Further to my Samsung Galaxy NX revisit a little while ago, I have added another couple of lenses to my Samsung NX set up. A Samsung 20mm pancake lens and the lens I review here, the Samsung 60mm f2.8 ED OIS Macro lens.
Before I start I will say this isn’t going to be a technical review, I don’t really care how many groups and elements the lens has, I’m only interested in the usability and end results. So here goes. . .
The Samsung EX-M60SB Lens is a 60mm f2.8 ED OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), is one of the excellent lenses Samsung offer (offered) in their NX Series of lenses. It’s the only lens available for the NX Series of cameras to offer Macro capability, but being the only one, doesn’t mean it’s a poor choice.
When mounted on the Galaxy NX (as pictured above), the EX-M60SB is a fairly chunky, yet compact offering, which offers internal focusing, so the lens doesn’t get any bigger as the lens focuses through the entire range, which goes from a 7 inch closest focus distance (7 inches from the sensor plane) to infinity. The 60mm is a pretty heavy lens, but not overly so. It has a very reassuring weight about it and is very well built. The Galaxy NX and the 60mm Lens, when mounted has a really good weight and feel about it. It’s very reassuring and you know you have a quality set up in your hands.
The focus range can be locked by the small switch, underneath the iFn button, offering a Full or Limit setting. Full, offers the entire focus range while Limit, offers a 40cm to Infinity range, so if using the lens as a non Macro, setting the switch to Limit speeds the focusing up a bit.
The Samsung EX-M60SB, focuses using Samsung’s SSA motor, Super Sonic Actuator, which is basically an Ultrasonic Motor, which is quiet and fast, but like virtually every other Macro lens I have used, the lens can hunt a bit through the range before locking on initially, but once lock is made, the SSA locks on to slight changes very quickly.
There are two rings on the 60mm Lens, the larger one at the front is for focusing, the smaller ring towards the rear of the Lens is for camera settings when using the iFn button. I use my thumb to adjust this ring and it works really well.
Samsung really do know how to package their lenses, well most excluding the three pancake lenses (16mm, 20mm, 30mm). Each lens comes with a lens hood and a soft pouch to protect your lens when not in use and metal lens mounts. Every other camera manufacturer should take note: all lenses should have metal lens mounts and they should bundle Lens Hoods and Soft Pouches with their lenses.
The Lens Hood, being for a Macro Lens, is quite a big affair and is almost as long as the lens itself, but not quite doubling the overall length of the lens when attached. The image below gives a rough idea of the Hood size next to the 60mm Lens.
Using the Galaxy NX built in EVF gives great detail and allows easy composition with this lens attached. Using the massive 4.8″ rear Touchscreen LCD for composition is just as easy, giving a really detailed view of your object.
Image quality from the Samsung EX-M60SB, is nothing short of excellent. The detail picked up by the Galaxy NX 20.3MP sensor is incredible. NX 1 and NX500 owners will of course get a bit more detail from their 28.2MP sensors, but based on my results, the Galaxy NX sensor provides more that enough detail for any requirements.
The three images below of the Samsung Lens Cap, were taken at f2.8 and hopefully show the very shallow depth of field the EX-M60SB provides, changing focus from the first S of Samsung. . .
The next image shows the focus point on the start of the second S in Samsung. . .
The third image shows the focus point on the G of Samsung. . .
When the aperture is set a bit lower to f9.0 on my Apple Watch, more of the object is in focus. This allows the user to either separate a specific area of the object being photographed easily. The booked produced (or out of focus rendering) is smooth and creamy and overall very pleasing.
The image below of my Apple Watch Milanese Loop Strap, was taken at f4.0, which allows slightly wider depth of field but still produces a nice smooth booked which helps to isolate an area or point of focus.
Isolating the front edge of the Digital Crown on my Apple Watch was easily achieved with an aperture of f2.8 as shown below.
Depending on the effect you want to achieve with your Macro shooting, the EX-M60SB will definitely allow you to achieve excellent results. On the Galaxy NX camera, I have AF with MF override set up (Auto Focus and Manual Focus respectively). The large focus ring on the 60mm Lens is smooth with a good weighted feel when turning the focus ring. The MF on the Galaxy NX is set to magnify the focused point 5x (five times) and the Focus Peaking helps ensure you get your focus spot on. It is a great system for shooting Macro on.
While writing this, my cat, Max was fast asleep purring his head off, so I quickly snapped a picture @ f2.8 of his nose, just to give an idea of depth of field with a ‘real’ object. It’s clear how certain features can be isolated easily, so if using the EX-M60SB for portraits for example, isolating the eyes and blurring the other features can be done with minimal fuss and excellent results.
The images featured showing depth of field examples are Galaxy NX out of camera JPEGS. The images of the Galaxy NX with the Samsung EX-M60SB Lens were taken on my iPhone 6.
As I mentioned in a previous entry Samsung Galaxy NX revisited 2016, Samsung appear to have dumped their camera users here in the U.K and other countries, without as much as a ‘it was nice, thanks for your business’, but I hold no grudges against them. You see, I was very late in discovering the Samsung NX series of cameras. I was a Canon then Nikon then Canon guy again, who had tried other offerings from Leica, Fuji, Olympus, Pentax and Sony. I had never given Samsung any thought when it came to cameras.
To be honest, I hadn’t even heard about Samsung Cameras, despite Samsung spending an absolute fortune on the launch of the Galaxy NX. For example, they even had a really cool ‘robot’ called the NX Rover travelling across the world taking pictures with an on board Galaxy NX! I had heard nothing about this until a few months before Samsung decided to pull out of the camera market. It was awesome, yet I read nothing about it in any of the Photography Monthlies I read (and I get a load of different Photography mags). Not a word, so where Samsung were advertising / promoting their gear I have no idea, but sadly I never came across anything for the NX series of cameras.
With that in mind, it’s hardly surprising they pulled the plug, but if more people buy their NX cameras and lenses now, register them (camera bodies and lenses) on the Samsung Web Site, Samsung will see people actually like and use their gear and may come back into the market at some point in the future. If nothing else they may continue to offer firmware upgrades for existing devices.
The good news for us, the people who love taking photographs, is you can get into the Samsung NX system really cheaply now as second hand prices are very low. The 60mm f2.8 I got was £250.00 on eBay and it was brand new. Unused. A Nikon, Canon equivalent new is @£700-800 mark depending on where you buy from. Used versions are going @£215 – £270. My Galaxy NX was unused, with an full unused version of Adobe Lightroom 5 for under £300.00 and it also came with a full 12 month warranty.
The 20mm Pancake lens I mentioned at the very start was £100.00 on eBay and it is a cracking little lens, really sharp with good colours and contrast. Another bargain.
So, if you are thinking about a lighter set up to a heavy DSLR or are wanting to get into photography with a limited budget, for under £1000.00 (the cost of a semi decent camera body) you could get a Galaxy NX with 18-55 mm kit lens and a couple of really good prime lenses and still have change spare!
This really is a great system and I hope the images here give you some idea of what can be achieved with minimal fuss with top notch gear at a budget price. I’m still looking for a second Galaxy NX to add to my set up as I absolutely love using this camera. It’s a misunderstood gem, especially with the Samsung EX-M60SB Macro lens and other Samsung primes.