Review: Samsung 16mm f2.4 (Samsung NX Mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 16mm f2.4 product images (2 of 5)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Though Samsung isn’t as well known here in the States for their cameras, it should be noted that they have a couple of gems. They have some excellent lenses with one being their very good 85mm f1.4. During our review of the Samsung NX300, we also tried the 16mm f2.4 pancake with it–and to be frank, we really think that this is the lens that every Samsung camera should be bundled with, period!

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Pancake construction

– Fast aperture

– Well built

– Fn button on the side is a nice touch

Cons

– A tad more distortion than we’d like

Gear Used

We used the Samsung 16mm f2.4 on the NX300 camera body for this testing.

Tech Specs

Specs pulled from the Adorama listing of the lens.

Focus Length 16mm (equivalent to 24.6mm in 35mm format)
Elements in Groups 7 elements in 6 groups (2 Aspherical lens)
Angle of View 82.6deg.
Aperture F2.4 (Min. F22, Number of Blades: 7, Circular Aperture Diaphragm)
Mount Type Samsung NX Mount
Optical Image Stabilizer No
Minimum Focus Distance 0.185m
Maximum Magnification Approx. 0.12x
i-Scene Mode Backlight, Landscape, Sunset, Dawn, Beach&Snow, Night
Lens Hood Option
Filter Size 43mm
Operating Temperature 0 – 40deg.C
Operating Humidity 5 – 85%
Dimensions (D x L) Approx. 2.42 x 0.94″ (6.15 x 2.39 cm)
Weight 2.64 oz (75 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 16mm f2.4 product images (5 of 5)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

The Samsung 16mm f2.4 is a super simple and very minimal lens in its design and its functionality. Firstly noted, it is a pancake lens and therefore also keeps the overall camera package quite small.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 16mm f2.4 product images (4 of 5)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

On the left side of the lens is its only control: an Fn button. This button will control aperture, ISO, and various other parameters when it it pressed in. The user can then scroll through which settings they want to control and then confirm them.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 16mm f2.4 product images (3 of 5)ISO 8001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Near the front of the lens is a focus ring. The ring, although itty bitty, feels quite nice to work with if you are shooting from the hip with the camera screen flipped up towards your face.

Build Quality

This lens is small and fairly solid feeling with a highly glossy and polished exterior. But it feels more like you’re mounting a rinestone to the camera because of this. This is partially because of the plastic chassis of the lens.

Ease of Use

For the most part, all you need to do is just point this lens in a direction and shoot. If you want to switch to manual focusing mode, you’ll need to do so from the camera menus. Additionally, also keep in mind the Fn button on the lens that will control various parameters.

Autofocusing

The focusing motors of this lens are a bit noisy and also a bit slow. The likes of Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony are speedier, but Samsung users can rest assured that this lens is a tad faster than some Fujifilm offerings.

Image Quality

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Overall image quality of the Samsung 16mm f2.4 lens is really very good. It shows little distortion although sometimes it is apparent when panning the camera from left to right and vice versa. We didn’t see very much in the way of anything bad to say about this lens overall–which is rare as many pancake lenses can be problematic.

Sharpness

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The sharpness from this lens is really quite good and a little bit of post-production work from Lightroom will make it even better. For the typical user going for this camera though, you’ll want to stop down to around f5.6 for the ultimate in the lens’s sharpness despite the fact that it also delivers some beautiful bokeh.

Bokeh

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The bokeh from this lens is smooth for the wide focal length that it is, and it would be extremely tough to get it to be any creamier. It has nice round bokeh balls which many consumers will totally digg.

Distortion

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For the most part, you’ll see the distortion from this lens around the corners and edges. As you get closer to the center it will look fine and dandy.

Color Fringing

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We saw a little bit of color fringing with this lens only in the most extreme of conditions–which is only to be expected from an optic like this at this price point. However, it is easily removed in post-production or if you’re shooting and uploading to Instagram, who cares?

Extra Image Samples

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Conclusions

In the end, we don’t have very much bad to say about the Samsung 16mm f2.4 lens. It is a small and wonderful lens for the system, but we couldn’t overall warm up to it. The 24mm equivalent focal length is excellent and getting a fast aperture with it is also a big plus, but something about the overall feel of the lens just doesn’t get us too excited.

If you’re just getting into the world of interchangeable lens photography though, this may be your next love affair. And don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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