Samsung NX200 review - Part 3 "Real World" Use

Before going on with my own review - some quotes from other reviews.
From Pocket Lint:- "The kind of resolution and detail we got from the camera’s low ISO shots was nothing short of amazing. ISO 100-400 are stunning in terms of detail and low noise,"

From Photography Blog:- "The Samsung NX200 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS megapixel sensor used in the NX200 produces noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100-800,"

From Dpreview:- "The NX200 also features a lighter optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter and advanced moiré-suppression processing."

All reviews are well worth a read in full.

Certainly the Dpreview statement confirms my belief that the NX200 has a very light AA filter. The pictures it produces definitely have that non-AA look. Quality at low ISO's is very good indeed, with detailed sharp files. Things start to struggle from ISO 1600 upwards and Samsung sling ridiculous amounts of pretty unpleasant noise reduction at the jpgs. Actually the images aren't that bad, but are someway noisier than a Sony NEX-5n for example. Here's a comparison between a raw file (with high ISO noise reduction turned off) and a jpg. at ISO 3200. Its a 100% blow up.


 I'm going to be doing a full ISO test later today at all ISO settings from 100 to 12800. (The latter is not for the squeamish!!)

In good light the NX200 produces quite stunning pictures. These are taken with the 18-55mm kit lens, which is actually a very decent lens. I tested it back last year and found it to be a excellent performer. This new i-function version seems just as good.

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Samsung NX200 18-55mm zoom

Incidentally I used the settings I have come up with in Capture One to process these images and applied to them to a few A77 and NEX-5n files. I think I assumed that the Sony files would look great, since the ones from the NX200 were so impressive. However the a77 files were noticeably softer and the NEX-5n files were about the same. Showing I think that this Samsung sensor is actually very good indeed, and the weak AA filter is really letting the detail from it come through.

I also shot a bit of hand-held video to see what the OIS in the lens was like. As you can see its pretty effective. You'll notice at the end of the video a rather nasty exposure change. Since there is no AE lock button on the camera, there's no easy way to stop this. I will investigate the possibility of manual control on this. As before I had to colour correct the footage as it was far too blue / magenta.


So, I like the camera more and more in terms of the results at low ISO's, but am consequently getting more frustrated at some of the things that have been left out, like an EVF in particular. I'm currently considering getting an optical viewfinder for some focal lengths, but I can't help thinking more and more that my comments about a missed opportunity indicate my main feelings about the NX200. 

I do realise that its half the price of a camera like the NEX-7 and there will be some things missing because of that, but why didn't they include the facility for an add-on viewfinder? This is a top class sensor capable of creating really beautiful images and it seems to be stuck in a point and shoot body which gives rise to a point and shoot attitude. To my mind the sensor deserves more than this, both in terms of what the camera can offer and what Samsung do to the jpgs. which in some cases is little short of criminal. 

Is this really a camera for "teenage facebook girl" or could it have been the camera that meant photographers across the world suddenly take Samsung seriously. I just can't help thinking that this could have been Samsungs X100, and the one that turned them into a serious player in the CSC market. From what I've seen so far, the sensor is terrific, the rest of the camera less so. I will continue to use it because the images it produces for me are just what I want, but using it I can't help but have this continual "what might have been" feeling.

ISO tests soon.