Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nikon V1 Lens comparison, 18.5mm vs 10-30mm

Here are some side-by-side testing results for the Nikon V1 using the Nikkor 10-30mm f/3.8-5.6 and Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8.  This was performed using the Nikon V1 camera, Kowa 883 scope, and 25x LER eyepiece.

I printed out an ISO 12233 Resolution Chart, and set up the scope approximately 8 meters away.

The camera settings were set as follows for both lenses: ISO 100, Auto Focus, Aperture Priority Mode,  EV -.7 (this is where I usually have it – perhaps 0 would have been better, but at least it was the same for both lenses).  All images were taken using a 2 second timer.

First I used the 18.5mm lens.  With the lens wide open, the exposure time was 1/800 sec.

I switched to the 10-30mm lens, and tried to set it to exactly 18.5mm (looking at the EXIF data), but was only able to manage 18.2mm or 18.9mm – perhaps the lens zoom can only be set with a certain resolution.  In any case, I saw the same results for either 18.2 or 18.9mm, which resulted in an aperture of f/4.5For the same image the exposure time was 1/320 sec, or about 2.5 times slower than the 18.5mm lens.

I then zoomed to 30mm, where I sometimes shoot, resulting in an aperture of f/5.6 and exposure time of 1/200 sec.

After cropping in Photoshop Elements, the image histograms were fairly similar, with the 18.5mm image having a mean count of 85.7 with the 10-30mm image showing a mean count of 90.6 – the 10-30mm image is a bit brighter.

The images below are at 100% crop, 2400 x 1800 pixels.

18.5mm lens f/1.7 ISO 100 EV -.7 1/800 sec

10=30mm lens f/4.5 ISO 100 EV -.7 1/320 sec


  1. Glenn-
    Well thought out comparative study, and nice presentation of the results. Since the "subject" is black, in a sense "back-lit", an exposure of EV 0.0 or even EV =+0.3 would likely have yielded better looking photos, but the point about the f1.8 yielding faster shutter speeds is amply proven, as expected for a faster lens. Would love to see a similar comparative study of the 10-30 zoom vs. the 11-27.5 zoom, not as to speed but as to resolution on the chart.

  2. Thanks Len. I did not realize until after the fact that I had not adjusted the EV from it's usual position to 0, but agree that should not affect the primary goal to compare the speed of the lenses and not the accuracy of the exposures.