The Samsung NX500 combines the performance of the NX1 with a very compact design. The newest CSC of the NX series offers an image resolution of 28 MP, a fast hybrid AF system, a high-quality screen (OLED) as electronic viewfinder, and sophisticated video capabilities including 4K recording.
Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The colour reproduction of the NX500 is very good. Just like all Samsung NX cameras, it creates images with only a minor oversaturation of 104.7 percent. The mean colour errors are on a low level; even colours that are exaggerated and boosted by most other cameras are shown with only a light oversaturation. The automatic white-balance system had a shift into the yellow and green direction for the test chart, while the test box has neutral or very slight shift into the more bluish colours. The portrait shot shows light, pastel-coloured skin tones and a good differentiation in the red t-shirt. The same applies to the red, blue and green differentiation in our test-box shot, which also shows a neutral-coloured grey background.
Sharpness: The camera performed excellently in our resolution tests. Even though the product shots show the camera with its kit lens, all tests were done with the 16-50 mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS. This prime lens offers the same focal length as the kit lens but higher speed and an excellent sharpness. With the help of this lens, the NX500 reproduced the ISO12233 chart with 4204 lines per picture height, which is nearly the nominal sensor resolution (4320 lines per picture height). The result chart proves that this high-resolution value isn’t a result of an exaggerated sharpness filtering. The overshoot and undershoot are still on a very low level, and there are no clipping effects noticeable.
Noise: The Samsung NX500 had very good results in our noise tests when using ISO speed settings between 100 and 1600. Up to the ISO 6400 setting, the luminance noise factor stays (far) below 1.0 percent, and even in the highest ISO speed setting, it remains on a very good level (1.26 percent).
The very good test results for luminance noise are a side effect created by the very intense smooth filtering, which essentially is used by the NX500 to reduce colour noise. The smoothing artifacts (in combination with a sharpness filtering to enhance image details) are noticeable when taking images with ISO 1600. Up to ISO 6400, they are on an acceptable level; in the highest ISO speed settings, the filter effects will reduce image details drastically. In ISO 25600 mode, the increments on the Stouffer 4110 test chart were nearly smoothened to a gradient. Real images taken with ISO 25600 and the additional “high mode” with an equivalent of ISO 51200 will cause the “impressionist filter” look or a similar filter look effect.
The dynamic range results of the NX500 are on a good level. The camera achieved a maximum of 11 f-stops, but dynamic range results dropped quickly when shooting with ISO speeds higher than ISO 800.
Comments on Handling
The Samsung NX500 is a mirrorless compact camera. It uses an APS-C-sized and high-resolution image sensor with 28 MP, which is already known from the Samsung NX1. The camera uses a lot more elements from Samsung’s CSC flagship and combines these features with a very compact size. Using the same image sensor means that the camera also has the very fast focus system of the NX1. This AF system uses a “hybrid focus system” and, therefore, a combination of a contrast-metering and phase-detection system. The phase-detection AF sensors are directly located on the image sensor. The NX500 offers 209 AF areas for contrast metering and 205 phase-detection areas. The fast AF system also supports the continuous shot function. The camera offers up to 9 frames per second, which was confirmed in our tests. For manual focusing, the camera offers a magnifier function and “focus peaking” to mark contrast lines in focus with a coloured outline on the screen. This is helpful equally for shooting photos and videos.
The camera has a large LCD screen on the back, which is used as viewfinder. It is also used for menu navigation and image parameter set up. To change image parameters, it offers a set-up dial on the back and a second dial near the shutter-release button, which allows one to change aperture size and shutter-speed settings simultaneously. The photographer can use the lens ring as a set-up dial too. The NX500 supports Samsung’s “iFunction” system. This system allows for changing various image parameters by pressing the “iF” button on the left-hand side of the lens. By pressing the button. the camera will toggle through different settings like ISO speed or white balance. These functions are context-sensitive and depend on the current camera mode, which is determined with the large mode dial on the top. The camera has a 4-way control field on the back for standard menu navigation. All direction keys have additional functions.
The LCD screen isn’t fully articulated and can only be flipped up- and downward. When using the most upright position, it will point to the front and can be used for “selfies,” for example. The camera allows wireless remote control by Wi-Fi connection. Samsung offers free apps for mobile Apple systems like iPhones or iPads and for mobile phones and tablet computers with Android OS. These apps allow remote controlling of the camera or image data transfer via Wi-Fi. The NX500 also supports NFC to make it very easy to establish a wireless connection to the mobile device. In addition it supports Bluetooth as an additional wireless system.
+ compact APS-C mirrorless compact camera
+ very high sensor resolution; very high results in resolution test
+ nice colour reproduction
+ high-speed continuous shots with up to 9 frames per second
+ easy handling (a lot of function buttons, set-up dials and a swivel LCD)
+ WLAN/Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
+ 4K video recording
– no viewfinder
– no internal flash system for fill flash (but an external compact flash system is supplied with the camera)
This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.
|SPEC SHEET: Samsung NX500|
|BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:|
|Resolution||6480 x 4320|
|Size of sensor (in inches)||0/0.00|
|Size of sensor (in mm)||23.5 x 15.7|
|Focal length (wide angle; 35-mm equivalent; in mm)||24|
|Focal length (tele; 35-mm equivalent; KB in mm)||77|
|Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm)||16.0|
|Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm)||50.0|
|Speed||3.5 – 5.6|
|Macro||24 – 100|
|Manual focus, controlled by function elements||no|
|Manual focus, controlled with lens ring||yes|
|Start-up time (in sec)||0.51|
|Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing||0.21|
|Shutter delay (in sec) with prefocusing||0.01|
|Continuous shooting speed (frames per second)||9.0|
|Max. burst during continuous shooting speed||40.0|
|Fastest shutter speed (in sec)||1/6000|
|Long time exposure/shutter speed in sec||30|
|Aperture presetting, shutter-speed pre-setting, manual-exposure settings,|
|automatic bracketing, time-lapse photography|
|Individual white balance||yes|
|Manual ISO control||yes|
|On, off, automatic flash, slow sync, anti-red eye, rear-curtain sync|
|Standard file formats||JPEG, RAW, DCF|
|JPEG compression grades||3|
|LCD AND PREVIEW:|
|Size (in inches)||3.0|
|Resolution of LCD (in pixels)||1036000|
|Zoom mode during preview||yes|
|Index during preview||yes|
|Slideshow during preview||yes|
|Battery charger included||yes|
|Power supply unit||no|
|Supported memory cards||SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card|
|PC connection||USB 2.0, Bluetooth, HDMI, WLAN|
|TV out||PAL/NTSC + HDMI|
|Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm)||119 x 63 x 42|
|Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g)||292|
|Manual on CD||yes|