Samsung NX 85mm f/1.4 ED SSA - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Samsung NX

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2012

Introduction

Mirrorless systems became immensely popular lately. However, to date the manufacturers were fairly shy of exploring really professional grade lenses. One of the few exceptions is the Samsung NX 85mm f/1.4 ED SSA which tackles one of the typical gaps in the mirrorless lens lineups – ultra-fast tele primes. Interestingly Samsung offered this lens soon after the release of the system whereas Sony NEX, Micro-Four-Thirds and Nikon 1 owners had (or still have) to wait for ages for such an offering. Admittedly such a big lens looks a bit unusual on a dwarfish mirrorless camera but I had no issues using this beast out there.

The NX 85mm f/1.4 is beautifully made based on a combination of metal and high quality plastic parts based on a metal mount. The physical length of the lens remains constant regardless of the focus setting so even without a weather sealing it is pretty well shielded against the elements. It is, as mentioned, a fairly big lens but it has been designed for the APS-C sensor so it’s a little smaller and more light-weight than its full format cousins.

The Samsung lens features a SSA drive ("Super-Sonic Actuator") which works similar like Canon’s USM and Nikon’s Silent Wave AF drive. The AF speed is pretty good without being impressive. This is probably related to the current limits of the contrast detection AF system of the Samsung NX 200 (our test camera). The AF accuracy was generally fine at f/1.4 but there's a bit of a focus shift when stopping down so it may be worth to check your images after shooting. Manual focusing is easily possible with a mechanically linked focus ring and you even got the good’ol focus distance scale. Full-time manual focusing in AF mode is supported.

Specifications
Equiv. focal length131 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/2.2 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction10 elements in 8 groups inc. 1x ED element
Number of aperture blades7 (circular)
min. focus distance0.81 m (max. magnification 1:7.7)
Dimensions79 x 92 mm
Weight450 g
Filter size67 mm
Hoodbarrel-shaped, bayonet mount, supplied
Other featuresiFn




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