Concept: 3 out of 5
Execution: 4 out of 5
Yeah, but: A very useful addition.
The Long Version: The Nikon 1 system isn't exactly a bastion for high-IQ photographers – "image quality", what did you think I meant? – but the 30-110 lens makes it all make sense. It leverages the smallness of the sensor to give a long reach from a little lens, creating a combination that I simply wouldn't use a bigger camera for. Even my GH1 with its bigger 14-140 lens, that has about the same long end, is bigger-enough that it stays home when my V1 and 30-110 gets carried about.
None of the three CX lenses that I own – the 10-30 and 18.5mm are the others – are stellar for image quality, but even superb Nikkor lenses on the FT1 adapter don't resolve a huge amount of detail on the V1. Within those limits I find the 30-110 perfectly acceptable, although software correction for its various optical distortions are mandatory for me. It's a little sad that a sub-4x long zoom needs it, but it's cheap and small. Life's a barter.
I'm not much of a long-lens person, but a big part of that is the physical size of the lens. The days when I would happily carry an Olympus E-3 and 35-100/2 on the streets of Toronto are gone; to think of the 30-110 as a replacement for that legend is a sad statement on both our changing society and my own revised priorities. But for website-fodder and the occasional small print the 30-110 on the V1 is enough, and it's an important tool for an ongoing documentary project that I'm working on.
The 30-110 isn't my favourite lens for the V1, but it's the one that genuinely does something that my other camera systems don't. It's not particularly expensive, which makes it fairly easy to recommend. I bought this one just a couple of days after my V1+10-30 kit, and it's the lens that convinced me that the V1 could be the basis of a system.
last updated 27 july 2013