Samsung NX100 review: Samsung NX100

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Impressively sharp AMOLED screen; large buttons and intuitive controls; relatively lightweight; fast and responsive.

The Bad No built-in flash or viewfinder; overly sensitive scroll wheel; plasticky body.

The Bottom Line The Samsung NX100 offers the straightforward operation of a compact camera while adding a larger, dSLR-size sensor, and the ability to swap lenses. The end result is largely a success.

8.3 Overall

Samsung's pitch for the 14.6-megapixel NX100 is that it brings professional results to those with beginner-level skills. It's the manufacturer's second compact camera with interchangeable lenses, the first being the NX10, released at the start of the year.

Stiff competition comes in the form of other hybrid cameras, such as the Olympus Pen E-P2 and E-PL1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 and GF2 , and Sony Alpha NEX-3 and NEX-5 . Like the NX100, all of those cameras provide the option to swap lenses, while offering a smaller form factor than a digital SLR.

You can expect to pay a reasonable £430 for the NX100, including the compact 20-50mm zoom lens we tested. For about the same price, there's a 20mm pancake-lens kit for those who really value compactness.

Samsung all the way

Samsung proudly states that the technology inside the NX100 is '100 per cent Samsung'. One consequence of this is that the NX100 incorporates a large, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, as found in dSLRs, which helps to deliver improved image quality. Another consequence is that the NX100 offers a couple of innovations based around the second most important element of the camera: the lens itself.

This shot shows colours with real pop, a good degree of sharpness from corner to corner, and a lack of noise in shadow areas. There's not much wrong with the NX100's ability to handle a day-lit interior scene (click image to enlarge).

The retractable 20-50mm zoom lens, which offers an equivalent 30.8-77mm focal range in 35mm film terms, features an 'iFn' button on the side of the lens barrel. Press this and, in conjunction with a rotation of its front ring, the exposure-compensation (+/- 3EV), white balance, shutter-speed, aperture and light-sensitivity settings (up to ISO 6,400) can be adjusted on the fly without otherwise having to take your eye off your subject. The effects of your changes are shown in real-time on the screen.

The camera's built-in i-Scene lens-priority mode 
also allows it to automatically recognise what type of lens has been attached, and so suggest which kind of scene a particular
 lens is best suited for. Since the NX100 doesn't feature in-body anti-shake technology, defence against wobbly hands comes via lens-shift image stabilisation only.

The NX100 sports an impressive, 3-inch AMOLED screen that's impressively bright and clear; dynamic range expansion; 14 scene modes; raw and JPEG capture to an SD or SDHC card (up to 32GB); and 720p video capture at 30 frames per second. Samsung's colour-temperature-adjusting 'photo style selector' function, as included on its smaller-sensor compact-camera range, is also included.

What's missing?

What's been left out of the NX100 is just as important as what's been put in. There's no separate viewfinder included as part of the kit, although an electronic viewfinder is available as an extra for about £130. Also, frustratingly, while there's no built-in flash, there is a vacant hotshoe for attaching a flashgun.

Get yourself a lens and slap it into that hole to start shooting.

Less of a deal-breaker is the fact that, unlike on the Panasonic GF-series or Olympus E-PL1 cameras, the NX100 lacks a dedicated video-record button. The video mode is instead selected via a reassuringly chunky top-mounted mode dial, which has a ridged edge to give you a firmer grip. Also on the mode dial are Samsung's standard scene- and subject-recognising 'smart auto' mode, and the creative quartet of program, shutter-priority, aperture-priority and manual shooting modes, along with a scene-mode option.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Canon PowerShot SX600 HS

    3.5 stars

    With its 18x zoom lens, simple straightforward automatic shooting, and built-in Wi-Fi,...

  • Nikon D3300

    Starting at: £581.79
    3.5 stars

    The company's latest entry-level model delivers the speed and photo quality you expect...

  • 4 stars

    The Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is a powerful pocket camera with 20x zoom and GPS built in...

  • Samsung NX1

    4 stars

    Fast, sturdy, well-designed and with excellent photo quality, the Samsung NX1 hits all...

 

Discuss Samsung NX100 - digital camera NX 20-50mm lens

Conversation powered by Livefyre