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First Impressions and Demo Video: Samsung Galaxy NX

by Chris Gampat on 06/20/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy NX product photos (1 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 2.8

Earlier today, Samsung announced their new Galaxy NX camera–the world’s first interchangeable lens camera with built in Wifi and 3G/4G connectivity. The camera otherwise sports the Android 4.0 OS system–the same one that operates many of Samsung’s Galaxy phones such as the S4 that we reviewed.

But otherwise, it so far seems to be very similar to the NX300–which one major difference.

Tech Specs

· 20.3 MP sensor and Hybrid Autofocus (AF)

· DRIMe IV Image Signal Processer

· 4.8-inch HD LCD touchscreen and SVGA Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

· Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system

· 3G/4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity for seamless sharing of images and video, including:

– “Share Shot,” ChatOn and AllShare Play similar to GALAXY mobile devices

– Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and more

· 1/6000 sec shutter speed and 8.6fps continuous shooting lets you capture the action as it’s happening

· 3D photo/video recording when paired with the 45mm 2D/3D lens (sold separately)

· 1.6 GHz Quad-core processor

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy NX product photos (2 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 5.0

When you look at the new Samsung Galaxy NX from the front, it looks like what could be one of the beefiest DSLRs around. But it isn’t a DSLR–it is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera and a large one at that. The point of mirrorless cameras was to create a smaller package, but even when I put a pancake lens on it, I couldn’t stuff it into my tailored Uniqlo jeans.

However, it could surely fit into a peacoat jacket.

With that said, the front of the camera features barely any controls except for a lens release and shutter release.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy NX product photos (3 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 5.0

The top of the camera delivers one of the cleanest designs that we’ve ever seen. There is a power switch, pop-up flash button, flash, hot shoe, control dial that can be pushed in for confirmation or switching settings, video recording and the shutter release as we stated before.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy NX product photos (4 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 5.0

And here is where it might get a little weird for some of you: the entire back is a touchscreen. Want to change a setting or playback the image? You’ll need to use the massive 4.8 screen. Want to change the mode? You’ll need to hit the center right area of the screen that we’re showing off right there in the photo above.

Don’t get me wrong though, it is gorgeous. However, the NX300 had a nicer screen in my opinion, but I’m willing to blame that on the fact that this is a pre-production unit.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung Galaxy NX product photos (5 of 6)ISO 8001-50 sec at f - 5.0

Oh, and you’re in manual mode right. You’ll need to dial in your settings via a touch slider that feels a bit like you’re playing Wheel of Fortune. Combine this with Samsung’s i-functionality of their lenses such as their very excellent 16mm f2.4, and you’ll have one of the biggest interface changes since this whole digital photography thing started.

Build Quality

I held a pre-production model tonight, and it felt pretty damn solid for what this is–a fusion of a phone and a high end camera. The body has a textured leather feel all over it which adds to te gripping on the camera. But to be honest, I can’t imagine myself personally using it and not moving my eye away from the viewfinder. The design of many cameras with viewfinders has had a major emphasis on this, but this one doesn’t seem to.

For that reason, I really need to recommend that this camera be used with small compact pancake primes or a small zoom lens. I’d never want to shoot handheld with my arms stretched out using the LCD screen with a consumer grade telephoto zoom.

In fact, using the kit lens with it was a bit awkward but not challenging.

Autofocus

The unit I handled didn’t seem so snappy to focus, but that could very well be because the Metropolitan Pavillion is extremely poorly lit for journalists and that this was a pre-production unit. To really give this a fair test though, I’d need to spend more than a half hour with the camera.

Ease of Use

Here’s a demo video walkthrough of the camera.

If you can wrap your head around just using a touchscreen or set it and forget it in aperture priority, then you can really have lots of fun with this camera and the connectivity experience that the Samsung Smart Camera app provides in conjunction.

In many ways, this interface reminds me of the Sony NEX system when it was first launched–journalists everywhere never wanted to set the cameras to manual mode. I could be wrong though, but I’ll need to spend more time with it.

Image Quality

Since I shot a pre-production model, the image quality wasn’t final and so I couldn’t put a card in the camera. However, I believe that this sensor might the same as what is the NX300. In that case, the highlight performance of the RAW images might not be the best.

First Impressions

Upon receiving the NDA and information about the camera today, I told my Samsung reps that they’re doing a damned good job right now. Japanese companies and employees in general are discouraged from taking risks and sometimes face public shaming if they do due to the culture. Koreans aren’t like that though–and this company seems to be trying to embrace the coming changes and evolution of photography rather than fight it.

But hell, do they need to work on their ergonomics.

We’re calling in a review unit, but it probably won’t be in my hands until a couple of months from now. So stay tuned!

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