Review Date: July 3, 2012
Category: Beginner to Serious Amateur
Photoxels Gold Award – Interchangeable Lens Camera
The Samsung NX210 is targeted to beginner and serious amateur photographers. It has 20.3 megapixel resolution on an APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm) CMOS image sensor and accepts interchangeable lenses on the Samsung NX mount.
The Samsung NX210 has excellent image quality including very good low noise at ISO 100 with good detail preserved. Image quality is very good up to ISO 400. Noise starts to show at ISO 800 but it is still very usable. Images at higher ISOs suffer from noise and loss of detail.
|3.1x Optical Zoom|
(27mm, 35mm equivalent)
(84mm, 35mm equivalent)
One of the advantages of an Interchangeable Lens Camera (ILC) is the ability to use lenses suited for specific jobs. The Samsung NX210 comes with the new Samsung 18 – 55 mm F3.5 – 5.6 III OIS, a portrait lens with optical image stabilization and 3.1x optical zoom (27-84mm Equiv.135) with a maximum aperture of F3.5(W)-F5.6(T), and a minimum aperture of F22. The number of quality lenses available for the NX System continues to grow every year.
We tested the camera with the 18-55mm kit lens. In the above pictures, we show the coverage for 18mm [27mm equiv.] then 55mm [84mm equiv.].
The Samsung NX210 has full exposure flexibility with PASM modes, and Program Shift.
The camera also provides exposure compensation (with Auto Bracketing) and Custom (Manual) White Balance. A Histogram can be displayed in both Live and Playback modes.
Shutter speed ranges from 1/4,000-30 sec. in PASM, plus B (up to 4 minutes, with on screen timer) in Manual Mode.
The actual macro capability is a function of the lens you use. The 18-55mm kit lens allows you to focus only as close as 28cm (11 in.). This is not much macro capability and if you are into macro photography, we recommend that you get the 60mm macro lens.
The AF Area can be manually moved to any of 15 x 11 = 165 focus areas (at the smallest AF Frame size). AF is fast, works very well in good light and in low-light with the help of the AF-assist illuminator.
TIP: Resize the AF Frame to its smallest size for fast and precise AF lock in low light. See Handling & Feel for more about this feature.
There are three metering modes: Spot, Multi-Pattern and Center-weighted. This is easily and quickly selected by pressing the Fn button, selecting Metering and then rotating the Jog Dial. There is also “Spot AF,” though it’s not called that and you’ll have to select a Menu option to tie the metering to the AF Frame [Menu – Camera 2 – Link AE to AF Point – On].
|Auto White Balance Indoors|
As the above two pictures show, the Auto White Balance (AWB) is not quite accurate indoors under artificial lighting [I have two energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs on the ceiling]. The Samsung NX210 allows WB to be easily set manually and this brings out the real colors. AWB works very well in natural light.
|ISO 200||ISO 400|
|ISO 800||ISO 1600|
|ISO 3200||ISO 6400|
The Samsung NX210 has 8 ISO settings going from ISO 100 to ISO 12800 (or 22 ISO settings at 1/3EV step). The 100% crops above (area delimited by the white square) demonstrate the noise at the available ISO Speeds. At ISO 100 to 400, noise is under control. Noise starts to be slightly visible at ISO 800 but is still very acceptable. Noise (with detail loss) is quite visible at higher ISOs. Overall, good noise handling.
The NX210 has 4 Auto ISO settings [Menu – Custom 1 – ISO Customizing – Auto ISO Range]: Auto ISO 200, Auto ISO 400, Auto ISO 800, Auto ISO 1600 and Auto ISO 3200. I’d recommend setting Auto ISO to 1600.
CA is negligible to non-existent in most everyday shots and even in very high contrast shots using the 18-55mm kit lens. The area delimited by the red square at top right, and reproduced at 100% crop at bottom right, shows no purple fringing.
Our Long Shutter Speed test is a torture test for digital cameras. Here we test whether (and how well) a camera can lock focus, provide accurate WB and obtain a correct exposure in extreme low light situations. The Samsung NX210 passes this test very well.
The Samsung NX210 allows the use of a long shutter speed of up to 30 sec. in PASM modes, therefore allowing very nice night photography. Generally, with image sensors, noise becomes more prominent the longer the shutter is left open. If you turn Long Term Noise Reduction ON [Menu – Custom 1 – Noise Reduction – Long Term NR – ON], you’ll notice a longer processing time (approx. twice as long) before the next picture can be taken.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take a low-light indoors shot. I experiment a bit to manually obtain the optimum exposure, eventually settling on 30 sec. at F5.6. Even at this long shutter speed, the Samsung NX210’s noise reduction seems to be working great, producing a nice smooth blurring effect of the background.
Overall, the Samsung NX210 exhibits very good image and noise handling quality and it is quite easy to get great shots with it.
View the Samsung NX210 Photo Gallery [In the Photo Gallery, click on the picture of the camera to return here.]