The NX500 places the NX1’s impressive 28-million-pixel sensor into a compact body. Andy Westlake finds out whether it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Samsung NX500 review: Verdict
When Samsung told us it planned to put the NX1’s sensor into a smaller, cheaper camera, we were pretty excited at the prospect, and the NX500 goes a long way towards meeting our expectations. It offers excellent image quality, incredibly sophisticated autofocus, and rapid continuous shooting in a design that’s compact enough to fit into a small bag and carry around all day. In many ways it’s the perfect family camera – simple enough in auto mode that anyone can use it, but with a full range of creative control for the enthusiast photographer, and without the bulk of an SLR.
It may not be the prettiest camera in the world, but the NX500 handles well, and is fast and slick in operation. The handgrip is worthy of mention, as one of the most comfortable I’ve used on a camera this size. The good range of physical controls should please enthusiast photographers, although I’m not a fan of the tiny, recessed and imprecise main dials. Meanwhile, the touchscreen adds useful features like touch-focus, and should make the NX500 more approachable to less experienced users who are more familiar with smartphones.
My biggest concern is the OLED screen’s poor visibility in bright sunlight, which requires its brightness to be turned up to the maximum in the menu for it to be usable at all. On a camera of this price, it’s also a shame that there’s no option to use an add-on electronic viewfinder, which would be especialy welcome when shooting with longer lenses.
Overall, the NX500 is a hugely capable camera that can deliver great results. However, it does face very strong competition from other compact CSCs, some of which offer similarly sophisticated autofocus and/or built-in EVFs. Even so, it’s an excellent alternative to the more established brands.