Samsung 18-55mm III lens review: A decent entry-point to the NX mount, but will it satisfy enthusiasts?


posted Monday, November 24, 2014 at 7:10 PM EDT


The Samsung 18-55mm III f/3.5-5.6 OIS NX is the third iteration of Samsung's 18-55mm 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 six grams in weight, despite not having changed size). It offers a focal length range equivalent of around 28-85mm (in 35mm film terms).

The Samsung 18-55mm III f/3.5-5.6 OIS NX is a light and compact zoom lens, weighing in at just 204 grams (7.2 ounces), and just 65mm long (2.6 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 nine groups, with one aspherical element; the seven-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.

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 NX300 that do away with a front control dial.

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. CA is restricted mostly to the wide angle of the lens and distortion is visible, but vignetting is quite well controlled. For it's price point, the Samsung 18-55mm 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 opt for a higher-end lens, such as the 16-50mm f/2.2.8.

Head on over to SLRgear to read the full Samsung 18-55mm III f/3.5-5.6 OIS NX review, complete with our in-depth report, final conclusion as well as our full range of test results and sample images.

The Samsung 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 ships with a petal-shaped lens hood, takes 58mm filters, and is available separately for around $220 or as part of a NX-30 or NX-300 kit. Check Amazon, Adorama or B&H. Purchasing this camera or lens, or any other item, at one of these trusted affiliates helps support this site and keeps the reviews coming!

In the meantime, check out some sample photos shot by our senior lens technician Rob Murray using the Samsung NX300. You can view more sample photos, plus download the full-resolution files, over at our Flickr page.

NX300: 55mm, f/9, 1/160s, ISO 200
NX300: 18mm, f/4.5, 1/640s, ISO 100
NX300: 55mm, f/5.6, 1/250s, ISO 100