SLR Gear, an offshoot website of the Imaging Resource, one of the web's most-trusted resources for all things digital photography, has just posted an in-depth review of the Samsung 45 f1.8 NX 2D/3D lens, which became an industry first when initially unveiled at CES 2013 thanks to its ability to capture images in both traditional 2D as well as 3D thanks to a built-in LCD splitter system.
So, novelty aside, does the lens produce good images? Short answer: yes.
Optically, the lens is good. In terms of sharpness, the lens is a tad soft when shot wide open. To correct this, stop down to f4 to get optimal sharpness. However, it should be noted that the improvement from f1.8 to f4 is not all that much. On the small end of things, diffraction limiting is minimal, only degrading the image quality in a meaningful amount at f22 (minimum aperture). As for vignetting, chromatic aberration, and distortion, all are virtually nil. Of these figures, the lack of vignetting is most impressive, with SLR Gear only measuring about a quarter stop of falloff in the corners, which is beyond good for a f1.8 optic.
Mechanically, the lens is small and light thanks to plastic construction based on a metal mount. The focus ring is rubberized and moves smoothly. There are two switches: a AF/MF and an “i-Fn.”As for what the 'i-Fn” is, it is a multi-function button whose purpose can be assigned by the photographer and and controlled by the MF ring when in the appropriate mode. In essence, it's a custom function button that's not on the camera itself. As for optics, the lens consists of 7 elements in 6 groups. The lens also features a 9-bladed, rounded diaphragm designed to produce silky smooth bokeh.
As for focus, AF is by way of a Super Sonic Actuator motor, essentially a ring-type sonic drive. In operation, the lens is fast, accurate, and quiet to focus.. Additionally, full time manual focus is another function as is a non-rotating front element.
Overall conclusion? A good one, with the only real gripe being in the review itself and not the lens, namely the fact that the SLR Gear staffers couldn't find a way to procure a 3D television set in order to properly test out the 3D functionality of this revolutionary lens.
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