Samsung 30mm f/2 'Pancake' Lens

    leadpic_Samsung_30mm_f2_lens

    Photo Review 8.5
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    Samsung 30mm f/2 'Pancake' Lens

      In summary

      A fast, lightweight prime standard lens for the NX series of interchangeable-lens cameras.The 30mm f/2 'pancake' lens offered with the NX10 body is the only prime lens in the NX series so far. However, it's scheduled to be followed by a 20mm f/2.8 'pancake' later this year and a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens may be added some time during Q4 1020 or Q1 2011. Only 21.5 mm long and with a diameter of 61.5 mm, this lens weighs roughly 85 grams and covers a focal length equivalent to 46.2mm (in 35mm format). . . [more]

      Full review

      leadpic_Samsung_30mm_f2_lens

      The 30mm f/2 ‘pancake' lens offered with the NX10 body is the only prime lens in the NX series so far. However, it's scheduled to be followed by a 20mm f/2.8 ‘pancake' later this year and a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens may be added some time during Q4 1020 or Q1 2011. Only 21.5 mm long and with a diameter of 61.5 mm, this lens weighs roughly 85 grams and covers a focal length equivalent to 46.2mm (in 35mm format).

      It provides a 50.2-degree angle of view that is marginally wider than the standard 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, making it a good general-purpose lens. The minimum focusing distance of this lens is 25 cm, which provides a maximum magnification of 0.16x.

      Samsung_30mm_f2_lens

      Samsung's 30mm f/2 ‘pancake' lens for NX camera bodies.

      The lens is made from black polycarbonate but has a solid stainless steel mounting plate with eight electronic contact points. The front element is relatively small, with a diameter less than one third of the barrel diameter. A threading is provided for 43 mm - and the clip-on lens cap that is supplied with the lens, along with a larger plastic end cap. The lens hood is an optional extra.

      The optical design consists of five elements in five groups, with one aspherical element. Seven diaphragm blades close to a circular aperture. There's a single focusing ring (made from ridged black plastic) just behind the front of the lens, which provides the only adjustments. The front of the lens is fixed in place during focusing, enabling easy use of angle-critical attachments. Stabilisation is not included.

      Handling
      The review lens was a comfortable fit on the NX10 body used for our tests, although it appeared rather small when compared with the camera body. Nevertheless, the overall balance between body and lens was very good.

      Performance
      The overall performance of review lens in Photo Review's Imatest tests was generally, although resolution was well below expectation at the widest aperture settings and only exceeded 2000 line widths/pixel height at f/3.2. The highest resolutions were obtained between f/3.8 and f/6.3, after which there was a steady decline with diffraction playing an increasing role from about f/16 on.

      Interestingly, there was a good correlation between centre and edge resolution throughout the aperture range but particularly from f/5.6 on. The graph below shows the results of our Imatest tests.

      30mm-f2-Res-vs-LA-graph

      Lateral chromatic aberration was negligible and we found only traces of coloured fringing when shots taken in contrasty lighting were enlarged to 100%. Vignetting at wide apertures was barely perceptible. Distortion was also very low, although slight barrelling could be seen in test shots.

      Backlit subjects were handled competently, despite the absence of a lens hood - although the lens could be forced to flare by including the sun in the frame. Close-up performance was also good, although the minimum focusing distance of 25 cm ruled out this lens for very small subjects. Bokeh was a little chunky when bright highlights were included in shots but reasonably smooth in subjects with even tones.

      Buy this lens if:
      - You're looking for a fast, compact prime lens that offers performance to match many APS-C sensor DSLRs.
      - You require low levels of chromatic aberration and minimal vignetting.
      - You require distortion-free images.
      Don't buy this lens if:
      - You don't own an NX10 body (it's not compatible with other mounts).
      - You need close focusing capabilities.

      IMATEST GRAPHS

      30mm_SAM_0354_YBL75_ca
      30mm_SAM_0354_YAR27_cpp
      30mm_SAM_0354_YBL75_cpp

      SAMPLE IMAGES

      30mm-SAM_0736-distortion

      Distortion; ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/4.3.

      SAM_0670-vignet-30mm

      Vignetting at f/2; ISO 100.

      30mm_SAM_0761_close-f2

      Close-up at f/2; ISO 100, 1/800 second.

      30mm_SAM_0763_close-f5

      Close-up at f/5; ISO 100, 1/100 second.

      30mm_SAM_0759_backlighting

      Backlighting; ISO 200, 1/600 second at f/11.

      30mm_SAM_0760

      ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/7.1.

      SAM_0760_fringing-crop

      100% crop from the above image showing absence of coloured fringing.

      30mm_SAM_0781_bokeh

      Bokeh at f/3.2; ISO 400, 1/200 second, manual focusing.

      Additional image samples can be found with the review of the Samsung NX10 camera.

       

      Specifications

      leadpic_Samsung_30mm_f2_lens

      Picture angle: 50.2 degrees
      Maximum aperture: f/2
      Minimum aperture: f/22
      Lens construction: 5 elements in 5 groups (includes one aspherical lens)
      Lens mount: Samsung NX
      Diaphragm Blades: 7 (circular aperture)
      Minimum focus: 25 cm
      Maximum magnification: Approx. 0.16x
      Filter size: 43 mm
      Dimensions (Diameter x L): 61.5 x 21.5 mm
      Weight: Approx. 85 grams (without optional hood)

       

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      Rating

       

      RRP: $440

      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Handling: 8.5
      • Image quality: 8.8
      • Versatility: 8.0
      • OVERALL: 8.5

      BUY

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