Review: Samsung NX11

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Mirrorless systems  should swiftly climb up the ranks of any shutterbug’s must-haves. While they might not have the portability of point-and-shoots or the power of DSLRs, cameras such as the NX11 offer a compromised best of both worlds.

Out of the box, Samsung’s entry in the NX series is quite stunning. Now modeled more closely to resemble DSLRs, its exterior has been capped off with a sleek black finish along with a new textured handgrip. All the standard controls are present as well, such as the familiar PASM mode dial and menu buttons, so users should expect the learning curve to be minimal.

Featuring a 14.6 megapixel APS-C sensor, Samsung has definitely given their competition something to think about. With captivating image quality that can easily rival any DSLR, the NX11 provides a fantastic option for consumers looking for something both lightweight and competent. Although mirrorless cameras are generally thought of as a “gateway” for those migrating away from point-and-shoots, the NX11 is a serious image capturing device in itself and should not be considered solely as a transition. It is a solid buy for any photography enthusiast, whether it’s a first purchase or an addition to an ever growing collection.

The NX11’s 3-inch AMOLED LCD screen is simply brilliant, and is perhaps the NX11’s strongest characteristic. Users will most likely prefer shooting in live mode via the display as opposed to using the electronic 640×480 pixel viewfinder, since the latter can tend to be inaccurate when representing certain hues, and can lead to slight miscalculations when used in full manual.

However, the viewfinder proves to be invaluable especially when used in conjunction with the iFunction lens, which is unique to Samsung. Having had a previous encounter with this lens , I found it more intuitive the second time around. The option to adjust the camera’s settings (i.e. ISO, shutter speed, etc.) via the iFn lens allows users to maintain their shooting position so they can quickly capture a moment.

 

Perhaps, the only drawback of Samsung’s NX series is that a fast lens is not yet readily available (at the time this article was written), with the quickest being the 30mm f/2. However, taking into consideration that this line of Samsung’s cameras are still quite new, I wouldn’t be surprised if a classic 50mm f/1.8, or better yet, an f/1.4 will come out soon. Nevertheless, the 18-55mm kit lens is quite remarkable for a beginner’s standard lens, producing sharp high-quality images.

The improved auto-focus with the NX11’s standard lens is quick and satisfyingly precise, regardless of whether it’s used in shooting stills or 720p HD video. Manual focusing is intuitive as well, although I would have preferred a non-infinity focusing ring to help gauge the focus limitations.

The addition of Panorama mode makes the NX11 even more desirable. It’s fairly accurate and works excellently within the camera itself, negating the need to stitch the photo via image software. With the added ability to shoot panoramic shots vertically, the NX11 is insatiable.

Overall, the NX11 isn’t a radical change over its predecessor, the NX10. Instead, Samsung opts for subtle improvements that users will nevertheless appreciate.

 

What’s Hot:

–       14.6 mp sensor
–       Excellent AMOLED screen
–       Panorama Mode

 

What’s Not:

–       lack of faster lenses
–       viewfinder could be improved

 

 

Buy Meter: 9.0

 

Bottomline:

The Samsung NX11 is serious image capturing device and should find its way into the palms of any shutterbug, whether they are hobbyists or professionals.

 

Specifications
  • Dimensions/Weight: 123x87x39.8mm, 353g (body only)
  • Sensor: 14.6 effective megapixels 23.4×15.6mm CMOS sensor
  • Display: 3-inch AMOLED Display 1040k resolution
  • Viewfinder: Viewfinder EVF
  • Lens: Samsung NX mount lens,18-55mm OIS iFunction
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4000sec.- 30sec. (1/3EV step manual mode), Bulb (8 minute limit)
  • Flash: TTL Auto Pop-up flash, optional external Samsung flash via HotShoe
  • Stabilisation: Sensor shift+electronic
  • Video: HD video at 720p at 30fps
  • Storage: SD, SDHC or SDXC media card
  • Battery: 400 photos per charge
  • Connections: USB 2.0, AV out, mini HDMI, stereo mini jack

 [This review originally appeared in the July 2011 issue of Gadgets Magazine]