Photo answers review
Photo answers rating
There’s a real buzz around CSCs at the moment. Less bulky than a DSLR and more creative than the average point-and-shoot, CSCs provide a lot of photography in a convenient package. Step forward the Samsung NX200, younger sibling of the NX100.
Features & handling
The main talking point is the NX200’s APS-C CMOS sensor, which offers an effective resolution of 20.3MP. Only the Sony NEX-7 outputs higher in the CSC market at 24.3MP. Resolution can be reduced if needed, and the camera can shoot both JPEGs and RAW.
In terms of build, Samsung has opted for a black, mostly all-metal body for the NX200 – the first of its kind in the now five-strong NX-series. This immediately gives off an air of robustness, with textured body paint offering reasonable grip on the right of the camera, plastic fingertip grips on the front, and a thumb pad grip on the rear of the camera giving a little extra security.
The overall look of the NX200 is angular, which is a noticeable step away from the curvier NX100, and while this adds to the sleek appeal of the camera it doesn’t do it any favours in the comfort stakes. That aside, the controls are well spaced and easy to access for such a small camera.
Our main bugbear, however, is the lack of viewfinder. With no signs of one arriving any time in the near future this may put a few people off, but it does mean the hotshoe can be used for a detachable flash. A flash on any camera is a useful device but this one, while it works, falls down on two counts. Firstly, at certain focal lengths, the light doesn’t make it beyond the end of the lens, thus causing shadows in the image, and secondly it doesn’t possess the hardiness of the main body and feels rather fragile.
There’s a 3in AMOLED-type LCD screen that produces a bright, detailed image. The menu is intuitive and includes a number of in-camera processing options through Picture Wizard (Samsung’s picture styles): Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, and Custom. There’s also Samsung’s unusual Magic Frame function, which includes Old Film, Old Record, Magazine, Sunny Day, Classic TV, Wall Art, Billboard 1, Billboard 2, and Newspaper. The overall versatility of the camera is further enhanced by one-touch, 3D and action panorama capture.
Start-up time was clocked at just under 1 second. The NX200 boasts a burst rate of 7fps, and will rattle off ten super-fine JPEGs before the buffer kicks in. Processing is slow but this comes as no surprise considering the sizes of the files being processed (super-fine JPEGs weigh in at 57.1MB).
Detail and definition is of a high standard and would certainly give some DSLRs of a higher price a run for their money. This is especially the case if you’re shooting in RAW and wish to tweak the images yourself. Retention of detail is impressive and you’re more than capable of cropping in.
Though not the most comfortable CSC to hold, image quality is reasonable enough to consider the NX200 a compact alternative to more bulky DSLRs of a similar price. Okay, with certain lenses attached it can slightly lose its compact status, and the lack of an optical viewfinder is annoying, but when you see the final images you might be able to overlook its shortcoming and enjoy the fine detail that it produces. CSCs are really grabbing the imagination of the photographic community at the moment and as the market grows so will demand. It’ll be interesting to see what the next offerings are.
Street price: £429
Effective resolution: 20.3MP
Sensor type: APS-C CMOS
Crop factor: 1.5x ISO range 100-12,800
Autofocus: 15-point (35-point for close-up)
Metering: 221-segment multiple metering
LCD size: 3in AMOLED
Shooting speed: 7fps (JPEG & RAW)
Video: Full HD (1080p)
Weight/size (wxhxd): 496g/117x100x62.5mm
AS FEATURED IN THE APRIL 2012 ISSUE OF PRACTICAL PHOTOGRAPHY