The Nikon 1 System Nikkor 32 1.2 Lens Review

 The Nikon 32 1.2 Lens Review

The Nikon 1 System Nikkor 32 1.2 Lens Review

One of my favorite cameras now has the capability to mount a superfast 85mm equivalent lens that has been much needed since the launch of the camera system. The Nikon 32 1.2 lens for the Nikon 1 System is here and when taking it out to mount it to my V1, it appears to be a masterpiece of design and build quality. After taking a few snaps, it is obvious that this lens is serious about optical performance as well.

Nikon’s own blurb:

“A legendary lens in the making.

One of the most celebrated lenses in NIKKOR’s 80-year heritage is the 85mm f/1.4, often praised as the ultimate portrait lens. Now that same medium telephoto angle of view and outstanding performance is available for your Nikon 1 system—with an even faster f/1.2 maximum aperture. The 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 (86mm equivalent on Nikon 1’s CX format) combines exceptional optics with lens technologies usually reserved for D-SLR lenses, like Nano Crystal Coat for preventing lens flare (even in direct light) and the innovative Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for ultra-fast, ultra-quiet autofocusing. The 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 even includes a manual focus ring—another first for a 1 NIKKOR lens. Whether you’re shooting portraits, travel, landscapes or HD videos, the 1 NIKKOR 32mm f/1.2 brings exciting new capabilities to your Nikon 1 system.”


A 32 1.2 Lens for $896? Deal or Rip Off?

Coming in at $896 for a 1 system 32 1.2 CX lens sounds expensive on one end of the spectrum because many will be mounting this lens to a Nikon V1 that they paid $300 for or a V2 that they paid $700 for. Most other Nikon 1 lenses are on the lower end of the cost scale coming in between $190 to $500. The highly regarded 18.5 1.8 is less than $200 but weighs as much as a feather (not really, but it is LIGHT). The 10mm 2.8 can be had for $200 and the 30-110 zoom is $250 or so. So seeing a lens for this system come in at $896 is sort of nuts when you look at it in this light. Why is this one so expensive while the others are on the lower end of the price scale?

This was snapped out of my windshield as I was driving into Sedona, AZ with the Nikon V1 and 32 1.2 lens. Click it for larger!


I can answer that question for you. This is a 32mm lens, but let us just say it is 35mm for the sake of discussion. A 35mm lens is more expensive to make than an 85mm lens or a 45mm lens. Especially when premium glass is used with Nano coatings. Being a 35mm lens with premium build, nano coating, silent wave motor and a manual focus ring means that it will of course be more expensive than the other Nikon 1 lens offerings, not just because of these pro features but because those other lenses are not in the same league where build, feel, and even IQ are concerned. I have not even mentioned that yes, this is indeed a 1.2 aperture lens any ay you look at it.

You will indeed get the light gathering of a 1.2 aperture lens, and speed costs money in the camera lens world. For Nikon 1 users this is a huge bonus as we want a lens that will give us low light ability and some shallow DOF as well. We may not get the same DOF as we would on a full frame camera but it will be about the same as the Olympus 45 1.8 on a micro 4/3 camera. While the Olympus 45 1.8 is $399, less than half the cost of the Nikon, you can not use it on a Nikon 1, the build is not the same as the Nikon, it is not a 32/35mm , it is a 45mm.  It is also a f/1.8 aperture lens and  not an f/1.2 aperture lens.

A storm was a brewin…


So when you look at it in this light, $889 for a 32 1.2 lens sounds about right when you compare it to other lenses in this category, especially since there are no other lenses for the 1 system like this, at all. It is basically an ultra fast 35mm lens but seeing that it is mounted on the 2.7 crop Nikon 1 body, it gives us an 86mm equivalent, so it acts as a super high quality portrait prime, the best lens yet for the Nikon 1. It even has a manual focus ring that when turned, automatically brings up magnification in the viewfinder or on the LCD. The manual focus action is smooth as silk. So for $889, a superfast prime for Nikon 1 shooters is really not a bad deal at all.

Once you shoot with one you will see I speak the truth. Still, many will shun it due to the price and the fact that it is a Nikon 1 system lens, which is a shame. I learned long ago to never judge a book by its cover. Even with me, a guy who used it extensively along with almost every other mirrorless lens out there telling you all this I am sure many will comment that it is overpriced. The ones who say that are the ones who will never touch it, use it or own it.

For the 1st time with the 1 System, you can get shallow DOF without having to be super close to your subject 🙂 


The Nikon 32 1.2 is well worth it to Nikon 1 shooters who want the best quality lens they can get for this system. It offers build, speed, precision AF, beautiful manual focus ability and yes, even some shallow DOF for us 1 shooters. You could skip this lens and buy a Voigtlander 35 1.2 II and mount it with a Leica M to Nikon 1 adapter but you will lose some sharpness, have to shoot in manual only and lose the blazing fast AF. It will also be much larger and heavier. You will get the same field of view and depth of field and pay $500 more while losing sharpness. So again, looking at it like this makes the Nikon 32 1.2 appear to be a deal.

The 32 1.2 wide open at 1.2 will deliver sharp results and finally, some shallow depth of field for us Nikon 1 lovers. I added grain during a B&W conversion on this one. 


But what if I do not own a Nikon 1 camera? Is it worth buying into?

Many will say that you should not buy into Nikon 1, but I say hogwash. If your requirements are small size, fast and accurate AF, great video, nice build, built in EVF, and nice prime lenses than you have three options. Sony, Olympus or Nikon 1.

Sony: The excellent NEX-7 is still around for $1200 but really good lenses will cost you. The Zeiss 24 1.8 is still one of the best for the system at $1100. The 6 is also great. But it will be slower than a Nikon 1 camera in AF, color out of the camera will not be as good, and you will have larger lenses and more bulk. You will gain the power of a larger APS-C sensor which means better low light and richer files. There is no 85mm 1.2 equivalent made by Sony or Zeiss for E-Mount but there is the 50mm f/1.8 which will give you a 75mm equivalent.

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Olympus OM-DThe OM-D has it all. Built in EVF, fast AF, jam packed with features, 5-Axis, etc. So buying an OM-D E-M5 and 45 1.8 will get you the equivilant of a Nikon V1 and 32 1.2. So why go for one over the other? Well, I have both and the new E-P5 here. I have shot with all of these quite a bit. All I can say is that you can still buy a V1 with 10mm prime for $269 with free fed ex express shipping. Add in the 32 1.2 for $900 and you have a $1169 investment. Buy a V2 instead at $700 and you are up to $1600. The Olympus E-M5 will set you back $900 plus $400 for the lens, or  $1300. You will have a more modern feature packed body but you while you gain all of the fancy stuff you will lose on a couple of things over a V1 or V2:

Nikon 1 will win for AF speed, sharpness, and color out of camera. Nikon 1 will be more simple and to the point and Nikon 1 has better video without the jello effect of the Olympus. A Nikon 1 with 10, 18 and 32 will take up much less space in your bag than an E-M5 with 12, 25 and 45.

Nikon V1 with 10, 18 and 32 – Total cost = $1370 – This gives you a 28 2.8, 50 1.8 and 85 1/2 equivalent prime lens set. 

Nikon V2 with 10, 18 and 32 – Total cost $1800 – 

OM-D E-M5 with 12, 25 and 45 – Total cost = $2700 – This gives you a 24 f/2, 50 1.4 and 90 1.8 equivalent prime lens set.

The V1 has a 1/16,000 of a second shutter, so no ND filter required to shoot at 1.2 in full sun.


