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Samsung NX20 review (Part I)

Hello!

It’s me again, and with my next review – Samsung NX20. Top NX-camera for today.

(My English is not good, so I apologize in advance.)

Internet has a lot of Samsung NX20 Reviews. For originality, I’ll try to pay more attention comparison Samsung NX20 to other NX cameras. It is good for understanding the advantages of the flagship.

I recently made a user’s review of NX1000 for beginners. I recommend to read it in anyway, because talking about the camera NX20 will be based on old material on NX1000 in some aspects – cameras have much in common. And another thing: this article – for those who are little familiar with the mirrorless systems.

Important: this is the first Samsung NX20 review in the world , which has no pictures of this camera with the 18-55/3.5-5.6! :-)

Part One, the main, with tests and comparisons:

Exterior.

Kit:

Standard box for NX, the design has not changed. Kit is standard too: CD with software (Samsung Raw Converter, Auto Backup, Samsung Intelly Studio) , papers, body with a cap, lens with two caps, lens hood, charger, power cord to the charger, battery cable, micro-USB, belt and promotional badge.

I got a sealed box – between factory and me nobody opened the box. I cut the seal to check the contents, and recorded unpacking:

 

Features package, which is sometimes asked:

  • The screen has not protective film, and turned to the body
  • Mode dial turned to ‘Smart’
  • Firmware was 1.01 (actual for moment)
  • The charger is not packaged in a packet.
  • Belt – imitation leather
  • First charge the battery – about 2 hours.

 

Note: the mount of the lens 18-55/3.5-5.6 is now complete metal.

 

Previously, this lens had a plastic mount.

Specifications:

Specifications HERE. (You can see camera with 18-55/3.5-5.6 there)

Main:

  • Sensor – CMOS 23.5 x 15.7mm (APS-C) 20 MPx
  • Display – VGA (640 x 480) 614000 dots (PenTile) OCR, swivel, AMOLED
  • Viewfinder - electronic, SVGA (800 x 600) 1440000 dots
  • Contrast AF

 

Appearance and control:

The first impression of the camera – the mass of the buttons on the body.

Differences from the NX1000 – there are additional buttons on the rear side: ISO, AEL, and exposure compensation. (ISO – on the joystick, classically, as in all previous NX. For NX1000 at this place is exposure compensation). Additional buttons on the top panel: flash, metering type, the “green button” and Jog Dial.

NX20 has no ‘Smart Link’-button, which is present in the younger NX1000 & NX210.

 

 

In contrast to the NX10 (11) - Smart Dial appeared (wheel on the back side). So, the camera has two dials. It’s not a surprise for the owners of NX100, NX200 and NX210, but for those who are move from NX10 and NX11 it would be a nice addition. NX20 has design of Smart Dial the same as on the NX200-210-1000 (Click expressed, convenient to use.). The presence of the second dial allows you to browse images in larger scale – upper Jog-dial used to zoom, the rear Smart-dial – for paging.

NX20 has a standard menu, as on all another NX cameras. That’s good, because Samsung has made it easy to use and understand.

A new mode appeared on the NX camera for the first time – Custom Mode (“C” on the mode dial). You have three slots to record your settings. Works simple – being in any of the modes P, A, S, M, and even in the C (at least one slot should be recorded), you configure the camera as you like, then go to the menu (or Fn menu), choose “Save as custom mode” and store setting in any of three slots. New mode can be named.

I’m sure – this is one of the most useful innovations. Wishes for a custom mode posted on the forums many times.

As for the button assignments, we have the following:

  • “AEL” button – AEL, AEL Hold, AFL, AFL+AEL
  • “Preview” button – (front side, under the mount) – One Touch WB, Optical Preview, One Touch RAW +
  • “Custom” button – Pictue Wizard, White Balanse, AF Area.

Extensive settings of interface customizing put the camera closer to the professional segment.

Another notable innovation – an indicator of the level of the horizon – level gauge (on the NX1000&NX210 it’s present too).

