Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS lens
The NX 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS zoom lens is an ideal second lens for buyers of the NX1 camera and an excellent partner for the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens.
With both lenses, photographers can cover a focal length range equivalent to 24.6mm to 231mm providing medium wide-angle to medium telephoto coverage.
Its fast maximum aperture, which is constant throughout the zoom range, puts it in a premium class for kit lenses and allows close-up shots to have attractive bokeh.
Size- and weight-wise it provides comfortable handling on the NX1 camera. Highly recommended.
Announced just before Photokina 2014, Samsung’s 50-150mm f/2.8 lens is the latest addition to the company’s Premium S Lens line-up and complements the earlier 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS zoom lens, which we have also reviewed. Unlike the 16-50mm lens, the f/2.8 maximum aperture remains constant throughout the zoom range. On the NX1 camera, the 50-150mm lens covers focal lengths equivalent to 77-231mm in 35mm format.
Side view of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS lens, shown without the supplied lens hood and tripod foot. (Source: Samsung.)
The optical design is fairly complex, comprising 20 elements in 13 groups, with one XHR (eXtreme High Refractive) and four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass elements among them. The diagram below shows the location of these exotic glasses.
The illustration above shows the optical design for the 50-150mm f/2.8 lens. (Source: Samsung.)
Samsung Hyper Shield coating (SHS) on the front and rear elements helps to protect the lens and makes cleaning easy. It also minimises fogging that can occur as a result of humidity changes.
The graphic above shows the directions of adjustments provided by the optical image stabilisation system in the lens. (Source: Samsung.)
The multi-axis optical stabilisation system claims to offer up to 4.5 f-stops of shake compensation.This lens is supplied with front and end caps plus a petal-shaped plastic lens hood that can be reversed over the lens barrel for storage. A tripod collar is also included, with a screw-on foot that attaches to a metal-lined socket on the base of the lens by turning a thumb-screw.
Who’s it for?
The only people likely to buy this lens will be the growing number of photographers who have invested in the Samsung NX1 camera (or are seriously interested in future models in its class). It is compatible with other NX-mount camera bodies but its size and weight make it best suited to the larger camera. The 50-150mm zoom range makes it an ideal partner to the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, which is of similar build quality and imaging performance.
Build and Ergonomics
Manufactured in China, this lens is in almost every way a premium product. Like the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, it has a metal barrel and mounting plate and is dust-and-splash resistant. It also looks sleek and very well finished.
Measuring 154 mm in length and weighing 915 grams with the lens hood included, the 50-150mm f/2.8 S lens is a substantial handful. Like the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, it has two control rings, for manual focusing and zooming. The focusing ring is located 15 mm back from the leading edge of the filter thread. It is about 14 mm wide and covered in a thinly-ribbed grip coating.
Both focusing and zooming are totally internal so the barrel length remains unchanged when the lens is in use. As in the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, manual focusing is driven electronically and requires the camera to be powered-up to drive the focus motor.
A turn of roughly 300 degrees spans the focusing range between just under one metre and infinity, making it easy to focus with precision. The NX1 magnifies the image automatically in manual focus mode, enabling users to see when edges are sharp. (Focus peaking is also available.)
The zoom ring is located roughly 20 mm behind the focusing ring. It’s 45 mm wide, with the rear 40 mm clad with the same ribbed rubber coating as used on the focusing ring. The leading edge of the ring is stamped with focal length settings for 50mm, 60mm, 85mm, 100mm and 150mm, which are aligned with a white line on the non-moving section of the barrel between the two rings.
Between the focusing and zoom rings is the ‘function zone’ containing the three sliders that control the focusing and stabilisation modes. These are located on the left hand side of the lens, with a programmable ‘iFunction’ button above them. This button is the same as on the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens and can be set to control any one of the standard functions.
The top slider control switches between auto and manual focusing. Below it is a customisable focus limiter slider, which can be adjusted to a user-defined distance range by selecting the Set position. A bar appears on the camera’s monitor with a green line showing the default range. The length of this bar and its position on the line are adjusted with the camera’s control dials.
The lowest slider switches the OIS (optical image stabilisation) on and off. OIS mode selection is done via the camera’s menu, which offers two modes: Mode 1, which applies stabilisation only when the shutter is half or fully pressed and Mode 2, which applies constant shake correction. (No setting is provided for panning shots.)
Stabilisation is handled by a six-axis sensor that detects camera shake and drives a correction lens to provide four-axis shake control. Samsung claims the system can meet CIPS’s 4.5-stop guidelines at a focal length of 68mm with an NX30 camera. On the basis of our tests we feel this degree of correction is achievable across most of the focal length range on the heavier, more stable NX1.
Behind the zoom ring is the built-in tripod collar, which has a large locking knob and a standard 1/4 – 20 socket that is metal-lined. The separate tripod foot (which is packed with the soft carrying pouch) attaches here. This is a nice arrangement since it makes the lens more portable as well as providing the strength and stability required to hold camera and lens on a tripod.
