Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd has announced the NX200 mirrorless digital camera, close to one year after announced the NX100 (Sep. 14 2011). Many things have changed from the NX100, one of them is the design of the camera body itself, which is shorter, made of full-metal body and has a more prominent grip. Samsung NX200 also features a newly developed 20.3MP (effective) CMOS sensor. As it looks right now, it seems that we are entering a new era of mirrorless camera with very high resolution. The increment of resolution won’t be a problem as long as the camera performs better in high-ISO then its predecessor. This camera will certainly attract many opinions, the question is whether they are good ones or bad ones. In order to get yourself familiar with the capabilities of this new mirrorless camera, read this preview and find out about the mist interesting specs this digicam has to offer.
Design & Ergonomics
As I said in the previous paragraph, the exterior design is something that you just can’t ignore. I personally didn’t like the flat wants-to-look-modern design of the NX100, and from what I’ve read across blogs and forums, many people didn’t like it either. Samsung has to do something about it, changing the appearance of the camera to look more advances, concurrent but maintain the a slick, simple and modern style. The grip of the camera is more prominent, which provides better ergonomics, especially for photographers with big hands.
The Samsung NX 200 is smaller than the NX100 (117 x 63 x 36mm vs 120 x 71 x 35mm) and lighter (220g vs 282g). It looks like Samsung has thought about the same path as Sony with the Sony NEX-C3, which is probably the smallest (110 x 60 x 33 mm) ASP-C mirrorless camera in the world right now. I think that if Samsung could have made this camera any smaller, they would have. The Sony NEX-C3 is getting title all over the web due to its ultra compact size and considering that tis hosts an APS-C size sensor in it. Although Sony gets the kudos when it comes to size, Samsung isn’t beyond Sony when it comes to features (will soon talk about that).
The all-metal body construction certainly adds to the prestige and durability of the NX100. At the back of the camera we get to enjoy looking at a 3-inch 614-dots OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display with 100% frame coverage. Now you will be able to view and compose your photos by looking at a crisp, bright and more colorful image. Certainly a way to enhance usability and adds to the Gadet-cool factor. I know that some of you will probably raise an eyebrow wondering why Samsung hasn’t decided to use a 921,000 pixels LCD. Maybe it was restricted due to the high price of using the OLED LCD with such a high resolution, I don’t really know. The fact is the Sony is breathing on Samsung’s neck pretty hard when it released the Sony NEX-7 Mirrorless IL camera. Just to remind you, the NEX-7 is Sony’s most advanced ILC camera that features a 3.0-inch 921,600 dots tilting LCD, while the NX200 is a fixed-position lower-resolution LCD.
All in all, a beautiful looking camera (IMHO). I just think that Sony took the NEX-7 maybe two generations forward, as Samsung delivers a mirrorless camera for the current generation, just a thought.
20.3-Megapixel Newly Developed Sensor
No doubt that there is a trend of new camera announced with sensors with over 20-megapixels. We saw it with the Sony NEX-7, Sony A77 and A65. Although some of you will probably hate the fact that camera manufacturers continuously increasing the MP for every generation, lets look at the bright side. From what I’ve read from Sony, the NEX-7, considering its 24.3MP sensor, will result in better image quality than previous models with fewer pixels. Whether the NX200 will out perform previous generation cameras, only lab-test result can tell.
More resolution means a few things: more place for doing some cropping, second, a more detailed image. Macro photographers will love it, but also people who love to edit their photos. Let’s remember that we are talking about an APS-C sensor, not a Micro Four Thirds. I’ve seen some high-ISO photos from the latest Micro Four Thirds and I wasn’t that thrilled with the image quality. However, the Sony NEX APS-C cameras always surprised me with their image quality at high-ISO. I can assume that the newly developed sensor of the NX200 can perform close to the Sony.
The camera is capable of shooting at high sensitivity ranging from ISO100 up to ISO12800.
7 Frames-per-Second Burst
The Samsung NX200 ILC camera is capable of capturing sequenced images at 7 fps / 100ms AF at full resolution. In fact I was quite surprised with that. Sports photographers will love the fact that the NX200 can shoot at such higly fast rate, allowing them to become more creative in the field, especially when shooting fast moving subjects.
1080p30 Full HD Movie Recording
There isn’t any mirrorless camera without a video recording option, and the NX200 also takes 1080p30 Full HD movies. An upgrade from the NX100 which could only shoot at 720p30. Full HD videos taken with a full frame or APS-C camera usually look great on large HDTV displays. The new NX200 promises a vibrant, clear and highly detailed video clips. The camera encodes the video in H.264 and output the video as MP4 file. The videos are recorded in stereo sound using the built-in mic.
Samsung wants to among the most innovative companies in the digital photography market in general and the mirrorless market in particular. However, we haven’t seen such an innovative step forward. The latest and probably most talked about feature on the NX-series is the i-Function. The i-Function is a very useful feature that allows photographers to control some of the camera settings (ie. ISO, WB, EV, Shutter speed) by a touch of a button on the lens (iFn), that without loosing the connection between you and the subject. I think it useful because it somewhat reminds me how we use the lens zoom mechanism to zoom-in and out on the subject without moving our eyes from it.
Of course in order to use the i-function, you’ll need to buy a compatible i-Fn lens. Samsung offers a wide range of lenses, some of them have the i-Fn built in. Here are Samsung NX-compatible lenses currently available for purchase.
- 16mm F2.4 Ultra-Wide Pancake
- 20mm F2.8 Wide Pancake
- 30mm F2.0 Standard Pancake
- 60mm F2.8 ED OIS SSA Tele Macro
- 85mm F1.4 ED SSA Premium Portrait
- 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OIS Standard Zoom
- 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED Compact Standard Zoom
- 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 ED OIS Long Zoom
- 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED OIS Tele Zoom
I Know you Want One!
All in all, the Samsung EV-NX200 is certainly a stylish mirrorless camera that packed with quite a lot of goodies. Considering the the specs, fast lens availability,1080p, iFn technology, build quality and the new look – the Samsung NX200 is certainly a camera that many people will consider buying this year or even upgrading from the NX100 that they currently own. Finally a good looking and highly capable mirrorless camera from Samsung. We will be watching the upcoming reviews and sample images, and write a few comparison articles that compare the NX200 versus other ILC camears, including the NEX-7, NEX-C3, Olympus E-P3, GF3 and others. So stay tuned.