Samsung Nx20 VS Sony Nex-5R

Started May 4, 2013 | Questions thread
viking79 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,147
Re: Samsung Nx20 VS Sony Nex-5R

NEX 5R vs NX20,

Focus: I would give the edge to NX20, I like to use flexible/single point and set where I want.  The benefit to NX20 is you can adjust the point size (NEX is fixed) and focus is probably the same or faster with most lenses.  Avoid the 20-50mm for fast focus, I think it is one of the slower focusing lenses.

Form Factor: I prefer the larger grip on the NX20, but had to sell it when I got the NX300.  Form factor is up to personal use, but the NEX 5R has a pretty small screen as already pointed out due to the 16x9 ratio.  I prefer the manual controls on the NX.  Fully articulated screen on NX is nice.

Video: I would give the edge to NEX, but NX is fine for casual video.  I don't have any problems with it, just I don't think there are a lot of controls for it, etc, I rarely use video so my knowledge is limited in this subject.

Accessories/External Flash: The NEX uses a proprietary accessory port which can be used for a viewfinder or flash.  The NX20 has a built in viewfinder, but other models do not support one.  All NX cameras have a standard hotshoe which can be used for manual flash triggers if that is interesting to you, or the little shoe mount flashes included with the camera (might be a couple more powerful units sold separately).

Image quality:  NX20 to NX300 seems to be improvement in JPEG quality.  As it is, you probably want to avoid JPEG and high ISO on the NX20, but it is still good in RAW as Tjobbe pointed out.  From what I hear NEX JPEG quality isn't that great either.

Firmware: I would give the edge to Sony, it is more mature feeling.  I think the Samsung firmware is not as complete yet, but they are better about updating it when they find bugs (Sony is like Nikon/Canon, they only release firmware when they absolutely have to).

Lenses: Make sure each system has the lenses you want.  I would start with maybe 18-55mm OIS or my favorite are the pancakes and primes.  I have a 12-24, 16, 30, 45, 60, and 85mm.  That is overkill, if I had to start with one of those I would say 30mm is great bang for the buck, it is a couple stops larger aperture than the kit lens and is very sharp corner to corner, and is small.

For Sony, it seems some of the lenses don't perform as well as I would care for, but the 24mm f/1.8, 35mm f/1.8, and 50mm f/1.8 all look good.  The 16-50mm is fine if you don't mind extreme lens corrections, and 10-18mm is great, but not on the NEX 7.

Both Samsung and Sony use software based lens corrections for some lenses.

Sony has more OIS lenses.

Buffer:  I haven't used the 5R much, but the RAW buffer is slow on the NX20, and what is worse it locks you out of controls.  This camera is not great for back to back shooting, but if you get a good class 10 card (I prefer the SanDisk UHS-I cards) it is tolerable in most circumstances (it will be a problem for some).  The NX300 fixes this by keeping you from being locked out of the controls on the camera while it is writing and allows you to take additional shots before emptying the buffer (the NX20 had to write everything out before it would unlock in some cases).  The downside with NX300 is the buffer appears smaller (went from 8 to 4 or 5 shots).  So the NX20 is fast, can shoot 8 raw shots in 1 second, but the issue is you are locked out of the camera for at least 15 seconds afterwards (with a fastest memory card, or up to 30+ seconds for a slow memory card).

Value: I would give the value edge to Samsung, especially if you find deals on the camera.  If you don't need the articulated screen there have been deals on an NX1000 going around for only $300 with a kit lens.  No viewfinder option on this camera, but small camera and great deal.

Bottom Line:

I think if you could find a deal on the NX300 it would be most like 5R form factor, but it just came out so the deals haven't started as much on it (I got mine for $650 US with lens, $100 off).

Sony is the more mainstream company at this point.  It is like buying a Canon/Nikon instead of a Fuji or Pentax.  This may or may not be important to you.  The problem with the Samsung is you aren't going to be able to walk into many stores in the US and try one (I think Frys might have them, not sure where else).  I have ordered mine all site unseen.  You can always order from a store like Amazon or BH and return the camera if you aren't satisfied with it.  Samsung fixed my camera quickly under warranty when I had issue with it.

I still am very happy with my Samsung's and prefer them to the Sony, but both are great cameras. I prefer the lenses on Samsung, but Sony has improved a lot in this in the last year, their prices are still much too high on the lenses I like, with their 50mm f/1.8 being their best deal.  I think they set price points too high on like the 35mm f/1.8 and 20mm f/2.8, and definitely too high on the 10-18mm (12-24mm is a better lens optically and $250 less expensive, but lacks 10mm wide, too wide for me most of the time).

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