The lens slopes gently in from the trailing edge of the tripod collar to the metal mounting plate, which is similar in quality and functionality to the one on the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens. The lens is supplied with a well-made soft pouch that has a drawstring closure.
Like the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, the 50-150mm f/2.8 S lens was revealed as a very competent performer in our Imatest tests, which showed it capable of exceeding expectations for the sensor’s resolution, although not by quite up to the performance of the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens across the aperture and focal length range.
The highest resolution recorded in our Imatest tests was with the 60mm focal length at an aperture of f/4. Edge-to-edge sharpness was generally better than we found with the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens, but resolution began to decline at f/5.6 and continued to fall slowly until f/16, where diffraction caused a sharp drop. The graph below shows the results of our tests.
Lateral chromatic aberration was mostly within the negligible band, edging into the low band with both the longest and shortest focal lengths, particularly at the widest aperture settings. The equivalent SRW.RAW files (which aren’t corrected in-camera) generally showed low CA.
Fortunately, we found no significant coloured fringing in any of our test shots with either JPEG or SRW.RAW files so we don’t see it as a major problem. In the graph of the results of our tests below, the red line marks the border between negligible and low CA, while the green line separates low and moderate CA.
Autofocusing was almost as fast and accurate as we found with the16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens and the 50-150mm f/2.8 S lens focused just as quietly, making this lens ideal for shooting movies. It took less than a second to rack from the closest focus to infinity in bright outdoor lighting and slightly longer indoors under normal artificial light.
Switching between auto and manual focusing was easy. Manual focusing and the focusing ring turned smoothly and the camera displayed a linear scale in the EVF or on the monitor screen showing the focusing limits, with a red bar indicating the focused distance. We found the rate of change was gradual and it took more than one rotation of the ring to span the scale from the closest distance to infinity. There are no stops at either end of the focusing range.
The built-in stabilisation system worked very well, providing between three and five f-stops of correction (depending on the focal length setting and how steadily you can hold the camera). With the longest focal length( 150mm) we achieved consistently acceptable results with shutter speeds between 1/10 and 1/6 second, which is excellent.
Bokeh was quite attractive, particularly with the 150mm focal length, although shorter focal lengths struggled to achieve smooth separation between foreground and background. A little outlining was found in some shots taken at f/2.8 with the 150mm focal length when the background to the subject was ‘busy’ and contrasty. But otherwise, this setting provides very smooth tonal transitions.
The NX 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS zoom lens is an ideal second lens for buyers of the NX1 camera and an excellent partner for the16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens. With both lenses, photographers can cover a focal length range equivalent to 24.6mm to 231mm providing medium wide-angle to medium telephoto coverage.
Its fast maximum aperture, which is constant throughout the zoom range, puts it in a premium class for kit lenses and allows close-up shots to have attractive bokeh. Size- and weight-wise it provides comfortable handling on the NX1 camera. Highly recommended.
Picture angle: 31.4 degrees to 10.7 degrees
Minimum aperture: f/22
Lens construction: 20 elements in 13 groups (including one XHR and four ED glass elements)
Lens mounts: Samsung NX
Diaphragm Blades: 9 (circular aperture)
Focus drive: Stepping motor (UPSM)
Stabilisation: Multi-axis OIS
Minimum focus: 0.7 metres at 50mm; 0.98 metres at 150mm
Maximum magnification: 0.13x
Filter size: 72 mm
Dimensions (Diameter x L): 81 x 154 mm
Weight: 880 grams (without end caps and hood)
Standard Accessories: Petal shaped lens hood, tripod foot, front and end caps, soft carrying pouch.
Based on Large/SuperFine JPEG files straight from the camera.
Vignetting at f/2.0, 50mm focal length. (Taken from an uncorrected SRW.RAW file.)
Vignetting at f/2.8, 150mm focal length. (Taken from an uncorrected SRW.RAW file.)
Rectilinear distortion at 50mm focal length. (Taken from an uncorrected SRW.RAW file.)
Rectilinear distortion at 150mm focal length. (Taken from an uncorrected SRW.RAW file.)
50mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/8.
60mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/8.
85mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/8.
100mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/200 second at f/8.
150mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/160 second at f/8.
80mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/4.5.
Crop from the above image at 100% magnification showing the relative absence of coloured fringing.
Strong backlighting at 50mm; ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/5.6.
Strong backlighting at 150mm; ISO 100, 1/1000 second at f/5.6.
Stabilisation test; 150mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/6 second at f/2.8.
150mm focal length, ISO 1600, 1/160 second at f/2.8.
100mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/7.1.
73mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/11.
78mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/250 second at f/9.
150mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/10.
Bokeh with a low-contrast background; 150mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/640 second at f/2.8.
Bokeh with a busy background; 150mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/1250 second at f/2.8.
50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/40 second at f/8.
127mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/80 second at f/8.
Additional image samples can be found with our review of the Samsung NX1 camera.
RRP: AU$1999; US$1599 (DCW has it for $1730)
- Build: 9.0
- Handling: 9.0
- Image quality: 8.8
- Versatility: 8.8