Samsung NX200 review - Part 14 - Comparison between NX200 and G3

The last test I'm doing before finishing this very long review is between the NX200 fitted with the 18-55mm kit zoom lens and a Panasonic G3 fitted with the Leica branded 25mm f/1.4 m4/3 lens.

Firstly I thought it would be useful to see the difference in size between the images that these cameras produce. 

Please note:- This is not sensor size, but the actual image size. As you can see much of the 4MP difference between the two is taken up by the 3:2 as opposed to 4:3 ratio of the Samsung.

For the test I used what I consider to be just about the best m4/3 lens available currently, the 25mm f/1.4. As before the tests were carried out with the cameras mounted on a tripod, and all files were processed identically in Capture One software from raw files, using that softwares default settings. I picked 4 ISO values. The first one is at the lowest possible setting for each camera, which is ISO 100 for the Samsung and ISO 160 for the Panasonic. I do think its important to test at the best possible quality setting for each cameras sensor, which is the reason I didn't adjust the NX200 to match the G3.

These are full-size files and as usual are available at their highest resolution by clicking on them > flickr > Actions > View all sizes > Original.

ISO 100 / 160
NX200 / G3 comparison - ISO 100/160

ISO 400
NX200 / G3 comparison - ISO 400

ISO 1600
NX200 / G3 comparison - ISO 1600

ISO 6400
NX200 / G3 comparison - ISO 6400

The Samsung APS-C sized sensor advantage is visible at the two higher ISO settings. Both sensors are pretty bad at ISO 6400, but the G3 breaks up slightly more. In terms of colour balance, as is usually the case with AWB in mixed lighting, neither are correct. 

What I wasn't expecting was that the Samsung 18-55mm kit lens is slightly sharper throughout all the images. I can't really imagine that it is a better lens, so maybe this gives further credence to my theory that the NX200 has a pretty weak anti-aliasing filter. That would also explain the fact that the NX200 has slightly more luminance noise on the lower ISO pictures. This does tend to get "smoothed out" with stronger AA filters.

Again, its a real "you pays your money, you makes your choice" scenario here. If you want slightly better high ISO performance, then the Samsung has better results, but I'd never use either of these cameras anyway if I was doing a lot of low light work. The Sony NEX-5n is a much better camera for that.

Both camera / sensor / lens combinations turn in excellent performances at the lower ISO settings and both produce files capable of very large high quality reproduction. In my line of work every pixel I can get my hands on helps the commercial potential of my pictures, but if thats not a concern for you then either system is capable of top quality results. It is of course worth noting that you have a greatly expanded lens choice with m4/3, though I must say that to my eyes, neither Panasonic or Olympus have come up with a kit lens / sensor combination that produces such good results as the 18-55mm does with the NX200.