Lens review

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

31 December 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

4. Image resolution

We tested the resolution on the same Samsung NX10 which was used in  the test of the system pancake, the NX 30 mm f/2.0, with a CMOS sensor’s sharpness of 14 megapixels. It’s worth reminding here that the decency level, determined previously, was near 33-34 lpmm and the maximum resolution level was reached near 51 lpmm.

It is obvious that you would like to compare the Samsung with the Sony kit, a similar lens when it comes to the dimensions, also designed to work on a mirrorless APS-C sensor; it is possible but with two proviso. In a situation when the maximum achievements, reaching 55-56 lpmm on the 14-megapixel Sony sensor, are higher, you must increase the results of the Samsung by about 2-4 lpmm. The decency level of the Sony NEX lenses was determined as 34-36 lpmm. Secondly, the influence of asymmetry between the vertical and horizontal resolution, noticed in the Sony NEX tested by us (and used to test lenses of this system) is not without significance either.

Let’s look at the graph presenting the achievements of the tested lens in the frame centre.

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Samsung NX 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS - Image resolution

If you consult these results, only one expression comes into your mind – a decent lens. By most of apertures and at most of focal lengths the resolution exceeds the decency level of 34 lpmm. Even more, when it comes to the most often used combinations it is higher than 40 lpmm. Only at the middle focal length of 35 mm and by f/4.3 it is rather close to the decency level. On the graph you can see that the 18 mm focal length performs the best in the Samsung NX 18–55 mm f/3.5–5.6 OIS, reaching the highest values by every aperture. The maximum resolution amounted to about 46 lpmm so by 5 lpmm lower than in the case of the NX 30 mm f/2.0 pancake.

Even taking into account the difference, stemming from better achievements of the Sony sensor, you can clearly notice that the Samsung kit in the frame centre loses to the Sony kit. The Sony E 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS fares distinctly better in the 18-30 mm range and it is defeated by the Samsung only at 55 mm and by f/5.6. Now let’s consult the resolution graph for the edge of the frame.

Samsung NX 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS - Image resolution

The results on the edge are worse, oscillating near the decency level but exceeding it in most of cases. The Samsung NX 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 OIS fares the best in the 35-55 mm focal range and by f/5.6-f/16. The shorter the focal length the more results are below the decency level and for a greater number of apertures. Especially the combination of 18 mm focal length near the area of maximum relative aperture sticks out here.

As in the frame centre the Sony kit prevailed, on the edge the tested Samsung is better. At 18 mm and also at the maximum relative aperture and 55 mm its resolution is definitely higher. The results are more even and they exceed the decency level more often.

When it comes to the resolution the tested Samsung kit fares really well but of course there are no record-breaking values here. Apparently the time when kit lenses were simply crummy and every more aware amateur photographer wanted to change them into something better as soon as possible is over. The Samsung NX 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 OIS is not flawless; you could expect a bit better resolution in the frame centre. The comparison between it and the Sony E 18–55 mm f/3.5–5.6 OSS ended in a draw – the Sony’s better frame centre was offset by the Samsung’s better edges. The overall assessment of the tested lens’s resolution still remains positive.

At the end of this chapter we would like to present test chart crops, based on JPEG files (sharpened on a minimum level) which were saved along RAW files.

Samsung NX 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS - Image resolution