Samsung’s new NX100 is a cut-down version of its mirrorless NX10, coming on a like a compact camera to the NX10’s slimline SLR design. Like its older brother, the new camera has an APS-C-sized, 14.6 megapixel sensor and shoots 720p video. What it lacks is the bigger camera’s electronic viewfinder (although Samsung will sell you an add-on which slots into the hotshoe). But that’s not the point. The real news is in the lenses, which use something called “i-Function” to make the camera easier to use.
I-Function puts buttons on the lens itself. Hit the switch and you can then cycle through settings like white-balance, ISO, shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation, controlling them by turning the focus ring on the lens. Yes, it has taken years of research and innovation (the word “innovative” is used six times in the press release) to finally put an aperture ring back on the lens, just where it had sat since time began.
Samsung is also changing the descriptions of its lenses. Now you can buy a “landscape lens” or a “portrait lens”, and these i-Function lenses will tell the camera what they are so the camera can configure its own settings. This is called lens-priority mode, and compatible lenses will have little icons on them to let you know just what they are. I really like the on-lens control idea, but the auto-settings business seems a little gimmicky, and maybe even pointless on a camera clearly aimed at an enthusiast, not a point-and-shooter.
There will be accessories, too. Joining the viewfinder will be a GPS unit, and there are two lenses at launch, a 20-50mm ƒ3.5-5.6 zoom and a 20mm ƒ2.8 pancake lens. Other NX lenses will work, too, but you don’t get the fancy new features.
Pricing and availability are yet to be revealed. Given that an NX10 can be had in a zoom kit for $700, my guess is that the street price will be $500 to $600. The camera will come in black and (as seen in the gallery below) brown.