Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 28-Megapixel, APS-C sized Imaging Sensor
  • Tilting 3.0-Inch Touch LCD Screen
  • NX mount system
  • DRIMe Vs Processor
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • Full Auto through Full Manual shooting
  • 4K and Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-in WiFi and NFC
  • Hot Shoe
  • High Speed USB
  • HDMI Output
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
Pros
  • Auto and Program modes are very accurate
  • Outstanding overall image quality
  • Always ready to record video with one touch
  • Fantastic shooting performance
  • Dual command dials for total control over settings
  • NX mount features a great lens selection
  • 3.0-inch touch screen is bright and provides a ton of detail
  • Built-in WiFi offers remote access and sharing capabilities
  • HDMI output
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Lacks a viewfinder that would complete the dSLR feel
  • External flash can be forgotten or left behind
  • Does not include external battery charger
  • Trouble playing movies on a computer without Samsung Software
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.5 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.6 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.82 seconds
  • Sequential burst Normal= 4.17
  • Sequential burst High= 8.33fps for 5 shots
  • High Speed Burst = Adjustable 10, 15 or 30fps
  • All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 32GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Samsung NX500 is a compact ILC that is easy to use and provides great image quality. WiFi, great shooting modes, and 4K video give you all the greatest features and options available. Coming in under $800 for the kit, it is a great option for you first ILC or an upgrade.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking to upgrade or purchase your first ILC or dSLR type camera. With the ease of a point-n-shoot and performance and quality of an entry-level dSLR, this ILC is great for anyone wanting better quality images.
Samsung's newest interchangeable lens camera, the NX500 is a very compact and stylish camera. Sporting a 28-Megapixel APS-C sized BSI CMOS imaging sensor, NX mount system, built-in WiFi, NFC, and the ability to capture 4K video; the NX 500 is loaded with all the great features you'd expect from an ILC in 2015. It also comes with some great automatic and creative shooting modes, helping anyone to get the most out of the camera, with the ease of a point-n-shoot. The DRIMe Vs Processor and Hybrid NX Autofocus III system give the camera excellent performance to match the great feature set, and make sure that it is capable in any shooting situation you can find. Available in 3 stylish colors: Black, Brown and white; and featuring an outstanding collection of NX lenses from Samsung, it can be customized for anyone's personal and shooting styles.

For a completely hands free experience with the NX500, WiFi and NFC communication give you a few fun options for connecting and controlling the camera with your smartphone. With either connection, you can view and copy images from the camera to the phone. It also lets you use your smartphone as a remote to control the camera. This lets you place the camera somewhere you may not be able to position yourself for a shot. It also adds a whole new dimension of taking "selfies", letting you compose the images without being anywhere near the camera.

Classic rangefinder styling with a large grip provides a comfortable shooting experience. Easy to access controls on the camera body let you make your changes easily while shooting. Two small command dials combined with the touch screen keep all of the settings at your fingertips at all times. The touch screen is also your only option for composing and viewing your images. With over 1-million dots, this 3.0-inch touch LCD has an incredible resolution that shows all of the fine details as well as having excellent color reproduction. Touch features include touch to focus and touch to shoot are fun and make it easy to focus and capture exactly where you want. The screen also tilts a full 180°, great for tough shooting angles and standard "selfies".

Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, the NX500 offers outstanding overall performance. When turning the camera on, it can capture its first image in just 1.5 seconds. With the camera pre-focused, the shutter lag was almost instantaneous, so you will never miss a shot if you're ready. The fantastic hybrid AF system works between 2/10 and 4/10 of a second, depending on the conditions. Shot-to-shot delay is about 6/10 of a second in single shot mode. This goes up slightly when you include the flash to 0.82 second. For continuous shooting, the camera has two modes and an adjustable burst mode. Continuous shooting is capable of 4.17fps (Normal) and 8.33fps (High). RAW shooting slows this down considerably, filling the buffer after 4 images. Burst shooting is adjustable between 10, 15 and 30fps; which the camera has no problems capturing, but only for a limited time. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme UHS-1 32GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.

