Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS Review

December 12, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS is a professional telephoto zoom lens for Samsung’s range of compact system cameras. The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS boasts an angle-of-view range similar to that of a 77-231mm lens in a 35mm system and features a constant maximum aperture of F2.8 throughout the range. The optical formula comprises 20 elements in 13 groups, including four ED (extra-low dispersion) and one XHR (eXtreme High Refractive) elements, and it boasts a dust-proof and water-resistant design. Weighing in at 915 grams, the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens also features Samsung’s Optical Image Stabilisation technology to combat blurring that may result from shaky hands, nine rounded aperture blades for a smooth circular bokeh, and a minimum working distance of 70cm/1m at either end of the zoom range. The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens is currently available for £1199 / $1599.99 in the UK and the US, respectively.

Ease of Use

Tipping the scales at 915 grams, the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS is a big and heavy lens. It's much more at home on a the larger camera body like the new NX1 that we tested it with. It's the largest, longest and heaviest Samsung lens currently available, although if you compare the 50-150mm / NX1 combination to the Canon or Nikon equivalent, it's substantially lighter and smaller overall. Thankfully the length of the lens doesn't change even when it's fully zoomed out.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens mounted on a Samsung NX1 body

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens mounted on a Samsung NX1 body

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens mounted on a Samsung NX1 body

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens alongside a Samsung NX1 body

Build quality is very good, although we were a little disappointed to see that the lens barrel is mainly made of high-grade plastics, rather than being metal - still, it does at least help to keep the weight down. The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens does boast a metal bayonet mount, smooth focus and zoom rings, and very little wobble.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe side of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe side of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe front of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens, zoomed out

Zooming is thankfully internal, and the ribbed zoom ring is sufficiently wide and neither too stiff nor too loose with a ridged, rubberised grip band. The focus ring is wide enough but doesn't have any “hard stops” at either end of the focus range.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe front of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe rear of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens

The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS's feature set includes a quiet focus motor, an Ultra-Precise Stepping Motor (UPSM), an auto/manual focus switch and Samsung's Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilisation system.

Samsung's now standard i-Function button is also present and correct, an innocuous looking button on the lens barrel which when pressed activates a sub-menu of key options and allows you to change them simply by turning the focus ring.

The final control is for the Custom Range Focus Limiter, which allows the user to specify a distance within to autofocus for faster performance. There is no distance scale or depth-of-field scale.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens in-hand

The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens is both dust-proof and water-resistant, with a rubber seal around the lens mount that should provide adequate protection against dust and moisture.

A metal tripod mount is supplied with the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS, although unfortunately it wasn't included with the sample that Samsung UK provided us with, so we can't commment on its performance.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISThe Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

The Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS comes with a large petal-shaped lens hood and a luxurious padded lens bag as standard.

Focal Range

At the 50mm end of the zoom range, the angle of view is 31.4°, equivalent to that of a 77mm lens in a 35mm system.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISField of view at 50mm

At the 150mm end, the angle of view narrows to 10.7°, which is the same as that of a 231mm lens on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISField of view at 150mm

Focusing

With the lens attached to an NX1 body, auto-focus is very fast, more than capable of keeping quickly and erratically moving subjects in focus. Thankfully the filter thread does not rotate on focus, making it much easier to use graduated neutral density filters and polarisers. The lens takes 72mm filters.

Manual focusing is also possible via the smooth and generously sized focus ring located close to the end of the lens. For an AF lens, the focus ring has a fairly generous amount of travel, which makes it easier to set focus precisely.

Distortion

At the 50mm setting, there is some slight barrel distortion, as demonstrated in the photo above. This turns into mild pincushion distortion in the telephoto range.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISDistortion at 50mm

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISDistortion at 150mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Lateral chromatic aberrations, typically seen as purple or blue fringes in the peripheral areas of the image, are very well controlled with this lens. The 100% crops below give you an idea of what you should expect in the worst case.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS

Macro

This is not a macro lens. The maximum magnification of the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS is 0.17x and the closest focusing distance is 70cm. The following image illustrates how close you can get to the subject; in this case, a Compact Flash card.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OISClose-up performance

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc. In the  S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS, Samsung employed an iris diaphragm with 9 blades, which has resulted in a very nice bokeh, at least in our opinion. However, recognising that bokeh evaluation is subjective, we have provided a few examples for your perusal.

Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS
   
Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS Samsung S 16-50mm f/2-2.8 ED OIS

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following pages.

Entry Tags

review, test, lens, compact system camera, mirrorless, csc, zoom, telephoto, samsung, aps-c, sports, action, kit, ois, weddings, F2.8, F 2.8, nx series, Samsung S 50-150mm f2.8 ED OIS, samsung 50-150mm, 77-231mm, 50-150mm

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