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Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Review

Gary Wolstenholme tests the Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS lens, designed to be used with Samsung NX mirrorless cameras.


|  Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS in Interchangeable Lenses
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Handling and Features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Samsung NX1 (4)

This telephoto zoom lens for Samsung NX mirrorless cameras sports a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range, optical image stabilisation and a silent focusing motor that allows manual focus adjustments to be applied at any time. This lens provides a field of view equivalent to a 77-231mm lens on a 35mm camera. It costs around £1200, which seems reasonable. In this review, we'll take a look at how it performs.

We had previously tested the lens with a Samsung NX30 body, but the RAW files created strange artefacts when converted, which affected the results, so here we have retested the lens on a Samsung NX1 body.

Samsung S 50 150mm F2 8 ED Lens (5)

 

Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Handling and Features

Samsung S 50 150mm F2 8 ED Lens (3)

A combination of lightweight metal and high-quality plastics have been used for much of the construction of the lens barrel and the mount is metal. It has a smooth finish, which feels high quality with the metal parts of the barrel being cool to touch. Weighing 915g and being 154mm long, it may be a little large for use with some of the most compact NX bodies, although it balances well with the Samsung NX1 body used for testing.

Focus speeds are very quick, and focusing is accurate with the NX1 body. The manual focus ring is well damped and is smooth to operate, which makes applying fine adjustment a pleasure. Focusing is performed internally, and the 72mm filter thread doesn't rotate, which is ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. 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 98cm is fairly typical for lenses of this range. A novel feature of this lens is the custom focus limiter, which allows you to set a narrow range of distance to speed up focusing, or to prevent focusing errors when shooting through glass, or fencing.

Samsung has equipped this lens with a Multi-Axis Optical Image Stabiliser, which uses a 6-axis sensor to detect fine movements that may cause camera shake. The stabiliser does an excellent job of holding the viewfinder image steady, which helps with focusing and composition. With care, sharp handheld images can be taken at shutter speeds as low as 1/15sec, which is roughly four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb for handheld shooting would dictate possible.

 

Samsung S 50 150mm F2 8 ED Lens (6)
 

Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Performance

At 50mm and maximum aperture, sharpness is already outstanding in the centre of the frame and very good towards the edges. Stopping down improves sharpness, with peak performance being achieved at f/8. Here clarity in the centre of the frame is outstanding across the frame.

Zooming to 85mm results in reduced performance at maximum aperture, with clarity reaching very good levels in the centre of the frame, and being fairly good towards the edges. Stopping down dramatically improves performance at this focal length to outstanding levels by f/4 in the centre with excellent sharpness across the frame at f/5.6.

Finally, at 150mm, the lens performs well enough, producing good sharpness in the centre of the frame at maximum aperture, with improved performance being achieved by stopping down. Peak performance is achieved at f/5.6, where sharpness is outstanding in the centre, and excellent towards the edges of the frame. 

Samsung50 150mm MTF@50mm retest
MTF@50mm
 
Samsung50 150mm MTF@85mm retest
MTF@85mm
Samsung50 150mm MTF@150mm retest
MTF@150mm

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 NX1 body using Imatest.

 

Chromatic aberrations are quite high throughout the zoom range, gradually becoming more prominent as the lens is zoomed towards 150mm. At 150mm fringing can just exceed two pixel widths towards the edges of the frame, which may become visible along high contrast edges.

Samsung50 150mm CA@50mmretest
CA@50mm
Samsung50 150mm CA@85mmretest2
CA@85mm
Samsung50 150mm CA@150mmretest
CA@150mm

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 minimise the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Samsung NX1 body using Imatest.

 

Falloff of illumination towards the corners is well controlled throughout the zoom range, remaining consistent with corners being 1.1 stops darker than the image centre at maximum aperture. Stopping down to f/5.6 results in visually uniform illumination throughout the zoom range.

Distortion is well controlled, with barrel distortion ranging between 1.79% at 50mm and 0.42% at 150mm. These levels are low enough that they will seldom require correction. If you do, you'll be glad to find that the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, which should make applying any corrections straightforward.

A petal-shaped lens hood is provided with this lens, which does a fair job of shading the lens from extraneous light that may cause issues with flare or loss of contrast. There were no issues with flare encountered during testing, and contrast levels are well maintained when shooting into the light.


Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS Sample Photos

 

Value For Money

For a professionally specified telephoto zoom lens with a fast, constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, £1200 isn't an unreasonable price. As there are currently no alternative available from other manufacturers Samsung have a monopoly in this instance.

 

Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Verdict

Second time around, this lens demonstrates that it is capable of producing excellent results, with high levels of sharpness. CA levels are a little on the high side, but will only become visible on occasion. Focusing is quick and accurate enough with the NX1 body used for testing here too.

As a statement of intent to provide a professional-class photographic system, this lens goes some way to providing another fairly interesting option for photographers to choose from, but I fear it may not be outstanding enough to tempt people away from their current cameras systems. If you're starting afresh, or have already invested in Samsung camera equipment, it will provide a decent upgrade path towards professional-level equipment.

Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Pros

Excellent build quality
Relatively lightweight 
Low distortion
Low falloff
Effective stabilisation 
Quick autofocus

Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS Lens Cons

CA levels are pretty high, especially at 150mm
Sharpness could be better at maximum aperture and 150mm

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

This Samsung 50-150mm f/2.8 S lens is capable of producing excellent results, with high levels of sharpness.


Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
General
Lens Mounts
  • Samsung NX
Lens
Focal Length50mm - 150mm
Angle of View10.7 - 31.4
Max Aperturef/2.8
Min Aperturef/22
Filter Size72mm
StabilisedYes
35mm equivalent77mm - 231mm
Internal focusingYes
Maximum magnificationNo Data
Focusing
Min Focus98cm
Construction
Blades9
Elements20
Groups13
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens hood, lens case, lens cap, rear cap
Dimensions
Weight915g
Height154mm

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