Body material – good plastic. Grip – fully rubbered. Without exaggeration: NX20 in my hand felt better than any other CSC-camera, and not only from Samsung.

 

Camera design is in harmony with the big lenses 60/2.8 или 85/1.4:

 

With pancakes, by the way, NX20, too cute. It reminds me a bulldog:

 

 

Is this a compact camera? Answer can be very subjective, so just shots:

 

 

In contrast to the NX10 and NX11 with a removable rubbered eye-cup of viewfinder, the eye-cup on NX20 non-removable, it’s part of the body.

Near the viewfinder is the diopter adjustment dial. Rotates easily, somewhat uneven, and I was afraid that it will often be brought down, but it is not.

The main technical advantage of this camera over the younger models – the viewfinder.

It pleased. Especially compared to the first generation of NX (models 10-11). Nice colors, no pixels. No image lag, or it is unnoticed for me. It seemed to me that the viewfinder could be placed closer to the left edge of the body. But that’s nitpicking.

The next distinctive feature NX20 – swivel screen. For the first time in the history of NX – screen is not nailed to the body. Some people prefer tilt-screens because they are sufficient in 90% of cases, but in the case of the NX20 I’m agree with engineers - the camera is quite uncompromising, and swivel screen looks appropriate.

 

 

In general, the presence of a swivel screen NX20 is seen as an occasion to criticize the NX1000 and NX210. So, Samsung has experience with ‘Multi View’ cameras:

This screen is simple, reliable and sufficient (when shooting at high angle just flip the camera). I think, that this is better than the screens of the modern CSC-cameras from competitors. I say more - mirrorless camera with this type of screen has appeared, but not from Samsung, it’s surprised me. I think we have reason to expect a tilt-screen in the next NX models.

Returning to the NX20 – the screen rotates with no backlash and normally holds the position. AMOLED – is a good thing. In the review of NX1000, which has the typical TFT-screen, I made a comparison with AMOLED (for example it was NX200), so I repeat it here (left – NX200 = AMOLED, right – NX1000 = TFT):

 

 

The overall conclusion is: the angle of view on the screens about the same, the main difference – the colors and contrast. Thus, the framing is comfortable with any technology, but for the control of the image – AMOLED is important.

Flash. Built-in flash with classical design . The space behind the viewfinder still lost in anyway, and the built-in flash underscores the usefulness of the camera.

 

 

On the other hand, the solution with the small external flash included in kit, as for the NX100, NX200, NX210 and NX1000 – seems to be sufficient.

By the way, small flash from compact NX-cameras works fine on the NX20 – power contacts on the hot-shoe are present.

In contrast to the low-end models, fastening of a belt on NX20 integrated into the body – it will counteract overturning the camera.

 

 

About the exterior is enough. In short – a strong babe with excellent ergonomics.

 

Interior.

Samsung NX20 has a very fast shutter speed – 1/8000. I do not know faster cameras, even among professional, expensive and huge. Amazing results achieved with the electronic first curtain of the shutter, which allows you to disable the first mechanical. This option is available on the menu. Turn on the “e-shutter” – and shoot up to 1/8000. Turning off -  1/4000 maximum. To be honest, I do not understand what’s the point in turning e-shutter off. If anyone knows – please let me know.

Other NX cameras has a good speed too. NX1000 and NX210 with 1/4000 – just one stop difference. But, the NX-system has a fast lens – and 1/8000 does not seems excessive.

ISO test - a necessary element of the review.

Conditions: WB = daylight, M-mode, Samsung 60mm F2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA, RAW, Lightroom preview. First – comparison of the character of the noise with the NX1000. Is it true that the images from these cameras will be the same?:

 

 

Based on the pictures I can say the following: noise of the NX1000 and NX20 is really identical.

Test of the details for NX20:

 

As a result, the final conclusion for the NX20 is the same as for the NX1000:

Absolutely working range up to ISO 1600, inclusive, and quite working ISO 3200. (ISO6400 and 12800 should be used for extreme conditions when the content is more important than a quality).