When you start to add in other lenses the cost rises for the Oly system and the 1 system is less expensive, smaller, faster and with what I feel is better color. BUT, the OM-D E-M5 has a larger sensor, more features, and better high ISO performance. Still, the difference is not that huge and like I said, the Nikon will be sharper if that is your thing. The Olympus will be a little “richer” in its files which can give you a more “pro” or polished look but again, not a huge difference. Just see my Olympus 45 1.8 Lens review HERE and take a look at the images there, and then again at these in this review. Do those strike you as being any better in quality? Hmmm.

So if you are on the fence do know that the Nikon 1 will also give you more noise in the images, even at base ISO, but they will be more film like in their look at the same time. The OM-D will be richer and the Sony NEX series richer still. To those that say the 1 System sucks, you are so wrong! It is a great little system as long as you are not hung up on sensor size. With this 32 1.2 lens added, it made my love grow even more for the 1. You can read my Nikon V1 Review HERE, and my V2 review HERE.


Nikon 1, it’s quite good

So many have dismissed the Nikon 1 system and have called it everything from a “toy” to “junk” to “worthless” and even “bad for photography” but I have been a fan since day one of the Nikon V1 release. I found that even though it had a few issues, the V1 was HIGHLY capable and gave a unique look that no other camera was giving but the speed and AF accuracy is also top notch. I said from the get go that the V1 put out files more film like than other digital cameras, mainly due to the “hard” files that came out of it. These images have grain, grit and superb color right out of the box. Even base ISO has grain, but it is nice. Those who crave large and smooth buttery files will NOT like the Nikon 1 bodies because this is not what they will give in most situations. What it will give you is sharp detailed 10-14MP files with amazing exposure and color. It will give you fast AF in a fun to use format and body. Did I say beautiful color right out of the box?

Right from RAW, this color is SPOT on. Something my Leica M could not do or get close to. The 32 1.2 when wide open delivers super sharpness and nice contrast as well. This is not your old 1950’s tech, this guy is as sharp or sharper than any full frame or APS-C 85mm lens, and yes, you can qoute me on that. I have owned the Nikon 85 1.4, the Canon 85 1.2 and 1.8, the Olympus 45 1.8 and others. 


But enough of the V1 as I went over all of its virtues in the V1 review from long ago, and then the V2 review not too  long ago. Needless to say, I am a fan of the 1 system for what it brings to me: Size, speed, rock solid exposure with an almost film like rendering and gorgeous color with sharp as can be performance. It lacks in the high ISO department, shallow depth of field department and resolution department seeing that the V1 is 10MP and the V2 is 14 MP. But what happens when you attach a nice lens? We finally get “WOW” performance from this little powerhouse system with a nice control over depth of field. We now have TWO amazing lenses for the 1 system, the 18.5 1.8 and this 32 1.2 that is above that one.

Yes my friends, this Nikon 32 1.2 lens is awesome.  What a beauty of a lens it is in just about every way. After using this lens for a while I came to appreciate what it is, what it does and how it transforms my V1 into something else than it has ever been before. I can go for some shallow DOF or some crisp sharp rendering with good dynamic range and splendid color. Nikon 1 gives me better OOC color than my $7000 Leica M 240.

The sensor in the 1 cameras may be small but it is capable of nice results as long as you do not need huge megapixels. The 32 1.2 lens is sharp, crisp and pumps out rich color. The Nano coatings show. Click them for larger!




The 32 1.2 is the best quality lens for the Nikon 1 system. Period.

Those of us who are familiar with the Nikon 1 system know the main weaknesses and high ISO is at the top of the list. Compared to the competition in the APS-C world, the V1 and V2 can not compete at ISO 400, 800, 1600, 3200 or 6400. The noise starts to get worse and creep in at ISO 400 even. But guess what? Film has a way of doing the same thing. I look at the V1 as a mini digital film camera, and know what it will give me in return when I crank it up to ISO 1600 or 3200. Before the 32 1.2 all we had was the 18.5 1.8, which is a GREAT lens but 1.2 is faster than 1.8 so we can now get that extra bit of light to the sensor and lower our ISO or gain faster shutter speeds to eliminate shake.

Wide open at 1.2, shot at a distance. I am so used to shooting 35 and 50 that shooting at 85mm seems odd to me as I am so far from the subject. Still, you can not argue with results like this from a Nikon V1. This is from RAW.



Clouds – 32 1.2 at f/5.6 – converted to HC B&W with Alien Skin


The 32 1.2 also gives us that 85mm equivilant portrait length prime, with some nice shallow DOF. While the DOF can not compete with a full frame camera and 85mm lens, it does compete with the DOF from a 35mm lens, because that is basically what this lens is when rounded up. You can not get the DOF of an 85mm lens from a 32mm lens, period. Still, there is nothing else comparable for the 1 System and this lens delivers the goods in all areas.

Close focus – You can focus as close as 17 inches or 0.4 meters or 16 inches. That’s pretty close for an 85mm equivalent lens.



From RAW showing the Bokeh of the 32 1.2 wide open.


Out of camera color and contrast is superb!


The 32 1.2 also gives us real manual focus control and it feels GREAT and works great on the Nikon V1 and V2 (have not tested on the J series). Yep, the front of the lens has a nice feeling metal manual focus ring that rotates smoothly. As soon as you start to rotate the camera automatically goes into magnify assist mode making it a breeze to get critical manual focus. You also get a meter that pops up in the display to show you where you are at in the focus range. Shooting MF with this lens is a good experience. The AF performance is top notch but sometimes you will want precise control and this lens gives it to us with the 1 series camera.


Do not be afraid of the smaller sensors!

As Craig Litten explained in his excellent V1 article, there is no need to be afraid of small sensor cameras. The Nikon 1 series is a fantastic take anywhere system that while not offering full frame or APS-C performance in DOF and creaminess will give you some things that are better than what a DSLR or larger sensor can give you. For example, with a full frame camera it is very hard to get large Depth of Field (everything in focus) and we usually need to stop down to f/11  to do so. With the 1 series you can stop down a lens like the 32 1.2 to f/5.6 and have a large DOF. At 1.2 you will get shallow DOF. It is the best of both worlds but do not expect full frame f/1.2 shallow DOF performance. Still, the small sensor in the V1 and V2 and even Sony RX100 are splendid for what they are and what they can do and they are highly capable regardless of what the naysayers THINK. Yes, I say think as those who bash this system are those who are just hung up on sensor size.


With the new 32 1.2 lens by Nikon, they have given the 1 series owners what they have been begging for since day one. Now that it is here many are complaining about the price yet I see people every day spend $4000, $6000, and even $11000 on Leica lenses. I see people plunk down $2500 for a Nikon DSLR lens and others pay $1300 for a Micro 4.3 2.8 Zoom. At $896, Nikon delivers a very well made, very well feeling quality fast 32 1.2 lens for the 1 system so us owners can have a fast portrait type of prime. This lens is built to a level much higher than the 18.5 1.8 and even though it is larger, it is still VERY small when compared to other lenses that are 1.2 in aperture, or even 1.4 aperture. It is about the same size as the Panasonic 25 1.4 for Micro 4/3 but feels better made, looks nicer, focuses faster, is silent and will give similar performance. (and looking at my review for that Panasonic 25 1.4, I prefer my images here with this lens by far)


My Final Word on the Nikon 32 1.2 and more on the 1 system.

If you own a 1 system camera and have been craving a fast lens, this is it. If you go for it, you will LOVE it. 

