Samsung S30NB 30mm f/2 Pencake NX Lens Review Roundup2012-09-16 14:02
In January 2010, Samsung has announced its new photographic system, based on a small mirror-less camera, the 14.6 Megapxiels NX10. In additions to the camera, there were 3 new lenses, presented along with the camera: a kit 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 lens with image stabilization, a small 30mm f/2 lens and an amateur stabilized 50-200 mm zoom. In April 2010, Samsung has announced that it plans to roll-out 5 more lenses for its NX system. The new range includes a 20mm f/2.8 pancake, 60mm f/2.8 macro, 20-50mm compact zoom, 18-200mm superzoom and another version of the 18-55mm kit lens without image stabilization (O.I.S.). The total number of Samsung lenses at the end of year 2010 was eight.
Samsung's compact 30mm pancake lens is the brightest in its class. With its 30mm fixed focal length and maximum aperture of F/2, you can capture exceptionally bright images. Since it's incredibly slim and lightweight, you can take it with you everywhere. Here's the lens technical specifications:
- Elements in Groups 5 elements in 5 groups (1 Aspherical lens included)
- Max.Diameter x Length 61.5 x 21.5mm
- Optical Image Stabilizer No
- Angle of View 50.2°
- Aperture F2 (Min. F22), (Number of Blades : 7, Circular Aperture Diaphragm)
- Filter Size 43mm
- Focal Length 30mm (equivalent to 46.2mm in 35mm fomat)
- Hood Optional
- Maximum Magnification Approx. 0.16x
- Minimum Focus Distance 0.25m - infinity
- Mount Samsung NX Mount
- Name S30NB
- Operating Humidity 5 ~ 85%
- Operating Temperature 0 ~ 40°C
- Weight Approx. 85g (without hood)
- Compatible Models NX10
The Samsung 30mm f/2 Pencake NX lens is currently selling at around $299.99, via Amazon.com. Here's the lens review roundup:
ePhotoZine, gave a rating of 4/5: "Typically for a pancake lens, sharpness in the centre of the frame approaches excellent levels at maximum aperture, but the clarity towards the edges of the frame lags behind somewhat and can only be described as fair. Stopping down improves clarity in the centre of the frame, peaking at f/4, where sharpness is outstanding. Unfortunately, clarity towards the edges doesn't start to catch up until the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond. Chromatic aberrations are well controlled, with extremely low levels recorded at wider apertures. This low level of CA increases as the aperture is stopped down, but still doesn't reach the point where fringing may be an issue, even at f/22. Falloff of illumination towards the corners is also remarkably well controlled for a lens with such a bright maximum aperture. At f/2 the corners are only 0.5 stops darker than the image centre and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped down to f/2.8. Virtually no distortion is present in images taken with this lens. Imatest could only detect 0.0196% barrel distortion. Contrast is good with this lens and no issues with flare were encountered during testing, even in images with the sun close the the edges of the frame.
Samsung currently have a virtual monopoly on lenses for their NX system, as there are very few third party manufactures producing lenses for their cameras. The price of around £230 seems very reasonable given that this lens has an unusually bright maximum aperture for a pancake lens. This lens delivers decent performance at a reasonable price. The unusually bright f/2 maximum aperture is a real bonus, extending the low light capabilities of your NX system camera. It's a shame the clarity towards the edges of the frame isn't up to the high levels seen in the centre of the frame. If edge to edge sharpness is required, ensure the lens is stopped down to f/5.6 or beyond for best results."... [Source]
PhotoZone, gave an optical quality rating of 3.5 - 4/5: "The Samsung NX 30mm f/2 is a highly attractive pancake lens. It's very usable at f/2 and f/2.8 and very sharp across the image frame at medium aperture settings. Distortions as well as lateral CAs are minimal and not relevant from a real life perspective. You may spot some purple fringing in extreme contrast situations but that's rather typical at very large apertures anyway. The amount of vignetting is visible at max. aperture but not an issue anymore beyond f/2.8. The only real weakness of the lens is the quality of the bokeh which can be somewhat rough at times.
