The Nikon V1 and 32mm f1.2 Lens for Botanical Photography

Multiple reasons routed me to the Nikon 1 system.  A DSLR with a big lens is heavy, so when the Nikon 1 system first came out, I looked, but did not like the initial prices, nor the lack of lenses.  Also, I wasn’t too sure if it would be successful enough to invest in.

Time passed.  When the V1 dropped significantly in price, I looked again.  Seeing images shot by Steve, by Craig Litton, Joe Marquez, Sue Wotton and others at Steve Huff Photo pushed me to look at it.  Finally I bought it.  Since then, I’ve added lenses to the bag, but when the 32mm f1.2 was announced, I was seriously interested, and bought one when I could catch it in stock.

There is no one area of photography I prefer, but flowers have always given me a great deal of pleasure, especially wildflowers.  As it is late in the summer, nearly all our wildflowers are gone in the heat of Southern California, but locally we have some rather lovely gardens with flowers in bloom.  When I finally had some time to test out the 32mm lens, at f1.2 to f1.6, I shot a series of flowers and leaves, using both the auto and manual focus.

The beauty of the lens is the ability to isolate a flower from either background or foreground.  Bokeh varies with what lies in front and behind of the subject, and with the 32mm f1.2, it varies in quality.  It can be rather nervous when leaves in the background are small and fine.   Other times, distance or background blur beautiful, creating an element of serenity.  Color, contrast, and detail are well rendered.  The three pictures below show how the manual focus allows for choosing one’s focal area, and show how the foreground, middle ground, and distance can be chosen.  Click on them to see full detail.

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Altogether, I am very pleased with the ability of the Nikon V1 and the 32mm for taking pictures of flowers and other plants.  Some post-processing can add to the beauty of an image, but even just out of the camera, most images are pleasing and need little work.

Dahlia

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