Yesterday I bought a prime lens for my Nikon 1 V1. That was a little bit of a surprise even to myself because I have not written very positively about V1 here in my blog. I would like to give a chance for that camera though. I looked through Ivan Radic’s Flickr stream which is full of great shots with V1 and Nikon 1 NIKKOR 18.5mm f/1.8 prime. Superb stuff and lots of high ISO shots too. So, I went to a local camera store and bought the 18.5/1.8 prime.
The lens is solidly build (plastic with a metal bajonet), light-weighted, and just right in size. It is not any pancake lens which I find good because you can get grip from lens barrel easily and stabilize the camera better in that way. This lens has no image stabilization which I find a pity because it is 50mm equivalent and IS would have been nice for a “normal” lens. I have to say this lens is very sharp wide open. This is very nice because f/1.8 lets lots of light in and provides just nice DoF. And you can get quite nice background blur and bokeh with it too. I think I am going to use it mainly wide open. This will be possible with Nikon 1 V1 also in outdoor use in good lighting because V1 has an electronic shutter option which allows you to use shutter speeds of 1/16 000 s.
In my earlier posts here I complained about the poor ISO performance of Nikon 1 V1. Now I shot many photos with the 18.5/1.8 prime lens wide open with ISO 800 and was very pleased actually. So, what happened? I think the answer is that I was able to use shutter speeds in the range of 1/125 – 1/250 s indoors which provide sharper shots much easier than slower shutter speeds (with same ISOs) with my 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom. The noise grain is (at least with ISO 800) quite pleasing looking actually. If there is even a slight camera shake (because of too slow shutter speed), it tends to exaggerate the noise and make the noise grain “mushy” looking. Indoor shooting was one of the reasons I decided to get this prime lens and it seems it performs well. Next I will test it at ISO 1600 (and even 3200).
Now that I have V1 with the two lenses (18.5mm and 10-30mm) it seems more possible that I will take this combo with me for our forthcoming vacation. I have no problems with 10-30mm zoom outdoors in good light and 18.5mm will cover indoor shooting (and of course it will be used outdoors too).
Here are few test shots from yesterday. All at ISO 800, wide open, and shutter speeds 1/125 – 1/250 s.