Samsung refreshed its NX series of compact system cameras earlier this year, becoming the first manufacturer to add WiFi features to interchangeable lens cameras. We got an overview of the new product line at Samsung’s US headquarters and managed to snap a handful of NX20 sample images – take a look.
Each of these new NX cameras carry the same 20.3 megapixel APS-C sensor. Each one is capable of 1080p HD video, 8 fps burst shooting and in-camera WiFi connectivity. It’s the look, feel and additional features that differentiate them. Samsung’s three new NX cameras are:
- NX20 sporting a more traditional build with a sculpted grip. It’s the most expensive with a retail price of $1099. For that price, you get a faster max shutter speed of 1/8000 second, an EVF, flip-out 3.0-inch LCD, hot shoe and pop-up flash.
- NX210 with a more compact form, still offering a sturdy grip. It loses the electronic viewfinder but has a 3.0-inch 614k-dot LCD as the NX20. There’s no pop-up flash, but a hot shoe flash accessory is offered.
- NX1000 puts an emphasis on compact size and style. Available in white, black and pink with matching 20-50mm kit lens, it’s a composite build and a lightweight alternative to the more solid NX20 and NX210. While the NX20 and NX210 extend existing product lines, the NX1000 is a new branch in the NX family tree.
For a brief overview of the prouct line, we turned to Samsung’s Jay Kelbley.
Of these three, the NX20 has the longest legacy. It follows in the similar-sized footsteps of the NX10. It’s what’s inside that has changed drastically. Moving up to the 20 megapixel CMOS sensor, Samsung brought A/D conversion to the imaging sensor itself, a move that they believe will help reduce digital noise. Samsung rep Jay Kelbley asserts that this generation of NX cameras is actually two or so stops better than previous generations in terms of low light performance.
Samsung has also been paying attention to its lens portfolio. I shot the NX20 with a 65mm Macro and 85mm portrait. While the NX20 is an APS-C sized camera, lenses are still a bit smaller than traditional DSLR lenses. They aren’t built to accommodate any full frame camera – Samsung doesn’t have one – and can be designed with only the crop-sensor camera body in mind. The 65mm and 85mm both proved themselves as capable of producing very nice images on the fly, with good contrast and sharpness.
It’s easy to get comfortable shooting with the NX20. It will feel natural to someone used to a DSLR, and someone stepping up from a point-and-shoot should feel at home too. The electronic viewfinder is adequately sharp and fast. I like the controls – a quick menu for frequently accessed items, plenty of shortcuts and customizable buttons on the back panel and a rotating sub dial all keep the camera operating smoothly. The NX20 accepts SD and SDHC memory media, including the newly-unveiled line of fancy Samsung SD cards.
Samsung NX210, NX1000
The 210 will appeal to customers more interested in a compact form factor, but unwilling to give up a sturdier design. The 18-55mm kit lens that ships with the NX210 includes OIS, while the kit lens shipping with the NX1000 does not offer stabilization. Everything about the look and feel of the NX210 is just a little more serious than the 1000. I wasn’t able to keep any sample images from either of these cameras, but based on first impressions I much preferred the NX210.
Maybe it was the pink model, but the 1000 strikes a resemblance to the Nikon 1 J1 in my mind. Of course, there are very different technologies at the core of either camera, and a different set of compatible lenses. When the NX1000 hits the market this summer, consumers may find that the two products are both small, sleek-looking cameras but the similarities end there.
Something for Everyone
The options in the compact system camera class are growing, and the models hitting the market are beginning to overlap. Where the NX series cameras stand out – at least for now – are the WiFi capabilities. If you’re the owner of a Samsung smartphone, there are a few more compelling reasons to consider an NX camera.
For those who care more about image quality than sharing, Samsung has lined up a compelling series of lenses. The build quality of the two primes that I handled was pretty impressive, and snapping a few sample images was very enjoyable. We can’t make any recommendations based on one shooting session, but the initial impressions are good. Check out the sample images for yourself below – and keep in mind that all images and video in this article were shot with an NX20.
Samsung NX20 Sample Images