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Hands On Review: Samsung NX100

by Chris Gampat on 09/14/2010

The Samsung NX100 is the latest mirrorless camera in the line and it doesn’t seem to disappoint in some areas. For every photographer that has wanted a Leica-like body, this is perhaps the camera that you’d want to get your hands on. That said, it is also the largest mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses that I’ve ever held (the exception being Leica M bodies.) However, one can easily see themselves slinging it across their shoulder or body as well as being pleased with what it can do.

Tech Specs

- 14.6MP CMOS sensor

- Super sonic drive dust reduction

- 3″ AMOLED back panel (VGA 640×480) 614k dots

- EVF is available

- 1/4000s – 30s shooting speeds

- ISO 100-3200 expandable up to 6400

- 3fps shooting

- Burst shooting mode that allows 10, 15 or 30 fps.

- Scene modes: Beauty Shot, Children, Sports, Close Up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Night, Portrait, Landscape, Sound picture

- 720p HD 30p H.264

- Smart filter Vignetting, Miniature, Fish-Eye, Sketch, Defog, Halftone Dots, Soft Focus

- SD card storage

- GPS module for geotagging

Gallery

Ergonomics

The Samsung NX100 is actually a camera that I nearly could not get my hands off of. There is a front dial by the shutter button on top and a back dial—because of this the camera is very Canon-like. The back is characterized by a load of buttons and a rather small and not very high resolution screen. Because of the small screen, the shooting information that is displayed can also get in the way of composition at times: like when manually focusing. There are quite a number of other buttons here as well. Users shouldn’t be intimidated by this though—they’re very clearly labeled.

The top has a mode dial and a hot shoe that is also an accessory port for flashes, viewfinders, etc. My only qualm here would be that I wish there was a small LCD screen of some sort to display shooting information for more discrete shooting.

Now here’s the unique part—the depth of field button is on one of the sides. I can’t really tell you how this will function in practice, but it is a much different choice than what I’ve seen previously.

When holding the camera, I couldn’t get over the fact that it was just so Leica-like. It’s elegant yet gives the user loads of different options to modify their photos. The camera wasn’t very hard to master either.

I got to hold the camera when it literally just got in as a shipment from Korea. The new lenses were also available, but the problem was that they weren’t functional and were just mock ups. They are pleasantly smaller than Sony’s line of NEX lenses though. Leica users wanting a smaller, more affordable camera that is similar in style will probably want to pick this one up. To make this even truer to their traditions, there is no on-board flash of any sort unlike the NX10.

Image Quality

The NX100 has the same sensor as the NX10 and we weren’t allowed to put cards in the camera during our playtime. This does mean though that you can assume that the high ISOs will not be up to par with competitors like the Panasonic G2 or the Sony NEX-5 interchangeable lens compact cameras.

For general use or those that are not very picky, the camera’s image quality will more than suffice.

Autofocus

Samsung may have a real winner with the NX100 and the AF system. It was quick, accurate, smart, and didn’t seem to hunt a terrible amount. That said, from my brief testing it would probably be best to leave the camera in AF mode with manual override perhaps. Full time MF gave us a weird display over the imaging area that made it harder to compose an image.

Don’t get me, wrong: you won’t be shooting a wedding with this camera, but it could surely accompany the casual snapper with no qualms.

Press Release

SAMSUNG SETS SIGHTS ON INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP WITH PIONEERING NX100

 

New Mirrorless Camera Incorporates Unique New i-Function Lens to Give Beginner and Expert Photographers Seamless Control and Creativity

 

Ridgefield Park, NJ (September 14, 2010) Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of the unique Samsung NX100 – an innovative mirrorless camera equipped with the world’s first i-Function lens, putting the perfect picture at the fingertips of all photographers through a completely new way of controlling your camera.

The NX100 is expected to dominate the new mirrorless camera category. The innovative NX100 has benefited from Samsung’s expertise across multiple areas of technology as all of the camera’s key components are produced internally. Samsung’s expertise has been combined with a detailed and extensive program of consumer research, which provided valuable insights that the company’s designers and engineers have incorporated into the creation of the NX100. Additionally, the unparalleled camera is complemented by an extensive line up of lenses and accessories, which give photographers the full package to explore their creativity.

