1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 Hands-on Review

To prepare for my hands-on review of the 1 Nikon 10-100 mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens I’ve spent the past couple of weeks shooting a few thousand images with it. As regular readers will know, I don’t shoot any images of test grids or spend any time doing formal sharpness testing and I never publish those types of charts in my reviews.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

The 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens is quite small and compact when closed.
The 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens is quite small and compact when closed.

To me, cameras and lenses have always been something to experience in real-world conditions. As a result my reviews are far more experiential rather than technical.

The 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 expands to over 5-inches (~13cm) in length when fully extended.
The 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 expands to over 5-inches (~13cm) in length when fully extended.

The first thing that I’d like to do with this hands-on review is to state upfront that even though Nikon makes two 1 Nikon lenses covering the exact same focal length (10-100 mm) these are completely different lenses.

The 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom is much larger and beefier than its non-PD sibling.
The 1 Nikon 10-100 f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom is much larger and beefier than its non-PD sibling.

And, the differences between these lenses are far more than one lens having a power zoom. Let’s have a look at the differences between these lenses in more detail.

When fully extended the 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 and 10-100 f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom are about the same overall length.
When fully extended the 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 and 10-100 f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom are about the same overall length.

Number of lens elements/groupings
Non-PD Zoom: 19 elements in 12 groups
PD Zoom: 21 elements in 14 groups

Type/number of lens elements
High refractive index elements: Non-PD Zoom 3, PD Zoom 1
(as far as I can tell high refractive index elements are used to control the amount of light refraction, or bending, as it is transmitted from one medium to another inside a lens)

ED glass elements: Non-PD Zoom 2, PD Zoom 3
(ED glass is used to reduce chromatic aberration and colour fringing)

Aspherical elements: Non-PD Zoom 3, PD Zoom 2
(aspherical lens is used to correct distortion, especially at wide angles)

Non-PD Zoom:
2.38 x 2.87 inches (60.5 x 70.5 mm)
10 oz (298 g)
PD Zoom:
3.0 x 3.7 inches (77 x 95 mm)
18.2 oz (515 g)

Minimum Focus Distance
Non-PD Zoom:
1.1 ft (0.35m) at 10 mm focal length
1.1 ft (0.65 m) at 100 mm focal length
PD Zoom
1.0 ft (0.3 m) at 10 mm focal length
2.8 ft (0.85 m) at 100 mm focal length

Minimum/Maximum Aperture
Non-PD Zoom f/4 – f/16
PD Zoom f/4.5 – f/16

DxOMark Testing:
Both lenses have been tested by DxOMARK. Here are some test scores along with those for the 1 Nikon 30-110 mm:
Sharpness (higher is better):
Non-PD Zoom 3, PD Zoom 4, 30-110 mm 5

Distortion (lower is better):
Non-PD Zoom 0.5, PD Zoom 0.7, 30-110 mm 0.3

Vignetting (lower is better):
Non-PD Zoom -0.6, PD Zoom -0.9, 30-110 mm -0.9

Transmission (Lower means more light gets through):
Non-PD Zoom 5.6, PD Zoom 6.2, 30-110 mm 5.0

Chromatic aberration (lower is better):
Non-PD Zoom 17, PD Zoom 13, 30-110 mm 6

As you can see the optical performance between these the two 10-100 mm 1 Nikon lenses is quite close. Both 1 Nikon 10-100 mm lenses are outclassed on most performance attributes by the 1 Nikon 30-110 mm, which is the primary reason why I included the 30-110 mm performance data in this article.

15 thoughts on “1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6 Hands-on Review”

  1. HI,
    I just got the 10-100 non PD lens and couldn’t figure out how to MF using this lens since it doesn’t have a focus ring. I though there might be a control function/wheel in the camera (V3 or V2) that help manual focus but I have problems finding how and where.

    If you can provide me with some help, it’ll be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Ruby,

      Manual focusing doesn’t work that well with Nikon 1 lenses that don’t have a focus ring. You have to go into the menu and set the camera for Manual Focus. If my memory serves you then have to use the ring on the back of the camera to manually focus. I don’t think I have ever used manual focusing with my Nikon 1 gear since the auto-focusing is very good.


  2. Thanks for your informative posts. I’m probably sticking with my 10-30 and 30-110 instead of reducing the lens inventory by one (going to the 10-100). Seems what I have now may be a bit sharper than the 10-100’s are. I have been impressed with your results with the 70-300, and bought mine largely based on your recommendations. Not disappointed so far. Thanks again. All the best.

    1. Hi Guido,

      The 10-100mm shines as a great all-in-one walk-around lens but it does suffer a bit in terms of optical quality, especially when compared to the 30-110mm. If you don’t need the flexibility of the 10-100 you are well served by keeping the 10-30 and 30-110 combination.

      It’s good to hear that you have been happy with your CX 70-300mm.


  3. really useful, Thomas, your efforts here, surpass other sites.

    while keeping it add free, some ebay and amazon links, to help you cover costs, would not be objectionable, I think, although you may hold strong views on this.
    happy shooting, Allan.

    1. Thanks Allan – I’m glad you found the review helpful! I do have a link to B&H as well as Amplis. In addition, folks are able to donate to the site if they wish to support my efforts. If all goes according to plan, next year I will have a number of photography-related e-books published and for sale on the website as well.

  4. Hi Tom,
    A very interesting review.
    I have had the chance to shoot with the PD lens, and wonder if the extra weight of the lens has any bearing on the ability to handhold it at a slower speed.

    It does seem to me, to cradle nicely in the palm of my hand, and although a little more weightty and bulky, it is not awkward.
    I am a bit ambivalent on the use of the power zoom, as I don’t intend to use it much for dedicated video work.

    Not sure which way to proceed at the moment.

    Thanks again.

    1. Hi David,

      I suppose it ultimately comes down to how you intend to use a 10-100mm Nikon 1 lens. If your focus is still photography then most people would find the compact size of the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 non-PD to be a plus. It is also easier to get the exact framing desired using its manual focal length adjustment. Filters would also be more cost affordable. Since the time that I added the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 to my kit I have not used my 10-100mm PD zoom for still photography at all. The 10-100mm f/4-5.6 would be preferred by most people as a general ‘walk-around’ lens.

      The 10-100mm f/4.5-5.6 PD zoom is a very nice lens and in my experience is slightly sharper and the VR a bit better. I doubt that most people would buy this particular lens for those two reasons though as the differences are minor. Getting exact framing for still images is a little bit harder because of the power zoom, filters are more expensive, and it is bulkier and heavier than the non-PD 10-100mm. Video shooters would likely choose this lens as the zoom action is very smooth and quite silent. I shot a client video project yesterday and used this lens at least half a dozen times to get specific effects needed in the video, so having a power zoom does come in handy. This lens does suffer from some slight exposure shifts even when shooting at f/5.6 and higher when long zoom pulls are done. Shorter pulls are OK though.

      If you haven’t shot with the 10-100mm f/4-5.6 non-PD yet it may be beneficial doing so as you could then compare the two lenses on a first-hand basis.


  5. I am, once again very indebted to your expertise and you remain the ne plus ultra of proponents of the Nikon 1 system. Though I own nearly all the Nikon 1 system lenses, I was intrigued about the PD version ofthe 10-100. I am not sure it would add any significant benefit to my arsenal as it were, as I find the normal 10 -100 very capable and sharp in my guise as a news photographer. But your meticulous and comprehensive posts are really quite wonderful to pore over for every nugget. Thanks, once again.

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