- Extremely well-built with outstanding control mechanics
- Weathersealed against moisture and dust
- Very fast and quiet autofocus with excellent accuracy
- Very good central image sharpness at maximum aperture
- Excellent cross frame sharpness at small apertures
- Beautiful color and contrast
- Good flare control with bright light sources in the frame
- Manageable distortion and good control of vignetting
- Very nice bokeh for a standard zoom
- Image stabilizer good for 2-3 stops
- Notable lateral chromatic aberration
- Strong linear flares with bright sources just out of frame
- Autofocus slows down in dim light
- Some minor corner and edge softness at wide apertures
The Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S OIS is the premium standard zoom for the Samsung NX system, and Samsung has done a great job overall with this optic. The lens is sharp, has nice bokeh, great color and contrast, a fast focus motor and image stabilization. It is also an impeccably well-constructed lens with outstanding mechanics and an extremely solid build. It’s not a perfect lens, though, and is let down a bit by worse than average chromatic aberration control and a few other relatively minor optical flaws. In all, I think it’s an outstanding optic, and would be the first lens I would want to purchase with the NX system. The $1149 price means it’s not a cheap lens, but there’s nothing to complain about with regards to price. The optics and build quality combined with an ultra-fast aperture and optical stabilization make the lens worth the asking price.
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3 thoughts on “Review: Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS”
Nice review! Do you have any comments on how this fares optically against their pancake primes? It’s faster than just about all of them I think, and though huge by comparison, it’s like 3 for the price of 1, assuming the optics are as good. If it has prime character then it just means I don’t have to change lenses as much 🙂
This lens and the NX1 are seriously giving me pause… I was looking strongly at the X-T1 but am worried about the lower resolution and X-Trans sharpness. I rented one for a weekend in fact, with a plethora of XF glass, and liked the results, but was not blown away. The handling was great and I feel it would be a great personal fun camera, but I think it doesn’t punch at the same level as the higher res DSLRs, and the AF was surprisingly disappointing for me. Fine for personal use but I’d be scared to shoot a wedding with it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the “look” of the photos SooC, but I worry about how it would hold up in the extremes (high speed/low light situations)
The samples from your NX1 shoot have been mighty impressive. Really astounding resolution, noise handling, and an insanely well thought out feature set on the camera. I am trying to think of reasons NOT to like the NX1 and its lenses, but I’m coming up short. The elephant in the room is obviously the question of samsungs future in this arena and whether it is wise to invest heavily in them so early. But at the rate they’re innovating, I don’t feel too nervous. The NX1 trumps every competitive DSLR (in criteria that matter to me anyway), and one ups the mirrorless market in a big way. It’s the camera I was hoping for, a mirrorless that isn’t afraid to be DSLR sized and focused. It’s like a present day Sony A99.
I know it isn’t perfect — your details about its poor highlight range on the FM forum come to mind — but seriously, this camera is just checking all the right boxes. Even the lens selection is great for my needs. Way more realistic and affordable than, say, Sonys FE lineup.
Jordan, after your time with it, how do you think it compares to the heavyweight prosumer DSLRs like the D7100 or even D610? Sony A7?