Besides being extremely compact and light-weight it is also very well built. The AF speed is pretty good on the NX200 but this aspect is also related to the capabilities of the camera so your mileage may vary here. Some users may not like the "fly-by-wire" approach in manual focusing mode but we think it's mostly just a matter of getting used to it. Samsung NX lenses are highly competitively priced - especially here in Europe (strangely). The NX 30mm f/2 is available for around 220EUR/300US$ which is nothing short of a bargain offer (less so in the US) and it's definitely worth having it in your bag."... [Source]
LensTip: "Always when we start testing an optical device based on a new body we try to find a reference point in the form of an already known platform. As the Samsung NX10 sports a 14.6 mega pixels CMOS sensor there's no escaping the comparison with the tests of Pentax optics, conducted on a K20D body, which was also equipped with a Samsung 14-megapixel CMOS. In the NX10, after all, we deal with the same detector (in the sense of the same silicon chunk) but probably new, differently programmed electronics system. Anyway there's certainly a base for a comparison of a kind. As we find out from the NX10 test which is going to be published on our forum soon , the new detector uses the same number of pixels but in a more efficient way and it reaches the results by 1-3 lpmm higher than the sensors of Penax K-7 and K20D cameras. The difference is not too huge so the direct comparison is not impossible especially that measurement errors - both statistical and systematic - fluctuate between 1-2 lpmm. Let's get down to facts and have a look at the MTF50 values for the frame centre and for the frame edge of the NX10 matrix. As always the results of our measurements are based on unsharpened RAW files, developed using dcraw. Here we would like to thank the author of that program, Dave Coffin, who, once again made the grade and in a flash delivered the code fragment which, added to the main program and compiled, enabled us to read the Samsung files without any problems.
There's no denying that after several days of playing with the Samsung NX10 and the 2/30 pancake set I took a liking to it. Most of this sympathy was gained exactly by the lens. I can hardly wait for next Samsung launches in the same style. A small lens with the angle of view at the level of 70 degrees and f/2.8 aperture and a nice telephoto portrait lens with the maximum relative aperture near f/1.8 would definitely come in handy too. I know I will have to wait for them a bit longer so I greatly enjoyed the play with the Samsung 2/30. This lens is not without faults - such a construction forces some simplifications. You can't manufacture a small, physically light, fast and reasonably priced device which would be perfectly sharp and correct all the off-axis aberrations at the same time. You must come to a compromise of a kind. We must say Samsung succeeded in reaching it. Our recognition is even greater as it was just Samsung's debut on the market of changeable lenses - we consider it to be really very successful."... [Source]
PhotoReview Australia, gave a rating of 8.5/10: "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. 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."... [Source]
PCWorld, gave a rating of 4/5: "I used Imatest to measure the optical performance of the lens. At its widest aperture it resolves 2,155 lines per picture height, well in excess of the 1,800 lines required for a sharp image. It tops 2,300 lines at f/2.8, and levels out at close to 2,500 lines at f/4 and f/5.6. There is a bit of distortion when you shoot Raw--1.1 percent of the barrel variety--but if you shoot in JPG the camera corrects for this, reducing it to 0.3 percent. Raw shooters can make the same correction in Lightroom--this prime lens doesn't zoom, so distortion is going to be consistent from shot to shot.
If you're looking for a fast, compact lens for your NX camera, it's tough to go wrong with the 30mm f/2. The lens is extremely sharp at every aperture, allowing you to shoot wide open to create a shallow depth of field without sacrificing image quality. As such, it's a must-own lens for NX system owners, and is worthy of our Editors' Choice designation."... [Source]
User review by Midwestsupport, gave a rating of 5/5 : "I had two Olympus EP-2 bodies and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, other Pansonic lenses too. I was very happy with them, until I got the Samsung NX200 with this 30mm lens. This lens with NX200 just blows away the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens. After I compare images with 100% cropped pixel by pixel between them, I found this lens is a super star! My friend just got his Nikon D800, so I asked him to take same sample photos to cropped 100% side by side compare. Man, the resolution of this lens is just as good as the D800 with 50mm f/1.7 lens. My eye just could not tell too much diff (keep in mind that D800 is 36 MP cmaera while NX200 is 20 MP --- the D800 image is bigger on the screen at 100% cropped). It is puzzled me that there were over 400 online reviews on Pansonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, but only few on the Samsung 30m lens. So I went ImagingResoure site to pull all the studio references photos they took on this lens and compare to others took by Nikon D800, D3x, Olympus EP_2, Cannon 5D, Leca M9, etc. I did 100% cropped images comparing side by side, all results support my conlusion!
