Samsung NX1000 Mirrorless WiFi-enabled Camera Review
In this day and age, people aren’t able to live nor breathe without being hooked up to the internet. It seems that not only our laptops or phones are able to stay connected but now our own TVs as well. How about our digital cameras?
Samsung who’s known to have point-and-shoot digital cameras that are WiFi-ready also tapped into the prosumer market with their new NX1000 camera.
The NX1000 is not just your conventional digital camera but a mirrorless and interchangeable lens type which means you’re able to change lenses on a compact body. It has a 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor so you can expect some great image quality. And best of all, it is WiFi-enabled so you can upload your photos directly online. Now ain’t that a good one? But wait, this camera packs a lot features other than WiFi access. Check out our review of the Samsung NX1000 camera below and find out.
The NX1000 comes in a choice of black and white colors. It has a stylish accent to it however, the build quality of the body isn’t that good having a “plasticky” feel all throughout. Having used Panasonic’s ILCs, the kit lens that comes with the NX1000 feels cheap for me. Albeit the build quality, it feels light even with the kit lens and battery on so it’s still a great camera to bring around on trips as far as portability is concerned.
From the top of the camera we have the hot shoe, the nifty smart link button (discuss on the features section below), the conventional shutter button with the power switch and the mode dial.
We’ll go through the modes after this but what I’d like to point is the absence of a built-in flash. it would’ve been great if they equipped this even with a small flash to make the package complete. The external flash is not included so you may want to look at compatible Samsung external flashes like the SEF-42A, SEF-20A and SEF-15A models. The NX1000 will not work with other flashes. Bummer.
From the back, we have the 3” TFT LCD, a nice thumb rest, the record button, and a series of dedicated camera controls. The scroll dial at the center is really useful when browsing through the on-screen menus and controls especially when you’re in manual mode. Good thing Samsung made use of the scroll dial since it’s much more easier to make adjustments to the camera settings. It would’ve been great as well if they included a dedicated ISO button for manual users like me.
At the side you’ll find the HDMI and micro-USB ports while the battery and SD card slots can be found on its underside.
Let’s start with the 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Most kit lenses would start at the 18mm focal length but Samsung chose the 20mm for who knows what reason although, I find the 20mm focal length to be less distorted than an 18mm.
Looking at the side of the lens, there’s a certain button called, the iFunction (iFn). Pressing this button will pop up an on screen menu that will let you adjust the aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation and among the other camera controls just by turning the focus ring of the lens. Now this might give you a professional feel of fiddling with the lens and all but I do find it awkward. First of all, the camera is small and I do have big hands so fiddling with the lens just to make adjustments to the shutter speed, aperture and such can be quite cumbersome. And since the lens feels “plasticky”, it felt like I’m trying to disassemble it.
Also you’ll only be able to adjust the camera controls one a time so you’ll need to press the iFn button repeatedly to cycle through the different camera controls. I’d prefer to use the scroll dial instead where there’s minimal effort and I find it more practical that way. Let’s just leave the fiddling of the lens to zooming in and out shall we?
Moving on to the Smart Link button. Now this is one nifty feature of the NX1000 where it let’s you pair up with your mobile phone in viewing and transferring your camera photos. We’re not talking about Bluetooth pairing here but through WiFi!
Pressing the Smart Link button will enable the camera to be discoverable by your smartphone or tablet through the WiFi settings. You must have the Samsung MobileLink app installed on your phone (available only on Android and iOS) in order to view and transfer the files. Pairing your smartphone to the NX1000 would mean that only one phone can be connected at a time. Also, you’ll only be able to transfer your photos from the camera to your phone and not vice versa. But still, photo sharing with your friends is instantly made easier with this feature.
The mode dial features the usual PASM and Scene (SCN) modes and the addition of the Magic Frame mode (the camera with star) where you get to select a frame design of your choice. Honestly, I find this to be rather boring and gimmicky.
We also have the Smart mode which is Samsung’s auto mode, then there’s the WiFi mode for connecting to the internet, the Movie mode which let you record 1080p Full HD movies and lastly the Lens Priority mode (i) which let’s you cycle through your desired scene by pressing the iFn button and turning the focus wheel. This lets you select scenes quickly rather than going to the SCN selection menu.
