Samsung’s new top-end compact system camera is the first to offer an online connection for photographers in the field as well as at home, but does this built-in Wi-Fi have any real benefits?
The Samsung NX20 is an interchangeable-lens camera that features a 21.6- million-pixel sensor, of which 20.3 million are used to create images that measure a maximum of 5472 x 3648 pixels. The sensor is a CMOS type, is manufactured by Samsung, and at 23.5 x 15.7mm is APS-C in format. With this sensor, which was used previously in the NX200 and will be used in the NX210, the NX20 has the second highest pixel count of any compact system camera, behind the 24-million-pixel sensor in the Sony NEX-7. Images can be saved in JPEG or Samsung’s own raw format, or both at
the same time, and users have the option to shoot the native 3:2 proportions, or 16:9 widescreen or 1:1 square.
Until recently, Samsung used an uncompressed raw file, but a late firmware upgrade for the NX200 introduced 20% compression with the aim of reducing the time the camera took to write files to the memory card. The NX20 has also adopted this compressed raw process, although raw files still occupy 37-40MB on the memory card. Those shooting JPEG files can decide between three levels of compression and three choices of image dimensions smaller than native. If you shoot the largest file size, though, and believe that 300ppi is a suitable resolution for a file to be printed, you will be able to make ‘photo-quality’ prints of 18.24 x 12.16in without stretching the file.
The NX20’s headline feature is, of course, its wireless connectivity, and rather than skimming over it here I shall deal with it in the Features in use section below. Samsung is rather proud of the burst rates the NX20 can achieve, and claims that 8fps can be maintained for up to 11 full-resolution images. In the burst mode, though, the resolution is dropped to 5 million pixels, but the camera can achieve up to 30fps to a depth of 30 frames – or for 1sec.
Being a mirrorless camera, the NX20’s sensor is exposed directly to the elements every time a lens is changed, so Samsung has included Super Sonic Drive Dust Reduction, which shakes particles from the surface whenever the camera is switched on, or activated manually. Custom settings allow the user to choose when cleaning takes place – it can slow the camera’s readiness when set for ‘on start-up’.