Samsung’s NX100 is impressively compact and stylish, while maintaining the APS-C-size sensor found in the NX10
Build and Handling
There are noticeable differences in size and style between the NX100 and the NX10.
While the design of the NX10 feels much more like a mini DSLR camera, the NX100 looks much more like a compact camera. The advantage of these two cameras looking very different is that it broadens the appeal of the NX range over various markets.
Samsung states that the sweeping, elegant curves of the NX100 are inspired by dew forming on a leaf. Whether or not this resemblance is apparent is inconsequential, because there is no doubt that the NX100 is a stylish camera. Its elegance is aided by the simplicity of the layout and smooth black finish.
There are only a few buttons on the body, each logically placed within a finger’s reach. The matt-silver top shows off the camera’s curves and the shooting-mode dial is centrally placed on it, next to where the right thumb rests. Although stylish, the NX100’s plastic body lacks a little substance, feeling hollow and lightweight. That said, it is well made and the plastic is no doubt a contributing factor to the lower price.
The smooth finish of the body means there is no textured grip on the NX100. The finish is a little slippery and, despite its small dimensions, I tended to hold the camera with both hands. I would like to see a textured grip on at least the front or the back for the thumb.
While all the dimensions of the NX100 are smaller than those of the NX10, the most notable difference is in the height, with the NX100 being 16mm shorter.
This is primarily because the NX100 does not have a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) or the GN 11m @ ISO 100 built-in flash of the NX10. Instead, there is the option to buy the 201,000-dot EVF (EVF10), which works by attaching to the hotshoe and sub-hotshoe accessory port. Similarly, the additional flashguns available are attached via the hotshoe.
The SEF15A (GN 15m @ ISO 100) flashgun is possibly the most suitable in size to the NX100, although the SEF20A (GN 20m @ ISO 100) would not be out of place attached to the camera body. These flashguns offer greater output and versatility than the built-in flash of the NX10, although having to attach the flash unit adds to the bulk and cost. The drawback with having both the flash and the viewfinder as optional extras is that you can’t use them simultaneously because they both operate through the hotshoe.
Likewise, the additional GPS module is operated through the hotshoe, so the user has to choose between one of three ‘extras’. Given the target audience, I can understand the omission of a viewfinder, but the lack of a built-in flash will be more noticeable and potentially disappointing.
The i-Function button on the kit lens is at the ten o’clock position, which I found just right for my left thumb to activate. A comparatively bulky kit lens often compromises the small body of many interchangeable-lens compact-system cameras, but Samsung’s two lenses are smaller than many competitors’ lenses.
These two lenses sit nicely on the compact body, particularly the pancake lens.
While the 18-55mm kit lens of the NX10 features optical image stabilisation (OIS), this is not included in the NX100’s two new i-Function lenses.
Like all CSCs, the NX100 does not have built-in IS, which means there is no IS when using the supplied camera and lens combination. As a result, it is difficult to achieve sharp images when shooting handheld with shutter speeds slower than 1/30sec. It is not too much of an issue for the NX100’s fairly wide 20-50mm kit lens, and it’s less of an issue in the pancake lens, but this may become a problem in subsequent telephoto lenses. The lack of OIS is obviously a contributing factor to the light weight and small dimensions of the two lenses.
Image: Although 20mm sounds wide, on an APS-C-size sensor it is an effective 30mm
At an effective 30-75mm focal length, I find the 20-50mm kit lens quite restricting. I would like it to be a little wider, at a minimum of 28mm. Likewise, although the 20mm pancake lens (effective 30mm) is a good all-purpose focal length, at f/2.8 it is only 1 stop faster than the f/3.5 found in the kit lens at the same focal length. I would like to see it more like f/2.
What is great about this lens, though, is the fact that its compact size complements the NX100 body wonderfully. The lens lock, as found in the Olympus Pen lenses, does slow down the start-up time, although a reminder prompts the user to unlock the lens.