Samsung NX 60 mm M60SB Macro on NX11 Review

Samsung NX 60 mm M60SB Macro on NX11 Review

This is a bulky but light weight internal focus macro, how does it stack up against the NX11?

The build quality is typical for the NX series lenses, which is a mix of metal and plastics. Since this lens uses Samsung’s SSA (Super Sonic Actuator) motor, the lens is mechanically coupled (not focus by wire). The hood is nice and large and reverses on the lens. The only controls on the lens are the iFn button and Focus Limit Switch (only limits to distances more than about 18″, not macro)

The lens has 12 elements in 9 groups, with a 7 slightly curved bladed diaphragm. The minimum focus distance is 0.184 m (7.25 inches), and the weight is hefty but not heavy at 375 g (13.2 oz) without the hood or caps. It uses fairly standard 52 mm filters. The lens feels sort of light as the elements aren’t that large, and the lens is bulky due to the internal focus mechanism.

Uncorrected RAW

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Comments on the Results

The lens has good to very good contrast and resolution across the frame at all apertures, but not as high as I might expect for a macro. However, my chart is at 1:53 magnification (about 12 feet), and this is a macro lens. Performance is perfectly acceptable in most cases. I only have the uncorrected RAW data here, so don’t compare it to the other lenses corrected values (the camera applies more sharpening than Lightroom by default).

I will comment more on resolution on the NX20 test, as the photos from this lens on the NX11 for portraits, etc, are extremely sharp when stepped down a little. One difficulty with the NX11 is I cannot easily focus bracket as it doesn’t have high enough magnification on the focus assist function, so I have to rely on the cameras autofocus for the tests. This is usually acceptable, as the camera has extremely reliable and consistant autofocus, but it might not be perfect for charts.

The lens has virtually no distortion.

Lateral CA is good, but noticeable at smaller apertures. It definitely isn’t a problem though. Longitudinal CA is good, but slightly visible, nearly gone by f/5.6.

Purple fringing is visible as with any lens with a fair amount of longitudinal CA. Average for this class of lens. Improves on stepping down the aperture. Lightroom 4.1 allows for correction of longitudinal CA and it does a good job, as long as you don’t overdo it and there aren’t strong colors behind the fringes that will desaturate.

Coma is minor and astigmatism is negligible. The bokeh circles do have some mechanical vignetting at certain focus distances. I didn’t investigate if it is from the hood or maybe internal element position, but it shows at f/5.6 on the close focus bokeh.

I didn’t check flare resistance, but will update when I do.

Measured focal length is 63mm at 1:53 magnification.

Pros and Cons

Bottom Line

This is a nice focal length macro lens, internal focus, SSA focus motor, and reasonably good quality. Price ($600 US) is maybe a bit high for the lens, considering the Tamron 60 mm f/2 macro for SLR cameras is less expensive and larger aperture.

Optical performance is good all around, but the resolution looked a bit low on my NX11, stay tuned for tests on the NX20 which is a higher resolution camera, but more importantly the focus assist is good enough for me to manually focus the lens.

I do recommend this lens for the NX system. I tried reverse mounting the NX 16 and 30 mm lenses, but they cause too much mechanical vignetting. If you need further magnification you might have to find a different solution like a quality multi-element optical magnifier that goes in front. Buy the lens on Adorama to support the site. If they don’t have it in stock and you are in the US, you can usually order them anyway and it will show up in 3 weeks or so.