Samsung NX 85mm f1.4 review on the NX1

Samsung NX 85mm f1.4 review: fast prime on the Samsung NX1

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

 

Introduction

The 85mm f1.4 ED SSA (EXT85SB) is a portrait lens for the Samsung NX system. It uses nine rounded aperture blades that provide a smooth, natural Bokeh. This ultra-fast aperture lens uses a Supersonic Actuator (SSA) for silent and fast autofocusing. It also features full-time manual focus so you can instantly override the autofocus for fine adjustments. You’ll also find Samsung’s i-Function feature on this lens, which gives you one-touch access to all your camera’s manual settings.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

 

The 85mm (equivalent to 130.9mm in 35mm format) focal length is one of the most used focal lengths for portraiture and with an incredibly fast f/1.4 maximum aperture, the lens gives you excellent control over depth-of-field. As this lens is so quick, it’s also very usable in low-light settings. The lens has nine rounded aperture blades that provide a smooth, natural quality to the out-of-focus regions of the image.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

Distortion and vignetting and CA

No distortion visible with the 85mm f1.4, as you’d expect with a prime lens at this level. There is some slight vignetting at f/1.4 but clears up by f/4. As you can see in the image above, there is some clear purple fringing visible in contrast areas, so you’ll need to take care of that in Lightroom if you’re a RAW shooter. Jpegs are automatically corrected in-body as always.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

Samsung NX 85mm f1.4 sharpness

As with all my lens tests, I use a 300-line test chart, a tripod and the camera timer function in order to eliminate shake. These results are mean as a guideline on how to optimally use the 85mm f/1.4  in real-life. This procedure involves no computer generated test results, and my eyes to evaluate the performance.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

center performance

The image centre is relatively soft at f/1.4, not unusual with a fast lens link this, and it’s sufficiently sharp for portraiture. This sharpness increases gradually and reaches its height at f/8, where it is very, very sharp. Loss of sharpness due to diffraction only sets in beyond f/16.

Corner performance

Similar to centre performance, the corners are somewhat soft at f/1.4, improving up to f/8, where they are also very sharp. Softness due to diffraction is visible beyond f/16.

Conclusion

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

f/2

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

f/8

I like the Samsung 85mm f1/4, it is capable of making stunning images and sets your creativity on fire. Although it looks somewhat soft at large apertures in the studio test, it never bothered me in real-life shooting. For portraiture, I prefer a prime that have a smooth, good transition between in-focus and out-of-focus areas, as opposed to a too sharp centre and a sudden drop in the background. Bokeh, the out-of-focus area, is also very smooth  and looks beautiful.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

At f/8, the Samsung 85mm f1.4 is stunningly sharp in both centre and corners, making it ideal for studio shooting too. If you’ve invested in the Samsung NX1 system, this is one of the 3 or 4 lenses I would purchase; you won’t regret it.

85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1 85mm f1.4, Samsung NX1

 

wim arys

Wim Arys is a photographer from Belgium Europe with a passion for mirrorless cameras.

You may also like...

13 Responses

  1. Leszek Wronski says:

    Hi,
    Having Samsung NX 16-50mm f/2.0-2.8 lens, which lens would be better idea to have Samsung NX 85mm f/1.4 or Samsung NX 45mm f/1.8 as a prime lens?
    Thank you,
    Leszek

    • wim arys says:

      Hi Leslek, that depends somewhat on your needs and your budget. The NX85mm f/1.4 is a fantastic portrait lens, though a shorter focal lens like the 45mm might be more suitable for general, walk around use. What would be your main use?

  2. Krish says:

    Hi Wim,

    Thanks for reviewing NX lenses and those beautiful pictures. I was wondering if 85mm f1.4 is still a good one for portrait compared with 50-150mm f2.8. I already have 16-50 f2.8. Looking for a portrait lens but not if it’s similar to 50-150mm.

    Best,
    Krish

    • wim arys says:

      Hey Krish, well the Samsung NX 85mm f/1.4 is a ‘true’ portrait lens, meaning you can get the most separation between your subject and the background, no distortion. On the other hand, the NX 50-150 f/2.8 is built for the NX1, has stabilisation, auto-focusses better and is more flexible. I personally prefer a zoom for portraits, except for studio use because of that. You don’t need to get as close to your subject and easier to frame your shot without having to step forward/backward. Puts your model more at ease if you can work more quickly and from a bit further away. But you’ll never get the same type of images from a f/2.8 zoom than you’d get from a faster f/1.4.

  3. Harry says:

    Hi Wim,

    Thanks for the review and other interesting articles at your site.

    I bought a NX1 in April last year and are considering to extend the number of lenses while they are still available. I currently haven the S16-50mm OIS and the S50-150mm OIS lenses.

    In your article you refer to ” this is one of the 3 or 4 lenses I would purchase”. What are the other lenses you consider valuable?

    I am quite aware that Samsung decided to leave the camera business (indeed a shame and reason enough to stop buying Samsung ;-). However, changing camera systems, for example move to Sony, seems a big loss of money too. And with the camera is nothing wrong. What I do most is landscape, portraits and city photography and all at a hobby level too. Any thoughts from your site?

    Many thanks in advance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.