As one of the least desirable models in a camera maker’s range, the kit lens is usually the first experience users have of the brand. This is a revised model that’s bundled with the maker’s high-end NX and the new NX30 so expectations are high, but it is also available separately at around $ Although plastic is used for the outer it has a metal mount and is relatively well made by comparison to some of the bigger well-known brands. It has 12 elements in 10 groups including one aspherical element, though the total number in includes stabilization optics.
Like other models from the maker the (mm equivalent) f OIS III includes the firm’s innovative i-Function option allowing quick and simple selection of a number of camera features, such as EV shift, ISO and more using the focus collar. Although compact measuring x ″ (63 x mm), it’s not quite as small as the firm’s collapsible mm f, which has been bundled as a kit lens in the past but at oz ( g) it’s relatively light in weight.
Samsung NX mm F OIS III mounted on Samsung NX Lower than expected sharpness wide open
The lens achieved a DxOMark score of 13 points overall and a fairly typical score for a lens like this. A peak sharpness score of 8-Mpix is also around the expected value, given the Mpix sensor of the NX
Like many zooms we see, this one is sharper at the wider-end of the zoom range and it requires stopping down a little from the initial aperture as it’s a little soft, particularly in the outer field. Barrel distortion is noticeable at 18mm but this falls away rapidly although it changes to pincushion from 35mm through to 55mm. Apart from low sharpness with zooms, vignetting and chromatic aberration are arguably the most troubling for kit zooms like this, but again Samsung has done very well to minimize both.
Optimum sharpness is achieved at 24mm (35mm equivalent) f
Samsung NX mm F OIS III vs Canon EF-S mm f/ IS STM vs Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor mm f/G VR: Uniformity slightly behind rivals
Compared to two retrofocus type zoom lenses intended for use on DSLRs, the Samsung scores comparatively well.
It’s similar in peak sharpness to Canon but that model has acceptable sharpness at full-aperture and better uniformity, which is more practical in models like this (even if they’re equipped with stabilization). Both have near identical distortion at 18mm but the Canon reveals barrel distortion to 28mm and has only the barest trace of distortion from 35mm onwards.
That lens also has more noticeable chromatic aberration, particularly at the wider end of the zoom range.
When analyzed against the earlier Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor mm fG VR ( version), the Samsung has similar levels of peak sharpness.
It’s possible the Samsung may have some in reserve with a higher resolution sensor, but the Nikkor has slightly higher overall sharpness. The Nikkor also stands out for its distortion correction. Admittedly at 18mm it has a similar barrel type distortion to both the Canon and the Samsung but from 35mm onwards the Nikkor has no measurable distortion at all, which is unusual in a lens like this.
The Nikkor also has well-controlled vignetting but it’s not low as the Samsung, which has only a slight trace at the shorter focal lengths. The use of ED glass shows at the longer focal lengths as lateral chromatic aberration is very low from 24mm onwards and it’s still quite low at 18mm, though it’s noticeable in the extreme corners.
All three have similar peak sharpness but the Canon has better sharpness overall, with most of the gains made in the outer field.
While it’s good see makers like Samsung improve the build quality and concentrate on adding innovative features with kit lenses like this lens, there is some room for improvement in optical quality. The performance isn’t bad by any means, considering the price, but sharpness is a little low wide open throughout the zoom range and uniformity isn’t quite on a par with the best of the rival options.
Samsung mm f/ OIS III NX
by Andrew Alexander
The Samsung mm ƒ/ OIS III NX is the third iteration of Samsung's mm series kit lens. Looking at the technical specifications, it's hard to see any discernible difference between the version II and III lenses (though the version III lens appears to have packed on an additional 6 grams in weight despite not having changed size). It offers a focal length range equivalent of around mm (in 35mm film terms). The lens is available in two colors: black, and white.
The mm isn't a ''constant'' lens, in that as you increase the focal length, the maximum aperture size decreases, however the minimum aperture remains at f/ The following table reflects the change in aperture size with focal length:
The Samsung mm ƒ/ ships with a petal-shaped lens hood, takes 58mm filters, and is available separately for around $ or as part of a NX30 or NX kit.