Now on to the WiFi mode where you’ll find some pretty impressive wireless features. We have the MobileLink (same as the Smart Link button from the top); the Remote Viewfinder which let’s you pair up your smartphone that will act as a viewfinder with a shutter button; Social Sharing which gives you the choice of sharing your photos to Facebook, Picassa, YouTube and Photobucket; the usual Email; SkyDrive which is Microsoft’s file hosting cloud server; Auto Backup which lets you wirelessly backup your shots to a computer and then TV Link which let’s you connect your camera to a Smart TV. Now that’s quite a lot of wireless connectivity we got there!
I particularly like the Social Sharing feature which is so convenient when you want to share your photos right away. Although, I would’ve wished that Samsung made the LCD here touchscreen since I find typing the username and password quite tedious with just the navigational keys. Not to mention when you have to type in your photo captions.
Shooting with the NX1000 may take a bit of time to get used to as it has a different button layout but you’ll appreciate how easy easy it is to operate this once you get the hang of things.
The kit lens has a bit of lag when focusing on your subjects especially during low light conditions so it can be frustrating. Also, turning the zoom ring of the kit lens is not as smooth as we hoped for. Personally, I prefer to use a pancake lens and do a foot zoom instead.
Video recording is easily accessible with just a push of the red Record button. The cool thing here is that you can pause and resume the video while recording.
Now onto the image quality which we should be looking at in the first place. Remember that a camera is not all about the cool wireless connectivity, the automatic features or how cool it looked and how nice it felt when you touch it. The image quality is what matters here and as a photographer, I love to pixel peep on sample photos as my basis on reviewing a camera.
Looking at the NX1000’s photos, I have to say that the image quality is quite acceptable when looking at the photos in their actual sizes. There’s good saturation to the colors, nice contrasts and some good dynamic range.
Here are some sample shots:
The thing is though, there’s some oversharpening which is a result of the built-in processing but you can also opt to shoot in RAW. And speaking of shooting in RAW, Samsung has its own RAW file extension (SRW) which is not yet widely supported by photo editing applications. You have to use the RAW file7 converter included in the box to convert it SRW to TIFF for editing.
The NX1000 handles noise pretty well with ISO 1600 still being acceptable. Go above that and things start to get messy.
Battery life took about 300 shots with seldom use of the wireless features. Of course, heavy use of the WiFi will drain the battery easily. I also found the camera to heat up a bit with a just a few minutes of using the WiFi that’s a concern there. In the end, you’d still opt to use the conventional removing of the memory card and inserting it on a computer for transferring and uploading your photos.
The Samsung NX1000 retails at Php29,990 for the single lens kit (comes with a 20-55mm lens) and P36,990 for the double lens kit (with 20-55mm and 16mm lens).
With all the features I’ve mentioned above, do you think it justifies the price? Let’s go through them once again.
The camera is all about wireless connectivity that let’s you forget it has a USB cable in the first place. I wouldn’t recommend using too much as it drains the battery easily. That is a drawback that is to be expected but the WiFi is still an enjoyable feat.
The overall image quality is to be desired, which is great for getting good shots of your trips or for any occasion. But the lack of a built-in flash may be a deal breaker for taking shots at night so you’ll need to spend extra on a compatible flash.
If you are starting to dive into photography, then this camera might suit you especially if you’re looking for a lightweight camera you can bring anywhere. But for its price, you may opt to go for an entry-level Nikon or Canon DSLR which can give you much better image quality sans the WiFi.
For the photography enthusiast looking for a mirrorless camera as a substitute to their hulking DSLR, I wouldn’t recommend this unless you really need the wireless features. There are better options out there that belong to the same price bracket and with better image quality from Panasonic, Sony, Olympus or Nikon so you may want to check them out.
So the NX1000 is best suited for those who are looking for a fun and easy way to share their photos on the fly, while at the same time take better than point-and-shoot quality photos. It is a big step up from your conventional smartphone with the absence of Instagram so if you think that excites you, then this Smart camera is for you.