Thu, 14 Jul 2011 Samsung NX11 review
Second-generation CSC camera offers good controls and good value
- Manufacturer: Samsung
- Pros: Compact proportions; clear AMOLED screen; eye sensor for switching between screen and EVF; iFunction control via lens; fair value
- Cons: Narrow handgrip; not Full HD video; mono sound; mic picks up operational noise
- Price: £550 with standard 18-55mm zoom lens
- Star rating:
The 14.6-megapixel NX11 resembles a shrunken digital SLR with a depth roughly half that of an entry-level model. This is down to the fact that, as with competitors like the Olympus Pen, Panasonic GF or Sony NEX series, the NX11 omits the standard mirror mechanism.
It upgrades the NX10 as Samsung’s second-generation compact system camera (CSC) but the pitch is the same: DSLR-like image quality thanks to an APS-C sized CMOS sensor (the larger the sensor the more light captured) but a smaller form factor, plus the facility to swap lenses. Our review unit came with the image stabilised 18-55mm zoom (the 20mm being the most compact alternative), which while no revelation is a sound starter option.
The 3in, 614k-dot resolution screen on the back is more surprising, being AMOLED rather than LCD, providing better contrast and improved clarity. There’s also a built-in VGA quality viewfinder as an alternative – a feature non-DSLR styled CSC cameras tend to offer only optionally. With the exception of the chunky 10-option shooting mode dial we’d have preferred larger back plate buttons for less fiddly operation, and a more prominent handgrip for shooting handheld. Inevitably, a smaller form factor does have attendant compromises.
An interesting feature of the NX11 is that functions other than zooming or focusing can be controlled from the lens itself via the ‘iFn’ (iFunction) button – adjustment of exposure, white balance or ISO light sensitivity, for example. This proves a neat, time-saving solution. The camera is also fast to respond, with near instant start-up, no discernable shutter lag, plus full-resolution JPEGs committed to memory in just over a second.
Raw shooting is also offered, along with 1,280 x 720 pixel HD video at 30fps, which looks lovely; the camera’s AF makes swift adjustments as you zoom in or out so the picture is only very briefly soft. Stills display plenty of controls, great colours and smooth skin tones.