Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens review: Professional, uniquely fast wide-angle zoom shows promise but with a few concerns


posted Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 10:16 AM EDT


With the powerful, beefy, professional-level Samsung NX1 now hitting store shelves -- and perhaps already a few lucky customers' camera bags -- Samsung needed an equally beefy, professional-level lens to pair nicely with their new camera. Luckily, they announced one back at CES 2014 earlier this year. The Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS NX is a high-end, weather-sealed and unique fast-apertured wide-angle zoom. Initially paired to go with the then-flagship NX30 mirrorless camera (though not as an official "kit lens"), this large, heavier zoom lens feels right at home on the larger NX1 than on their smaller mirrorless models -- and now does come as a kit lens for the NX1.

We've just taken the wraps off our detailed Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS review, and this new optic does indeed have a lot of strengths and positive qualities. It's rather unique among zoom lenses, as most zooms for APS-C or larger sensors don't offer apertures faster than f/2.8 (Sigma is the other contender here with their top-notch 18-35mm f/1.8 Art lens for APS-C cameras). 

As we found in our review, the Samsung 16-50 f/2-2.8 lens is one of Samsung's sharpest lenses. Its wide aperture setting of f/2 makes it quite attractive, and happily, it produces very sharp images at this setting. Vignetting and distortion are rather mild, however we did experience significant issues with chromatic abberation, especially in the corners on uncorrected RAWs -- where the numbers were literally off the charts. Our copy of the lens also appeared slightly de-centered, with the top end of the frame a bit softer than the bottom. The lens is overall a nice optic, though in addition to some issues is also rather heavy -- negating a lot of the benefits to a mirrorless system -- and somewhat pricey at over $1000.

Head on over to SLRgear to read the in-depth Samsung 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS review, complete with our in-depth report, final conclusion as well as our full range of test results and sample images.

The Samsung 16-50 f/2-2.8 S ships with a petal-shaped lens hood, takes 72mm filters, and is available separately for around $1000-1200 or as part of a NX1 kit. Check out Amazon (lens, NX1 kit), Adorama (lens, NX1 kit) or B&H (lens, NX1 kit) for more info on purchasing. Buying this camera or lens, or any other item, at one of these trusted affiliates helps support this site and keeps the reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray using the Samsung NX300, our standard NX-mount test camera. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page. For sample shots using this lens on the new NX1, head over to the Samsung NX1 Gallery page (note: using an NX1 prototype) or download some 4K sample videos shot with this lens.

NX300: 50mm, f/5.6, 1/400s, ISO 100
NX300: 28mm, f/4, 1/60s, ISO 200
Ultra HD Sample #1 - Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160), 30p, HQ Quality
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