Lens Test: Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS S lens

Wide and fast, a snazzy companion 
to the NX1

samsung
samsung
While this is the first lens in Samsung’s new high-end S-series, the company has also announced a 50–150mm f/2.8 that should be in stores soon.

Samsung continues to build out a lens arsenal for its NX system, and the 16–50mm f/2–2.8 ED OIS is the first in the high-end S-series line. With an equivalent focal length of a 24–77mm, this lens offers a pro-level build quality with a fast maximum aperture.

In hand, it is fairly hefty, weighing in at 1.43 pounds. The body is made of metal and the front element takes a 72mm filter. When zoomed out to 16mm, the lens is just under 4 inches in length, and at 50mm, 5 inches. The zoom ring is rubberized and well-sized; the focus ring turns in both directions past infinity.

We used it on an NX20 and found it to be a bit too big for the camera, though on an NX1 it should feel about right. In the field, the lens suffered from zoom creep from time to time. The AF proved extremely fast and quiet. The focus ring is well damped and turns smoothly.

In the lab, the Samsung scored Excellent SQF ratings at all tested focal lengths (16, 35, and 50mm). This category of lenses is known for testing well. We compared the Samsung to the Nikon 17–50mm f/2.8G, Sigma 17–50mm f/2.8 OS, Tamron 17–50mm f/2.8 VC, and APS Pentax 16–50mm f/2.8; all of these lenses churned out comparable SQF numbers.

The Samsung also tested well in DxO Analyzer 5.3, with only Visible barrel distortion at 16mm (0.41%) and Imperceptible pincushioning at 35mm and 50mm (0.07% and 0.09%). This is again on par with the rest.

In our light falloff test the lens really began to shine, besting the others at all focal lengths and displaying vignetting only at 16mm, gone by f/2.5. Its maximum magnification ratio at 16mm was 1:10.4, at 35mm, 1:5.23, and at 50mm 1:4.44—solid numbers, and you guessed it, on par with the rest.

It gave us a total of 2.75 stops of shutter speed advantage, while the Tamron offered 2 and the Sigma offered 1.75 (the Nikon and Pentax have no built-in IS).

This lens is well built and optically on par with or better than comparable glass. Plus, it maintains f/2 to 18mm, hits f/2.2 at 20mm, f/2.5 at 24mm, and f/2.8 at 35mm. That alone is pretty impressive. Add in class-leading image stabilization, and you have a winner.

SPECIFICATIONS

16–50mm: (17.11–49.99mm tested), f/2–2.8 (f/2.12–2.99 tested), 18 elements in 12 groups. Focus ring turns 90 degrees. Zoom ring turns 80 degrees. Focal length marked at 16-, 20-, 24-, 28-, 35-, and 50mm.

Diagonal View Angle: 82–31 degrees

Weight: 1.43 lbs Filter size: 72mm

Mounts: Samsung NX

Included: Lenshood

Street Price: $1,133

Website: samsung.com

TEST RESULTS

Distortion: At 16mm, 0.41% (Visible) barrel; at 35mm, 0.07% (Imperceptible) pincushion; at 50mm, 0.09% (Imperceptible) pincushion

Light Falloff: At 16mm, gone by f/2.5; at 35mm, none; at 50mm, none

Close-focusing Distance: 10.66 inches

**Maximum Magnification Ratio: **At 16mm, 1:10.4; at 35mm, 1:5.23; 
at 50mm, 1:4.44

Image Stabilization: 2.75 stops

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