Review Samsung NX 18-55 mm OIS II (APS-C)

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In a short time, Samsung has built up an impressive range of cameras with interchangeable lenses. Just like the established camera brands, Samsung sells an attractively priced kit of a camera body with an 18-55 mm lens. Samsung describes the Samsung 18-55 mm II as a compact standard zoom lens for everyday use that is anything but standard. This lens offers an NX-lens mount and therefore fits only on Samsung cameras. Thanks to the small and light design, the lens is easy to carry. It is sold separately for a suggested retail price of € 299.-, but by far most photographers will purchase this lens with a 58 filter size in combination with a Samsung camera. What level of image quality does this compact standard zoom lens from Samsung deliver?

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Samsung NX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II

echt18mm
18mm
This all-round lens is ideal for shooting beautiful portraits, beautiful landscapes and everything in between. The field of view varies from 75.9°-28.7° and corresponds to the field of view of a 28-85 mm zoom on full frame.

Construction and AF

 

To save as much weight as possible, this zoom weighs only 2 ounces, the housing of this lens is made of plastic. There is a lens hood included. The construction quality is comparable to the construction quality of 18-55 mm kit lenses from other brands. The zoom ring turns somewhat roughly in comparison with the focusing ring, but I didn't experience that as objectionable. That way, you're sure the zoom stays in place, where you set it, even if you have the lens facing down. Focusing is fast and very accurate. Samsung makes use of contrast detection.

 

Specifications
Samsung NX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II
Image Stabilization:+
lenses/ groups:12/9
length x diameter:65 / 63
filter size:58
Weight:198
Lens hood:+

In terms of construction quality, the Samsung 18-55 mm does not stand out from other 18-55 mm kit lenses. Where the Samsung 18-55 mm OIS II does set itself apart from the competition, and in contrast to its predecessor, is the intuitive i-Function button, which you use for all manual settings of the Samsung camera. With a little twist of the lens, you set the shutter speed or aperture.

Image stabilization

 
Thanks to the built-in image stabilization, you can also shoot by hand in low-light situations. A picture made at a focal length of 45 mm and a shutter speed of 1.6 seconds without image stabilization does not look good: heavy motion blur. With image stabilization, you make at the same shutter speed and focal length a picture that is just as sharp as a picture made without image stabilization at a shutter speed of 1/50 second. That is a real gain of 3 stops. vr

Sharpness

 

In terms of sharpness, the Samsung delivers excellent value for the money.

The center sharpness at maximum aperture is remarkably good, and that aplies for the whole zoom range. The corners lag somewhat in terms of sharpness behind the center, particularly at the extreme focal lengths. That's not unusual for a standard zoom lens.

Resolution
sampleWith a minimum distance setting of 28 cm, an image scale of 1:0.22 is achieved. That is not, strictly speaking, true macro (1: 1), but you you can still enjoy making close-ups.

Vignetting

 
Vignetting is so low that you will not have trouble with it at any focal length/aperture combination. As far as that's concerned, shooting with the Samsung 18-55 mm II is wonderfully undisturbed by it! jpgvignet

DistortionSamsung 18-55 mm II

Particularly at the shortest focal length, there is remarkably low distortion in jpg files. Here, the Samsung 18-55 mm stands out in a positive way from most other 18-55 mm kit lenses from other brands. The distortion in jpg files increases at the longer focal lengths. For anyonw who works in RAW, distortion is automatically corrected with the lens correction profiles in Lightroom and Photoshop. jpgdistort
SamsungsampleIn practice, in making everyday snapshots, it will not frequently happen that you will want to correct for distortion.

Bokeh Samsung 18-55 mm II

The aperture of the Samsung 18-55 mm II consists of 7 lamellae that provide a nice round diaphragm opening. The bokeh of all standard lenses for cameras with an APS-C sensor is not exceptional. Even so, the Samsung 18-55 mm doesn't do badly here either. The background blur at 18 mm was remarkably quiet although the bokeh does show, as you can see on the right, at 55 mm a ring on the outside. Nevertheless, the Samsung 18-55 mm belongs among the top half of the standard zoom lenses that we have tested. bokeh

Flare

 
A lens is always composed from multiple lenses. And the more lenses, the greater the chance of internal reflections, with flare and ghosts (light spots) as a consequence. The Samsung 18-55 mm is made up of 12 elements in 9 groups (including 1 aspherical lens). Such a number of lenses is not unusual for a standard zoom lens. Samsung provides a free lens hood to protect from flare with this lens. However, you will not soon be bothered by it, even without the lens hood. Only in direct backlight, as in the image on the right which is photographed straight into the Sun, or in night shots where there's a bright light source in the picture, will you encounter flare and ghosts. It's a good performance for such an attractively priced lens, actually. flare

Chromatic aberration

 
More and more camera manufacturers choose to correct for some lens properties in the camera. Samsung corrects the chromatic aberration of the Samsung 18-55 mm II when saving jpg files in the camera, meaning chromatic aberration is absent and the sharpness in the corners increases. For those who work in RAW, any chromatic aberration is correctable automatically with the lens correction profiles in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Conclusion Samsung 18-55 mm II review

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Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare the performance of this lens with other lenses.
ECWYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens when you store the files in the camera as jpg, with all available in-camera lens corrections applied. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
19
29
7.3
6.8
8.6
8.6
7.4
23
35
7.6
6.6
9.1
8.7
9.5
33
50
7.0
6.9
8.2
8.9
5.9
55
83
7.0
7.3
6.2
9.2
5.6
Overall
Overall
6.9
6.7
8.0
8.9
6.2
ECPure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens when the file is stored in the camera in RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera.
19
29
7.2
7.8
7.8
8.6
5.5
23
35
7.9
7.8
8.2
8.7
9.6
33
50
7.3
7.7
8.0
9.0
6.1
55
83
7.1
7.9
8.0
9.2
5.5
Overall
Overall
7.1
7.7
8.0
8.9
6.3

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • Attractively priced
  • Solid image quality
  • Built-in, effective image stabilization
  • Good correction for chromatic aberration in jpg files
  • Little trouble from flare
  • Low distortion at 18 mm (jpg)
  • Sharpness in the corners at 18 mm and 55 mm is somewhat lower
  • Apparent distortion above 24 mm (jpg) and 18 mm (RAW)
Just as with the Samsung NX 20-50 mm that we tested previously, Samsung with the 18-55 mm kit lens shows that Samsung lenses give nothing up to the established camera brands.
It's attractive to purchase a Samsung camera with the Samsung 18-55 mm kit lens included. The additional cost of a camera with lens is less than the price for a separate lens. Because Samsung cameras have a private mount, with a Samsung Samsung camera, you're looking for a Samsung lens. In qualitative terms, it does not need to be a burden that you're limited to Samsung lenses. Construction quality, image quality and the performance of the built-in image stabilization of this compact zoom for everyday use are perfectly fine. The most obvious competitor for the Samsung 18-55 mm II is the Samsung 20-50 mm, which we have already tested. If you put the test results for both lenses side by side, then the Samsung 20-50 mm scores higher. On the other hand, the Samsung 18-55 mm offers a wider angle, thus a more expansive image. 
Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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