(If you wish to see the original SRW files - download archive HERE)

 

Wi-Fi

I can not ignore SmartCamera functions, which are the distinguishing feature of the new generation of NX.

So, the Samsung Smart Camera features allow you to do the following:

  • MobileLink – Send photos to your smartphone/tablet. Usage: install the software on your Samsung MobileLink Android (so far only Android), turn the option on the camera, run the program on your smartphone/tablet, select the checkbox of images you want to share and send. They will be on your phone.
  • Remote Viewfinder – Your smartphone or tablet becomes a remote control and remote viewfinder. Usage: install the software Samsung Remote Viewfinder for your Android, turn the option on the camera, run the program on your smartphone/tablet, you can see what sees the camera lens, you can use flash, can take a picture, get it on the memory card in the camera, or send to your mobile .
  • E-mail – You can send a picture or several pictures to e-mail. Usage: specify a address, choose the pictures, send pictures.
  • SkyDrive – Upload pictures to Microsoft SkyDrive. Usage: enter your login and password for Microsoft Live, select the pictures, upload pictures.
  • Auto Backup – Load pictures to the computer wirelessly. Usage: set the Auto Backup program on your computer and specify the folder to backup (software included on the disk included), turn on Auto Backup option on the camera, connect the camera via USB to a computer – a message that the server settings stored. After that, being in the range of the network WIFi, which is your computer, you can send pictures to the computer to the specified folder.
  • TV-Link – Watch pictures on TV. Usage: run a TV-Link on the TV, run TV-Link on the camera, see images on TV.
  • Social Sharing – Publish the pictures on Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, Photobucklet, VKontakte. Use: in all cases – specify your login and password to access the social network, select the pictures and send. Pictures will be posted on your wall.

For all these options, you need connect to Wi-Fi (for MobileLink and Remote Viewfinder – Direct Wi-Fi). All functions work only for JPG.

Thick line: NX20 (NX210 and NX1000 too) can be controlled remotely via the smartphone or tablet with viewfinder option.

But one small flaw does not allow me to be truly satisfied – Auto Backup should be able to work with RAW. For example - it would be convenient when you return home, turn on ‘back up’ and go about your business, knowing that over time these images will be copied on a computer. Now it is possible, but only with JPEG to my regret (I shoot only in RAW).

About all kinds of creative filters, effects, and other attributes of processing, the NX20 is no different from other NX colleagues. You can see the details in the NX1000 review, and even in the manual, which is traditional for Samsung more like a tutorial on photography. In the second part of the article, I’ll post archive with the images developed in camera from SRW for download .

Control over parameters by using the wheel on the lenses – iFn – is present in all of NX of course, NX20 too.

Speed of work NX20 – an important topic. And difficult to test. And testing has shown – it is difficult for developers.

Turning on the camera: this parameter varies by shooting mode, autofocus mode, lens, type of memory card etc.. In most cases it is possible to make the first shot within 2 seconds after turning on the camera (this is a time on manual focus). A good result, I had no discomfort.

Burst Mode test: firmware NX1000 – 1.0, NX20 – 1.01, M-mode, manual focus, the card SanDisk UHS-I 45MB/s, continuous shooting mode H (8fps) in both cameras, SRW(RAW) (size of a RAW files for the cameras NX1000 and NX20 for current firmwares is 32-35MB on average).

The same speed:

-

-

The main thing – the next series of 8 shots you can do in 12-15 seconds after the first frame of the previous one, regardless of whether the process is still writing or not.

There is another point which is important for the convenience of working with the camera – time to switch view between the screen and the viewfinder. On average, it takes half a second,  this time may vary slightly. So, after raising the camera to your eye, some small fraction of a second you’ll see “nothing”. There are negative comments from users about this, but I’m not annoying. Probably, this question is subjective.

Now I will continue to the impressions of the process of shooting, and final conclusions

- PART II.

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