Lens review

Samsung NX 30 mm f/2.0

15 February 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

Always when we start testing an optical device based on a new body we try to find a reference point in the form of an already known platform. As the Samsung NX10 sports a 14.6 mega pixels CMOS sensor there’s no escaping the comparison with the tests of Pentax optics, conducted on a K20D body, which was also equipped with a Samsung 14-megapixel CMOS. In the NX10, after all, we deal with the same detector (in the sense of the same silicon chunk) but probably new, differently programmed electronics system. Anyway there’s certainly a base for a comparison of a kind.

As we find out from the NX10 test which is going to be published on our forum soon , the new detector uses the same number of pixels but in a more efficient way and it reaches the results by 1-3 lpmm higher than the sensors of Penax K-7 and K20D cameras. The difference is not too huge so the direct comparison is not impossible especially that measurement errors – both statistical and systematic – fluctuate between 1-2 lpmm.

Let’s get down to facts and have a look at the MTF50 values for the frame centre and for the frame edge of the NX10 matrix. As always the results of our measurements are based on unsharpened RAW files, developed using dcraw. Here we would like to thank the author of that program, Dave Coffin, who, once again made the grade and in a flash delivered the code fragment which, added to the main program and compiled, enabled us to read the Samsung files without any problems.

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Samsung NX 30 mm f/2.0 - Image resolution

When it comes to the frame centre the lens fully deserves our praise. Even wide open the MTF50 values reach over 36 lpmm so the quality of images is good. On stopping down just a bit the image starts to improve quickly and near f/4.0-f/8.0 it becomes simply sensational. Small is beautiful! And sharp to boot!

At the edge of the frame we can complain only about the maximum relative aperture, as the resolution value doesn’t exceed 29 lpmm there. Fortunately on stopping down by just a bit the image quality improves significantly – by f/2.8 it is good at the very least.

It would be unreasonable to expect a small, fast „pancake” lens to be perfectly sharp in the centre and at the edge of the frame, beginning up from the maximum aperture. As nobody expected that much the resolution of the tested Samsung 2/30 we assess as very good indeed.

At the end of this chapter we present the test chart crops based on JPEG files (sharpening at the level of –4) which were saved along with the RAW files.

Samsung NX 30 mm f/2.0 - Image resolution