Small camera with big sensor and unique handling
Why did I choose a Samsung NX11? Well, in the beginning I asked my self: What exactly are you looking for? Since I am not willing to carry a big and heavy camera with me, it was clear that my future Camera should neither be too big nor too heavy. This is why the decision was, not to buy a DSLR. Since I already own a quite new compact travel camera but wanted to improve in Image quality and gain ability to use DOF, I compared MFT and APS-C Cameras and decided to get one with a big APS-C sensor.
The 3 competitors where a Sony NEX-5 - for sure - and Samsungs NX100 and NX11. First of all, I started comparing images of a NEX against Images of NX100 and NX11. In this comparison Sonys NEX was the winner. The difference was not too big, but there was a difference of Image quality especially on higher ISO.
Next I wanted to compare them hands on. So I went to a store near my place and asked for these 3 Cameras. Sonys NEX-5 is well build and really very compact. Unfortunately the usage of the camera reminds of a compact camera and every thing - even the mode - has to be adjusted using the menu. Using Samsungs NX100 was better, but it does not fit into you hand as comfortable as Sonys NEX-5.
Finally, the body of NX11 fitted best into my hands. It was a feeling like using a DSLR but it was lighter and smaller. Furthermore, the NX11 has buttons to easily adjust each setting quite fast. Further more, the new I-Function really improves way of adjusting parameters while focusing. For sure, the NX11 is bigger than a NX100 or a Sony NEX-5, but therefor it has a flash and an electronic Viewfinder built in. Even though the Image quality may be better with a NEX-5, I decided to get a NX11 since Viewfinder, fast and easy usability and a very good price for camera AND lenses is much more important for me.
The Bonsai-DSLR body of the NX11 feels solid and well done. It is made of metal and has the same surface as a big DSLR. It fits very good into my hands and compared with other smaller cams, it does not feel like I could drop by accident. The Buttons are nice to press, the two wheels on the top for choosing the mode and for navigating through the menu turn smoothly and snap in place. The big Amoled Display on the back shows a very clear and powerful image.
Samsungs NX11 comes with a lots of buttons on its back, on the top, some buttons on the front and even a button on the lens. Using the buttons you can directly adjust ISO, White Balance and EV. All changes to these values will be displayed on the amoled and in the electronic viewfinder. Espacially the last point - seeing all changes in the viewfinder - would not be as interesting as it is without I-Function. Just imagine, you hold your camera close to your face, using the viewfinder, and you want to adjust white balance and ISO without loosing your target. This means you would have to push your right thumb between the camera and your cheek, trying to press the correct buttons. Thanks to I-Function, this became a lot easier: You only have to press the I-Function button on your I-Function lense until the WB or ISO scale is displayed in the electronic viewfinder and can then change the value very fast and easy by just rotating the Focus Ring of the camera. Well, I love it.
I like the Images I made with this camera. This is almost all that I will tell you about the NX11's Image quality. In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to tell that a Camera has a better Image quality than another unless you have both and take exactly the same pictures to compare. And even then, you will find people not agreeing with your interpretation of the results. Regarding low light situation, you can definitly say that the cameras results are not as good as the results of Sonys NEX-5. Images up to ISO 1000 are really useable but you will already see noise in your pictures. The Question is, how often do you need it and in which situation. Since my NX11 has a Flash Built-in and since there are very good lenses ( i.e. 30mm F/2.0 ) lenses available for a good price, I would prefer buying better lenses instead of turning ISO higher anyway.
Playing with the DOF is possible but I guess it can be improved by lenses with a higher sensitivity of light.
There are some lenses available and the Roadmap show that there are more to come. Unfortunatelly, some of these lenses are a little bit hard to get. In example some Zoom lenses are not available in Germany but have to be imported. Regarding of the Price, the lenses Samsung produces are really cheap but of a good quality, being built with Image stabilization, ED elements, silent focus motors etc.
I love the Images I made with this camera. Its Kit lense with a range of 15-55mm is great for many situations and the results are really good. I love the handling of the Camera and I am really a big fan of I-Function. I am really looking forward to buying one of the new Zoom lenses ( 50-200 or even 17-200 ). What could be improved is the cameras high ISO noise. Another point is, that Samsung is using their own protocol for communicating with the flash. The result is, that there are no after market flashes compatible with an NX11in automatic mode.
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