Samsung's NX kit lens is delightfully affordable and produces some perfectly acceptable results
Aesthetically, the proportions of the zoom are well matched to those of the NX10 body on which it was tested. There is a lot of extension as the focal length sweeps from 18mm to 55mm but the focusing mechanism is entirely internal so both the front element and the focusing ring remain undisturbed in AF mode.
The focusing ring is narrow and located towards the front of the lens: it can be rotated at any time but is only effective when the lens is in MF mode. The zoom ring is much wider and falls nicely to hand.
Behind the zoom ring, on the left of the barrel, are slider switches to activate the optical image stabilisation (OIS) mechanism and to change from AF mode to MF, though there is no option to apply MF adjustments in AF mode.
Despite the apparent use of more plastic than metal in its construction, the 18-55mm feels robust. It is even (just about) possible to use the lens with its hood reversed for storage, as the petal elements leave the sides of the zoom ring accessible to thumb and second-finger.
Image quality, both visual and technical, is good. Chromatic aberrations are very slight and only detectable in technical images at the 18mm setting. The MTF curves are well grouped though the 18mm data clearly fall slightly below those recorded at longer focal lengths. In all cases, though, sharpness was at or above the critical 0.25 cycles-per-pixel threshold from f/5.6 to f/16, which will cover most picture-taking situations.
The main drawbacks to this zoom is the lack of manual intervention in AF mode, plus the wideangle limit and open aperture limits are rather modest. However, with a £130 price tag, the 18-55mm is delightfully affordable.