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Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme tests the Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function pancake lens.

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Handling and features
Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens

This wide angle pancake lens for Samsung NX cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera, has a bright maximum aperture of f/2.4, support for Samsung's i-Function control system is included and it costs around £300.

As no third party manufacturers currently produce lenses for the NX system, Samsung have a monopoly on lenses compatible with their cameras.

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Handling and features

The lens barrel is constructed from high quality plastics with a metal lens mount. It has a shiny smooth finish and a blue metallic ring between the lens body and manual focus ring, which extends halfway down the lens barrel. It makes a pocketable compact combination with the Samsung NX200 body used for testing due to it only being 24mm long.

Focusing isn't performed internally, but the 43mm filter thread doesn't rotate, which makes this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Focus speeds are quick and the thin manual focus ring offers a little resistance. 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 18cm allows for close-up shooting and is perfect for taking pictures in claustrophobic environments.

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Performance

Sharpness at maximum aperture is good in the centre, but only fair towards the edges. Stopping down improves performance, with peak centre sharpness being realised at f/5.6, but the edges don't reach good levels of clarity until f/8.

Resolution @ 16mm
Resolution @ 16mm

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 quite high for a moderate wide angle lens, reaching 1 pixel width towards the edges of the frame at f/4. This level may become visible in high contrast areas towards the edges of the frame and may require attention in image editing software.

Chromatic aberration @ 16mm
Chromatic aberration @ 16mm

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 toward the corners is quite pronounced at maximum aperture with the corners being 1.74 stops darker than the image centre. Illumination isn't visually uniform until the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond.

Distortion is very well controlled, with 0.471% pincushion distortion being present, which is only very slight and should pose very few issues in real world images. What little distortion is present is uniform across the frame, so should be relatively easy to correct in image editing software afterwards.

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Sample Photos

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 also.

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Verdict

The nifty compact dimensions and light-weight are the main appeal of this lens and those things are covered very well. Unfortunately the performance of this lens, especially towards the edges, with lacklustre sharpness at wide apertures, high levels of chromatic aberrations and falloff of illumination towards the corners may detract from a users enjoyment.

At £300, it isn't an inexpensive optic either, so careful consideration may be needed before purchase. If the small size and light weight out-weigh the failing in optical performance, it could still be a useful lens for a Samsung NX system camera.

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Pros

Good centre sharpness
Light weight
Good build
Quick to focus

Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Cons

Lacklustre sharpness towards edges at wide apertures
High levels of CA towards the edges of the frame
High levels of falloff


Samsung 16mm f/2.4 NX i-Function Pancake Lens Specifications

Lens Mounts
  • Samsung NX
Focal Length16mm
Angle of View82.6
Max Aperturef/2.4
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size43mm
35mm equivalent24mm
Internal focusingNo
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Min Focus18cm
BladesNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens caps, Soft lens pouch

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