Samsung NX100 Brief Hands-on Preview
Samsung was the first company outside the Micro Four Thirds consortium to release a mirrorless interchangable lens camera. The distinctly DSLR-like NX10 made little fuss about its mirrorless construction, concentrating instead on offering familiar capbilities and behavior in a smaller body with smaller lenses. Now its sister model, the NX100 takes a slightly different approach - it eschews the traditional styling of the NX10 and instead embraces the simpler silhouette of a compact camera. And, although its stylistic minimalism makes it appear somewhat monolithic, it's almost identical in size to its obvious peers - the Panasonic GF1 and Olympus E-P2.
The camera's more compact dimensions make sense of Samsung's previously announced 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 'compact zoom lens' that arrives alongside the NX100. It's a retractable zoom that is immediately reminiscent of the Olympus 14-42mm kit zoom for Micro Four Thirds. It isn't image stabilized and, starting at 30mm equivalent, isn't quite as flexible as most kit zooms (which tend to start at 27 or 28mm equiv), but it does mean the camera package remains nice and small even with the zoom mounted.
The underlying specification is pretty similar to the NX10 - it utilizes the same 14.6 megapixel sensor, battery and lovely VGA-equivalent OLED screen but it gains a range of features and tweaks that NX10 owners will hope to receive in future firmware updates. However there's one notable omission - the NX100 doesn't have a built-in flash.
Probably the biggest gain is a feature Samsung has called i-Function. The two lenses launched alongside the NX100 - there's a 20mm F2.8 prime as well as the 20-50mm - both feature an 'iFn' button on their left flanks that allow the focus rings to be used to control various camera functions. Depending on shooting mode iFn can be used to adjust shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation with the option to add ISO and white balance, depending on how you plan to use the camera.
In addition there are a series of changes that help make the camera more customizable - the option to select the highest ISO value the camera will use in Auto ISO, for instance. In themselves these are small changes but they're the kinds of options that allow users to better tailor the camera to their way of working, which we like to see.
Alongside the NX100, Samsung has launched a range of accessories, including a flashgun, GPS unit and EVF that slots into the back of the camera.