Samsung NX100 - user experience

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom lens

The Samsung NX range is probably the least popular and talked about of all the Compact Systems Cameras, certainly outside its native country, Korea. In the UK its not that widely available, and I found only one supplier, Amazon, who actually had the EVF in stock.

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom lens

To me it has two great advantages. Firstly its the cheapest of all the CSC's and secondly, as far as I'm concerned, it looks great! I had an NX10 and the two kit lenses plus the 30mm f/2 pancake, and liked the results from that combination. I don't think the 20-50mm zoom is quite in that class, but it certainly makes a smaller, lighter and better handling outfit, than using the previous zooms, which are pretty large. 

Its a pretty simple camera in terms of handling, and I don't have any problems with it. Its pretty well laid out, the menus are straightforward and the most used controls are easily accessible. (Olympus and Sony take note!) The AMOLD screen is just about the best available currently and while not perfect, it works well in bright sunlight. The EVF is only marginally better than the Panasonic GF1 equivalent, which isn't much of a compliment, and some way short of the Olympus EVF and the Panasonic built-in viewfinders. Focusing manually with it is VERY difficult. 

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom lens

In terms of image quality its OK. The results are certainly softer than Panasonic m4/3. About on a par with the Olympus Pens but with less luminance noise than those cameras. Images sharpen up nicely in Photoshop, but this sensor (originally on the Pentax K20 I believe) does need replacing, as its pretty ordinary at high ISO's. I've seen tests which rate it lower than m4/3 for noise at ISO 800 and above, and certainly its not a camera I would use in those situations.

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom lens

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom 
lens

Despite these reservations I really do like using it. Its simple and unfussy and a pleasure to use. It is terrific value compared to its competition and you get a lot for your money. The EVF adds extra cost but in most situations I don't use it, since the screen is so good. 

Video suffers from the same problems as the NX10 - lots of moire, CA and fringing. I wish Samsung would sort this out, since I think the video has great potential.


Finally my congratulations to Samsungs designers. I think they have come up with a little gem. I love its combination of black and silver and the retro and modern elements sit together very well. Its feels very well made in the hand. I got a leather case for it from ebay and it certainly looks good in that. I gather the camera is all plastic, but it neither looks or feels cheap. Almost the opposite of my views on the Fuji X100! Though we'll see if I still think that when mine finally appears.

Samsung NX100 20-50mm Zoom lens

I'm certainly glad I bought it, though I'm looking forward to an "improved" version, the NX200 rumoured for later this year. I certainly like the design, handling, layout and ease of use very much. It does allow me to concentrate on the important process of taking pictures without having to "battle" the camera. Those are virtues that shouldn't be underestimated.

David