The Samsung NX100 isn’t quite a DSLR, but it isn’t compact either, putting it into a confused state of photographic purgatory.
The NX100 takes brilliant, high quality shots at the quality of any high-end camera with 14.6 megapixels on a CMOS sensor, with the simplicity of a point-and-shooter that is overloaded with features. But for its price range and a few fundamental flaws, this is a very lacking camera.
With no image stabilising technology in this camera or its standard lens attachment, many shots taken will take on some motion blur, even if you’re standing still and especially in darker shooting scenarios. Motion shots can be ruled out altogether. One of our tests on the NX100 was at an aquarium, for example, and capturing a still image of a slow fish even posed a challenge.
Shutter speeds could be the issue, though increasing them only made the motion blur from hand-shake worse, while decreasing it would make images too dark. On the plus side, settings like this shutter speed alongside white balance, exposure, aperture and ISO count can be easily adjusted without fiddling with the menu via the i-Function button that sits conveniently next to the focus ring.
Clicking the button located where your left thumb would sit cycles functions, while an additional ring at the tip of the lens scrolls settings. Without having to go through the menu and instead focusing on subjects while getting the settings right makes getting the perfect shot a whole lot easier and faster.
With an electronic shoe and ‘Smart Shoe’ users can interchange flashes and viewfinders to make up for the lack of in-built goodies. The camera has a Geotagging feature to put global positioning tags onto images, but you’ll need an attachment to run this function. Other connection options include a micro-HDMI output, USB output and a remote shutter input and power input for the professional users who’d be using a tripod (almost a necessity on this camera).
It seems odd that a camera that’s been lightened at less than 300 grams unlike your typical chunky, high-end camera to make it more mobile would make mobile shots so unappealing.
The rounded contours on an otherwise blocky design of the NX100 give it a slightly retro feel, though it’s lost a bit of practicality in its design. The shutter button is a little too far forward to make for comfortable shooting.
There’s no dedicated filming button which seems to be a sign that they didn’t think much of recording on this camera. Recording at 1280 x 720 resolution for 720p HD, the picture quality here is lost once again when motion of either the photographer or the subject comes into play.
At up to $900, this camera has all the customisable features you’d expect of higher-grade DSLRs with the added bonus of ISO noise control at up to 6400, but lacks in giving the practical shooting experience to make it a valuable purchase for either the average snapper or the professional shot. Without a tripod, you’ve got to be either really careful or really patient when taking still shots – just don’t take this camera to a footy game and expect anything visible.