Our copy of the lens looks to have some de-centering - it's most noticeable at the 45mm focal length setting. Generally, the lens is decently sharp, but not amazingly so. Used at its widest apertures, we note fair results for sharpness in the central region of the frame (excepting the notable 45mm focal length) with a not insignificant amount of corner softness. Stopping down helps a bit, but not a huge amount - the lens never achieves tack-sharp images. The best setting appears to be 35mm at ƒ/8, where it's almost tack-sharp across the frame.
Diffraction limiting begins to set in at ƒ/11, and at this setting image sharpness is even across the frame for all focal length settings. Generalized softness becomes apparent at ƒ/16, and consistently so at ƒ/
The NX30 and NX cameras perform some significant processing to remove chromatic aberration for JPEGs produced in-camera (one only need look at Imaging Resource's review of the NX to see uncorrected RAW images, with some impressive CA in the corners). Happily this CA is restricted mostly to the wide angle of the lens - mm - at other focal lengths, it's much less apparent.
There's very little corner shading to report on with the Samsung mm - the corners are about a quarter-stop darker than the center, at all focal lengths and apertures.
As is indicative of consumer kit lenses, there is significant distortion when using this lens. Between 18mm and 24mm, there is significant wide-angle distortion (+1% in the corners) and between 24mm and 55mm this turns into pincushion distortion (around % in the corners).
Samsung claims the mm ƒ/ III focuses in milliseconds, though they offer no explanation of the scenario which produces this result. In our testing, we found the lens to focus quite quickly on the NX it takes less than one second to go through its whole range. The front element accepts 58mm filters, and will not rotate during focus operations, making life just that little bit easier for polarizer users.
With a minimum close-focus range of 28cm (just under a foot) and a magnification ratio of x, the mm provides reasonable performance in the macro category.
Build Quality and Handling
The Samsung mm III ƒ/ OIS NX is a light and compact zoom lens, weighing in at just grams ( ounces), and just 65mm long ( inches). The lens is constructed out of dense polycarbonate with smooth black finish and a metal lens mount. The lens is composed of 12 elements in 9 groups, with 1 aspherical element; the 7-bladed circular aperture diaphragm helps create smooth, pleasing background blur. The lens features only focal length markings and has no distance scale or depth-of-field markings. The lens takes 58mm filters.
In addition to the focus zoom rings (more on that in a second) there are two control switches: the first switch activates or deactivates autofocus. The second switch is the I-Function button, which operates the camera's I-Function, well, function. The I-Function system allows you to adjust all sorts of camera exposure and image quality settings. It's a very handy feature, especially when paired with sleeker cameras like the Samsung NX that do away with a front control dial.
Samsung doesn't really intend for the user to manually focus - the focus ring is only about a quarter-inch wide with raised plastic ribs. The ring turns forever, without stops to let you know you've reached infinity or close-focusing distance.
The zoom ring is about a half-inch wide, with deep rubber ribs. It offers about ninety degrees of turning radius. As the lens is zoomed from 18mm to 55mm, it extends its length, from " to 4" when fully zoomed in to 55mm.
Finally, Samsung has included Optical Image Stabilization in this lens, which can be a welcome alternative to lugging around a tripod. Samsung's marketing materials don't specify how effective its OIS system is, but our testing shows that it can confidently produce around two stops of hand-holding stability. Check out our IS Test tab above for more detail.
At the time of writing, we haven't tested any other Samsung zoom lenses, so we present the following links for your reference:
Samsung mm ƒ/ AL Schneider D-XENON ~$?
Samsung mm ƒ/ ED NX ~$
Samsung mm ƒ/ S ED OIS NX ~$1,
For it's price point, the Samsung mm III is a decent lens, but doesn't punch above its weight class as many users might hope. Still, as an entry point to the Samsung system it does decently well, but demanding users will probably (to Samsung's hopes) want to upgrade to a better and more expensive lens such as the mm ƒ/
Click here for Real-world Gallery Images on our Flickr page!