The AF is fast, the lens and camera will even focus in near dark conditions and thanks to the Silent Wave Motor it is QUIET. You can shoot at 1.2 and suck in more light and keep your ISO lower and it is damn good looking on the camera. I say BRAVO to Nikon for this one, it is a  fantastic lens that just made the Nikon 1 system that much better. I just wish they had a 13 f/1.2, 19 1.2 and a 75 1.4 in this quality build. That would be awesome but I am also aware that most 1 series owners are those who are just happy shooting the kit zooms, so I am surprised Nikon released this one at all. I am not sure how many more fast primes they will release, if any, but this one is the real deal.


I enjoyed shooting this lens so much I went ahead and ordered one for my V1 camera. I review and evaluate tons of gear, much more than I even write about on this website. It is not very often that I buy what I review. In the past 6 weeks I have tested the Leica X Vario, Ricoh GR, Zeiss Touit lenses with a Fuji X-E1, Olympus E-P5, Samsung NX300 and this lens. The only one I plunked my money down for at the end of the day is this lens. So there ya go.

Truth be told, I enjoy shooting my Nikon 1 more than I did the Leica X Vario or Fuji X-E1 or Olympus E-P5. I can own any of these cameras as a walk around every day kit but I chose the Nikon 1. So did my son and so did his stepbrother. Pretty crazy but it seems that those who shoot the little NIkon V1 and actually gives it a real go ends up really liking it, and at $269 for the V1 and 10mm 2.8 (while they last) it is the biggest no brainer of the century.


As for this lens, at $890 it is NOT cheap but fast QUALITY glass never comes cheap and if it does it is sadly not to the quality of this lens. Sure the Olympus 45 1.8 is $400 but it is not a 32 1.2. Sure the Sony 50 1.8 is cheaper but it is also not a 32 1.2 lens. The only other lens that comes close to this focal length is the Voigtlander 35 1.2 and that is a $1400 full frame Leica M mount lens and I would bet $100 that it would be less sharp from 1.2 to f/2 on the Nikon V1 or V2! It is also much larger and heavier and while it kicks major bootie as a 35mm lens on a full frame $7000 Leica, it would be no better than this lens on the Nikon 1 as an 85mm.



True you will never get the full frame look of a 35 1.2 on any Nikon 1 camera but that is not what this system is all about. It is about fun, usability, reliability, speed, and yes, color and image quality. It is a take anywhere compact system that gets trashed all over the internet by those who never touched one. No, not everyone will like the look of the files that come from the smaller sensor but this lens makes it much harder to dismiss the Nikon 1 unless you are just a Nikon one trash talker just for the sake of being one.

Yes my friends, the lens is a winner but only you can decide if the cost is worth it to you. If you own a Nikon 1 you owe it to yourself to check it out if you can and you may just fall for it as I did. It’s a beauty and yes, worth the premium price if quality is what you seek.

You can see more images from the Nikon 1 cameras HERE

You can buy this lens at Amazon or B&H Photo at the direct links below:

Buy this lens in Black at Amazon or B&H Photo

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  1. Steve,
    I recently purchased the Nikon 1 J5 and all the lens that you had previously reviewed. The 32mm f/1.2 is without question a lens that deserves the attention of every camera geek out there. The 18.5mm and the 10mm pan cake are also the lens to go with. Anyone that claims they have better results than these combinations here are on a different planet. The 10mm pan cake lens is a great do it all, the 18.5mm is unbelievable for any situation and the 32mm is without question the standard by which all others will be judged. I was a 35mm Nikon person for years but now this is the best and least expensive route to go without question. The new 20 meg pix sensor is crazy good and probably to good for the most of us. For whatever reason the fixed lens are the way to go. I have both the 10-30mm and the 30-110mm VR zoom and would probably never use. That is my take anyway. thanks for the 32mm recommendation!


    • wow, i really envy your coice. the J5 got very good reviews and the 32/1.2 is stellar! i tested it once but can’t afford it for at least the next year 🙂

      have fun with the set, it sounds very nice (have the 10 + 18.5 on my v1 and i just love it)

    • Hi! First of all your site is great! I’m new to photographing and been using my gf’s Nikon D7100 for awhile. After reading your and few others reviews on Nikon 1 series I ended up buying used V1 with the 10-30mm kit lens for 100 euros and I’ve been loving it. For a newbie like me it’s insanely simple! My girlfriend didn’t really enjoy it that much but after I managed to find this 32mm lens on sale for 300 euros(a steal, huh?) she ended up buying one for herself aswell. Even my friend who does this for living and has more worth of gear than my car costs got really excited about this camera. It’s great!

  2. I owned a Nikon 1 V3 camera and was thinking of buying the 32mm, how good does it match for portraiture ? Have you tested it ? Thank you

  3. Hi Steve, after seeing the result of 32mm, I was stunned. I thing, people do under estimate Nikon1. I have 10mm for Nikon1, also gives very clear and good pictures.
    After watching your review I will definitely have 32mm.
    Thanks buddy.

  4. I’ve been using the V1 since the great price drop and have added additional bodies. The early zooms were
    good and fun to use but when the 18.5 arrived the image quality jumped several notches. The 32 1.2 added several more notches and was well worth the wait. Being able to take advantage of flat light on overcast days keeps the dynamic range within limits and having control over DOF adds dimension and
    isolation. The sharpness and clarity of this lens are great! It’s everything you said it was. Your reviews are
    a big part of the reason I own one. I don’t miss the 105 2.5 AI quite as much anymore. I find these reviews
    accurate, to the point and very helpful when it comes to weeding out fact from personal preference.

  5. i do not own a v1 (i have a d700, and, apart the weight, very happy with it) but i am interested in a small good camera. the 32 1.2 seems interesting, but the bokeh seems horrible to me… especially when there are light sources in the background (photos 36 and 37, p.e.). what is your opinion?

  6. Thanks to Steve for his greats reviews.
    I don’t have this 32mm 1.2 lens yet, but I’ll get it.
    Why??? Because I love the Nikon 1 V1.
    I have the D800, Fuji S5 Po but use the V1 most of the time.
    I like to use pro lenses but realize that it’s very heavy to carry around.
    Normally I know what I’m going to shoot and will only bring what I need.
    However travelling is a joy with the V1 combined with a few Nikkor primes on the FT1 I can save
    several kilos and still get my shots.
    To make it short – it all depends on your experience in photography. Most Nikon 1 users are beginners in photography and the will not be able to use a 1.2 lens nor a 6.7-13mm. However they can learn by doing without spending a lot of money on a FF camera like the D800 which they can’t use either.
    For me the weight matters.
    Like Steve – I liked the V1 from the first day even it has its limits.
    The V1 is just a new tool to make photos and if you know how to use it – it will give you some more joy and fun and perhaps some shots you would have missed with the FF or DX. BTW I’m also using a Canon SX-50 which is great for some kind of nature photography. Steve mentioned some called these cameras for toys. Yes, toys that will blow pro nature photographers away and you will have pain in your shoulders.
    No matter what camera or lens you have – it’s still the person behind the viewfinder to make the photo.

    • “Yes, toys that will blow pro nature photographers away and you will have pain in your shoulders.”
      should be
      Yes, toys that will blow pro nature photographers away and you will have pain NO in your shoulders.

  7. For me the XP is my go to camera when I am going out by myself to slow down and approach a photograph much like a MF person would do. Perhaps that’s what Steve and the other Leica guys do as well. (I have never shot with rangefinders and don’t do much street shooting.)

    For any other time – I reach for my V1 for all the reasons mentioned so often here.

