Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED on NX20
With mirrorless cameras perforating the market, a new type of lens is available: a compact ultra wide angle. How good is it?
This new Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 is a relatively compact ultra-wide, being no larger than the Samsung 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens, and even uses the same 58mm filters. This is impressive for an ultrawide lens, which usually use 72 or 77mm filters even with similar apertures and in some cases can’t use filters because of a prohibitively curved front element. These lenses often use large hoods as well that take up a lot of space in the lens bag.
This class of lens is also usually quite expensive. The Samsung is $600 US which is in line with what Sigma would ask. Build quality is fair and matches with the price. It is a bit better than the 18-55mm kit, offering some metal on the barrel around the mount, around the front of the extending barrel, and a metal mount. The overall tightness of the lens feels better than the kit lens too.
The lens is a 10 element design with 2 aspherics and 1 ED lens, and a 7 curved bladed diaphragm. A lens like this you will rarely see bokeh circles though, since the depth of field is so deep. The lens is unbelievably light for this class, weighing in at 208 g (7.3 oz).
So, how does this little lightweight perform?
Comments on the Results
The lens is excellent in the center at all settings and apertures, and good to very good in the corners at all apertures and settings.
Distortion is showing a bit of pincushion at 12mm (0.5%) and pretty neutral by 24mm. The lens natively has lots of barrel distortion at 12mm, but is slightly overcorrected (not noticeable).
Lateral CA is well controlled, but is corrected. Even uncorrected isn’t bad though.
Flare resistance is excellent for an ultra wide. I had difficulty making aperture ghosts appear, although they will occasionally. They usually can be dealt with pretty easily in post or ignored.
I measured the focal length to be 14mm based on 1:53 magnification at the wide end and 26mm at the 24mm setting. This is due to the corrections, uncorrected I measured approximately 12mm at the wide end. This isn’t a highly accurate way to measure focal length, but it is easy enough to do when I have it setup to photograph the chart.
Pros and Cons
- Center At all Apertures
- Good across the frame
- No option to disable distortion correction
I suggest keeping it at f/7.1 most of the time and only stop down more if you really need the depth of field, performance drops off fast at f/11 and beyond. I would only use f/4 or f/5.6 if you really need the extra light. They aren’t bad, but the corners are just a bit better at f/7.1 and depth of field is good too.
Samsung 12-24mm f/4-5.6 ED Wide-Angle Zoom Lens on BHPhoto in the US to support the site.
Compared to 16mm f/2.4
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