The VFA target should give you a good idea of sharpness in the center and corners, as well as some idea of the extent of barrel or pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration, while the Still Life subject may help in judging contrast and color. We shoot both images using the default JPEG settings and manual white balance of our test bodies, so the images should be quite consistent from lens to lens.
As appropriate, we shoot these with both full-frame and sub-frame bodies, at a range of focal lengths, and at both maximum aperture and ƒ/8. For the ''VFA'' target (the viewfinder accuracy target from Imaging Resource), we also provide sample crops from the center and upper-left corner of each shot, so you can quickly get a sense of relative sharpness, without having to download and inspect the full-res images. To avoid space limitations with the layout of our review pages, indexes to the test shots launch in separate windows.
Samsung mm f/ OIS III NX
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Samsung NX mm f/ OIS II
Construction and AF
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. Thats not unusual for a standard zoom lens.
DistortionSamsung mm II
Bokeh Samsung mm II
Conclusion Samsung mm II review
- 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 mm that we tested previously, Samsung with the mm kit lens shows that Samsung lenses give nothing up to the established camera brands.
Its attractive to purchase a Samsung camera with the Samsung 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, youre looking for a Samsung lens. In qualitative terms, it does not need to be a burden that youre 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 mm II is the Samsung mm, which we have already tested. If you put the test results for both lenses side by side, then the Samsung mm scores higher. On the other hand, the Samsung mm offers a wider angle, thus a more expansive image.
Samsung mm NX Standard Zoom Lens
The Samsung mm NX Standard Zoom ($ direct) is the kit lens that is bundled with the mid-range NX and high-end NX20 digital cameras. Samsung bundles the smaller mm f/ ED II NX Lens with the entry-level NX This lens may be physically larger, but provides a slightly longer zoom range and optical image stabilization.
The lens features Samsung's iFn control button, which allows you to use its manual focus ring to adjust shooting settings. A lens hood is included, and the front element does not rotate during zoom or focus—so you can use a 58mm polarizing filter. It's at its shortest at 18mm, but extends as you move the zoom towards its 55mm extreme. The focus motor is almost silent, so you won't add unwanted audio to the soundtrack when using it for video recording.
I used Imatest and an NX20 body to check the sharpness and distortion characteristics of the lens. It's a bit shy of the 1, lines per picture height required for a sharp image at its widest setting—at 18mm f/ it only manages 1, lines. Stopping down to f/ improves the sharpness; it hits 2, lines there. At 35mm f/ it scores 1, lines, which increases to 1, lines at f/ At its longest 55mm f/ it hits an impressive 2, lines, and an even better 2, lines at f/8. In-camera distortion correction is used across the NX line, which virtually eliminates barrel distortion at 18mm—although if you disable this in the camera settings, barrel distortion is very noticeable at this setting. At 35mm and 55mm there is slight pincushion distortion, percent and percent respectively, even with distortion correction enabled. The mm lens is smaller, sharper throughout its zoom range, and shows less distortion—but it isn't optically stabilized.
The NX system is limited when it comes to standard zooms—your only choices are this lens and the smaller mm. If you value size above all, the mm is a good lens, but the mm's optical stabilization makes it possible to get sharper photos in less than ideal light. If you add this lens to your kit the way most people do, by having it bundled with a camera, it's a good value—but it's a tough sell on its own at the $ price point. The lack of a high-end f/ constant-aperture zoom is a weak link in the NX lens system; although the excellent Samsung 30mm NX Pancake Lens, which has an f/2 aperture, did earn our Editors' Choice award, it doesn't zoom.
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Samsung mm NX Standard Zoom Lens
Bottom Line: The mm OIS Zoom NX Lens is one of two kit lenses for Samsung's NX camera system. Bundled with your camera, it's a good value, but purchased on its own, it's overpriced.
Lens 55mm samsung 18
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