Samsung NX3000 Optics


The Samsung NX3000 is available bundled with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PowerZoom OIS NX lens. The test images shown on most other pages of these test results were taken with the very sharp Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA NX prime lens, so we use this page to explore kit lens performance.

Kit Lens Test Results

16-50mm Zoom
Above average performance with the 16-50mm PZ OIS kit lens.

16mm @ f/8 31mm @ f/8
50mm @ f/8

The Samsung NX3000 is available bundled with the Samsung 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OIS NX lens, which has a 35mm equivalent focal range of about 24-75mm. Its ~3.1x zoom ratio is about average for a bundled lens, however far-field optical performance at f/8 appears to be above average for a kit lens, with good sharpness and contrast across much of the frame, though some flare can be seen around very bright areas in our wide-angle shot above. See below for our lab results.

Macro
A larger-than-average minimum coverage area, with very good detail. The bundled flash performed well at minimum distance.

Macro with 16-50mm kit lens
50mm @ f/8
Macro with flash

As with zoom performance, the Samsung NX3000's macro performance will depend entirely on the lens in use. However with the 16-50mm kit lens set to 50mm, the Samsung NX3000 captured a larger-than-average minimum area measuring 3.51 x 2.24 inches (89 x 59 millimeters). Sharpness is very good across most of the frame, with only minor softness in extreme corners. (Most lenses show some softening in the corners at macro distances, so the 16-50mm kit lens does better than average here.) The bundled flash did an excellent job throttling down, producing a well exposed image.

Geometric Distortion
Low distortion at wide angle, very low at telephoto in camera JPEGs. High barrel distortion at wide angle in uncorrected RAW file.

In-camera JPEGs
Low barrel distortion at 16mm, about 0.4%
Very low pincushion distortion at 50mm, less than 0.1%

In-camera JPEGs show low barrel distortion at wide angle (about 0.4%) and very low pincushion distortion at telephoto (less than 0.1%). Very good results here, but see uncorrected results below. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Uncorrected RAW files
High barrel distortion at 16mm, about 1.4%
Very low pincushion distortion at 50mm, less than 0.1%

To see if the NX3000's JPEG engine is performing any distortion correction, we converted the NX3000's matching RAW files with RawDigger, a tool used to explore raw data. Unsurprisingly for a compact APS-C lens, uncorrected RAW files at wide angle show quite a bit of barrel distortion (about 1.4%), however distortion at full telephoto remained about the same, at less than 0.1% pincushion. Thus, like most Micro Four Thirds lenses as well as some others, it appears Samsung has designed this lens with higher geometric distortion at wide angle to keep it compact, and is correcting it in firmware.

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
JPEGs have low to moderately low chromatic aberration in the corners, though uncorrected RAWs have a bit higher. The lens produced some soft corners at wide angle.

Maximum Aperture
16mm, f/3.5: Upper left
C.A.: Moderately low
Softness: Soft
16mm, f/3.5: Center
C.A.: Low
Softness: Sharp
50mm, f/5.6: Lower left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Minor blurring
50mm, f/5.6: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Lateral chromatic aberration in the corners with the NX3000's 16-50mm kit lens at wide-angle (16mm) is moderately low in terms of the number of pixels, but not terribly bright, so it's only slightly noticeable in some shots. Some minor axial chromatic aberration can also be seen in the center, but this will vary with focus. At full telephoto (50mm), chromatic aberration is fainter and less noticeable. 

Corner Softness. At full wide angle, corners on the left side of the frame are a bit soft with the top left the softest, though corners on the right side are quite sharp indicating our copy of the lens is slightly decentered. The center of the image is sharp with excellent contrast. Wide open and full telephoto, corner performance is better though contrast is a bit lower across the frame.

Vignetting. There's only minor corner shading ("vignetting") at wide angle when wide open, and even less at full telephoto.

f/8 Aperture
16mm, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
16mm, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
50mm, f/8: Lower left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Fairly sharp
50mm, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Performance at f/8. Stopped down to f/8, corner sharpness did improve, but corners on the left side are still a touch soft, particularly at wide angle. Vignetting also improved at both wide angle and telephoto to the point of being practically nonexistent.

16mm, f/3.5 In-Camera JPEG 16mm, f/3.5: Uncorrected RAW
50mm, f/5.6: In-Camera JPEG 50mm, f/5.6: Uncorrected RAW

C.A. Reduction in JPEGs. As you can see from the crops above comparing in-camera JPEGs (left) to RawDigger converted SRW files (right) taken with the 16-50mm lens, the Samsung NX3000's image processor appears to suppressing lateral chromatic aberration, however there isn't a lot to suppress.

Overall, above average performance for a compact kit lens.

 


Samsung NX3000 Viewfinder


Viewfinder Test Results

Accuracy
Excellent coverage accuracy from the LCD monitor.

60mm, LCD Monitor

The Samsung NX3000's LCD monitor proved to be very accurate, showing 100% coverage in our test. Excellent results here, though that's expected from a preview image derived from the sensor.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Samsung NX3000 Photo Gallery .



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