Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: Samsung NX 50-200mm OIS II Lens

I recently purchased Samsung's 50-200mm zoom telephoto lens for their NX camera series. I don't want to get too much into the technical data regarding this lens (others have covered that pretty well), but give more of a real-world experience in this review.

The Samsung NX 50-200mm OIS II lens is well built and somewhat small and lightweight for what it is. It has a maximum aperture of f4-5.6 (depending on the focal length). Image stabilization is provided through the lens on NX cameras, and this lens does a good job of it (pretty much what one would expect).

I was surprised at just how sharp this lens is--it's almost "prime-lens" sharp. Defraction starts around f11, but isn't really noticeable until f22.

Distortion is almost nonexistent. Chromatic aberrations are kept very well under control, but were at their worst in the 150-200mm range and with the aperture above f16 (I didn't find any in normal use, but only when purposely trying to create it preparing for this review). Illumination falloff is very minimal.

This kind of performance is unusual for an inexpensive zoom, and it performs well above the kit 18-55mm lens that came with my NX camera.

It isn't all roses for this lens, however. I did find a few issues that one should consider.

I encountered two problems with auto focus. First, the camera struggled to auto focus when using this lens in dim light, and sometimes downright failed. Now this not a big surprise, but it seemed to be a little worse than with the kit 18-55mm lens that came with the camera. Second, the camera seemed to have problems accurately auto focusing when the lens was in the 150-200mm range. It would indicate that focus was achieved, but when reviewing the images focus was just ahead or behind where I was trying to get it. Not every photograph would have this problem, but enough to annoy me.

Of course, any time there is an auto focus issue the work-around is to manually focus. I have no problems doing this and the switch on the lens to auto or manual focus is logically placed for ease of use.

Another issue with this lens is that it doesn't have as much contrast as I'd prefer. This isn't a big deal because adding contrast in post-processing is easy. In fact, some may prefer to have less contrast. But I wonder if this is part of the cause of the auto focus problems.

The minimum focus distance of this lens is about three feet. I know this isn't a macro lens, but three feet seems pretty far for a minimum focus distance.

In conclusion, the Samsung NX 50-200mm OIS II lens is a great addition to my camera bag. It surprised me just how good it is. It isn't without its quirks, but for a low cost (MSRP of $350, but can be found for as little as $200 if you shop around) I'll gladly put up with a few quirks.

Here are some sample images captured with this lens:
Wasp And Ant - Stallion Springs, California
I cropped most of the original image out.
Country Wood - Stallion Springs, California
Three Horses - Tehachapi, California
Looking Deer - Tehachapi, California
Face In The Tree - Tehachapi, California
Red Bridge - Stallion Springs, California
Natural Design - Stallion Springs, California
Half Moon - Stallion Springs, California
This is a massive crop.
One Red Flower - Stallion Springs, California
This is another massive crop.
An Apple - Stallion Springs, California
Evening Oak - Stallion Springs, California
Purple Thistle - Stallion Springs, California
I cropped out about 2/3rds of the original capture.
Imaginary Forest - Tehachapi, California
Walking Bridge - Tehachapi, California
Water Faucet - Tehachapi, California
Daisy - Stallion Springs, California
About half of the original capture was cropped out.
Two Wasps - Stallion Springs, California
I cropped most of the original image out.
Wild Grass - Stallion Springs, California


  1. amazing macro photography, nice tone and good picture
    thank you :)

  2. Hi Ritchie,

    What NX Camera are you using?


    1. It was an NX210. I'm not currently using an NX camera, not because they aren't good, but simply because I went a different direction with my gear. Thanks for commenting!