I recently purchased a Nikon 1 J4 kit with the 10-30 mm PD zoom, and a Nikon 1 WP-N3 underwater housing. I bought both at very attractive prices with the intent of using the combination for occasional underwater images and video, as well as an inclement weather option for travel and landscape photography. Earlier today I went out for a morning walk with the Nikon 1 J4 and captured a few images.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
I started off by grabbing some photographs at the front of my home, then headed off to Grimsby harbour.
Before trying any kind of wet weather or underwater shooting I thought it would be prudent to take a bit of time to get used to the camera and lens. Even though it was a blustery morning – overcast and cold – I decided to venture out to see what I could find to photograph.
I had only shot with the Nikon 1 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 PD zoom during some field work I did when writing my Nikon 1 J5 review. At that time I thought the lens was better than I had first anticipated.
My outing today put the 10-30 mm PD zoom lens in a different light for me.
While I have never liked the power-zoom control on the 10-30 mm PD lens, and still don’t, I initially thought the lens did quite a good job with colour rendition. After my outing this morning I think what I had previously experienced was caused by the improved performance of the 20.8 MP BSI sensor in the Nikon 1 J5.
When I got home and started working with today’s images I found them somewhat flat and lifeless… even considering the lighting conditions. Since the sensor in the J4 is rated basically the same as those in my Nikon 1 V2’s by DxO I’m pretty sure the somewhat disappointing colour performance was caused by the 10-30 mm PD zoom.
Obviously I tried to do the best I could with the files for this article. I found that I had to spend more time on them than usual. In part this was due to the fact that I had to make some adjustments that I wouldn’t typically have had to make with my V2 files when using other Nikon 1 lenses.
For example I have seldom had to add saturation to any of my Nikon 1 files before. If anything, I sometimes have had to pull saturation down a tad at the end of my processing regimen because of how I typically work my Nikon 1 files.
In addition, I found that I went into CS6 to adjust curves and levels a lot more often than I typically would need to do with files shot with other Nikon 1 lenses.
I’d be the first person to admit that I don’t like to spend a lot of time with my images in post. Usually 2 or 3 minutes is about all I’m willing to spend on an image before I get bored and move on.
So, having to spend more time than usual working on files in post isn’t something that I’ll be going out of my way to do. That means that the 10-30 mm PD zoom will likely only be used when I have the J4 in the WP-N3 waterproof housing and I have to use it.
It should be noted that Nikon 1 waterproof housings can only be used with very specific Nikon 1 body/lens combinations.
While at Grimsby harbour I noticed some memorials left on two of the benches overlooking the waterfront.
It is always a heartfelt experience to witness a family’s ongoing expression of love.
As you’ll notice with a few images in this article I’ve been doing more experimentation lately shooting my Nikon 1 gear at f/8.
So far I haven’t noticed too much of a sharpness penalty from diffraction when shooting at this aperture. The 10-30 mm PD zoom also seemed to perform acceptably at this aperture.
When first testing out a lens I often look for some kind of rock, or cracked and broken cement as I find these are often good subjects to assess lens sharpness, especially when looking for any loss of detail when stopping a lens down.
The icing on the cake for me with any outing is finding something to capture that I can use to create an abstract image.
The Nikon 1 J4 kit isn’t something that I will be using on a regular basis as I much prefer cameras like my Nikon 1 V2’s that have an EVF. That’s not a problem for me at all as I bought the J4 kit along with the WP-N3 waterproof housing for very specific situations.
After spending more time shooting with the 1 Nikon 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 PD lens I am even more convinced that if folks have the extra money they should definitely choose the 10-100 mm f/4.5.6 over the 10-30 mm PD lens when buying a Nikon 1 camera kit.
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Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.