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Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Review

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Category: Interchangeable Lenses
Product: Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens
Price: £200.00
Rating: 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

Samsung 20-50mm f3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Review - Gary Wolstenholme reviews the Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function zoom lens.

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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens

This standard zoom lens for Samsung NX cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to a 30-75mm lens on a 35mm camera, has a compact, collapsible design and support for Samsung's i-Function control system. It is usually available as a kit option with Samsung NX cameras, but is also available to purchase separately at around £200.

As no third party manufacturers currently produce lenses for the NX system, Samsung have a monopoly on lenses compatible with their cameras. Samsung also offer an 18-55mm lens, which lacks the compact collapsible design, but has a wider zoom range and optical stabilisation for around the same price.

Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Handling and features

The lens barrel is constructed from reasonable quality plastics and the lens mount is plastic also. It has a metallic matte finish and a blue metallic ring between the lens body and manual focus ring. A locking switch on the zoom ring needs to be engaged before the lens can be collapsed to make it more compact during transport. It balances well on the Samsung NX200 body used for testing due to its light weight at only 119g.

Focusing isn't performed internally, and the 40.5mm filter thread rotates, which isn't ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Focus speeds are reasonable, hunting a little for focus, especially in low light conditions and the thin manual focus ring feels quite smooth. In manual focus mode the screen instantly magnifies the centre section of the image, making fine adjustments straightforward.

An i-Function button on the side of the lens provides quick access to a number of functions that can be customised in the camera menu. The minimum focus distance of 28cm is fairly typical for lenses of this range.

Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Performance

Sharpness at 20mm and maximum aperture is good in the centre of the image, but only fair towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down improves performance, with sharpness in the centre reaching excellent levels in the centre at f/5.6 and across the frame at f/8.

Zooming to 35mm results in an overall increase in sharpness at maximum aperture, with sharpness in the centre being very good and fairly good towards the edges. Just like at 20mm stopping down to f/8 results in excellent sharpness across the frame.

Performance in the centre of the image area falls off a little at 50mm, but the clarity towards the edges improves to good levels at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/8 provides very good sharpness across the frame.

Resolution @ 20mm
Resolution @ 20mm
  Resolution @ 35mm
Resolution @ 35mm
Resolution @ 50mm
Resolution @ 50mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Samsung NX200 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are well controlled, only exceeding half a pixel width towards the edges of the frame at 50mm. These low levels of fringing should pose few issues, even in large prints.

Chromatic aberration @ 20mm
Chromatic aberration @ 20mm
  Chromatic aberration @ 35mm
Chromatic aberration @ 35mm
Chromatic aberration @ 50mm
Chromatic aberration @ 50mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Samsung NX200 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is reasonably well controlled. At 20mm the corners are one stop darker than the centre at maximum aperture and visually uniform illumination is achieved at f/5.6. At 50mm falloff is reduced to half a stop, with visually uniform images being produced at f/8.

Distortion is very well controlled throughout the zoom range. Only 0.123% barrel distortion is present at 20mm and only 0.38% pincushion distortion at 50mm. These low distortion levels shouldn't pose many isssues for general photos and should be easy enough to correct in image editing software afterwards as the pattern is uniform across the frame.

Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Sample Photos

Wide angle | 1/20 sec | f/7.1 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100

Wide angle | 1/20 sec | f/7.1 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Telephoto | 1/25 sec | f/7.1 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100

Telephoto | 1/25 sec | f/7.1 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Sharpness is excellent across the frame between f/5.6 and f/8 at 20mm | 10 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100

Sharpness is excellent across the frame between f/5.6 and f/8 at 20mm | 10 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

Contrast holds up well when shooting into the light | 1/60 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 400

Contrast holds up well when shooting into the light | 1/60 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

1/100 sec | f/6.3 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400

1/100 sec | f/6.3 | 50.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

1/5 sec | f/6.3 | 24.0 mm | ISO 400

1/5 sec | f/6.3 | 24.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

0.6 sec | f/6.3 | 26.0 mm | ISO 400

0.6 sec | f/6.3 | 26.0 mm | ISO 400
High-Res

5 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100

5 sec | f/6.3 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100

1/200 sec | f/5.6 | 20.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res

1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100

1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 50.0 mm | ISO 100
High-Res


No lens hood is provided as standard, but no issues with flare were encountered during testing. When shooting into the light, contrast holds up well.

