Samsung NX – 16-50mm vs. 18-55mm vs. 20-50mm

Samsung NX Standard Zoom Lenses

Up to now, Samsung presents 4 different Standard-Zoom lenses for the Range in between 16mm and 55mm focal length. In this comparison I just want to create a light feeling of the strengths by comparing 3 of the lenses.

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS | 20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS | 20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS ( Versions I, II and III )

As a quite big kit lens, this lens is and was usually shipped in three different revisions with the bigger NX Cameras like NX11, NX20 and NX30. Further more it is also available to the NX300 and NX310 Series.
Its advantage is a built in OIS stabilizer, a switch for changing between manual and automatic focus and a big range of focal lengths starting at 18mm and ending at 55mm.

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED ( Version I and II )

Being a quite compact lens, which can also be locked into a even smaller travel position, this lens is usually shipped with NX Cameras like NX100, NX1000, NX2000 etc.
Its advantage is the size and the ED element

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS

As a very new model, this lens is available in a bundle with the latest NX30 Camera.
Its advantage is the really compact size, the OIS stabilizer and the motorized powerzoom for taking videos and the very low focal length of only 16mm.

16-50 mm F2-2.8 OIS

Finally, as the top model if its range, Samsung also offers a very fast standard zoom lens, which is not respected in this comparison, since it is still quite expensive and heavy.

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS | 20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS | 20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II | 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III

 

Comparison

Sample ImageFor the comparison I did some research and found out, that when taking identical pictures, it shall be enough to compare the RAW Files Sizes in order to find out about the level of detail in each picture. Since I do not own a professional studio with units for measuring things like line pairs per milimeter – which would actually represent the real strength, I decided to fall back to this simple method. Furthermore, I created some cut outs from the middle of each picture to show the differences in detail depending on the focal length and the aperture.

Zoom smoothness

 

File Sizes

20mm

20mm

35mm

35mm

50mm

50mm

 

Sample Cuts

20mm

 

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 20mm

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 20mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 20mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 20mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 20mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 20mm

30mm

 

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 35mm

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 35mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 35mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 35mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 35mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 35mm

50mm

 

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 50mm

18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS III @ 50mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 50mm

20–50 mm F3,5–5,6 ED II @ 50mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 50mm

16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 PZ OIS @ 50mm

 

Summary

Although the test is not a 100% measurement of line pairs per mm, it gives us a feeling of the lenses performance and show that the characteristics of all lenses is quite different in each focal length.
Starting with a focal length of 20mm, the medium compact 20-50mm leads the field, followed by the new 16-50mm. Bringing up the rear, we have Samsungs 18-55mm lens with a quite bad performance in the middle. When having a look at the edges, we get the worst results with the new 16-50mm powerzoom which is getting quite soft at the edges.

When it is coming to a focal length of 35mm, Samsung new 16-50mm catches up with big aperture loosing its lead at an aperture of 7,1.

Finally, when reaching the top of 50mm, the new 16-50mm overtakes the other lenses by far, only loosing the lead at the last F-stops of 20 and 22.

In the end, all of the lenses do perform quite good and it is up to you to decide which one suites best for your purpose. But mention one thing: The new 16-50mm looses when having a look at the maximum aperture at the lower. When it comes to 20mm, the new lens only offers a maximum aperture of 4,0 whereas the other two competitor do already allow a faster setting of 3,0. Same at 35mm where it is F/4.5 at the other two lenses but only 5.0 with the new powerzoom.

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