    So I will probably focus on rounding out both the Fuji and Nikon 1 kits. Just need to find a good home for the D700 and 2.8 lenses. I will probably opt to keep the 70-200 and TC 1.4 to shoot with the V1. This will work especially well if the coming V3 adds a stop or two to have very usable ISO 1600-3200 for shooting wildlife in the wee hours of the day. Not that I would often carry the 70-200, just nice to have the option.

    Perhaps Nikon will add a 200-400 equivalent. I would think that about be 75-150.

    Question, if the V3 had a traditional hotshoe would the newest pocket wizards work allowing fast sync speeds? How cool would that be.

  8. Thank you so much for having some good standards and rules for posting. When I visit I want to get information and benefit from user expeerience. I am NOT interested in reading the narrow views of ‘higher critics’, who have never even toudhed what they are so opinionated about! Why do those who want to attack the Series 1 system, or Mr. Huff personally, even come here? They can just go away! Constructive criticism is good, it can help make a product better. I have been quite impressed by most feedback here. I has certainly proved the VV1 to be a fine precision tool. I appreciate the site as a source of valuable info and of equipment worthy of consideration.

  9. Holy hell, I wonder what goes on with some people, read Steve’s reviews, enjoy or not, buy the lens/camera if you want to (or not) but why all the steam blowing out from some peoples ears. It seems that to some any camera or lens that might challenge their preconceptions gets a rough ride. I was not impressed by the V1 on launch, but that was due to the launch price/looks and Nikon’s somewhat confusing and misguided promotion of the product. I now own one and will make up my own mind but from first impressions I was wrong to write this camera off, the sub £200 price with 10mm lens helps of course but I’m still an 80% film user and I can see I’m going to love the output from this camera already 🙂 Thanks Steve or I might I missed the chance to use/own one of these this unique cameras.

  10. Thanks, Steve –

    I am settling on the Nikon 1 and the Fuji X systems – I like so many things about both

    Pro’s for Nikon 1:
    Reach with crop

    Pro’s for Fuji
    High ISO
    IQ (better DR)

    Neither is perfect – both very interesting.

    Perhaps someone could make an adaptor to convert the Nikon 1 hotshoe to a traditional mount.
    Perhaps Fuji could invest in their flash systems

    My poor D700 hasn’t been used in a long time.

    • I’m in the same boat. I love my D700 but looking to try something smaller. I love the way Fuji images look, they look outstanding. The Nikon 1 system images do look a bit harsh or hard, especially the landscapes. It does seem to me though that if you put a little time in post the Nikon 1 images can come close, very close to a nice Fuji image. Plus the ability to attach my Nikkor lenses to the 1 and achieve 2.7 crop factor which would be great for wildlife. I’m renting a Fuji for the state fair, of course I could probably find a nikon 1 body for the same price it cost me to rent the Fuji……

  11. The Nikon 1 system is better than anyone expected. Personally I think it is amazing. The output can be excellent especially with the primes like the 32mm or the 18.5mm which I own. I own a J1 and it is a delight to pick it up with its simple design and very nice build quality, but I’m really missing the view finder on sunny days. But for now I think I’ll wait and see what the V3 brings – hopefully a little better high ISO performance.

  12. The bokeh in the pink flowers picture and some of the others appears to have what could be loosely described as a crinkle cut and fractured flavour, the grain lacks finesse in many shots too, whilst not exactly emulating that filmic quality [not that it should have to being digital anyway]. Colours are relatively pleasing, however, also appear mildly overstaurated and present a somewhat atonal one dimensional ambience and palette. The background rendering appears to lack subtlety, although plenty sharp enough on the plane of focus, which lends to the though, the lens may be quite good, the camera {sensor} may not be good enough to take full advantage of it, that is what im seeing and comprehending from these photos.

    I do not advocate the absurd notion of aligning with corporations for any reason, nor do i profess to own this particular nikon camera, however, i reserve the right to make honest and respectful yet forthright opinion and comment on the above photos, as you have presented them for here for discussion by the public.

  13. Hi Steve, thx for the great review! I am picking up one of these lenses tomorrow and I’m really excited. I just wanted to say that the picture you added of your chihuahua curled up on the carpet with the sun on him and his amazing eyes is beautiful.

  14. I bought a J3 before i became a fan of this site and now i wish i bought a v2 instead! i guess having a viewfinder is pretty important in sunny weather! im new to the photography world but so far i loooove it. i just bought the ultra wide lens for the 1 system and the 18.5 mm to have more versatility but this great lens in this review is too pricey for me right now! 🙁 eventually i will add it to my collection and hopefully sell my j3 and buy a v2 as well!! GOALS are good in life! 😀

  15. If that lens is a commercial success, maybe we will see a 13mm 1.2 or 1.4 ? How difficult would it be to produce such a lens? It would give a 35mm fov and really turn the Nikon One system into a great alternative for compact system users.

  16. This lens is a premium product in every respect, optical performance and build and shows to N1 owners how serious Nikon is about this system. I picked up a new black V1 with kit zoom for 199 about 2 weeks ago and am an impressed owner of the 32mm since about a week. It`s glued to the V1 body. Now the 6.7-13mm is on my wish list. It seems to be outstanding as well. Will be interesting to see how sensor performance will improve in the next generations of N1 cameras.

  17. Steve, thanks for confirming this lens is winner. Its on my list!

    One of the features you like most about the 1 system is the colours out of the camera when shooting RAW. I appreciate the lens and sensor are factors but how can you talk about colours out of the camera when so much will be down to your processing of the RAW files?

    I write as someone with infinitely less post p experience than you. Just keen to understand and learn. I too love the colours out of my V1 but love them most when I use NX2 software. Using other applications I find great depth in the NEF files but usually I much prefer the colours given to me by the picture control starting points I get with NX2.

  18. You did a comparison of three cameras about a year ago or so in which the V1 was one of the cameras. I can’t remember what the other two cameras were but I was expecting their pics to look better. When I looked at and compared each photo, from each camera, without looking to see which camera took them I was surprised that I liked the V1 the best for almost every picture. They just looked more realistic to me, definetely a nice little camera.

  19. I have two Nikon V1 cameras: one white with the two-zoom kit and one black with the 2.8/10 mm prime. I put aside any alternative manufacturers lenses,as the 1 system experience doesn’t worth a dime without the auto-focus system. I want to think within the 1 system. There is no lens alternative outside the system. Period. You can play around with available Nikkor glass of your own, but do not start buying them.
    Than what should I buy as next step? For the price of the 1.2/32 mm prime I could buy the 1.8/18.5 mm and the 6.7-13 mm zoom together, plus this deal would leave some nice money in my pocket. (maybe I can buy a flash used?). In conclusion: the 1.2/32 mm is expensive, I have to think twice or thrice to buy it. I want it very bad though from the moment it was rumored.

