Could the 20.3-million-pixel Samsung Galaxy NX with Android operating system change the way enthusiast photographers use and think about their cameras? Read the Samsung Galaxy NX review...
Samsung Galaxy NX at a glance:
- 20.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized CMOS sensor
- 4.77in, 1280×720-pixel HD LCD
- Android 4.2 Jelly Bean operating system
- 800×600 electronic viewfinder
- ISO 100-25,600
- 3G connectivity
- Street price around £1,200 body only
- See sample images of the Samsung Galaxy NX
Samsung Galaxy NX review – Introduction
There is a whole generation of photographers who have found a passion for photography through the use of a smartphone. Looking at statistics of the most popular cameras used to upload images to Flickr shows that the top three are all different generations of the iPhone. This highlights the rapidly growing trend of smartphone users for whom a phone is their main camera.
When the time comes for these people to upgrade to a camera with more manual controls, the leap from smartphone to camera will be quite radical. Many will be looking for the same functionality and usability in a camera that they had in their smartphone. Previously, Samsung has attempted to bridge this gap with the commercially successful Galaxy compact camera. Now, the company has launched the world’s first compact system camera with full Android operating system in the form of the Samsung Galaxy NX. By borrowing technology from its range of smartphones, merging the functionality and hardware of the NX300 and adding the screen from the Galaxy camera, Samsung has created a very interesting package.
Samsung Galaxy NX review – Features
Inside the Samsung Galaxy NX is an APS-C-sized (23.5×15.7mm) CMOS sensor with a 20.3-million-pixel resolution. This is an identical sensor, and the same Drime IV image processor, to that featured inside the Samsung NX300. Images can be captured in both raw and JPEG format and saved to either the camera’s 16GB internal memory or a Micro SD card.
As a kit, the Samsung Galaxy NX comes with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that attaches using the NX lens mount. This lens features the i-Function button, which allows control of the camera’s manual settings via a ring on the lens. A further 13 lenses from the Samsung NX series can be used with this camera, including everything from macro optics to telephotos. We have already seen a 10mm fisheye lens released this year, with Samsung saying it is committed to developing its lens range further.
Undoubtedly, the standout feature of the Galaxy NX is the fact that it is the world’s first compact system camera to have an Android operating system. The camera runs the latest Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, which is the same software used on both the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom smartphones. Internally, the camera is almost identical to the S4, although rather than being powered by Snapdragon 600 or Exynos 5 Octa 5410, the Galaxy NX features a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor with a separate designated 0.8 GHz single-core imaging processor.
Next to the memory-card slot is another slot for a 3G Micro Sim card, which enables the camera to send and receive 3G mobile data (credit or data-plan permitting). Apart from phone calls, this feature unlocks nearly all the functionality of an Android smartphone, including internet browsing, image sharing, advanced in-camera image editing, social media applications and even games, music and e-books, should you wish.
A wealth of other features have migrated from the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone into the Galaxy NX camera, among them Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS. As with other GPS-enabled cameras, geotagging locations is possible, but the Galaxy NX goes further. With the addition of an in-built digital compass and gyroscope sensors, the Galaxy NX can be used for full GPS navigation.
The Samsung Galaxy NX sees the introduction of some new scene modes, such as multi-exposure, miniature, interval shot, beauty face and colour bracket, among others. In total there are 31 scene modes to choose from, although with Android apps the possibility of creative shooting is practically endless. One feature I found really useful was the story album application, which comes pre-installed. It allows the user to take a series of images, arrange them into an album and create their own story book. When satisfied with the result, a photobook can be ordered directly from Blurb.co.uk via the camera’s menu.
A couple of other perks when buying a Galaxy NX are that Samsung has included a free copy of the full version of Lightroom 5, which currently costs £102.57 direct from Adobe. As this is the newest version of the software, it is able to handle all the latest raw formats. In addition, when linking the camera to the Dropbox cloud storage system, the user will receive 50GB of Dropbox space for two years, which is perfect for creating back-ups and allowing access from other devices.
Image: The NX series of lenses is fantastic, with many different options. Using a 60mm f/2.8 macro, it’s easy to achieve sharp images with a shallow depth of field