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Verdict

This compact, collapsible lens is lightweight, inexpensive and will make a good starter lens when bought as a kit. Sharpness can be a little lacklustre towards the edges of the frame at 20mm and maximum aperture, but this improves greatly as the lens is stopped down.

Build quality and handling could be a little better, but is typical of what you'd expect from an inexpensive kit lens. The 18-55mm lens may be a more tempting option for those who will find optical stabilisation useful, as well as the extra range at each end of the zoom.

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Pros

Good overall sharpness when stopped down
Light-weight
Collapsible design
Low distortion

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Cons

Lacklustre sharpness towards edges at 20mm and maximum aperture
Plastic lens mount
Rotating front element

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Samsung 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED NX i-Function Zoom Lens Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
General
Lens Mounts
  • Samsung NX
Lens
Focal Length 20mm - 50mm
Angle of View 31.4 - 70.2
Max Aperture f/3.5 - f/5.6
Min Aperture f/22
Filter Size 40.5mm
35mm equivalent 30mm - 75mm
Internal focusing No
Focusing
Min Focus 28cm
Stabilised No
Construction
Blades No Data
Elements No Data
Groups No Data
Box Contents
Box Contents Lens caps, Soft lens pouch
Dimensions
Weight 119g
Height 64mm

View Full Product Details




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Comments

ianwaters39
13 Jan 2014 - 1:18 PM

I have this lens as part of the kit when i bought my NX1000 and i have been surprised at the quality of image it feels very light (not a bad thing as it is a compact camera body) so it balances well but it is a little slow on focus and this shows when using the video to capture a moving object but in general it works well and its i function button on the lens is a great feature and one i use often.
I like the lens and the plus points more than make up for the minus issues as you are probably not using it as your pro camera and to be honest i feel if you want a great video then dont go for a low priced camera you often get what you pay for in this cameras case i feel you get all you have paid for and then some.It uses the same cropped CMOS sensor but with 20MP similar to Canons cropped sensor entry level DSLR cameras.I think as an entry level NX1000 with this lens is a great way to get very good images even in lower light without having to carry a heavy kit bag this cam will fit in your pocket(Just) and is packed with features that make it a very good buy.I miss the I/S as it is not built into the cameras body and this lens has not got I/S and as a compact this means you are not likely to have a tripod so camera shake may be a issue but the other lenses in the NX range have this built into there lenses.
I have found this can easily keep up with my entry level canon 400D DSLR with it's 18-55mm kit lens as far as quality of image and you are more likley to take this with you as it is very compact when the lens is retracted and locked .

Last Modified By ianwaters39 at 13 Jan 2014 - 1:28 PM
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13 Jan 2014 - 1:38 PM

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ianwaters39
13 Jan 2014 - 1:38 PM

I have this lens as part of the kit when i bought my NX1000 and i have been surprised at the quality of image it feels very light (not a bad thing as it is a compact camera body) so it balances well but it is a little slow on focus and this shows when using the video to capture a moving object but in general it works well and its i function button on the lens is a great feature and one i use often.
I like the lens and the plus points more than make up for the minus issues as you are probably not using it as your pro camera and to be honest i feel if you want a great video then dont go for a low priced camera you often get what you pay for in this cameras case i feel you get all you have paid for and then some.It uses the same cropped CMOS sensor but with 20MP similar to Canons cropped sensor entry level DSLR cameras.I think as an entry level NX1000 with this lens is a great way to get very good images even in lower light without having to carry a heavy kit bag this cam will fit in your pocket(Just) and is packed with features that make it a very good buy.I miss the I/S as it is not built into the cameras body and this lens has not got I/S and as a compact this means you are not likely to have a tripod so camera shake may be a issue but the other lenses in the NX range have this built into there lenses.
I have found this can easily keep up with my entry level canon 400D DSLR with it's 18-55mm kit lens as far as quality of image and you are more likley to take this with you as it is very compact when the lens is retracted and locked .If you are thinking about buying or upgrading you can easily get them to throw in an extra lens and you can get a great zoom lens its bhulky but it can be changed to the kit lens for carring about and then just changed to the zoom when needed.Its always worth pushing for an extra lens to complete the purchase as i have spoken to many people who have managed to get a zoom thrown in to make the purchase .I hope you have as much fun as i do with just my entry level NX1000 with the 20-50mm kit lens!

Last Modified By ianwaters39 at 13 Jan 2014 - 1:39 PM
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