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Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme reviews this ultra-wide angle lens, the Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED, for Samsung NX cameras.


|  Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX 12 24mm ED Lens (5)

This ultra-wide angle zoom lens for Samsung NX cameras provides an angle of view equivalent to an 18-36mm lens on a 35mm camera, includes i-Function control and is available for around £320.

Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Handling and Features

Samsung NX 12 24mm ED Lens (4)
High quality plastics have been used for much of the construction of the lens barrel and the mount is metal. It has a smooth glossy finish, which feels high quality. Weighing only 208g and being 65.5mm long, it is very lightweight and compact and balances well with the Samsung NX30 body used for testing.

Samsung NX 12 24mm ED Lens (2)

Focus speeds are quick, especially in good light and the manual focus ring is well damped and is smooth to operate. Focusing is performed internally, and the 58mm filter thread doesn't rotate, which is ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. In manual focus mode the screen can be set to instantly magnify the centre section of the image, making fine adjustments straightforward. This lens includes the i-Function button for quick access to camera controls and a switch is provided to change between automatic and manual focus. A petal shaped hood is also supplied with the lens, which attaches via a bayonet fitting.

The minimum focus distance of 24cm is fairly typical for lenses of this range. 

Samsung NX 12 24mm ED Lens (6)
 

Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Performance

At 12mm and maximum aperture, sharpness is already excellent across the frame, and even outstanding in the centre. At this focal length, diffraction appears to be the limiting factor on clarity, with the performance of the lens reducing as the aperture is stopped down.

Zooming to 18mm results in similar performance, with outstanding sharpness in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, although excellent sharpness isn’t achieved towards the edges of the frame until the aperture is stopped down to f/5.6 for this focal length.

Finally, at 24mm, sharpness remains excellent in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, and is still very good towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down to f/8 results in a slight increase in performance in the centre.

MTF@12mm
MTF@12mm
 
MTF@18mm
MTF@18mm
 
MTF@24mm
MTF@24mm
 

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 NX30 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations are a problem with this lens throughout the zoom range and especially at slower apertures, where fringing towards the edges of the frame can exceed three pixel widths. Care may need to be taken when shooting high contrast subjects with this lens as a result.

CA@12mm
CA@12mm
 
CA@18mm
CA@18mm
 
CA@24mm
CA@24mm
 

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 NX30 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is extremely well controlled throughout the zoom range, remaining consistent with corners being 0.7 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture. Stopping down by one stop from maximum aperture results in visually uniform illumination.

Distortion is well controlled for an ultra-wide angle lens, with barrel distortion ranging between 3.5% at 12mm and 1% at 24mm. These levels are low enough that they will rarely require correction, but if they do, you'll be glad to know that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying any corrections, relatively straightforward.

A petal-shaped lens hood is provided with this lens as standard, which does a fair job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause flare of loss of contrast, although due to the wide field of view of the lens, the hood cannot be any deeper. There were no issues with flare encountered during testing, but shooting into the light does result in a noticeable loss of contrast.

Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Sample Photos

Value For Money

Taking into account how this lens performs, the asking price of £320 seems quite reasonable. As there are currently no alternatives available from other manufacturers Samsung have a monopoly in this instance.

Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Verdict

With this lens, Samsung have made a nice addition to their lens lineup adding a much-needed wide angle range to their NX system of mirrorless cameras.

On the whole, this 12-24mm optic performs well, delivering excellent, or even outstanding sharpness from a compact, lightweight lens that doesn't cost the earth. It's a shame that the levels of chromatic aberration are so high, as that spoils an otherwise excellent performing lens. However, if you can live with that, don't let it put you off, as I'm sure many will be more than happy with the performance delivered by this lens.

Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 EDPros

Compact
Good build quality
Lightweight
Low distortion
Excellent sharpness
Low falloff

Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 EDCons

Chromatic aberration levels may be an issue
Loss of contrast shooting into the light 

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED delivers excellent sharpness and is compact and lightweight.

 

Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
General
Lens Mounts
  • Samsung NX
Lens
Focal Length12mm - 24mm
Angle of View60.7° - 99°
Max Aperturef/4 - f/5.6
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size58mm
StabilisedNo
35mm equivalent18.5mm - 37mm
Internal focusingNo Data
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus24cm
Construction
Blades7
Elements10
Groups8
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens hood
Dimensions
Weight208g
Height65.5mm

View Full Product Details


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Comments


josa 6 25 Czech Republic
4 Feb 2015 4:04PM
Nice lens, except CA's...

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Niknut Plus
9 2.1k 76 United Kingdom
4 Feb 2015 4:15PM
After 6 months of using this lens, I can only highly recommend it !!

It's one of the best W/A lenses I've ever used.....compact, light, & supremely sharp !!.Grin
Kiwichap 3 4
11 Jul 2015 12:00PM
In May 2015 my Samsung NX 12-24mm f/4.0-5.6 (EX-W1224ANB) broke completely in half simply when I attached the supplied lens hood to the lens. The lens was not dropped, knocked or mistreated in any way.
I have since looked at the lens construction more closely and am absolutely stunned how badly designed and engineered it is. The mount is attached to the lens by three extremely short screws, just 1.5 mm in diameter and 4.4 mm long. These each pass through tiny plastic cylinders that project from the rear lens element mount. Crucially however, the short length of the screws does not permit them to transfer the load to the main body of the lens, ending as they do just beyond the plastic cylinders. How Samsung engineers expect such a flimsy and weak plastic material to bear the rotational shearing forces is beyond me. It was a failure just waiting to happen.
It would seem I am not alone with this experience, with several postings here and around the internet of unhappy users of the lens incurring the same problem.
So aghast was I at my experience, I returned the lens to Mr Sunny Lee, President & CEO Samsung Electronics at Samsung’s European Headquarters in Chertsey, Surrey, England. I believed he should be aware of the issue and that even though my lens was now well out of guarantee, that Samsung should repair it at no cost to me, as clearly the lens was poorly designed and not fit for purpose.
I had expected that Samsung’s response would be immediate and apologetic. Alas, this was not the case. Two weeks after the lens was delivered to them I received a terse and unambiguous refusal to accept responsibility and to stand behind their products and repair or replace the lens.
This really shook me, as I had decided only the week prior to the failure to invest in a complete NX system and to sell all my Nikon gear. I liked (and still do like) the optical quality of the lenses and the features of their NX1 body (and particularly the frequency and significance of their firmware updates). However, there was no way I was going to spend £12,000 on an NX1 system if the lenses regularly fell apart…
So, given Samsung’s utter failure to accept any responsibility in this matter and their readiness to snub their noses at a customer prepared to buy into their NX system vision, I believe it’s time to use social media to call Samsung out for what they are and to alert other potential buyers of their NX system of the fact that (a) their design and engineering skills are not what you might think, and (b) they refuse to stand behind customers who spend significant money on what they think is a viable alternative to Nikon and Canon.
I have created a simple Facebook page, 'Samsung's 12-24mm' to promote this issue to a wider audience. It can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/samsung1224mm .282024_1436612397.jpg

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