Samsung NX500: test and review

At 599 euros, the Samsung NX500 is in the upper range of prices, so it lacks a viewfinder. Most competitors hybrid cameras are worth a hundred euros less. But for this price, Samsung offers us more elaborate with a particular Ultra HD video features.

Image quality

Not surprisingly, the photo and video quality far exceeds that of its direct competitor, the Olympus E-PL7 whose sensor is however smaller. For its hybrid, Samsung has taken over much of the technical details of NX1: same sensor, and image processor Drime V and almost the same recording capabilities in Ultra HD. The only difference is the NX500 can not broadcast in 4K / Ultra HD via HDMI. Nor has over external microphone jack.

The photo quality is proving very good for a camera in this price category. It provides excellent color rendering, white balance and tonal range. We can even say that it is probably one of the best hybrid to below 1 000 the market.

Given the similarity between the components NX1 and the NX500, we have a beautiful illustration of the enormous difference that can make a goal. The NX1 comes with a beautiful goal from 16 to 500 mm offering openings f / 2-2.8. The Samsung NX500 has to settle for a 16-50 mm f / 3.5-5.6 power zoom barely above average. Accordingly, the clichés that are net in 6400 on the NX1 begin to lose sharpness at ISO 1600 on the NX500. The out of focus areas are also best on the NX1. However, the video quality remains excellent Ultra HD, both clear and sufficiently contrasted with very few artifacts.

JPEG, pictures taken with the original objective maintain a beautiful sharpness up to ISO 1600 in areas developed. But we find that slightly distant parts of these areas tend to blur.

ISO 3200 is probably the maximum that we can achieve jpeg maintaining acceptable amount of detail, at least with this.

You can really see the difference that can make a goal when comparing side by side that of the NX500 and that of the NX1.

The NX500 reproduces natural colors nicely saturated.

If you are willing to accept a bit of grain, spend the ISO 3200 in the key raw with a little more detail and less noise.

performances

The NX500’s performance is good but not exceptional. It takes approximately 1.6 seconds to light, to focus and shoot. A partly delay due to the fact that the motorized lens must unfold. These lead times are often one of the hybrid disabilities (E-PL7 is faster because it has no power zoom). The development and release time is around 0.3 seconds in both jpeg raw, which is quite a good result.

We must also add the time to save the photos on the memory card that is roughly half a second in raw as jpeg. With the supplied external flash, two successive shots are taken in approximately 1.2 seconds.

The Samsung NX500 pulls out of the game burst mode with a speed of 9.1 frames / second with continuous autofocus on a sequence of 30 photos in jpeg. In practice, it is quite complicated to be able to maintain this frame viewfinder without speed moving subject, but we still achieved fairly good results with the objective 50-150 mm with an aperture of f / 2.8.

The autofocus works pretty well but the multipoint mode is also unreliable as other cameras. He never selects twice the same points even if it moves. He even choose his points at random.

Design and functionality

The Samsung NX 500 sports a retro two-tone. The housing of the hybrid camera exudes robustness. Its ergonomic design ensures a good comfortable and allows working with one hand, at least until the goal is not too heavy.

On top of the housing, the power switch around the shutter button with a small autoexposure lock to his right. There are no built-in flash, but Samsung provides a small, externally, which is fixed on the accessory shoe. To the right of it, is the button for the wireless connection Wi-Fi / NFC and a navigation wheel.

The Mode dial is placed on the right edge. In addition to traditional manual methods, semi-automatic, automatic and a position for a custom mode, there’s the Samsung Auto Shot devoted to shots of action scenes.

At the corner of the thumb rest is the shortcut to directly launch a video recording. The right of the screen hosts the exposure compensation button, another navigation wheel, the quick access button functions and the usual menu buttons / reading / deleting. The latter can be programmed to another task when the camera is not in playback mode. There is also the Four-way navigation pad with its central confirmation button. It provides access to autofocus modes, ISO sensitivity and display options. The OK button is also used to control the location and size of the autofocus when you are in Single AF mode.

The screen is well designed. It can switch to the arm’s length or shooting at waist level and rotates for self-portraits. The transition to 180 ° automatically triggers a mode for selfies with a timer.

As on Panasonic cameras, we can extract photos 8 megapixels Ultra HD videos with complete EXIF ​​metadata, which is appreciable.

To view the video files encoded HEVC / H.265 on a computer, it must pass either the provided CyberLink software or VLC on Windows or Mac.

Like other Samsung devices, connected applications are very good. But there is a problem when it comes to download on Android. If one does not have Samsung smartphone, you have made two applications: Camera Manager and Samsung Accessory Service (SAS). When you launch Camera Manager after you download from Google Play, it indicates to install SAS, which it is not on Google Play. So you must first connect the mobile to the camera and wait for Camera Manager starts and then follow his invitation to download SAS. No particular problem with Apple devices running iOS.

Note also a new option for the named Bluetooth Shutter Android mobile. It brings a way to remotely and quickly.

If you can do without viewfinder, the hybrid camera Samsung NX500 really has it all.