Samsung NX100 interchangeable lens camera
Samsung NX100 review: A good quality interchangeable lens camera, but we like the NX10 better
- Very good image quality, great menu system, easy to use, AMOLED screen
- No built-in EVF, no built-in flash, i-Function feature is unintuitive
The Samsung NX100 digital camera takes clear and vibrant images, but it lacks a built-in EVF and a built-in flash. These are features which we miss dearly, especially considering the NX100 is more expensive than the NX10, which includes both of these features. Nevertheless, it's a still a great camera that's fun to use.
Samsung NX100: i-Function lens
The main new feature in the Samsung NX100 camera is the lens' built-in function button, which allows you to change exposure settings (aperture, shutter, ISO and white balance) by pressing it and then moving the lens ring. Samsung claims this is a better way of changing exposure settings as you don't have to look away from the screen in order to change those settings. However, we beg to differ with that thinking.
When you first use the NX100, trying to change the aperture or shutter speed by using the on-lens button and ring control is very unintuitive. In fact, you have to take your eyes off the screen to find the button that you need to press; we didn't have to do this when using the conventional controls. We found ourselves using the conventional thumb control on the back of the camera to change the aperture and the little ring at the top of the camera's body to change the shutter — it just felt more natural. Furthermore, having to rotate the lens ring in order to change the exposure settings means that the camera can't always be held steady — with the conventional controls, your left hand is always holding the camera steady as you change settings.
Samsung NX100: Design and controls
The shape and feel of the NX100 are a little like the Olympus PEN E-PL1: it is long and it lacks both a handgrip and a built-in viewfinder. Unlike the PEN E-PL1, the NX100 doesn't have a built-in flash, but it has a hot shoe (which Samsung calls a Smart Shoe). The Smart Shoe allows not only an external flash to be attached, but also an optional electronic viewfinder (EVF). The 3in AMOLED screen is very bright and crisp though, and you can use the camera effectively on bright days. What you see on the screen is what you get and this can make taking photos a lot easier and a lot more fun. However, when shooting in direct sunlight, the screen will be a little hard to see, so an EVF will still be required.
The lens has a feature called i-Function, which allows you to change exposure settings, but it's unintuitive.
By virtue of the omitted EVF and flash, the NX100 is smaller and lighter compared to the NX10. Instead of a proper handgrip, your hand rests around subtle contours and there is plenty of room on the rear of the camera for your thumb. We like the shutter button, which has a distinct two-step operation, and the buttons all feel solid and are easy to press. There is a dedicated thumbwheel for changing settings such as the aperture when the camera is in manual or aperture priority modes, and there is a little wheel at the top of the body that can be used to change the shutter speed in manual or shutter priority modes. As mentioned earlier, we prefer using these controls to manipulate the exposure rather than the controls on the lens itself, which we could not get used to all during our test period.
There's no doubt that the Samsung NX100 can take great pictures (and it's also a handy high-def video shooter) but we can't help but feel that it's a step back from the brilliant NX10. We miss the built-in EVF and flash and think these are key features that should be standard, rather than optional. On the bright side, the lack of these features means that the NX100 is smaller than the NX10. Even so, the camera is too big to be carried in a pocket. We prefer the extra size and features of the NX10. The NX10 is also cheaper!
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