Samsung NX500: Retro in looks, but not in power, quality

Samsung NX500's produces impressive images and video
Samsung NX500's produces impressive images and video

SAMSUNG'S NX500 camera may be retro looking, but there's nothing old school about its 28 mega pixel image processing power or 4K video capability.

One of the most modern aspects of this lightweight, compact camera is its touch-screen image control.

You can swipe through the images you have shot, just as you do on your phone, and easily access multiple menu options.

We took the NX500 for a test drive during a dawn Anzac Day service and an outdoor concert at night.

It shot superbly vivid videos with great sound and, even without the use of a tripod, was able to capture a crowd illuminated only by the moon and the stars.

Samsung is no stranger to great photo shooting.

Its S6 phone camera is one of the best snappers on the market and equally impressive on the video front.

The NX500 uses some of the technology first seen in the NX1 which has won rave reviews.

The camera features built-in connectivity which makes for easy photo-sharing with compatible devices.

Samsung NX500
Samsung NX500

The NX500 easily fits in your hand, while its angled shutter button is easy to reach and press.

The camera features two command dials, as well as the touch screen and buttons on the back.

Even without reading the manual, and not being particularly familiar with Samsung cameras, I found it pretty easy to operate.

The three-inch display can be tilted 90 degrees and rotated 180 degrees - something that is particularly useful in crowd situations where you may want to compose over other people's heads.

The camera has a Back Side Illumination (BSI) APS-C sensor which enables it to take high quality photographs in lower light situations.

SOME OF THE PHOTOS WE SHOT USING THE NX500

Its SMART Mode includes Action Freeze, Beauty Face, Fireworks, Landscape, Light Trace, Multi-Exposure, Night, Panorama, Rich Tones, Silhouette, Sunset and Waterfall.

The only shots I was disappointed with involved dark skin colours against a yellow children's slide. But given the slide was mostly in the shade, it was a pretty difficult assignment.

Samsung says its 4K UHD video recording has built-in HEVC (H.265) codec which compresses them to half the size of H.264 footage. There is also a time-lapse video option.

I found a couple of the video editing programs I used did not immediately recognise the video format, though upgrades to the codec on my computer would resolve these issues.

The NX500 camera connectivity options include 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, enabling users to share images from the camera to your phone and then upload to Facebook or other programs.

To capture action as it happens, it has three shooting modes (baseball, jump and trap) which allow the camera to take fast action shots at particular moments. I only had a chance to do some basic testing on this but, with a bit of practice, they seem to offer some potential to improve the chances of getting the shot sports-mad parents dream of.

In terms of focusing, the NX500 has a 205-point phase and contrast Hybrid AF system - the same shared with the flagship NX1 camera.

With continuous shooting, it offers an impressive burst of images at 9 frames per second.

The NX500 (with 16-50 PZ lens) is available in black or white for an RRP of $999.

AT A GLANCE

Image Sensor: 28.2MP BSI APS-C

Display: 3" Super AMOLED Touch 1,036k Tilt / Flip

ISO: Auto, 100~25600 (Ext. 51200)

Shutter Speed: 1/6000 sec


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