I have to admit, the Samsung cameras didn’t interest me at all when they came out. I’m not even really sure why. I guess nothing about them jumped out at me and caught my attention.
I’ve been looking at the Sony a5100 as an option for a small and light, prime camera with EXCELLENT image quality (see my previous article Why Am I Looking at a Sony a5100 INSTEAD of a Sony a6100 for Adapted Prime Shooting? for why the Sony a5100 and NOT the Sony a6000). It’s got the a great 24MP sensor, good auto-focus for those times when I want to use auto-focus lenses, and, perhaps BEST OF ALL, it has tap and shoot (and tap and focus too).
Regular readers and YouTube viewers will know that I LOVE vari-angle LCD screens with touchscreen features. The ability to touch a point on the screen and have the camera focus and shoot is simply awesome. Once you’ve had this ability, as I have on the Pansonic G7, GX7, GH4, Nikon D5500, and Canon T6i, you simply don’t EVER want to be without it again. Yes, it’s that good.
So, the Sony a5100 looked like a great option because it has all of the above, AND it can be found for a little over $300.00 so it’s a great VALUE (which is also one of my favorite features).
But then, out of curiosity, I started looking at just how many cameras currently offered a touch screen with tap and shoot abilities, and that’s when I got interested in the Samsung NX500. Not only does it have a touch screen with tap and shoot, it also has one of the more capable Auto Focus systems in any mirrorless camera, AND it shoots a very nice 4K video (and a true 4,096 by 2,160 4K at that).
Now I was REALLY interested.
And the more I looked into it, the better it got. At 28 megapixels, the NX500 also has the highest resolution APS-C sensor currently available, and not only is it 28MP, it’s a top performer as well. The NX500’s sensor ranks among the absolute BEST of APS-C sensors, perhaps even THE best. As a BSI (back illuminated sensor), it has the advantage of this latest and greatest of sensor technologies which allows it to post some pretty impressive high ISO numbers, not to mention some serious dynamic range.
What’s NOT to like?
At this point, I’m thinking the Samsung NX500 may be the ultimate reportage camera. Small and light, fast, with serious image quality and focus peaking, it seems a shoe-in for shooting older manual focus lenses like my latest infatuation, the Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AI-S.
Well, for me, there’s really only three that I can see at the moment.
First, the NX 500 doesn’t have an EVF. You shoot with the LCD only. This will likely be a deal killer for a lot of people, but when I think about how I usually shoot with my Panasonic G7, it’s mostly using the touchscreen. Granted, I do still use the EVF, but I think I could live without it, maybe even more so if I start using a loupe like the Hoodman Hoodloupe.
The second is the battery size. I don’t think it’s going to run as long as my G7’s battery does, and certainly not as long as the Nikon D5500’s. More of a problem for video than for photography though, especially with Wasabi Power batteries available at such a low price ($23.99 for two BP1130 batteries plus a charger).
Finally, the 4K video crops into the center of the sensor, making your wide lenses not so wide. Again, for some people this is probably a deal killer, but for me and the type of video I’m usually shooting, not so much. Sure, I’d rather it didn’t, but I think I can live with it, especially considering there aren’t many other cameras out there at this price point capable of even shooting 4K video right now.
So, as you’ve probably guessed, you can expect to see a Samsung NX500 show up here soon enough at Art of the Image, hopefully very early in the New Year. Stay tuned! 🙂
Photo Gear discussed in this article: