. I’d love to see a “pro” version with more buttons, dials and switches and a proper hot shoe.

      • MrChad

        +1 for the flash shoe for items like an SB400 we already have?
        +1 As for more buttons, but a “My Menu” tab or frequent accessed tab in the U.I. could also go along way and keep the exterior free of clutter.

    • Iris Chrome

      My thoughts exactly except I don’t own a Nikon 1… yet 😀

      But I think I’ll wait a year from now when prices go down and the FT1 adapter is released.

  • I’ve not found much fault with the image quality on the 10mm, 10-30mm and 30-110mm lenses on the V1. I use the professional level Nikon equipment day in and day out and don’t really have issues with their greater weight and size, but wanted to try the V1 to get my head around something a little different.

    My “issues”, if I have issues, are with the fumbling I’ve experienced in making settings and the shutter time lag, things I suspect will go away as I become accustomed to the camera. My only suggestion to anyone wanting to buy one is get your hands on one, see how it feels, understand its limitations, image quality not being one of them, and make your decision then. I’m still having fun with mine.

    • Bart B

      Amen 🙂


  • Mock Kenwell

    “The J1 isn’t bad at all.” Well there’s a ringing endorsement. I think this system is really gutsy with its super-fast AF and burst options and could be fun, but no manual focus on the lens and a clumsy interface are what immediately killed the fun for me. Then again, I’m not the target.

  • ivanaker

    what exactly is lens resolution? what does it mean?

    24mm 1.4g has 61lpm.
    does it mean that its resolution is 61*61*36*24 = 3214944 pixels? thats 3MP
    can someone explain it to me?

    • Ben Hipple

      line pairs per mm, not lines per mm, and for sure not pixels per mm, that your equation is showing.

      also the anti-aliasing has to be factored in too.

      also think about if the line is at a 45% angel (or any angle) to the pixels. you would need many more pixels to show this.

  • Joseph

    I know it’s totally apples and oranges BUT I’d much rather have a fixed-lens rangefinder with film in my pocket than this or any other small-sensor camera. Even with film costs and scanning it’ll still be cheaper unless you shoot too many photos. And it’s more fun.

    • Iris Chrome

      Different strokes…

  • yo

    looks like yet another socking of the 1 system:

    1) expensive
    2) small sensor
    3) 3rd rate lenses.

  • TaoTeJared

    Once more DxO shows again that its so called analysis on lenses is garbage and not even remotely accurate or has anything to do with the “glass”.

    Their lens tests do not test the glass, they test the sensor. That is why the resolution is less. 10mp vs 24mp. The only way to compare is to use similar sensors or as close as possible.

    If you test the 35mm 1.8 and the 24mm 1.4, on a D60 and the 10mm f/2.8 lens on a V1 they are all at 40.
    40lpm (35mm 1.8)
    43lpm (24mm 1.4) and of course
    10mm is at 41lpm.

    Not a good comparison due to the size of the sensors but as close as one can get.
    I would say the glass is right up there with the best.

  • OleThorsen

    Photozone understands that you must be very careful comparing lens resolution across different sensors, while DXOmark seems a little schizophrenic about this.

    DXOmark talks about comparing to the competition. They have not published any tests of M4/3 or NEX lenses. They have only tested 4/3 lenses, which are of higher quality than M4/3 (and larger).

    Compared to the NEX and M4/3 lenses Nikon 1 lenses has much less distortion, while the competition without software correction are halfway fisheye lenses like the most digital compacts these days. Nikon should be applauded for this approach by the review sites.

    The Nikon 1 lenses is actually very good and very sharp lenses and the 3 kit lenses cost around $250 each. Photozone has also tested a couple of the lenses and more are in process

    Read the DXOmark conclusion carefully:
    “Relatively speaking, the Nikon 1 lenses are of very good quality if one takes into account the differences in size and performance of the tested sensors:

    – The Nikon 1 10mm is an excellent substitute for a 27mm lens.
    – The Nikon 110-30mm is comparable to the lenses found in Nikon and Olympus kits.
    – The Nikon 130-110mm holds up well against Nikkor 70-200 and 70-300 lenses.”

    • TaoTeJared


      I like Photozone as well. They do a very good job looking or at least taking great strides to focus on the glass and not let the sensor of the system dictate the quality of the glass.

  • DxO tests lenses? They use 1/60 s @ 150 lux, e.g. 3200 ISO @ f/3.5, so they test lp/mm @ high iso @ large apertures = complete and utter nonsense.

    They publish the result of a combination of post processing with their software (!) and the resolution (+ CA + vignetting + distortion) of the sensor/ AA-filter / lens combination at the aperture the combination works best in a situation where most people use flash.

    This has nothing to do with lens testing. The results are only interesting for low light situations, and even then only marginally, at best.

    Testing lenses is really difficult and almost all lens ‘tests’ published on the internet do only have a small correlation with the optical quality of the lenses tested. Sadly though, the less relevant a lens test is, the more is written about it on internet.

    • lollo

      You are so right.

  • Gab

    I would love to see a prime like this one for dx…

  • neversink

    I’m just not excited about these lenses or about the whole Nikon 1 system. I don’t get it. The sensors are soooooooooooo tiny and the price so high…. Give me a D700 or D7000 instead….. I bet the Nikon 1 will only be a fad, that will eventually fade.

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