USER REPORT: The Nikkor 6.7-13 VR lens review by Steven Norquist

USER REPORT: The Nikkor 6.7-13 VR lens review by Steven Norquist

Hi Steve,

I read your review of the V1 about a month ago just before my birthday and your review was so interesting that I decided “what the hell” and I bought a V1 on Amazon with the 10-30mm lens before they were all gone. My little gift to myself. (as if I don’t have enough cameras already!) I started shooting with it and just fell in love with this little camera. It fits the hand so well and is like a baby Leica in feel.

Putting the camera into electronic shutter mode makes it totally silent and vibration free and allows for a top shutter speed of 1/16000 of a second! Amazing.

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As I started to process the raw files I was getting some very interesting results. A very open file with lots of dynamic range and sharpness across the whole frame, side to side and front to back. This must be due to the huge depth of field the cx sensor is capable of.

I was so impressed with the little V1 that when I heard the release announcement of the new Nikkor 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 VR Lens and saw the crazy MTF chart at the Nikon website I knew I had to have one.

So I ordered it (at $500 it cost twice what I paid for the V1!).

It is a beautifully made lens. Heavy and made of metal and comes with a nice lens hood which actually does work! The zoom is firm, tight and smooth, no play in there.

The 6.7 looks great mounted on the V1.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I took the 6.7 out on its first shoot at Cabrillo Monument in San Diego. I shot everything in raw using Daylight white balance with a +2 amber boost. Metering was Matrix. All raw images were converted using Adobe Raw and any adjustments were made in both Adobe Raw and Photoshop.

My normal process is simply to bring out of the raw what is already there, to enhance contrast and color in a natural way to achieve a “slide film” style look. The V1 with its lower pixel count 10mp sensor excels in creating that “film like” look in my opinion.

Shot at 6.7mm at F4. Note the foreground foliage is sharp even though I focused on the distant land.

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BELOW: 100% crop of the lower left region showing forground and infinity distant objects. All share the same detail level.

crop 1

This lens has very high contrast and very high resolution. Truly amazing detail across the whole frame side to side and front to back. When shot at 6.7mm at f3.5 the lens will vignette very heavily and it is best to stop down to f4 where the corners lighten up by 50% or so. The lens is most sharp at f3.5 and f4. F4 is optimal as the corners will sharpen up a bit and the vignetting will be less.

Color rendition is excellent, spot on with intense saturation. Blues are deep and rich and avoid the cyan shift that can cause that yucky digital blue we all hate.

13mm @ f5.6. I really love the blues this lens produces and the rich yellows and oranges. Reminds me of Velvia film.

_DSC0897

Below: and a 100% crop

One-Hundred Percent Crop

At 6.7mm the lens has barrel distortion but it is actually not that bad when you consider that this is a 6.7mm lens! It should have a crazy fish eye distortion but the barrel distortion is not really bad at all and can be corrected in Adobe Photoshop using the Lens correction tool by simply punching in +5 when shooting at 6.7mm. Use lesser correction values as you zoom in with the lens.

By 13mm the lens is straight as an arrow with no distortion or vignetting of interest.

6.7mm @ F4. Distortion corrected in Photoshop by using +5.

_DSC1065

Over all I am very amazed by this lens. Nikon really pulled out the stops on this one, it could become a classic. And as the Nikon 1 series cameras mature and their sensors improve over time this lens will be there all the way to squeeze the last notch of resolution out of them. I don’t regret this lens purchase or the V1.

Thanks again Steve for your inspiring reviews and for turning me onto this camera. There ain’t nuthin wrong with 10mp!

Let me leave you with a few last samples.

6.7mm @ F4, no distortion correction.

_DSC0971

6.7mm @ F4. Distortion corrected in Photoshop by using +5.

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10.9mm @ F5. Love the natural deep greens this lens can produce. Look how pure the white is on those tombstones, no color bleeding.

_DSC1043

 

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24 thoughts on “USER REPORT: The Nikkor 6.7-13 VR lens review by Steven Norquist

  1. Hi…i don’t if you will ever see my comment…but i’ll try.
    I would like to ask you one thing: do you think this lens is ok for interior shoots?
    I work for a real estate agency, and i’m using the 10-30 lens but i would like to upgrade…Thank you in advance.

    1. Well it could be, you will have a much wider view at 7mm allowing much more of the interior to be in the frame. The 10 isn’t wide enough on the Nikon 1 system.

  2. For those who still think the small sensors don’t have it, think again. The V1 is a powerhouse. Sure if your prints will cover a garage door maybe a larger sensor is the way to go! The image texture is satisfying, sharpness is a non-issue and the FT1 opens the world of Nikon’s clasic glass. When film was king I shot Kodachrome, Velvia and Ektachrome with an F3 and I must say this V1 has impressed so much that I have
    3 bodies and a number of lenses. Photographs are about content the technical crap is just a distraction for
    those who have no imagination and are more impressed by the number of pixels on the head of a pin!

    1. You mentioned “When film was king I shot Kodachrome, Velvia and Ektachrome”.

      Out of curiosity, what is your take on the the Picture Control features where you can upload Kodachrome, Velvia and Ektachrome picture control modes unto the Nikon 1 system? Would the results really mimics the original film?

      1. Interesting question. The key word here is mimic. All media have a character that makes them what they are. Can an app get close, maybe. I tend to go with character of what I’m using rather than try to copy a look of another source. Besides with all the editing tools and shooting raw I haven’t explored the possibilities with the picture controls. Digital images have their own look and it’s always better to concentrate on the image in the viewfinder or on the screen rather than what picture control would look good. Shoot first play later. The King is Dead Long Live the King. Two rules, try everything and when in doubt shoot it anyway.