PS: my Sumsung NX200 color/tone depth and dynamic range are just not good, which are by no means to close to that of D800 as I found. If you own a NX200, this lens is the must-to-have, especially if you want to print in large size. The sharpness of this lens is stunning!"... [Source]
Sample Photos from Flickr:
Samsung Unveils New NX Range Lens Technology Line Up
The NX10's innovation continues, with the launch of eight new lens technologies
LONDON, UK - February 20, 2010 - Samsung a market leader and award winning innovator in digital imaging, today announced a series of new additions to its groundbreaking NX system lens range, to be released throughout 2010. The original line up of Pancake, Standard Zoom and Tele Zoom lenses launched with the Samsung NX10 during CES will be complemented by the introduction of a further five new lenses this year. This will mean that there will be a total of eight potential lenses designed specifically for the NX cameras system available during 2010.
The lenses have each been specifically designed to ensure that users get the most out of their photography experience. The NX system's advanced intelligent lens technology means it does the capturing so users can do the creating, providing an enjoyable photography experience every time. The NX10 boasts a compact, sleek and lightweight design, and with its leading lens technology it means users never need miss a creative moment, even in the flash of a second.
Consumer research carried out by Samsung revealed that camera users want convenient and easy-to-use features which guarantee value and creative freedom through innovative concepts. Samsung's intelligent lens technology ensures users' needs are fulfilled through the highest picture quality, while enjoying the sleek, durable and portable compact camera body of the NX10 thanks to its mirror-less design. Building on the company's strong heritage in performance and innovation, Samsung's new lens technology is designed to meet the universal ease-of-use capabilities requested by users.
The eight lenses incorporate unique features and designs to guarantee that the images they produce are easy to create yet still of professional quality. The lenses have been developed to include specific benefits which respond directly to consumer needs and desires which were highlighted in the research.
Consumers reported that they wanted lenses which are small and convenient to carry, yet still stylish and iconic. In response to this, Samsung created the Compact Zoom Lens, the Wide Lens and the Pancake Lens - all of which give users a high level of optical performance without the bulk of other lenses on the market. These are ideal for consumers who want a lens they can take anywhere and everywhere that will complement the compact, sleek and stylish design of their NX10.
For consumers who are looking for specific qualities to their shots, be it capturing with a certain focus or depth of perspective, Samsung has released the Tele Zoom Lens, the Macro Lens or two types of Standard Zoom Lenses. These lenses feature intuitive technology, are optimised for picture taking of a professional standard and are the ultimate in high performance.
Finally, Samsung found that many people are looking for all-round quality and durability in a multi-purpose lens which can perform faultlessly in a number of functions. For this, the Super Zoom Lens is the perfect choice.
"We were inspired to create new lines of cameras and lenses that would change the way people think and feel about photography. This could only be achieved by ensuring all of the NX10's components represented an intuitive and harmonious design and capabilities to meet the needs of our customers," explained Steve Mitchell, General Marketing Manager, Samsung Digital Imaging. "We know from our detailed research that what consumers want from their cameras is evolving - they're looking for compact and stylish products of a high performance, while retaining a focus on value. We've reflected these demands throughout the development of our lens technology for the NX10 and forthcoming NX range."
He added: "Samsung has always been quick to implement cutting-edge technology, and the development of our lens technology ensures that the highest image quality is guaranteed, and always within reach of all our users. Our continued commitment to improving the imaging experience of our users is a number one priority - we don't want our users to just capture images but create their own unique stories. The Samsung NX10 represents a whole new category of digital cameras and the new offerings within our lens line up will ensure our users feel empowered to unleash their creative side and integrate camera technology into everyday life, in their own way."
(Jan 2010) 30mm F2
Standard Zoom Lens
(Jan 2010) 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OIS
Tele Zoom Lens
(Jan 2010) 50-200mm F4-5.6 OIS
Standard Zoom Lens
(H1 2010) 18-55mm F3.5-5.6, Non OIS
Compact Zoom Lens
(H2 2010) 20-50mm F3.5-5.6
Wide Pancake Lens
(H2 2010) 20mm F2.8
Super Zoom Lens
(TBD) 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OIS
(TBD) 60mm F2.8