It’s arguable, but we’d say that Samsung’s NX100 is the news coming out of Photokina 2010. You could say that Panasonic’s Lumix DMC-GH2 (and its 3D interchangeable lens), Fujifilm’s not-yet-released FinePix X100 or Sigma’s Foveon-packin’ SD1 were of equal importance, but it’s pretty clear who stands to lose (or gain) the most from their ginormous push in Cologne. You wouldn’t know that Samsung even brought another product to the show if you casually glanced at its booth, and we were able to take the outfit’s newest starlet out for a spin in order to gain a few impressions. Priced at just $599 (with a 20-50mm lens; the 20mm pancake lens bundle will run you $50 more), this October-bound camera is certainly positioned to rival the other major players in terms of MSRP. But does it actually live up to the hype? Join us after the break to find out.
Image and video quality
Here’s the thing — the NX100 may be a bit quicker operationally, and it may present the user with a few more advanced settings compared to a traditional point-and-shoot, but we aren’t completely sold on the value proposition. The fact is, images from the NX100 can look fantastic if it’s used in ideal circumstances and the images are post-processed effectively. But the same can be said for just about any camera, ever. A camera is really only as good as it is during trying times: low-light predicaments, shooting fast moving action, etc. When we pressed the NX100 to deliver as the sun was setting, we were continually flustered by the automatic mode’s refusal to edge up the ISO beyond 100 in order to hasten the shutter to 1/250 of a second. Seemingly, the NX100 would rather you have a noise-free image with oodles of blur than a dotted image of something that you can at least make out what it is. That doesn’t feel so intelligent to us. The image below was shot about 20 minutes after sunset, and rather than attempting to keep the feel of the evening, the NX100’s intelligent mode attempted to turn it into daylight while blurring everything in the process.
i-Function lens functionality
Samsung’s new lens technology is so good, it simply has to have it’s own section. In fact, we’re baffled that the company is focusing more on convincing you that the NX100 is the world’s first mini-DSLR instead of marketing the awesomeness of i-Function. Without a doubt, this new lens technology is the star of the NX100 show. For those that still haven’t grokked what i-Function is, allow us to break it down. The outfit’s newest NX-compatible lenses all have an “i-Fn” button on the top-left (when viewing from behind). When you’ve got your NX100 (or NX10, after a firmware update that’s scheduled for October) set to a mode where end-user control of the settings is enabled (Manual, Programmed Auto, Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority), you simply tap that button and watch a setting pop up on the bottom of the live view display. From there, you use your right hand to spin a ring on the lens to change the setting one way or another. Once you’ve set one aspect, you tap the button again to cycle onto the next. Spin the ring, find the setting — wash, rinse, repeat.
It’s one of those things that you really have to experience to appreciate just how elegantly it works, and we think it’s an amazing way to adjust settings on a camera. In fact, we’d love to see i-Function lenses on all cameras with interchangeable lenses. It’s just a fantastic way to navigate. Better still, the live view image changes near-instantly once you select a new value in order to give you a staggeringly accurate idea of how your image will turn out if you settle on the settings that you’ve got dialed up. Have a look at what we mean in our video below.
At $599, Samsung’s NX100 is one of the better bets in the mirrorless world. We still aren’t sold on the idea of investing hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in lenses that can’t ever be used on bona fide DSLRs should you ever get the itch to upgrade (hint: you probably will), but if you are sold — well, more power to you. The NX100 delivers solid image quality under the right conditions, and provides amateurs with loads of manual settings to tinker with. The 720p video mode is marred by jelly-vision throughout, though, which puts somewhat of a damper on the whole package. We can’t commend Samsung enough on the user interface and especially the i-Function lens development, and we can wholeheartedly say that it’s now our favorite way to control camera settings. If you’re dead-set on buying a camera in this range, and you’re kosher with the video and low-light limitations (not to mention the heft), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better bargain than this. engadget.com http://forosadvance.es