Keen to shoot some 28 megapixel images and 4K UHD video but don’t like carrying around a big camera? You’re not the only one, and Samsung is showing what it can do to make your life easier with its compact NX500.
Originally shown at CES earlier in the year, Samsung’s NX500 grabbed our attention because of what it felt like from its spec sheet. Based on what we read, it felt like Samsung was making a smaller and lighter version of its NX1, with a similar 28 megapixel sensor and 4K video capture, WiFi transfer, Bluetooth support, and a touchscreen to make things easy to control.
In the hands today, we can confirm that this is basically a compact NX1, with Craig Gillespie, Samsung’s local head of Digital Imaging, telling GadgetGuy that the new camera “doesn’t mean a compromise on quality; it means a compromise on size and weight.”
That compromise is one that reads more like a promise, with the end result being a camera that is smaller, lighter, and easier to carry, especially if you’re not too fond of bringing around a big hunk of a camera, which is one of the features that brings people to the compact system style of camera.
“The NX500 represents Samsung’s ongoing commitment to the category,” said Gillespie at the NX500 launch this week.
“We’ve integrated our latest imaging and wireless technologies to redefine what’s possible with a Samsung camera for everyday Australians who love taking and sharing photos. We recently launched our flagship NX1 camera in Australia and it has been met with many positive comments about its performance and image quality.
“I’m very proud to say that the NX500 camera shares many of the NX1’s advanced features and innovations in a retro lightweight design.”
The retro design on display is very similar to what we experienced in the NX300 before it, with a leather-like grip, metal trip, and a small amount of controls up top and behind.
There’s no built-in flash, but the NX500 will come with a small external flash in case you need to use one, and the LCD is vari-angle, able to be seen from below or up top when moved into position, and flipping up for a selfie and even starting a timer mode when you’re taking the self portrait.
Inside, though, the guts are totally different, with a 28.2 megapixel APS-C sensor capable of shooting images at ISO 100 to 25600 extending to 51200 if you need to.
RAW capability is also found here, as is JPEG, both of those for still, with MP4 being utilised for both regular 4K (4096×2160) and Ultra HD (3840×2160) video capture, as well as the regular assortment of Full HD (1920×1080), HD (1280×720), and even 640×480 if you feel like going down to small sizes.
We didn’t test the WiFi transfer mode on this model, but we’re told it’s exactly the same as what we experienced on the NX1, meaning if you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you should be able to transfer photos easily, and even take photos using a phone or tablet as a remote.
Taking pictures without a smartphone is very easy — hold the camera, finger on the shutter — and we found the ergonomics quite strong on this body, with a comfortable grip, easy to reach controls, and even a video record button that had been moved to the very easy to get at spot of the right corner.
After an initial play through, the design appears to be quite good, so how does it perform?
From the first shots, quite well, with the results reminding us of the excellent quality we found on the Samsung NX1, albeit in a smaller and more portable form-factor.
One note that we like was the lens, with Samsung including a power zoom lens for the $999 price.
That lens is the 16-50 f/3.5-5.6 power zoom, a kit lens that does away with much of the bulk we regularly see on kit lenses, and yet keeping the specs the same.
With the camera off, the lens automatically folds up, reminding us of a pancake lens, relatively slim feeling more like a compact camera.
Switch the camera on and the lens extrudes with a two buttons on the left side allowing you to zoom in and out using that power zoom.
We can see filmmakers digging this lens because of the slow zoom speed, with a more gradual close-up than the immediate one a hand-pulled zoom will yield.
Obviously, there are more tests we need to run it through, but from a first play, the feeling is good for this one, with a compact camera that really feels like it brings the goods.
There are more pictures in the gallery below in case you’re keen to see what it can do from our initial test.
Pricing, as we’ve noted, starts off at $999 recommended retail price, with availability at select retailers and photography stores from early April. We should have a review in the next few weeks, though, so if you’re keen, look out for it.