Samsung NX200

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6/19/2012 4:03:34 PM

Compact system cameras (CSCs) are hot news nowadays, and the NX system is Samsung’s answer for the NEX of Sony and the Micro Four Thirds of Olympus and Panasonic. NX200 marks an important improvement for the NX system, with a 20MP sensor, 7fps continuous shooting, 1080p video shooting and nice design obtaining great balance between appearance and feature.

Description: Samsung NX200

One of our big worries about Samsung NX100 is lack of integrated flash. For NX200, Samsung (like Sony and Olympus) includes a small flash unit that can be disassembled in the box. It is not as elegant as integrated flash, but it is really wonderful when you can decide whether to bring or leave it depending on the place where you will go. It is in a standard base, and Samsung sells some stronger flashguns that support full auto exposure. Optional electronic view-finder is abandoned, and NX200 does not support it.

Another worry about NX100 is that its kit lens do not provide optical anti-shake. Similar lens are included in the NX200 kit that we revewed but the camera is available with 18-55mm anti-shake lens from Jessops with a price of $900. It is not as light and compact as 18-50mm lens, but anti-shake mode and larger zoom range are deserving of the additional $75.

Fingertip control

Description: Samsung NX 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 ED OIS II Lens

Samsung NX 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 ED OIS II Lens

Samsung NX’s biggest assets are their controls, and NX200 is unexceptional. The focus ring on the lens can be reassigned to different uses via the iFunction button on the lens. Besides, there are a command dial and wheel surrounding the navigation pad, so you can adjust exposure settings very quickly. It has labeled buttons for exposure compensation, ISO speed, drive mode, focus mode and focus point, and Fn button bringing another main setting grid on the 3-inch screen. The Custom button can be assigned to manual white balance calibration – an extremely usefull feature that is usually burried in a submenu. Menus are quite fast and well arranged, and they include ability to set up auto ISO range from 100-200 to 100-3200. Picture Wizard presets can be customized to provide effective control for color and fidelity processing.

Continuous performance has been dramatically improved since NX100. NX200 did not reach the speed of 7fps that it had claimed in our tests, but the 6.3fps speed for 11 frames was a good result. However, in stead of slowing down when the buffer memory was full, the camera stopped shooting and did not work in 12 seconds while it saved these 11 pictures. In Raw mode, the 6.3fps speed lasted 8 frames and it tooks 40 seconds to save. This is not disappointing but is not surprising, either – Rwa file is extremely large with around 47MB/file.

Another continuous mode ran at 3fps speed before reducing to 1fps after 12 shots for JPEG format. But another mode shot 30 5MP pictures at 30fps speed although the screen was black during shutting time. Generally, this is a collection of flexible burst modes, but we prefer plenty of buffer memories and faster processor to save these huge 20MP pictures. Performance to shoot each picture is quite slow for a CSC, 1.4 seconds as average, but we are pleased to say that NX200’s auto focus speed reached standard.

Amateur movie shooting

Description: Samsung NX200 - APS-C sensor

Samsung NX200 - APS-C sensor

It was great when we saw its ability to record 1080p video, but it is not the best performance nowadays. Lens’ auto focus is not optimized for video, and while it followed objects accurately, each adjustment caused loud whirr in the soundtrack. It appears that the camera removes in stead of merging pixels from the 20MP sensor to create 1080p 2MP frames, since it caught serrated artcfacts like moiré noise – rotative hallucinative effects that appear densely, repeating models such as bricks and cloths. Picture noise was quite high in weak brightness, and AVC encoder app struggling to face all additional information being created by the noise.

NX200 worked better in picture test. 20MP resolution is one of the highest ones we have ever seen, but it is not a very big challenge for the 20-50mm lens which create sharp focus on the frame’s corners. JPEG processing is not as strong as other cameras, loses sharpness when pictures are compared in each pixel, but high resolution makes sure that in general, it is the best CSC we have ever seen with this detail level. Colors were more aacurate than elevation to default setting, which we think is good, and auto exposure was very excellent.

The sensor did not work not very in dim brightness. Even outdoor pictures with shadow at ISO 200 gave the sign of noise reduction, and hid subtle details. At ISO 1600, subtle details were almost dark areas of the frame displaying colorful noise, which is more difficult to ignore than monochromatic noise. Sony NEX-5N created much nicer pictures in dim brightness, and Samsung at ISO 3200 is equivalent to Sony at ISO 12800.

This noise might exclude NX200 from the race, but although it is not a wonderful camera for weak brightness, it has other attractive strengths. It is outstanding with details in bright environment, and it has the best conditions in any CSC we have ever seen so far. Sony NEX-7 can prove to be a valuable rival with one 24MP sensor and 3 rotating controls, but it costs more than $1,500.

The NX system just includes 5 lenses. It includes important lengths but does not provide available similar choice range for Micro Four Thirds users. However, for those who only shoot landscape and outdoor pictures in general, the controls are easy to access, large and detailed images as well as slim size appear to be more attractive. In sum, we still recommend Sony NEX-5N to most users.


Description: Samsung NX200 provides exceptional image quality and excellent controls.

Samsung NX200 provides exceptional image quality and excellent controls.

Verdict. Samsung NX200 provides exceptional image quality and excellent controls. If considered everything, it is a good camera.

Compact digital cemera. 20MP (5472 x 3648), 2.5x optical zoom (30 to 75 mm), 3-inch LCD (614,000 pixel), SDXC slot, Lithium-ion battery, 65 x 117 x 83 mm, 339g, one-year RTB warranty


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