  20. Steve

    Have you tried the Samsung NX210? it can be had for around $400, it has a 20MP DX size sensor, and an incredible 85mm F/1.4 lens which sells for around $800, here is the cost of that set up

    NX210 Kit – $400 (20MP dx sensor vs 10mp 1″ sensor)
    85mm F/1.4 – $800 ( Dof = F/2.0 vs Dof F/3.2)
    16mm F/2.4 – $250 (24mm Fov vs 28mm Fov) or
    20mm F/2.8 – $250 (30mm Fov vs 28mm Fov)
    30mm F/2.0 – $300 (45mm Fov vs 50mm Fov)

    Total cost $1,750 vs $1,600

    The Samsung 85mm F/1.4 is big, but the other primes and NX210 are the same size as the V1. The Samsung will alos not offer the same focusing speed and lacks a viewfinder, but in return they include a small flash, the ISO performance is 2-stops better, and you get better DOF control

    Food for thought

    • I have a NX300 with 18-55 and 30 f/2. The camera is very nice, very capable. No EVF option, AF is not up to the V1 but it is APS-C so will give you the APS-C look of a richer and cleaner file. I prefer to shoot the V1 with 10, 18 and 32 over any camera besides my RX1 and Leica M. I have plenty of cameras around with APS-C sensors and always new ones flowing through. I have had a Fuji X-E1 here for 3 months, never want to use it as I am not a fan of the sensor (I know, I may be in the minority with that one). WHat the V1 gives me is just what I have said in all of my writings about it. Small size, super fast operation. rock solid metering, great style, design and build, long battery life, built in EVF, and now, 4 amazing lenses. (6-7 – 13, 10mm, 18.5mm and 32 mm) that are tiny and superb.

      I also get the “V1 Look” which gives me amazing color out of the camera, a little grit and film like appearance and images that are always very sharp again, more film like than any digital camera due to the noise, grit and hardness of the file. For the sensor size, the DR is not bad at all, in fact it is quite good. Nothing like a full frame but better than full frames from 10 years ago 🙂

      Me, I have other cameras but I will only use the ones I enjoy using and those that give me the results I like. I’d shoot an OM-D full kit before I’d go full in on a samsung kit. Not that the Samsung is bad, but again, lenses are larger, heavier, and no EVF/VF at all. The NX300 is a super camera though, well worth the cost.

  21. Interesting… no more negative comments allowed Steve? Do they hurt your business?

    • Two comments were trashed in the past 5 days. Those comments were made anonymously and were full of hate with personal attacks that contributed nothing to the discussion. I suggest you read the rules if you are trying to post useless attacks. That does not fly here, and hasn’t in a long time. Comments that are nothing but negative attacks will be deleted, comments such as this exact one you posted here would usually be removed as again, it contributes nothing but an attempted attack on me.

      Comments must be relevant to the post, be civil and without personal attacks. Mean spirited comments will not be tolerated here. Negative comments, if relevant to the discussion surely will. But not personal attacks. Keep that in mind or like I said, read the rules that have been up for four years.

  22. My wife and I both have V1’s and use them more and more over our exotic kit. Other than the 10-30mm kit lens, the native lenses are really good. The micro Nikkor 40mm f/2.8 also gives fantastic results with the Ft1. Great colour, the best focusing of any mirrorless (we have an OM-D) and full compatibility with Nikon’s FF & APS-C lenses (including VR), it’s a good system in its own right and especially useful if, like us, you have existing Nikkors. Looking forward to trying the 32mm f/1.2.

  23. Another V1 fan here. The naysayers are getting very tired and boring now..

    I’m sorely tempted to buy this lens, which sells for around £800 here in the UK. David Hughes ( is also getting really nice results (and fast focus) with a Sigma 30mm 1.4 and an FT1 adapter, which I could get for about £500. That would also leave me with the option of getting a 2nd hand Nikon tele for a 500-600mm equivalent at some time in the future.

    I’d be interested to hear any opinions on that Sigma 30/FT1 alternative to the 32 1.2.

    • The Sigma 30 1.4 and FT1 adapter will be 3X the size (I used to own that Sigma30 1.4), much slower to AF, no auto magnify with manual focus and not as sharp up to f/2.8 It will work, but it will not be the same. Shooting at 1.2 on the Nikkor provides super sharp results, as sharp as most lenses at 2.8 (at the focus point, your subject). The Nano coatings, SWM, close focus, etc all add up to what makes this lens a winner. The Sigma will work, yes, but you will then have a difference in all areas. Color, sharpness, size and weight as well as speed. Just go with whatever works for you 🙂

      • Thanks Steve. This and tibor’s comment below make a lot of sense. I don’t own any other Nikon glass at the moment, so the Sigma/FT1 option is probably not an ideal use of my money. I’ll probably stick with a 18.5 1.8 for now and start saving for the 32!

  24. > For example, with a full frame camera it is very hard to get large Depth of Field (everything in focus) and > we usually need to stop down to f/11 to do so. With the 1 series you can stop down a lens like the 32
    > 1.2 to f/5.6 and have a large DOF

    Actually, you’ll get the same depth of field with Nikon 1 at f/4 as with full-frame at f/11. Also the same noise performance at the same shutter speed :). This is because noise performance of smaller sensor of Nikon 1 is about the same as the noise performance of a similar full-frame (e.g. D800) at ~2.9 stops higher ISO — exactly the difference coming from the difference in sensor sizes (2.9 stops ~ 2*log2(2.7), where 2.7 is Nikon 1 crop factor). There is practically nothing to gain or lose because of the smaller sensor in this respect. It is simply a law of physics that as the same depth of field, angle of view, and shutter speed the image noise in midtones is largely independent of the sensor size. Steve, please read some background on comparisons between the formats. You can start at

  25. Fantastic to read such glowing reviews of my V1. Great article Steve. I try to strive for balance when addressing cameras so I think it’s appropriate to say that the V1 delivers great results with its two faults being low light performance (although it’s better than you’d think) and dynamic range. It certainly has a tendency to clip highlights and hopefully Nikon can address this in the V3.

    Oh! For those who mentioned the V2 vs V1. Just get the great deal on the V1! The V2 actually tested to have worse IQ than the V1 on DXO and it’s very expensive.

  26. Wow, that lens has some beautiful rendering! I am financially committed to NEX (Nex7, Sony 50, Zony 24, the two Touits), but if I were shopping mirrorless now the V1 and that 32/1.2 would be at the top of my list.

  27. Nice infomercial Ron Popeil!, Yes the 32mm is a great lens, but the DoF is F/3.2 which is poor for a $900 lens any way you slice it. Additionally the ability to defocus the background is the same as a $200 50mm lens from Canon or Nikon.

    • Again, someone moaning and groaning about a lens they have never seen, touched or used. Love when that happens as it basically means nothing.

      Those $200 Canon or NIkon 50 1.8’s can not even come close to the performance of this lens at 1.2, let alone at 1.8. They are cheap plastic, soft until 2.8 and even then not as sharp as this lens is at 1.2.

      Not even close and yes, I have tested them on this very site. A 50 1.8 is not a 32 1.2. A 50 1.8 will give you a 130 or so on a 1 camera, not an 85. As for your DOF argument, shooting a 50 1.8 on a FF 35 mm will be giving f/2.8 DOF if you compare it to Medium Format. It is all how you look at it. At the end of the day this is a true 32 1.2 lens with the full light gathering and “bokeh/DOF” of a 32 1.2 lens. Shoot a 35 1.2 on a Leica M, crop it to Nikon 1 size and the images will look the same as far as DOF goes.

      You can also plop a Voigtlander 35 1.2 II (for $1400 on the V1 and you will get the same DOF, less sharpness and much more hassle for $500 more. For those who shoot the 1 system, and there is quite a few now, this lens is a jewel. Proof is in the lens itself, the build, the speed of the A)F, the fast aperture, the design, the manual focus feature and amazing IQ even wide open. $896 is a good price for this lens. To those who never used it, your words are just that, words without any knowledge of the facts.

      I am one who would rather pay $900 for something of stellar quality than pay $200 for something of average quality. In fact, I skip average. It just leaves you wanting better. Saves me money in the long run.

      So far every user review of this lens has stated the same as me. It is well worth the investment if you like quality and own a Nikon 1.

