Review Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 NX

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s2smodern

The Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 is an ultra-bright, fixed focal length lens for the serious user. We reviewed it on an NX30. The lens is both mechanically and optically very well built, and considerably big and heavy. There is no image stabilization, but there is a distance scale. Uniquely, this lens has a fast focus motor. The optical performance is exceptionally good, as you don't often see...

Samsung85mm

Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 ED SSA NX + NX30

straatmuzikant-groot

The 85 mm is a good portrait lens, although some people for that application prefer a shorter focal length. Street musician at full aperture (f/1.4), 1/2000 second. Focused on the eyes. Nose and ears are already blurred.

Build and auto focus

Samsung85mmlensdesign
This is a whopper of a lens! From the mount, it extends forward 90 mm, and it weighs just slightly under 700 grams. There is one ED glass element, to combat chromatic aberration. The lens has an "SSA" focus motor, according to the manufacturer's documentation, "super-soon." Unfortunately, this does not translate in practice into superfast focusing. On the test body (NX30), the AF was a bit on the slow side, in our standard test (focusing from 8 m to 80 cm), it needed more than 1 second. That disappointed us. The focus motor is both good and soundless.
Specifications
 

 

Vignetting and distortion

In RAW, at the largest lens aperture, there is vignetting, but in the JPEG shots, that can't be seen (move your cursor over the picture). Starting at f/2.8, both RAW and JPEG are outstanding. We can be brief about distortion: there isn't any! You don't see such perfection often.

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Flare and artefacts

The 85 mm is not completely free of flare. There is a sun cap included, and our recommendation is that you would be smart to use it. The lens, although already not the smallest, then gets even a bit bigger. In the photo shown here, you see two grey streaks as the result of flare, and a green "sun" at the bottom of the image. Such phenomena, called "artefacts," always lies on the line that runs from the sun down through the center of the image.

NoflareSamsung85mm

Sharpness

We were especially impressed by the resolution (sharpness); both in the laboratory and in practice. We have seldom seen such values for the MTF50 with an APS-C lens across the whole aperture range, including at the typically difficult full aperture. The maximum sharpness is reached at f/8.

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 SAM3058-groot

1/2000 at f/3.5. Outstanding detail, even in the corners, and no trace of chromatic aberration.

Chromatic aberration

Chromatic aberration (CA) is the phenomenon that causes sharp contrast transitions to take on green and purple edges. Tree branches are notorious for this, especially in the corners of the image. Both in the Imatest and in the practice shots, in RAW and in JPEG, the images were completely free of CA: perfect! CA

Bokeh

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The bokeh, an important property when you want to work at full aperture a lot, is beautifully soft and round, thanks to the 9 aperture blades. The lens is thus very well suited for product shots in the studio.

Conclusion Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 NX review with Samsung NX30

Samsung85mm

Look in our list of reviewed lenses in order to compare the performance of this lens with that of other lenses.

ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the files are stored in the camera in jpg format, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".


85
128
8.4
7.6
9.3
8.7
9.5
7

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Pros

  • Beautiful and solidly built
  • Exceptionally good image sharpness
  • No distortion, no CA, beautiful bokeh
  • Very bright, limited focal depth

Cons

  • Big and heavy
  • Auto focus is sometimes very slow

The Samsung 85 mm f/1.4 has exceptionally good optical properties. It is big and heavy, and the auto focus is rather slow, but for those who set the highest requirements for image quality, this is an absolute must-buy. Especially in combination with the new NX1, this appears to us to be a very desirable possession.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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