Lens review

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA

6 July 2012
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality and image stabilization

The vast majority of mirrorless systems feature new products so it would be difficult to talk about a huge array of lenses to compare with or a fierce competition in this segment. In the case of the Samsung 2.8/60 Macro there are only two lenses with similar parameters available – the Fujinon XF 60 mm f/2.4 R Macro, presented not so long ago, and the Leica DG MACRO-ELMARIT 45 mm f/2.8 ASPH. M.O.I.S., designed for smaller sensors. The basic properties of all these three instruments are presented in the following chart. To tell you the truth the Fujinon is not a full macro lens because it has a 1:2 magnification. When it comes to the parameters the Samsung is better - although it is a bit slower it offers you both fully-fledged macro mode and image stabilization.

Then we can compare the tested lens to other macro 60 mm focal length instruments designed for reflex cameras with APS-C/DX sensors. It is presented in the next chart.

In the photo below you can see the tested Samsung standing next to the 2/30 “pancake” and the ‘kit” 20-50 mm. It’s obvious that the tested instrument is not very big and it fits quite well such bodies as the NX5, NX10 or NX11. It would suit also such smaller cameras as the NX 100 and the NX200.

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Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization

The lens starts with a metal mount with contacts – it surrounds a rear element, 23 mm in diameter. The element is immobile and positioned almost on the same level as the mount.

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization

The body of the lens makes a very good impression – it is solid and compact. We deal here with metal parts covered by good quality plastics. The lens begins with an inscription “60 OIS” near the mount, stating the focal length of the lens and indicating that optical stabilization was used here. On the right there are big SSA letters - they mean Super Sonic Actuator so a type of an ultrasonic autofocus mechanism. On the left there is an i-Function button; pressing it you can change the basic parameters like the aperture value, the exposure time or ISO. Under it there is a FULL/LIMIT switch, used to limit the working range of the focusing mechanism. However nowhere on the casing you can find any information about the values it can be limited to. There is also no image stabilization mode switch or a depth of field scale.

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization

The next element is a thin (8 mm) and ribbed ring without any markings. It is used to change the parameters, chosen by the I-Function button. While you keep the button pressed you can turn the ring and change the value of a given parameter.

The next part of the body is made of metal and includes the name and the parameters of the lens along with a blue stripe, characteristic for Samsung lenses.

Further on you find a manual focus ring, 21 mm wide and ribbed. It comes without any distance or depth of field scale but it works properly, is well damped and allows you precise settings. Running through the whole distance scale takes a turn through 180 degrees. The ring is completely manual, without any electronic transmission.

At the very front of the lens you can see a hood thread, a non-rotating filter thread, 52 mm in diameter and an immobile front element, 21 mm in diameter. If you work in the 1:1 macro mode that front element is situated about 9 cm from the photographed object.

The lens consists of 12 elements positioned in 9 groups. One element was made of low dispersion ED glass and one is aspherical. Inside you can also find an aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/32.

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization

Buyers get both caps, a hood and a soft pouch in the box.

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization


The Samsung 2.8/60 is equipped with an optical image stabilization system, small wonder we decided to test its efficiency. In order to do so we took several dozen photos with the stabilization switched on and off, in the range from 1/125 to 1/2 of a second. Then we measured the percentage of fuzzy photos and presented it as an exposition time graph, expressed in EV (where the 0 EV point is an equivalent of 1/100 of a second).

Samsung NX 60 mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA - Build quality and image stabilization

The measure of the efficiency in our tests is a maximum distance between two curves. In the case of the Samsung 2.8/60 it amounts to 2.5 EV. It is not a value which can bowl you over – more and more lenses, brand name or otherwise, can reach as much as 3 EV and the best instruments get even to 4 EV. Compared to that the Samsung doesn’t fare well but, on the other hand, you can hardly complain about a 2.5 EV level stabilization – it’s better to have it than not to have it at all.