      • You’re throwing everything at the wall, hoping something sticks. Take the Sigma 50mm F/1.4, sells for around $450, closed down to F/2.2 on a APS-C sensor it will have the same DoF as the 32mm F/1.2 and be awesomely sharp with beautiful Bokeh. This doesn’t mean that the 32mm is a bad lens, it just means that it is horribly over priced, heck I might even pay that price if it was an APS-C lens, but on a small sensor which maybe discontinued? Pass

        • You make zero sense. The Nikon 1 system is not APS-C. An owner of an APS-C camera would not have any interest in this lens as it is for the 1 system. Why would it be an APS-C lens for a non APS-C system? For those that shoot Nikon 1, this lens is WELL WORTH THE COST, but you would have no clue about that would you. No, you do not shoot a Nikon 1. Why people complain about Nikon 1 lenses not being APS-C is sort of bizarre.

          • and, I would take a V1 (or new V3 which will be announced soon) with this lens over a Nikon D3200 and 35 1.8 or 85 1.8 any day of the week (and did). I own APS-C cameras but the only thing they offer me over this setup is larger files and better high ISO. They fall short in comparison to this setup for color, sharpness, usability, size, weight and overall joy of use. I speak facts, always have and always will though not everyone will like it. There are still plenty with the sensor size mentality that feel smaller sensors can not provide good images, which is absurd. The only cameras I enjoy more than my V1 setup is my Leica and RX1 and now with this lens and the 18 and the 6.7-13 the V1 may get the most use.

          • If we go by your thinking that less DOF means bad images, then why are you shooting APS-C and not full frame or medium format? Those will kill your APS-C for shallow DOF any day of the week.

          • B/C a medium format camera costs thousands more and an aps-c camera with a 50mm f/1.4 or 85mm f/1.8 costs LESS than this absurdly priced lens and V2 . But a Refurb Canon 6D with an awesome 85mm F/1.8 will be about$350 more and closed down to F/3.2 will blow the doors off the tiny sensor camera

          • Over the years. I’ve had more images that could benefit with less DOF rather than more. I often see images that have a vital element in the background that plays an important role in telling the story of the photo blurred into oblivion. Also, Just because you take a picture of a vacation sandwich at dinner with a blurred background does not make it an amazing image. If the photo stinks….it stinks. Good photos will rise to the top regardless of the sensor size.

          • isn’t it funny that most people, bashing small sensor cameras, always come up with those numbers of equivalent aperture?
            i tell you why: because FF has a crop factor of 1 and we all are declined to have THE optimum.
            i once read an article about why it doesn’t matter to compare ff and other sensors. anyway…

            i second Vlad.
            many users can’t control the DOF or, as you will, how much bokeh they throw int their images.

            here is an example, where the main subject was the voigtlender lens:


          • The V1 sensor has already been discontinued … and replaced in the V2…
            It is the MOUNT that is of importance, and I am convinced it is here to stay. Therefore, the buying a 32mm may be a good investment, considering inflation! Good glass can easily increase 10 per cent in price each year.

          • The V3 will be announced in August and will be much better than the V1 and V2 when it comes to sensor performance and higher ISO, just hope it keeps the look. If not I will be hanging on to a couple of V1’s as well 🙂

          • Steve, Here it is October and we still haven’t heard any thing about the v3. Have you heard anything lately? Thanks.

        • Ooisin I bought this camera exactly because it might be discontinued. I mean to say it is so good i wanted to get one while I had the chance. Now that I have it, looking at the results and how nice it is to use, I would not hesitate to buy a second one.
          You wouldn’t buy it because it has a small sensor? really? As with many things in life, people think bigger must be better when it very often isn’t. Steve’s comments about this camera system are right on the money.Try one for yourself.

    • Just my personal take / experience on the DoF & sensor size issue…

      IF I need to create a good deal of background separation (for example, photographing at an event where I have little control over the b/g, subject, distance, etc.) then I find I need to go FULL FRAME. Unfortunately, APS-C just doesn’t provide enough separation in many cases. An example is these combat knights at a Ren Fest:

      IF creating separation isn’t critical (ie. I have control of the subject and/or background) then the Nikon1 CX sensor is just fine, such as the shot of this model with a backdrop:

      Also, IF I have a reasonable amount of control over the subject distance, beautiful and extensive DoF/Bokeh can be achieved with the Nikon1:

      So for me, it’s a matter of using the ‘right tool for the right job’ 🙂

  28. Very nice review and images Steve!

    In addition to the V1, I have a number of ‘tools in the toolbox’ including a full frame Nikon, two APS-C Sony NEX cameras, a Micro 4/3rd camera, and the RX100.

    In truth though – the V1 is one of my favourites to shoot with, and it simply offers things many of my other cameras do not.

    The small size and weight (with a 300mm equiv lens attached) is just the beginning of what the V1 has to offer. The snappy AF, the oh-so-extraordinary Nikon metering, the high-speed shooting and video, and those gorgeous, gorgeous colours. I think Nikon has also done a great job with the N1 lens offerings so far as well (the wide angle zoom and tele zoom serve me well in 80% of situations and fit nicely in a very small pouch)

    I even often use the V1 when shooting at night (long exposures on a tripod). Its small size is perfect for the Gorilla Pod I use in many situations, the night-time colour renditions are excellent, the classic Nikon starbursts are there and the film quality just adds that little something extra that often ‘makes’ the shot. I’d happily trade some iso/noise performance for those characteristics, in a heartbeat!

    Somehow… someway… Nikon has managed to add a touch of magic to that little black box they call the V1.

    I’ll definitely be picking up the 32mm 1.2 when I can and oh how happy I would be if this is the first or more, similar fast high quality lenses to come!

  29. Nice review Steve. I was an early adopter of the V1. I love it and have produced some pretty good prints with it. After a while I felt that I needed more so I bought the d7000. I have a 50, 35 and an 85 with my dslr, but as time goes by I use my V1 a lot more. It makes me want to be a better photographer. Now I think I’m going to ditch my d7000 and my lenses and invest in this lens. The camera is solid and it really is fun. My only complaint is the iso function through the menu. Other than that, I love strapping the camera around my neck for an afternoon of shooting.

  30. For those who want other lenses for the 1-system than Nikon’s own and don’t mind manual focus there are a lot of current and old C-mount TV-lenses that can be fitted with an adapter. I for exemple have a beautiful made Canon 13mm/1.5 lens.

      • And it’s not a pleasant experience… at least for me. 🙂
        I was going to say that Nikon could really improve the use of the N1 with manual/c-mount lenses, but then again, the AF and Metering are 2 of the best things about the N1 system.

  31. mmm This lens render a good quality of photographs. I am thinking in buy one Nikon v1 to my brother. Using cameras with different size of sensor I learned every camera has pros and cons but all of them are capable to great renderings. I don’t know much people printing A1 or even A3, so a small sensor has not much disadvantages and even are better in landscapes (as you wrote in the article) where the pressure to use so big apertures are not as portraits, even in portraits I don’t use much a limited dof, the same with my brother.

  32. LOL – We love that candle shop in Sedona. The person in your photo made us a couple of the 8 we went home with.

  33. Good review Steve! Actually the price is to steep for me because I hardly use 85 mm on a full frame camera, a 32 on a 1 won’t be used either.. I dream with you of an ultra high grade 13/1.2 or 13/1.4. An 35 equivalent is what I use most.

    A macro lens schould be nice also, There is a close-up 40.5mm coming from Nikon, so a ‘cheap’ solution that will fit most 1 users, but I would prefer a real 1 to 1 micro lens.

