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Samsung NX20 review

Samsung's top-end CSC gets Wi-Fi

Our Verdict

For

  • Great quality at high ISOs
  • Good build
  • Ergonomic
  • Articulated AMOLED screen
  • Wi-Fi and GPS

Against

  • Reflective screen and EVF
  • Animations slow down changing modes
  • Not compatible with all Android devices
  • Slow AF in video recording

In a crowded marketplace of similarly specified mirrorless compact system cameras, it can be difficult for one manufacturer's offering to stand out from the crowd. Samsung in is an enviable position as an electronics company, because there is so much technology to draw inspiration from in its portfolio of products for the 20.3MP Samsung NX20.

For quite some time, the same AMOLED screens found in Samsung's Galaxy series of Android smartphones and tablet computers have been a unique feature of Samsung's range of NX mirrorless cameras.

Samsung NX20 review

With the NX20, Samsung has incorporated wireless connectivity and GPS as you may find featured in one of its smartphones. With phones and tablets sporting better cameras with each generation, how long will it be before you can check emails on your camera? Samsung stops just short of that with the NX20, but the inclusion of Wi-Fi alongside compatibility with Android devices and Windows PCs is a step towards everything becoming connected.

GPS is also included, so images can be tagged with a location. This can be especially useful when sharing images on the internet, via a service that supports geo-tagging, such as Facebook.

Samsung NX20 at a glance
Sensor:
23.5 x 15.7mm CMOS, 20.3MP, 1.5x focal length
ISO range: ISO 100-12800
LCD screen: 3-inch swivel type AMOLED display, 614k dots
Dimensions: 122 x 89.6 x 39.5mm/4.8 x 3.53 x 1.56 inches, 341g/0.75lbs (without batteries and memory card)

With a price tag of £900 in the UK and $1,100 in the US, the Samsung NX20 is aimed at advanced users who don't mind spending a little extra money for more exposure control and additional features such as the SVGA electronic viewfinder, articulated 3-inch AMOLED screen and a large APS-C size 20.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor.

The Samsung CSC's rivals include the 24.3MP Sony NEX-7, 16MP Olympus OM-D E-M5 and 16MP Panasonic G3.

Samsung NX20 review

Of course, due to the mirrorless design, the camera is quite compact, relative to a DSLR, so it will suit those who wish to travel light, even if it is a little too large to be classed as pocketable.

Using a large APS-C sensor has its benefits. The surface area is much larger than would typically be found in a compact camera. Greater available surface area enables increased quality at high sensitivities, or higher resolution images, or a compromise between the two.

At 20.3 million effective pixels, the CMOS sensor found in the Samsung NX20 isn't the highest resolution APS-C sensor currently available, so it will be interesting to see if this compromise results in a gain in quality when shooting at high ISOs.

Samsung NX20 review

A reasonable selection of Samsung NX lenses are available, including zooms covering moderate wide angle to telephoto focal lengths and a variety of compact pancake-type prime lenses. Advanced users may find the lack of ultra-wide angle, super-telephoto and lenses with a maximum aperture faster than f/2.8 a little limiting.

Also, there are currently very few third-party lens options available, with established manufacturers such as Sigma and Tamron concentrating on Micro Four Thirds and Sony NEX formats for now. Samsung's i-Function feature enables the focusing ring on each compatible lens to be used to control the camera.

A button found on the lens can be customised to give access to a range of adjustments, including aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and exposure compensation.

Samsung NX20 review

Video clips up to 25 minutes long can be recorded at 1080 high definition resolution and frame rates of up to 30 frames per second. Videographers may be a little dismayed to find there is no facility to attach a standard 3.5mm or XLR microphone to the Samsung NX20, for better sound recording quality.

However, Samsung is releasing a proprietary external microphone called the EM10, which attaches and is powered via the hotshoe. The EM10 microphone is unique, since the A/D converter is built into the microphone itself and has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for monitoring sound levels while recording, and zoom and wide settings for altering what sound is captured.

Tech Specs

Product TypeMirrorless Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
TouchscreenNo
Effective Camera Resolution20.3 Megapixel
USBYes
PictBridgeYes
Image StabilizationOptical
ColourBlack
Optical Zoom3x
Brand NameSamsung
FeaturesOrientation Sensor, Live View, Face Detection, Smart Capture, Self-timer, Continuous Shooting Mode, External Flash Shoe, 3D Panorama
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4 AVC
Viewfinder TypeElectronic
Weight (Approximate)340.2 g
Minimum Focus Distance280 mm
Maximum Image Resolution5472 x 3648
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Display Screen TypeAMOLED
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Total Camera Resolution21.6 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
HD Movie ModeYes
Battery Model SupportedBP1310
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height89.7 mm
Width121.9 mm
Depth39.6 mm
Autofocus Points35
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsRAW, JPEG
Audio FormatsAAC
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelNX20
Product NameNew! NX20 20.3 Megapixel Compact System Camera
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberEV-NX20ZZBSBUS
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

No Speed Limit. No Boundaries.

Introducing the 20.3 megapixels Samsung Smart Camera NX20 with 1/8000 fast shutter and Built-in WiFi.

20.3MP APS-C Sensor

Customized for the NX System, the brand-new, professional-grade, 20.3MP APS-C CMOS Sensor produces images that rival those of any premium DSLR. Each individual pixel has a large sensor area and receives more light, guaranteeing low noise levels, high dynamic range and accurate color differentiation. The higher sensitivity allows you to shoot during low-light situations without graininess or other noise. The new sensor also provides Full HD video output capabilities.

Display Resolution614000 Pixel
Built-in DevicesMicrophone, Speaker