Samsung NX 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens Review
Review Date : Mon, 18 Feb 2013
Author : Jon Tarrant
- Sample Photos: see sample image gallery
samsungs 1:1 macro lens for the NX compact system camera...
-1:1 macro capability
-Optical Image Stabiliser
-Fast and quiet AF system
Although the considerable size and mass of Samsungs 60mm Macro lens inspire great confidence they also mean it is likely to dwarf any NX body to which it is attached. This is not simply a cosmetic observation: the fact is that when securing the host body on a tripod there is a real danger that the mounting plate may snag on the lens barrel instead of sitting flatly against the cameras base-plate.
Under normal conditions that might not be a serious issue but this is a macro lens and is therefore likely to spend a lot of time mounted on a tripod for careful close-up framing. However, the problem is avoidable with care and is more a drawback of ever decreasing camera sizes than a criticism of this particular lens.
The 60mm Macros handling is excellent, with a large focusing ring located in the front third of the barrel and a much smaller controller ring (for iFunction operation) towards the rear. The only other controls are a two-position focus limiter and the iFunction activation button: both are located at the back, left-hand side of the lens.
Samsungs iFunction is a user-friendly, one-touch menu system that allows quick adjustments to be made to key camera settings: aperture; exposure; ISO; White Balance; digital-zoom and exposure compensation. Once activated, using the push-button, settings are changed using the rotating collar.
Internally there is an Optical Image Stabiliser and a Super-Sonic Actuator AF system, together with ED glass for improved image quality. The OIS system, which is smooth and unobtrusive but effective, is activated from the camera menu rather than from the lens and is not included within the iFunction menu, which is a shame. SSA autofocusing proved to be quick and reliable.
Technical testing revealed that the MTF figures didn't dip below the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel level from f/2.8 to f/22. It is a shame that Samsung has included an f/32 aperture setting (even though its website suggests the range stops at f/22) as the smallest f-stop drops the MTF figure to a seriously low 0.16 cycles-per-pixel, which is visually unsharp. Of course there is no compulsion to use this setting and quality-conscious photographers will simply choose to avoid it.
Real-world testing produced very good results in both large-scale and macro applications (although the maximum reproduction fell slightly short of the 1:1 ratio claimed).
There is nothing, other than its tendency to snag on a tripod-mounting plate, to dislike about this lens. This really is a very nice lens indeed.