First Looks: Samsung NX1000
Updated 8/11/12: A previous version of this article said that the AF points were bunched tightly in the middle, but failed to mention that's not the case when the camera is in (single-area) Selection AF. We've expanded the article accordingly.
Samsung was the third company after Panasonic and Olympus to bring a mirrorless system camera to market, and their NX system is two years old at this point of time. Samsung's NX is also the system with the most number of lenses today after Micro Four Thirds, with 11 native lenses compared to Sony NEX's eight (Micro Four Thirds is far ahead with a grand total of 34 native lenses).
The way it works in the NX universe is that the smaller the model number, the higher-end the camera. So in Samsung's present line-up, the NX20 is the most 'professional' mirrorless model, as well as the priciest. The NX210 is the mid-level model, and the NX1000 is the entry-level model. All three cameras feature Samsung's 20MP APS-C sensor, the same ISO100-12,800 sensitivity, eight frames per second maximum shooting speed, and 1080/30fps Full-HD video shooting. They were also launched at about the same time to refresh the full line-up of Samsung's mirrorless cameras.
All three NX cameras also come with built-in Wi-Fi, allowing them to connect to wireless networks without the need for additional adapters or cards. Users can share pictures right from within the camera to social networks like Facebook and Picasa, or straight to people using email. The cameras can also display images via other devices, Samsung says they can link to compatible Samsung smartphones which can then control the cameras remotely via a remote viewfinder app. Images on the camera can also be displayed on devices like tablets and internet TVs with Samsung's Mobile Link feature. We've detailed this features in detail in our preview of the Samsung EX2F Smart camera when these functions first appeared, including a video demo.
On a related note, we've also conducted a PlayTest event on the topic of mirrorless cameras where Samsung's new range of mirrorless cameras were used as examples, so if you've missed out on what happened, we've got a short event coverage and video as well.
With that said, we take a quick look at the entry-level Samsung NX1000.
Design & Handling
The Samsung NX1000 has a DSLR-sized APS-C sensor, so its body and lenses are larger as a result. The NX1000 doesn't come with a built-in flash, instead you have to attach the flash accessory which comes with the camera, adding that little bit more of size and weight to the total package.
One thing we appreciate is how the NX1000 gives you quick access to common commands with the iFunction button on the 20-50mm kit lens and the Fn button on the back. Pressing either brings up a Quick Menu with which you can toggle through various essential settings like aperture range, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity.
Even though the lens mount is right to the edge of the camera, the camera itself feels balanced in the hands with the kit 20-55mm lens, mostly thanks to the protruding grip which gives you a solid hold on the camera. But the Mode dial is stiff and very hard to turn, and even though the 3-inch LCD has a high 921k dots resolution, the image it displays isn't very punchy.
Lastly, the NX1000 suffers from an odd quirk; in all other AF modes except for (single-area) Selection AF, its AF points are all bunched tightly in the middle. This means that if you're using the more automatic Multi-area AF or Face Detection AF, your subject needs to be contained in the middle of the frame for the NX1000 to achieve focus. If you want to be able to focus in any area of the frame, you need to switch to Selection AF and use the d-pad to determine your focus point.
The Samsung NX1000 is available in stores now, at the retail price of S$799 with the 20-50mm kit lens.