First Impressions: Nikon 32mm f1.2 (1 Series Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens (4 of 4)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 7.1

Many of the more discerning photographers gawk at the Nikon 1 series cameras. With their 1 inch sized sensor and interface aimed at the amateur and entry level enthusiast, the line isn’t exactly looked at with gleaming eyes by the pros–and it isn’t marketed to be either. So when Nikon announced their 32mm f1.2 lens for the 1 series cameras, we were a bit shocked. The lens gives an equivalent field of view of a standard portrait lens and in many ways is quite impressive and surprising. Nikon’s 32mm f1.2 has 9 elements, 7 aperture blades, and an all metal construction on the outside.

Coming in at not too far under $1,000, this is the lens to get for the serious 1 series user.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the Adorama listing.

Mount Type Nikon 1
F stop range 1.2 – 16
Format CX
Maximum Angle of View 28°
Construction 7 Groups / 9 Elements
Optical Conversion Factor 2.7x
Compatible Formats CX
Diaphram Blades 7 (rounded diaphram opening)
Autofocus Yes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor) Yes
Close Range Correction Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 1.5 ft. (.45m)
Filter Size 52mm
Dimensions (Approx.) 2.6 x 1.9 in. (Diameter x Length)
65.5 x 47mm (Diameter x Length)
Weight (Approx.) 8.3 oz. (235g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens (2 of 4)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 7.1

Nikon’s new 32mm f1.2 looks like Zeiss might have developed it–but they sure didn’t. It’s smooth on the outside, all metal, and amazingly beefy for its size.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens (3 of 4)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 7.1

 

It’s also still quite small and doesn’t feel unbalanced on the higher end 1 Series cameras. But if you mount it on the more entry-level versions, then you’ll surely start to feel the difference.

The lens has no real markings or switches on it sans for the lens contact markings to attach it to the camera.

Then there is the focusing ring towards the front. Even though said ring is quite thin, it’s also well designed given the size of the lens body.

Build Quality

There isn’t a single bad thing that we can say about this lens. It is built well due to the metal construction. The only thing we wish it had is a switch on the side for manual focusing–but the lack of that is understandable for the audience that uses 1 series cameras.

Ease of Use

Someone that asked me about the lenses and cameras called the 1 series a “Push here dummy” camera line. And for the most part, this lens isn’t an exception. The lack of any switches on it and the pure emphasis on just autofocusing makes it even simpler to use.

Autofocus

The 32mm f1.2 is quite a speed demon–as are the 1 series cameras. It isn’t as fast as the fastest glass from Olympus, but it’s still quite awesome.

Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens samples (2 of 4)ISO 1601-100 sec at f - 1.2

All images from this lens were shot in JPEG and are pretty much straight out of the camera lest being resized for the web. What really impresses me is the color rendition that this lens delivers. Unfortunately, I shot with in in very low light–but if I was shooting in RAW and editing the images afterward, that would be no issue.

The version we played with was a production version.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens samples (1 of 4)ISO 32001-2500 sec at f - 1.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens samples (4 of 4)ISO 3201-100 sec at f - 1.2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon 32mm f1.2 lens samples (3 of 4)ISO 1601-100 sec at f - 1.2

First Impressions

There is a lot to digg about the new 32mm f1.2 for the 1 series. People that are committed to the small form factor and are content with the quality will be happy to know that they can get some pretty nice bokeh from the lens as well. However, they might not appreciate the high price tag. With that said, it’s nice to know that you’ll have a beautiful portrait lens to photograph anything you want.

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