Against the recently tested Sony NEX mount equivalent (and best performing model in their range) the Samsung NX 45mm f/1.8 compares quite well. While the Sony scores an additional 1P-Mpix in Sharpness, it’s not really surprising given the extra pixel count of the Sony NEX-7. Nevertheless, the Sony has more consistent sharpness across the field and less noticeable distortion and lower chromatic aberration. Given the $300 sticker and built-in stabilisation of the Sony, the $350 wanted for the Samsung makes it look a little on the expensive side.
On the whole pancake lenses don’t usually stand out for high-image quality though new designs made specifically for digital cameras seem to be bucking that trend. This high-speed lens has the equivalent angle of view to an appealing 45mm (in 35mm format) and performs very well. The additional 4P-Mpix over the conventional design of the Panasonic Leica Summilux DG 25mm f/1.4 is encouraging despite the extra pixel count of the NX20 over the GH2. This strongly suggests superior sharpness but if we look at the field maps we’ll see the Samsung’s sharpness advantage is in the centre of the field. Elsewhere, the Samsung is well corrected but bear in mind the Panasonic made Leica lens is 2/3 stop faster at full aperture and therefore a good deal more expensive. For all that, the Samsung is appealing for its compact dimensions and, at $279, more accessible sticker price.
At first sight these two appear incongruous but with an angle of view equivalent to a 24mm (on a 35mm full frame model, the Samsung NX 16mm f/2.4 is not dissimilar to the Olympus 12mm, however there the similarities end. The Olympus is ½ stop faster at full aperture or thereabouts and is a high-grade model featuring ED glass elements in a sturdy aluminium shell. Be that as it may, the Samsung nudges ahead in sharpness and even has lower levels of distortion and vignetting (though again the large aperture design of the Olympus plays a part here). Only the high levels of lateral chromatic aberration, and a $300-350 sticker, somewhat dampen what would otherwise be an excellent performance.