The Samsung NX100 sits above the NX10 in Samsung's interchangeable lens camera line up and while it offers the same great image quality as the NX10, the NX100 lacks the built-in features that made the Samsung NX10 a five-star product. However, the NX100 digital camera does bring something new to the table: the i-Function lens.
Samsung NX100: image quality
We love the image quality from the Samsung NX100's 14-megapixel APS-C sensor, which captures very clear photos. It gives a similar level of low-light performance as an entry-level Canon EOS 1000D) or Nikon D3000 digital SLR. After ISO 400 you should expect to see some discolouration and noise creeping in to your photos. Images shot at up to ISO 400 can be viewed at their full size without many imperfections being visible.
This image was taken at ISO 400. We had to boost the contrast a little because at higher ISO levels the pictures start to look too pale.
This is the same image cropped at 100 per cent. You can see that it retains great clarity.
With built-in image stabilisation, you can try using a lower ISO speed with a slower shutter speed in order to minimise noise — we were able to shoot with a shutter as low as 1/5th of a second without getting blurry results while holding the Samsung NX100 camera, although we had to hold the NX100 very steady with two hands and support it with our body mass.
The Samsung NX100 performed well in bright conditions and its colour reproduction was pleasing. We used the 20-50mm zoom lens for our tests, which has a maximum wide aperture of f/3.5 and which closes to f/5.6 when you are zoomed in all the way. The camera uses NX-mount lenses, and other options include the T50200SB 50-200mm Tele Lens and S30NB 30mm Pancake Lens. There is also an adapter that allows K-mount lenses to be used.
The Samsung NX100's colour reproduction was accurate and it performed well in very bright sunlight.
An example of the depth of field of the 20-50mm zoom lens. You can see the strip of in-focus text in the middle while the surroundings are blurred.
One of the things we love about the Samsung NX100 is its menu system, which is logically laid out and easy to understand. Regularly used functions such as ISO, white balance, focus mode and shooting mode all have their own dedicated buttons on the body of the camera. The Fn button can be used to bring up more of the camera's settings. A handy focus point button allows you to pick from one of 143 positions on the AMOLED screen to focus on. It comes in very handy when you want the focus of an image to be in a corner, for example.
We used the manual focus point selection to being the flower in focus at the top-right of the screen.
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 Samsung 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.
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