The Samsung 45 mm f/1.8 in this review is a fast lens with a fixed focal length, which you can see as the simpler little brother of the Samsung 45 mm 2D/3D that we reviewed previously. The ability to create images that can be viewed on a 3D television is missing. Therefore, the lens is a bit less expensive. The outstanding optical properties remain. We review the Samsung 45 mm f/1.8 on a Samsung NX30 APS-C camera.
Samsung 45 mm f/1.8, shot at 1/400 at full aperture; the focal depth is then of course very limited.
Samsung 45 mm f/1.8, reviewed on a Samsung NX30
The lens is part of a series of bright, sleekly designed and light Samsung NX fixed focal lengths. In the picture shown here, you see the 45 mm (left), the 30 mm and the 16 mm. A focal length of 45 mm for an APS-C camera is rather unusual. It amounts to 67 mm as a 35-mm equivalent. Too much telephoto for general use or for landscapes; not quite enough telephoto for a portrait lens. For “family practice,” you will still need a wide-angle focal length as well, or the (beautiful) 16-50 mm f/2-2.8 zoom lens.
This 45 mm is reasonably strong in comparison with the 16 and the 30 mm; it is just as long (length is 44 mm from the mount) as the 2D/3D version, although a good bit of the technology is omitted.
Build and auto focus
The Samsung 45 mm f/1.8 lens does not differ in appearance from the 2D/3D version. It is really super-light (120 g). There is a lot of plastic used. What is remarkable for such a bright lens is the small diameter of the front lens, which has a filter size of 43 mm. The lens has an AF/MF switch and no distance scale. There is a distance ring, which you can also use via the iFn switch for a number of camera settings. We wrote extensively about that before, in our reviews of the Samsung NX30 and the Samsung NX300 bodies. You can get it in a white or a black version.
In combination with the NX30 used for this review, the auto focus is super-fast and silent. The set never missed, and we did not notice any front-focus/back-focus problems. That is logical, because focusing is done with a hybrid system with phase detection/contrast detection; with contrast detection, you use the sensor image, and that never gets it wrong.
Samsung 45 mm f/1.8, shot at 1/500 at full aperture.
Distortion and Vignetting
The lens is not entirely free of distortion: -0.5% barrel-shaped distortion, as can be seen from the JPEG shot. This can also be corrected well on the computer and on some bodies. For a fixed focal length lens, though, it is a minus point.
There is practically no vignetting in the jpg test shots, not even at the largest aperture, as it appears from our Imatest measurements and from the practice shots that we made.
Flare and Chromatic Aberration
The lens comes standard with a sun cap, but even with shots without a sun cap and with hard backlighting, as shown here, we saw no artifacts or flaring. If the sun shines directly into the camera, then it is possible that you will get a purple glow.
The resolution (sharpness) is very good starting at full aperture from center to corner. On stop stopping down leads to even a bit higher sharpness, which only begins to decrease starting at f/11, as a result of diffraction. In the photo above, we stopped down 2 stops; even the corners are razor-sharp.
Here you see a detail from our standard set-up of a chromed teapot, at full aperture. The bokeh in this practice shot is good, but a bit on the “hard” side; the light patches outside the focal area have a light edge and do not transition smoothly. The bokeh in the test shots from our standard set-up was very nice. You would almost think that the shot was taken with a camera with a full-format sensor. In the corners, you get a cat’s eye bokeh.
Conclusion Samsung NX 45 mm f/1.8 reviewed on a Samsung NX30
- Good optical properties
- Auto focus is super-fast, silent and super-accurate
- For a lens with this brightness, reasonably priced
- Focal length less suitable for general use
- Barrel-shaped distortion
Too long, didn’t read (TL/DR)? The Samsung 45 mm f/1.8 offers top quality for a couple hundred euros. We can’t get enough of that.
The Samsung 45 mm f/1.8 is a bright lens in an attractive price class. Although the focal length will not suit everyone’s taste, that takes nothing away from the optical qualities of the lens. As the only minus point, we noted an unusual amount of distortion for a fixed focal length lens. The lens scores very well on the points of sharpness (starting at full aperture, from corner to corner), vignetting and flaring. Due to the limited weight, solid build, high brightness and high image quality, you will happily take this lens along when you travel. The auto focus is also super-fast, silent and super-accurate.