The launch of the NX100 follows the success of the NX10, Samsung’s first mirrorless camera and the first in the world to feature an APS-C size sensor, which has changed the way photographers across the globe take pictures, and raised the bar for the industry as a whole. The NX100 shares the industry leading technology of NX10, such as an APS-C size sensor for quality images and a 3-inch AMOLED screen for easy and clear viewing. However, with the NX100, Samsung takes the mirrorless camera to the next level, by incorporating the innovations of the NX10 and improving other areas of the camera’s performance and design. While the body of the camera is slim, sleek, and stylish, the NX100 also features the intuitive i-Function lens which allows users to control their camera through the lens for the first time. The NX100 also boasts one of the fastest AF on the market today, which ensures that users never miss a moment, and an ISO that is raised to a maximum of 6400 for action shots.

The design of the NX100 is inspired by the simple shape of dew forming on a leaf, which can be seen on the camera’s shutter button and curved body, which comes in two different colors; black and brown. The lightweight, compact and modern design makes the camera portable, allowing users with a creative flair to carry the NX100 with them anywhere and for any occasion. The NX100 is more than just a camera; it is both a creative tool and an artistic object that makes a bold style statement everywhere it goes.

“Our aim is to dominate the mirrorless camera market in the same way that we do in the DualView category, and the new NX100 is the embodiment of that goal,” said Mr. SangJin Park, President of Samsung Digital Imaging Division, Samsung Electronics. “We are the first to create a mirrorless camera with high quality imaging technology which has been designed based on intuitive consumer insights from our in-depth consumer research. This is why we believe that the NX100, alongside the NX10, will cement our leadership in this growing field. Our unique and pioneering i-Function Lens stands out from the competition as an example of our unparalleled innovation, which will appeal to every photographer.”

While conventional lenses were passive in controlling camera settings, the unique i-Function Lens is a proactive lens that communicates with the camera body. It delivers total image control with fast manual settings to ensure quick and easy image capturing, and also provides customized settings which are ideal for the lens being used. The lens incorporates a conveniently-located i-Function button which allows users to scroll through manual settings, and a focus ring which is used to easily change parameters for each setting. This unprecedented control system is clever, intuitive and fast, putting the perfect picture at everyone’s fingertips.

Since a typical camera-user wraps their hand around the lens when holding the camera, the new system means that photographers can naturally use their left hand to change settings through the intuitive i-Function lens without the need to take the cameras off the target. Users can toggle between shutter speed, aperture, EV, WB, and ISO quickly and easily by simply using the i-Function button and ring on the lens, meaning easier and quicker configuration while shooting.

The NX100 also has a lens priority mode which makes switching between lenses easier than ever. Each lens is clearly marked with icons that illustrate their main usages, so beginners can quickly understand which lens they need to select for any given scene. The lens priority mode provides scene options specifically designed for the lens being used – for example when a landscape lens is attached, the camera will immediately display the landscape mode. Additionally, when users change to a specialized lens, the camera will recognize the lens type and automatically configure the settings that would best match with the attached lens. This latter feature will work with future, specialized Samsung lenses.

The NX100’s innovations aren’t confined to the lens – the camera also provides a very creative feature called ‘Smart Filter’. In playback mode, users can apply seven different effects to the picture, such as the vignette, soft focus, fish-eye, or miniature effects. The ‘Smart Filter’ provides not just high quality images, but also features that are fun to use.

The fun doesn’t stop with the still image options – the NX100 supports HD movie recording at 720P, so that memories can stay alive in their finest details. The NX100 also contains a ‘Sound Picture’ mode, which can record audio when a photo is taken enriching the experience. To ensure the perfect quality of every image, even when lenses are being regularly changed, the NX100 also features a supersonic dust reduction feature to remove foreign particles from the lens before shooting.

The NX100 will be equipped with a range of innovative lenses and accessories to further enhance the user’s experience. At launch, the lens line-up includes a compact zoom 20-50mm lens to provide both high image quality and portability. A small and light 20mm wide angle Pancake lens will be introduced shortly after. Two additional specialized lenses will be available in the first half of 2011 – a 60mm Macro lens and 18-200mm Super Zoom lens. To expand the lens line-up even further, three more lenses will be introduced by the second half of 2011, including 16mm, 85mm, and 16-80mm lenses. The NX system will be further enhanced with more accessories, including an Electronic Viewfinder, Flash and GPS tracker to capture your exact geographical location.

 

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