Gadgetslab: Samsung NX2000

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Samsung NX3000

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor: 203MP AP5-C (23.6mm x 15.6mm) CMOS
Lenses: Samsung NX lenses (NX Mount)
Physical Dimensions: 119mm (W) x 645mm (H)x 35.7mm(D)
Weight Approx. 228g (without battery)
Estimated battery life: Approx. 350 frames
Memory used: microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC

WHAT’S HOT

  • Wireless capabilities
  • Suitable image quality
  • Capable of 3D shooting when used with 45mm 2D/3D lens

WHAT’S NOT

  • Not mindfully designed
  • Lack of hard buttons
  • Frustrating UI

BOTTOMLINE

Samsung was smart to equip a CSC with a touchscreen and wireless capabilities, but bundling mode selection and manual controls into one dial may have cost the camera its appeal to more advanced users.

REVIEW

Combine the looks of the Galaxy Camera and the features of the NX300, and you get the Samsung NX2000.

What’s cool about this camera is that it has better wireless capabilities than its same-range predecessor, the NX1000. First off, it supports NFC. By simply tapping an NFC-capable smartphone against the left flank of the camera, you’ll have a connection between the two devices that enables a host of wireless features.

The Mobile Link feature under the ‘Wi-Fi’ panel lets you transfer photos from the camera to your mobile device, and vice versa. Remote Viewfinder, meanwhile, lets you use your smartphone to see whatever the camera is shooting and to remotely trigger the shutter. Instead of using Wi-Fi, the two devices communicate to each other using their own network that is established with the help of the Samsung Smart Camera app that must be installed on your mobile device before you can use these two features.

The network is easy to set up and the interface is simple and user-friendly, but in case you find this process too knotty, you can take the Wi-Fi route instead with two other options: Email and SNS & Cloud. These options allow you to send and upload photos and videos via email, Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and SkyDrive directly from the camera.

The 3.7-inch screen and its touch capacity are pretty helpful when you use the wireless features, especially when you have to input the Wi-Fi passcode, type in an email address or sign into Facebook. lt does a pretty good job as well in helping you navigate through the main menu. However, the largeness of the screen eradicates space for any hard button controls on the camera’s back end. This is probably the biggest displeasure I had with the product It was vexing, having only one dial to fumble with to do two functions—switching modes and manually setting parameters. This can be a pain to more advanced photographers because they instinctively want more control over their cameras.

In manual shooting—found under the ‘Expert’ mode options—you need to press the dial to be able to use it to wheel through aperture and shutter speed values. The problem is that the dial isn’t exactly easy to press and there isn’t much feedback, save for a faint clicking sensation you’ll feel under the thumb, so there will be times when you think you’ve pressed the dial, but you actually didn’t. Thinking you’ve managed to hold the dial down, you thumb the wheel, and instead of adjusting the parameters, you end up bringing up the mode menu. It takes a lot of getting used to, which is understandable in other circumstances, but in this case it isn’t a compact system camera shouldn’t be this frustrating to operate out of the box.

Sure, the touchscreen is helpful in performing certain functions, like selecting where the camera’s AF should lock in and sifting through menus, but it is virtually unusable when it comes to manual shooting. Yes, you can adjust parameters using the screen, but you can only do it within the Fn (function) interface, not in live view. To avoid major frustration, just set the mode to Auto or Smart and leave it like that forever.

I don’t have any complaints as to image quality, though. It can never equal the quality that a full-size DSLR produces—no matter how much Samsung lauds its 20.3-megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor on its website—but with the kind of features the camera has, particularly wireless connectivity, it’s pretty obvious that the photos this camera takes are expected to be seen on Facebook timelines as hallmarks of daily happenings, not in huge frames on walls. ISO goes as high as 2S600 and as low as 100, and continuous shooting is achieved at 8 frames per second.

What I liked best about the images the camera was able to produce was the saturation of colors—punchy enough, but not too strong. Metering, though, was a bit off, with photos ending up slightly underexposed. It’s nothing that Photoshop can’t fix, but if you’re given the capability to upload images directly from the camera, sans computer, then perhaps the outcome should be more accurate so that you don’t end up posting an underexposed photo.

Like the NX300, the NX2000 has a quick and responsive AF system that I had barely had any trouble with. It could do much better, though, if it had the power of the phase detection AF found in the NX300, but with the scenes I had to shoot, contrast AF did just fine. The video function gives you a maximum clip resolution of 1920 x 1080 at either 30 or 24fps, recorded in MP4 (H.264) format. It also has a “For Sharing” option, which optimizes the size of the video to make it easier for you to upload it to YouTube.

Another interesting feature of the NX2000 is that it carries the same DRIMe IV image processor introduced in the NX300, which means that it is the second NX camera to support the 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D NX lens. When used with this set of optics, the NX2000 can shoot both photos and videos in 3D.

Battery life is good enough for a day of moderate usage and, though the battery can be removed, charging is carried out by plugging a charging unit into the side of the camera. The NX2000 uses microSD for storage, which can be a pain for those who have already stocked up on full-size SD cards. A flash unit is included in the package, and you can mount it on the hot shoe.

Although its wireless features are handy and user-friendly, and image quality seems fit for Its purpose, it felt as if Samsung did not put a lot of thought into the design. With minimal hard controls, it will be quite difficult to convince more advanced shooters to use it. Casual users would be able to enjoy it, but I know they’d agree with me when I say that PHP 29,990 is a pretty big investment.

BuyMeter 4

Words by Racine Anne Castro
First published in Gadgets Magazine, August 2013