  34. I like the 5 last pictures . a+ for the dog picture . Steve , The colors are overexposed ? i mean it is what our eyes real see or not

  35. My two cents:
    I have both the OMD and now the V1. And I am finding myself using the V1 more and more for serious work and finding it is producing much more impressive photos than the OMD.
    The V1 and the better lenses can just do things that larger sensor cameras simply can’t touch.
    And the raw files of the V1 love the hand of the skilled post processor.
    You can push and tweak the Nikon files to your hearts content and they still look ‘natural’.
    The OMD files will look weird if you are not careful.
    I am getting close to ditching the OMD, that is how good the V1 is.

    • “The V1 and the better lenses can just do things that larger sensor cameras simply can’t touch.”

      I’m curious what “things” you’re talking about” I’m not trying to be snarky here, but the V1 is a nice camera with nice lenses and nothing more.

      “The OMD files will look weird if you are not careful.”

      You can say this for any camera.

  36. Steve,
    You mention the bokeh and background blur and the isolation of the subject, which is possible with this lens. You kind of overlooked the low light capability, perhaps because it is so obvious?
    Today, I was out hiking with my kids. I was carrying my small bag with the V1 and my three lenses (10mm, 18.5 and 30-110 telezoom). I was so hot outdoors, that we deliberately walked under the canopy of the forest. Of course, I was shooting a lot of pictures, but I noticed motion blur because of the f5.6 number on the telezoom. When I hooked up the 18.5 f1.8, I was able to shoot blur free again. I’m sure the 32 f1.2 would have done even better! I’m just hoping for a radical price drop in a year or so!
    One little remark about your review. I think you are mixing up narrow and wide depth of field at one or two occasions. Aperture at f1.2 gives a very narrow depth of field. Aperture at f11 gives a deep/wide depth of field.
    Kind regards, Ivan L.

  37. I agree with Steve’s assessment of the lens.

    By the way, in the text,
    >For example, with a full frame camera it is very hard to get narrow Depth of Field (everything in focus)
    Shouldn’t it be “broad depth of field” with “everything in focus”? If he means shallow depth of field, or maintaining narrow depth of focus is not easy in real world? Then, still “everything in focus” doesn’t make sense since that means pan-focus with high aperture ie f16.
    Or am I having an English problem here? I am not native speaker, and won’t be one…

  38. Damn…Every time I see the images that accompany reviews of the Nikon 1 system, there’s something that just grabs me. I’m going to have to buy one of those V1s before they all get snapped up.

  39. Replace the Olympus 12mm 2.0 with the Panasonic 14mm 2.5 and the price for the Olympus system comes really close to the V2 price.

    • I was thinking the same. But to be consistent we should then try comparing a camera and lenses from same brand, Panasonic and as close in specs as possible.

      A good choice is the new Panasonic G6 that is even a bit cheaper than Nikon V2.
      Wide angle would of course be the 14/2.5 in this comparision with same angle and only 1/3 stop faster.
      For normal lens we have two choices. First 25/1.4 which because of the faster aperature is much more expensive or the little wider 20/1.7 with almost the same opening.
      Finding a matching tele lens we run into trouble as Panasonic currently only have a 45/2.8 macro. However a 42.5/1.2 lens is expected beginning of next year! Price should be at least as high as the Nikon 32/1.2 lens, propably considerably higher!

      Even with the economical 20/1.7 choice the Pansonic kit will be a little more expensive. With the 25/1.4 and much higher price for the 42.5/1.2 lens than the Nikon the 32/1.2 the difference can be considerable.
      I do however feel the Nikon V2 body is clearly overpriced compared to Panasonic G6. The V2 body should be cheaper than the G6. (Just like Canon 6D had higher price than Nikon D600 but now is cheaper as it should be!) I think we soon will see the V2 on sale as Nikon do their yearly revision of the 1 system and introduces a new V3 body!

  40. I switched to a V1 from Micro Four Thirds for a few reasons but the video quality from my Olympus bodies was unusable due to severe rolling shutter. The V1’s video quality is fantastic.

  41. “this is indeed a 1.2 aperture lens any ay you look at it.”
    I am no expert, but if I look at it from a DOF point of view, isn’t this more like a f2 equivalent lens on a full frame sensor?

    • No, its less than that is you are talking about compatiing to full frame. On the Nikon V1 this is a full on 1.2 aperture lens, as in, it has the light gathering of an f 1.2 lens. If you are talking about shallow DOF, it will not compare to a full frame sensor just as a full frame sensor does not compare to medium format in that area. But this is a 1.2 aperture lens, end of story. If you take an shot with a 35 1.2 on an M9 and crop the image to the size of the V1 file you will get the same DOF effect.

      • Steve, it’s f/1.2 aperture lens – true. But light gathering capacity is exactly the same as f/3.2 full frame lens (light gathering capacity is directly proportional to the area of the input pupil of the lens (roughly the diameter of the lens squared)). What is exactly the same (compared to any lens with f/1.2) is the brightness of the image in the focal plane. However for the shorter focal length lens the image is smaller, brightness is the same, and therefore the amount of light gathered on the sensor smaller (therefore worse low-light performance of a smaller sensor camera by the way).

        • If I take this lens which is a 32 1.2 lens and a Voigtlander 35 1.2 lens (which is indeed a 1.2 aperture lens as well) and mount both to a Nikon V1 body at the same time I will get the same shutter speed, same light gathering and same DOF. I could care less what it is on full frame as the Nikon 1 is not full frame. On the Nikon 1 you get a 1.2 aperture for light gathering and the DOF of a 32 1.2 lens, end of story. Why does everyone want to compare to full frame when there are a handful of full frame cameras for sale, and why do those same people not compare full frame to medium format or large format when it comes to light gathering or DOF? That is because there is no point to do that as if you shoot full frame you shoot full frame. If you shoot micro 4/3 you shoot micro 4/3 and if you shoot Nikon 1, you shoot Nikon 1.

          BOTTOM LINE WITHOUT THE SPIN: The Nikon 32 1.2 is a legit 1.2 aperture lens that will give you the light gathering of a 1.2 lens and DOF of a 32 1.2 lens when shot on the Nikon 1. You will not get the DOF of an 85mm lens but a 32 mm lens. Take a 35mm shot on a Leica M9, crop it to V1 specs and it will look similar.

          • Steve, that is understood. However the danger with statements like “32 f/1.2 lens has a DoF of 85 f/3.2 lens but a light gathering capacity of f/1.2” is that someone may think that by using 32 f/1.2 on a smaller CX sensor vs 85 f/1.2 on an FX sensor they will end up with a deeper depth of field while retaining the same noise performance. Which is fundamentally not true — DOF and noise performance go together regardless of sensor size.

          • Noise goes hand in hand with ISO, not lens aperture. If I can stay at ISO 100 on the V1 by using f/1.2 then that makes it worth it right there. The 35 f/1.2 on the Nikon V1 or V2 or J cameras will give you f/1.2 on this system. It is not a system to compare against full frame and nether is APS-C or Micro 4/3. It is its own system, its own sensor and has its own charm. The faster lenses are desired and have been asked for since day one and now that Nikon is delivering them the 1 system naysayers (who never shot them) complain and try to trash them by comparing it to full frame which is ridiculous as it is so far from full frame it is not even close, as is micro 4/3, as is APS-C (no matter what the Fuji lovers say).

            Again, if I own and shoot a Nikon 1 camera, and I do, I will take all of the speed I can get. This lens is a 32 1.2 lens, period, end of story.

            By your theory I could go around trashing the Canon 85 1.2 saying its not really a 1.2 lens because on medium format it would not give me the same depth of field. Ridiculous.