Our outdoor image samples show the excellent exposure and color that the NX500 provides. We shot in both Auto and Program shooting modes, allowing the camera to have total control. At the lower ISO settings in great lighting, the camera produces fantastic image quality with no noticeable image noise or other aberrations. The fine details within the image really stand out when looking at 100%, thanks to the outstanding 28-Megapixel imaging sensor. Our samples were shot with the 16-50mm electronic zoom lens that is included with the NX500 kit. With a control ring around the lens and electronic zoom buttons, you have an option for zooming or even focusing the lens manually for a true dSLR feel. Above the zoom buttons you will find the iFn button, which can be programmed to control a shooting setting of your choice, keeping it at your fingertips all the time.

Looking at out indoor sample images, the first thing that we noticed was the very shallow depth of field, even when shooting at f/8. This leaves parts of our image softer that we are used to seeing. Those who like shooting portraits will appreciate the ability to produce pleasing bokeh. The overall image quality if fantastic, especially at the lower ISO levels. Looking closely you can see how sharp and detailed the images are, giving you an amazing amount of detail. As the ISO settings start to rise, noise within the image starts to increase. While noise starts to become noticeable around ISO 800, it is controlled well and image detail remains. It's not really until ISO 3200 that the details really start to disappear.

A small detachable flash unit is included with the NX500. Similar to a standard built-in flash, it has a fairly limited range, so you will want to get as close as possible to your subject. For additional power, an external flash unit can be placed in the hot shoe.

The NX500 is very quick to pick up faces when they come into the camera's frame, making portrait shooting a breeze. Once a face has come into the frame, the camera follows and keeps the focus and exposure information adjusted for the detected face/faces. This takes away the worry of manually adjusting your exposure and focus as your subjects move. In the end, your subjects come out as the focal point of your images every time. With the included flash, we did not have any issues with redness in the eyes of our subjects.

Mixed in with the regular scene modes, Samsung has thrown in a few special scene modes as well. One you will find is the HDR/Rich Tones shooting mode. Using multiple images with different exposures, the camera is able to increase the dynamic range. This brings out more color and details from the bright and dark areas and combines it all into one image. Another great mode is the waterfall shooting mode, which gives flowing water a soft and feathery look. With the help of a tripod, the camera slows down the shutter to blur and soften the water for a fantastic water look. Samples of these shots as well as the multi-exposure mode can be found on the samples page.

Capturing videos with the NX500 is very easy, and the camera is always ready to capture, no matter what shooting mode you are currently in. Thanks to the dedicated video recording button, just once press will start the camera recording. Video shooting does not have its own position on the mode dial, but there are fully customizable video shooting modes. You can get to them by changing the still image shooting mode to what you want, then pressing the CUSTOM/Delete button. The screen will change to all video capture settings, and offer all the controls available for the shooting mode.

The camera offers several different resolutions and frame rates ranging from full 4K video capture at 24/30fps to lower resolution videos that offer a range of frame rates for different types of video capture. Our sample videos play back smoothly on both the camera and on an HDTV with an optional HDMI cable, but we did have a little trouble viewing them on a computer without Samsung's software. Audio is a little bit of a different story than the video quality, acting like any built-in stereo microphone. It collects all of the noises that are close to the camera, which can possibly add a ton of background noise to your videos.

Powering the NX500 is a 7.6V, 1130mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. This battery is said to be enough to capture up to 370 shots on a single charge. This is if you are not using any of the camera's other great features like the WiFi/NFC connections to connect our smartphone. During the completion of our tests, we did have to recharge the battery once in order to capture over 300 images and several short videos. This also involved shooting with and viewing images wirelessly with a smartphone. You will definitely want to have a spare battery ready to go all the time. This is a little tricky since the batteries charge inside the camera, but it is possible with a little planning.

Bottom Line - The Samsung NX500 is a compact and powerful ILC that remains affordable and easy to use. Its 28-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor and DRIMe Vs Processor provide excellent image quality and performance. A great collection of automatic shooting modes allow anyone to shoot with it, no matter how much experience they have or don't have. WiFi adds additional capabilities that let everyone share their high quality images with their friends and family immediately after capturing them. The only real drawback with the NX500 is battery life. With a MSRP of US $799.99, this camera is a great option for anyone looking to replace an old entry-level dSLR or upgrade from a point-n-shoot camera.


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