You know when a company is series about a product. They always keep the name short and easy to remember. The BMW M1, the iPad, (I’ll think of a few more in a minute). Samsung carry on the tradition with the launch of the Samsung NX, a digital camera that will have the semi-professional (and professional) photographer with a few quid in his pocket drooling over their tripod in anticipation and with a moniker so short even I can remember it.
The ‘NX’ prefix is what Samsung are defining all the cameras in their range that have detachable lenses. This one, the NX, comes with complete with a mid-range 27-82.5mm (35mm equivalent) the same lens as my current favourite the NX300. It’s a good all-rounder and for those people with bags of them, all older Samsung lenses are compatible too.
Whereas in my previous review of the Galaxy S4 Zoom it was a bit of a mystery as to whether the Zoom was meant to be a phone or a camera, the NX is definitely a camera first and an Android device second.
The NX is mirrorless and will take images of up to 20.3 megapixels. In case you are wondering, that is big enough to put on the side of your house (if you have a big enough printer). In reality, MP size is becoming less and less relevant and the focus (pardon the pun) these days is very much on the quality of the sensor, rather than the size of the image.
During my (limited time) with the NX on a very grey day in London, I managed to get some good results from just using the presets I was able to take a variety of shots and try out some of the new preset ‘smart’ settings available on the camera. There were a few I particularly liked, one called ‘miniature’ that produced a really nice ‘model railway’ type-vignette picture it is on lots of cameras these days, but worked particularly well on the NX.
There was also another one that allowed you to take a pictures over a set interval of time (could be great or time-lapse type animations). Also very cool was a multiple exposure setting that allowed you to take photos one on top of the other, something I think would really get me thinking creatively.
In addition to these, for semi and professional photographers there are also detailed manual settings for even greater control. The display and interface is really slick and the navigation is intuitive enough to make what are potentially complicated adjustments easy to do (and undo again).
It’s really good to see a viewfinder on a digital camera and you’ll notice that when you put your eye up to it the 4.8 inch HD screen the sensor will switch off (saving power), also very nice is the built-in pop up flash, although this is something that might take a bit of time to master completely as I found it overexposed my pictures to begin with.
At the launch event I tested the camera while Emily Sande was performing and the results were pretty impressive considering I was at least 20-30ft away. By choosing the ‘Nightime’ setting I was able to get some really sharp images considering the low light and quick movement. This (combined with the Wi-Fi see below) could make the camera ideal for fashion and sports photographers dealing with challenging conditions and quick lead times.
The clever stuff behind the camera is run from the Android 4.2 Jellybean operating system fully functional in every way apart from voice call capabilites. So you have access to all google’s maps, gmail, play, TV etc, etc, etc..
As I have just mentioned, built in Wi-Fi means you can upload your images direct from the camera to Skydrive, Facebook or a host of other places including email. I was able to install a Google Drive (free App) and upload images direct to that too. The camera also comes bundled with Samsung Kies and Photoshop Lightroom, and if you have a Samsung Smartphone you can transfer files directly to that. If you happen to be in a hotel and need to open a browser window to enter the Wi-Fi code (sometimes necessary), that will also work, and was an issue on some previous models with Wi-Fi.
There is 16gb internal memory built in and a microSD card slot for up to 64GB of extra memory. Overall a smart piece of kit, packed with features and technology, likely to be one of the cameras all sub £1,000 cameras are judged by in the next year or so.
The Samsung NX will be released later this year, for detailed spec list and pricing visit www.samsung.com