            Great lens from Nikon all the way around and well worth the cost to those who crave image quality, speed and quality build.

          • Steve, noise is fundamentally determined by how much light is collected by the sensor. This is a fundamental limit on noise imposed by quantum nature of light. Sensor just amplifies that noise and adds some of its own. That’s why the noise is actually primarily determined by absolute lens aperture, i.e. the focal length divided by the F-number. I have previously referred you to a Wiki article. You can also read a bit more “popular” article here .

            Alternatively, just look at simple experimental facts: CX sensor has ~3 stops worse noise performance compared to a similar FX sensor at the same ISO setting (e.g. compare high-ISO score of any Nikon 1 with Nikon D600/700/800 at DxOmark). At the same angle of view and depth of field an FX lens will have about 3-stops “slower” F-number (e.g. 32 f/1.2 vs 85 f/3.2). As a result at the same shutter speed FX camera will have to have 3-stop higher ISO compared to CX for the same exposure. Meaning the noise level in the final image will be essentially the same in both cameras. Simple.

            >By your theory I could go around trashing the Canon 85 1.2 … because on medium format …

            The point is not “trashing” systems or lenses. The point is helping you to better explain to the readers the differences between the photographic capabilities of lenses across different formats. It is helpful to know that the pictures taken at the same shutter speeds with a 32 f/1.2 on Nikon 1 at ISO100 and 85 f/3.2 on Nikon D800 at ISO800 will look roughly the same. Extending that to APS-C would be saying that you’ll get a similar photo with ~55 mm lens at f/2.1 on Nikon D5200 at ISO400. Useful comparison, isn’t it?

          • The Nikon 1 system is known by all to NOT be a full frame sensor camera. No one has ever said that it was. Why people continually go around comparing it to FF is unknown to me. Makes zero sense. That would be like comparing a $79 Nikon coolpix to FF by letting everyone know you will not get the same ISO performance nor DOF. Something we all already know.

            For the last time, the Nikon 1 with 32 1.2 will give you the DOF of a 32 1.2 lens. PERIOD. It will not give you the DOF of an 85 1.2 because it is NOT an 85mm lens. It is a 32mm lens. You will get the same DOF on the Nikon 1 with the 32 1.2 as you would on an M9 with a 35 1.2, but would be like cropping the M9 file to match the size of the V1 file.

            Ive done many tests to prove this in the past, 3+ years ago with examples.

            Why would someone would think you would get 85mm DOF from a 32mm lens? They wouldn’t and do not.

      • It’s funny how often you get asked about this. Maybe you should put a picture of it in the sidebar of the site with the caption “My strap” and get a commission when people inevitably click-through and buy one.

  42. I’m a V1 owner, and I have to say, these images don’t look like they came from the V1. I knew this lens would be good. But seeing Joe’s images, and now Steve’s, I’m almost blown away. 85mm is not my favorite FOV…but maybe it could be?

    I really like the V1. I trust Steve when he says that it has advantages over the OM-D, and there is a $1k price difference in a three-prime + body kit (as Steve notes). But those Olympus lenses make some sweet images. Steve, if given the choice to own only one, would you really choose the V1 kit over the OM-D kit?

  43. Steve I must correct you.

    You said:”We now have TWO amazing lenses for the 1 system, the 18.5 1.8 and this 32 1.2 that is above that one.”

    We actually have 3 amazing lenses for the 1 system, the 18.5 1.8, the 32 1.2 and the super amazing 6.7-13mm super wide angle lens.

    Don’t forget that one!

    As I said in my review you posted, this 6.7-13mm lens on 1 cameras is superb. It blows away full frame wide angles in every department. Sharpness, contrast and depth of field.

    Here is a sample of what it can do:

    Oh, and thank you for getting me hooked on the Nikon V1!
    Now I need to sell my full frame Zeiss lenses so I can buy this 32mm F1.2.

    • The v1 keeps on surprising.

      I did an informal shootout between the Nikon v1 and the Olympus E-PL5. Can’t say one is better, both are great when you consider image quality, flexibility, high percentage of keepers.

      Both systems keep getting better. And while some have badmouthed the v1, I hear Nikon 1 sales are doing well.

      I was surprised when they issued this lens. As Steve says, it’s not like the others, although I do agree that the 18.5mm and the 6.7-13mm, which I just purchased, are more than worthy. Test marketing. If 32mm sells well, there’ll be more primes, I suppose. In any case, I going to get, and keep, all the Nikon 1 lenses, because I believe Nikon is behind this format for the long term. If they aren’t, I’ll still have a very unique imaging device,

      • My next purchase is the Nikon 1 32mm. I’m going to pit it against an E-P5 (traded my E-PL5 & accessories for E-P5) and 75mm lens shooting basketball. I been trying to shoot indoor sports, a decided challenge given the notorious bad lighting in most gyms. I’ve used a Sony a57 with super expensive 70-200mm. Never could get the focus right.

        I tried the v1 with the 18.5mm. No problem with exposure or stopping action, relatively little noise, but like Steve says, the images come off a bit too crisp and the 49mm focal length is too short.

        With the 32mm (85mm) I can get tighter and probably use 1/650 sec (or faster) image capture. The Olympus with the 75mm (150mm) is different focal length, but will allow getting in very tight. I have seen excellent results with this rig for indoor sports on Robin Wong’s site.

        The rest is technique, which, when it comes to fast moving indoor sports, I must admit I have very little of. Practice, practice…

  44. Thanks steve for the review. I use the F adapter with a nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens. Do you expect a lot of difference?

    • Hi Greg,
      I own the V1 and Nikkor 35 1.8G and thinking of getting the FT1 adapter. I was wondering if you can share your experience with the combo (focusing and image quality)? Would you mind sharing a sample image? Thanks!

      • It’s a cost effective way of getting a something close to the 32 1.2, but it isn’t a native 1 lens so you obviously lose some functionality and definitely the compactness. I have an FT-1 that I love to use with my 1.8 primes, but I notice some color fringing and it’s a bit awkward to handle due to the size of the setup.

  45. Wonderful review Steve and lovely images as well. No doubt the price is steep, but this lens adds an entirely new dimension to the V1 or V2.

    So far, this lens (on my V1) has handled every shooting condition very well – low light, bright sun, landscape, street shooting, performances, events and of course portraits. The lens is sharp, fast, quiet, small, light and just plain fun.

    I wasn’t aware that Nikon dubbed this a “legendary lens in the making” but that is certainly an appropriate moniker. IMHO this jewel of a lens will become a cult classic.

  46. Love the review Steve! I’m itching to make a change from my OMD 25/1.4 to something else and this combo may just be it. Have you been shooting raw with the V1 or jpeg?

    As fast as the OMD is, sometimes I don’t think it’s fast enough for my 18mo daughter with the 25/1.4 lens. I also find attempting video with the OMD to be annoying. Video is definitely not a priority but as she is getting older, I’m finding that I want to take more video. Right now I use the Sony RX100 if I’m going to take video or my iphone.

    On the other hand, I can just sell my OMD gear and the RX100 and buy a RX1R. Decisions, decisions, decisions….

  47. Great write-up. I really, really hope Nikon will turn out a few more gems like this one for the 1-system.


  48. Thanks for this review Steve. I have the V1 with the standard kit lens set and the adapter for my “big” Nikon lenses. Heard so many negative comments about the camera … especially from those who do not own the camera. I like the super fast AF, the color and yes … the noise, because it looks like film noise and never looks like artifacts. So far the 32 1.2 looks amazing to what it can do with the V1 (or V2).

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