  3. I have tried this for street photography and have been a bit dissappointed in it…it is a bit slower to focus for me than my 10mm 2.8…and thus missing some good shot opportunities…another little issue is the lens hood…it seems to be a bit not tight enough…so it tends to turn on its own and when it is not on properly the hood gets in the image…maybe my hood is defective but it does not lock on tightly…for the money I think it should be better

    1. I’m a bit disturbed by the comment that the lens should be expected to have some barrel distortion. 6.7mm is “fisheye territory” for a full frame lens, but multiplying up by 2.7 (the 10mm panxake is roughly a 27mm full frame equivalent) this is roughly the equivalent of an 18mm at its widest, and it should be possible to produce an 18mm lens without any barrel distortion.

      1. But this is an authentic 6.7mm lens at the wide end, not an 18mm. So Nikon created a true 6.7 wide angle non fisheye lens. Show me a true 6.7mm wide angle non fisheye without distortion. Not possible. This is not an 18mm lens, if it was then it would be near a 50mm like their 18.5mm 1.8. So using a true 6.7 wide angle, this is actually very very impressive, Could never be done on a Canon or NIkon or any other camera with a larger sensor without MASSIVE distortion. Even Canons 16mm has corner softness and distortion and it costs a hell of a lot more than this lens.

        1. If this was a 6.7mm lens for the 35mm (or digital full frame) format I’d obviously agree with you Steve, but it isn’t, and it won’t cover the area of that format (or if it does please let me know and I’ll buy an adapter for it!). The difficulty in designing lenses lies at the edges. This is why fast lenses are bigger and heavier than their slower counterparts, and why people design in things like aspheric elements. A 6.7mm lens that only covers a C size sensor doesn’t need edges as far out as one covering a 35mm film frame would need (and I don’t think a 6.7mm rectilinear lens covering a 35mm frame is even possible – the widest I know is the Voigtlander 12mm for the Leica and similar rangefinders, and that doesn’t have much distortion). In theory, therefore, it should be possible to “miniaturize” an 18mm design and get the same performance out of its 6.7 mm equivalent. I suspect the barrel distortion is in fact caused by difficulties in achieving the zoom range.

    2. Sven, On my V1, this lens focuses a bit faster than my 10. Also, my hood locked on TIGHT and never budged unless I wanted it to. Not an issue. You have to make sure you line up the line and attach it correctly. When it snaps on tightly you are locked in. if you lens does not do this, return it as it is not right. I can say though that AF was instant for me using this lens, never an issue with AF being slow at all. Much faster than any other camera I own.

  4. Steven, I believe you just convinced me to buy this lens ASAP with your excellent user experience report and samples to prove your point.

    If you’re interested in this lens, just follow Steven’s link to his Flickr set (given in post 4) and look at the large 2048 pixels samples, which are so much better than the re-sampled pictures shown above in the report. This lens looks like an amazing wide angle lens for the Nikon 1 cameras.

  5. One other noteworthy feature of this lens is that it is stabilized. That’s a bit uncommon in a wide angle zoom, but makes it even easier to hand hold, and an even better value at under $500. I’m always pleased with what I get from sessions with this on my V1. This beauty and the also very fine 30-110mm are what makes Nikon 1 interesting. The 10-30mm isn’t up to their excellence, but I don’t end up using it much. Nikon has been generous with the CX lenses, coming out with new ones regularly, all very well made (no plastic mounts in sight), and most include proper hoods. The few that don’t have hoods available cheap. Olympus should be as generous.

    Most of the lenses cost less than comparable Micro 4/3 lenses, with the only outlier being the absurdly expensive 32mm portrait lenses. Don’t expect they’ll sell many of those at $900, even if they’re great. Luckily, this wide angle zoom is reasonable, and the 30-110mm telezoom (around $250) and 18.5mm f/1.8 standard prime ($185) are steals. Even on a limited income I’ve been able to assemble a nice little set of lenses for my cheap V1. Nikon deserves far more recognition for these lenses than they’ve received to date. The new 10-100mm is also supposedly quite good, way better than a typical superzoom, and it’s just slightly longer than the already small 30-110mm. Don’t know how they did it.

    1. Amen, brother! This is the Nikon1 I know.

      Please: do you have a Flickr set, or similar, where I can see more samples? Would appreciate it greatly.

      And, Steven: I looked up your Flickr set too. Very cool! Thank you for the effort.

      Best regards.
      Jan

  6. Absolutely agree that this lens will be a classic. The 6.7-13mm, 18.5mm and 30-110mm make a heck of a sweet kit! I also add the Fotodiox grip to the V1 too.

  7. The Leica Mini announcement still sticks to my head. When reading the title of this post I was thinking f6.7 – 13, really? 🙂

  8. And mine will be here next week. Thanks for the write-up and all the useful info.

    I know this lens will be a favorite of mine (like the entire Nikon 1 camera system, you sure get your moneys worth when buying into it).

    Keep us posted if you get more lenses (the 32mm, perhaps) in the future.

    Cheers.
    Jan

  9. Gotta agree – the little V1 just continues to impress!

    I took mine out night shooting (that’s right – night shooting with a 1″ sensor) and although I haven’t transferred the files into Lightroom yet, I’m pretty impressed with have I’ve seen on the LCD.

    1. nicht shooting with small sensors is highly dramatised by some people. i did it with my finepix s7000 with a 1/1.7″ sensor almost a decade ago. images were not comparable to today’s FF standards, but for me back then i was stunned at first and had a lot of fun with this camera.
      with small sensors, creativity is not limited, just IQ.

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