1 Nikon 18.5mm

Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 3 out of 5
Yeah, but: Small, sharp, sold separately.

The Long Version: Of my three Nikon 1 lenses – the others are 30-110 and 10-30 – the 18.5mm prime is my favourite. It's small, bright enough to avoid some of the V1's high-iso penalty, and can almost create some foreground-background separation. Using it on the V1 is a little like having a real camera.

The prime lens also feels more solid than the collapsable zooms, which are built well but have more moving parts. Sharpness is good, but barrel distortion can be an issue, so I always apply software correction in Lightroom or use DxO Optics with its images. To be fair, that's something that I choose to do with most of my photos, including from thousand-dollar primes, but with the 18.5 it's not so much of an option for me.

What bugs me about this lens – there's always something – is its over-specificity. Focal lengths are approximations, and naming this one down to the thickness of a fine mechanical pencil lead is taking it a bit seriously. What would be so wrong about simply calling it an 18mm? If the derpreview commentographers want to lose their mind over it being a 48.6mm-equivalent lens, I say we should let them.

And yes, I do realize that I'm doing the exact same thing.

last updated 27 July 2013


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