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The Koreans are coming! Correction: they’re already here!
Samsung had already gained a market presence with compact digicams, then surprised everyone when it delivered the interchangeable lens DSLR-style NX10 about 18 months ago.
The NX11 continues the story: an APS-sized CMOS sensor, viewed with a 7.6cm Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) LCD as well as an electronic turret viewfinder. There’s no mirror in the system, so no optical viewing path.
The review camera was fitted with the f3.5/18-55m lens, the whole package fitted into a mid-sized body, weighing less than 600 grams, replete with battery and card.
In the hand it’s a delightful package, with enough external controls to manage most shooting tasks; I should also note that all controls are clearly labelled, unlike some other cameras seen recently.
This is backed up by an extensive and easy to follow finder menu.
The CMOS snares 14.6 megapixels, with a maximum image size of 4592×3056 pixels, or 39x26cm as a print.
Movies are let down, with a maximum image size of 1280×720 pixels but, as I have said elsewhere, this is an OK size for those who venture no further into video release than a presence on YouTube.
One feature that continues on from the NX10 is the i-Function. This lets you toggle between shutter speed, aperture, EV, WB and ISO quickly and easily by depressing the i-Function button and twirling a ring on the lens. There’s only one trap with this: you can easily and inadvertently dial in an unwanted exposure compensation without realising it. But the i-Function feature is still worth getting to know.
The mode dial includes the usual PASM settings plus movie capture, sound picture (for audio notes), 13 scene modes and a panorama mode which fires off a series of sections and stitches them in-camera.
Image capture can be in RAW, JPEG or RAW+JPEG. The RAW files are written to memory in Samsung’s proprietary SRW format; there’s a software converter (Win/Mac) that handles the switch to Photoshop-friendly Photoshop RAW … but one wonders why companies like Samsung (Nikon is another) need to add the clutter. Continuous shooting can be made in JPEG or RAW at a rate of 3fps.
One matter: as the camera uses a unique lens mount, you cannot grab a barrel full of lenses from a range of manufacturers, unlike the Four Thirds cameras. So far, apart from the f3.5/18-55m kit lens (in stabilised and non-stabilised versions), there are f2.8/20mm and f2/30mm pancake lenses plus an f3.5/20-50mm zoom. Moving up, there are f4/50-200mm and f3.5/18-200mm zooms and a 60mm macro. Probably enough for most people.
There will be five new lenses available later in the year, including a 16mm F2.4 ultra wide pancake, 60mm F2.8 OIS macro, 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OIS Movie Pro, 16-80mm F3.5-4.5 OIS Movie Pro and an 85mm F1.4 Premium Portrait lens.
An adaptor (ED-MA9NXK) enables the use of K-mount lenses on the NX cameras.
The camera handles noise and resolution well all the way up ISO 3200.
It took only a second for the first shot to be fired after power up; follow-on shots then came in at a second a pop.
Quality: excellent on all counts.
Why you would buy it: compact, mid weight; attractive price.
Why you wouldn’t: no vari-angle screen.
Many will appreciate the PDF of instruction manual: it has clear text and large pictures to illustrate not only the camera but some basic photographic principles as well … like the relationship between lens aperture and shutter speed, the role of ISO settings and others.
But… a minor criticism: the manual’s text is littered with spelling errors. Like “recharable”, “acces”, “fuorescent”, minumum” etc. There is even at least one in the camera’s menu itself. Slap on the back of the hand, Samsung!
Available in black or silver.
Image Sensor: 14.6 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi pattern, centre-weighted, spot.
Sensor Size (APS-C): 23.4×15.6mm CMOS.
Lens Mount: Samsung NX.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1:5x.
Shutter Speed: 30 to 1/4000 second.
Memory: SD/SDHC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 4592×3056 to 1280×1280. Movies: 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240 at 30fps.
Viewfinder: 5mm EVF/FLC (921,000 pixels).
LCD Screen: 7.6cm LCD (614,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW, JPEG+RAW, MPEG4.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 3200.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI, DC.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 123x87x39.8 WHDmm.
Weight: 499 g (inc battery).