Samsung NX500 Review | Mirrorless Digital Digital camera

Samsung NX500

MSRP $799.00

“The NX500 challenges Sony’s A6000 for the compact mirrorless camera crown. Each are distinctive, however the NX500 ups the ante with 4K video.”


  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C sensor
  • 4K movies
  • Terrific picture high quality
  • Speedy autofocus system


  • No viewfinder
  • Flash isn’t built-in
  • Some 4K-recording limitations

It didn’t take lengthy for Samsung to money in on the recognition of its NX1, one among our favorites of 2014. The corporate stored the extremely regarded imaging elements and packed them right into a a lot smaller bundle, the NX500 ($800), for practically half the value. Compared, there are some sacrifices made to attain the cheaper price, however Samsung managed its finest to take care of the picture high quality and excessive efficiency, which is a feat.

The NX500 is the successor to the NX300, a camera we liked again in 2013. However the NX300 had a gimmick: it may shoot 3D photos and movies. It was designed to assist push content material onto 3D televisions, which had been closely touted as the following massive factor (to borrow from Samsung parlance), however failed to realize traction with customers.

Quick ahead to 2015, and Samsung is selling one other video characteristic: 4K. However this time round, 4K has a brighter future than 3D ever did. Whether or not for journey or a alternative for an previous entry-level DSLR, the NX500 is a superb camera for each stills and movies. Simply don’t count on the NX500 to have the NX1’s video prowess.

What’s within the field

Our equipment comes with the f/3.5-5.6 16-50mm Energy Zoom with built-in optical picture stabilization (OIS). Additionally within the field is the AC adapter, USB cable, strap, and Fast Begin information. You must obtain the total guide (218 pages) as nicely the prompt software program: iLauncher, Energy Media Participant, Samsung Film Converter, and RAW/DNG Converters.

Options and design

The NX500 could share the identical guts because the NX1, however it’s apparent they aren’t solely the identical camera, nor are they designed for a similar purchaser. The NX1 appears and looks like an fanatic DSLR, as a result of that’s the promote it’s focused towards, notably videographers. The NX500, nonetheless, is the epitome of a compact system camera (CSC): It’s a lot lighter and smaller, with far fewer buttons and dials (building is stable, however it doesn’t come near the NX1’s). It appears like many different mirrorless rivals, such because the 24MP Sony A6000 (additionally $800). The client right here is the step-up consumer who needs an easy-to-use camera, however with the ability of an interchangeable lens mannequin.

The design is pretty normal; in truth, it hasn’t dramatically modified from the NX300. It is available in black, brown, and white. It measures 4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 inches, and weighs 10.1 ounces with the battery (physique solely). The camera makes use of Samsung’s NX-mount, and the equipment lens is the stable 16-50mm Energy Zoom with i-Perform functionality. The lens is ok for on a regular basis use, however there are different Samsung and third-party glass choices to select from, together with primes and zooms.

In addition to the lens mount, the entrance has an AF Help lamp to assist focus in dim mild and an enhanced grip. As a result of the camera isn’t very tall, this author didn’t discover the grip comfy to make use of, however one other DT author thought it was positive. This demonstrates why it is best to do a hands-on check before you purchase. In any other case, the camera’s design is apparent, which matches for practically all NX cameras.

The highest-deck has stereo mics, a pinhole speaker, and sizzling shoe. Two massive variations between the NX1 and the NX500 are the dearth of a built-in flash and digital viewfinder (EVF). Given the $700 distinction and target market, that is to be anticipated. Samsung does provide an adjunct flash that attaches through the recent shoe, in order that base is roofed; the EVF isn’t and it’s a key distinction with the Sony A6000, which presents each facilities. Nonetheless, we didn’t miss the EVF because the rear show is excellent, however there have been just a few cases the place it could have come helpful (extra on this later).

Samsung stored the extremely regarded imaging elements of its NX1 and packed them right into a a lot smaller bundle.

Additionally on the top-deck is a Cellular button to attach with a smartphone for sharing functions, a jog wheel to maneuver by means of menus and enlarge pictures throughout playback, and a Mode dial. Close by are the on/off lever, shutter button, and auto publicity lock.

The again is dominated by a 3-inch, 180-degree tilting Tremendous AMOLED touchscreen (rated 1,036K dots). Coloration accuracy is nice, though we positively had some reflectivity points, making the camera laborious to make use of on a lake or below vibrant sunshine throughout a whale-watching tour off the Hawaiian coast. As alluded, not having an EVF in these conditions is a downside.

Right here’s one other head scratcher: The LCD flips up, and the camera robotically enters selfie mode, however you’ll be able to solely do that with the flash eliminated – in any other case, it blocks the display screen. This bothered us as we like having the flash obtainable for fill-flash responsibility, and it’s annoying to take the flash on and off. We’ll say selfies are enjoyable to take with this camera, because the touchscreen makes it fast and easy.

To the best of the touchscreen are the same old camera buttons, together with publicity compensation, menu, perform, playback, and delete. A middle OK button is surrounded by show, AF, ISO, and burst mode buttons that give entry to main parameters. On the best edge is a red-dot video button; it’s barely hidden and we’d choose it to be on the top-deck for straightforward entry.

Samsung NX500 back angleGiuliano Correia/Digital Traits

Giuliano Correia/Digital Traits

With the touchscreen, i-Perform lens (urgent the button brings up an onscreen menu), and bodily buttons, there are 3 ways to alter settings. We like i-Perform as a result of it provides you entry to often-used parameters rapidly.

General, this very plain-looking camera is definitely pretty subtle beneath, making it a good selection of interchangeable lens newbies and more-sophisticated shutterbugs.

The left aspect has a small compartment for USB 2.0 and HDMI connections (the NX1 has USB 3.0 for speedier transfers – one other instance of pricing compromise). On the underside are battery (rated at 370 pictures – a bit greater than different mirrorless fashions) and SD card slots, in addition to the NFC tag.

Specs, efficiency, and use

We put the NX500 equipment by means of its paces over a number of weeks of long-term testing, in a wide range of locales, taking pictures stills and movies. Though the Energy Zoom is first rate with a 35mm vary of 24-75mm, we positively missed loads on the telephoto finish. There have been a number of cases the place we want we had the longer zoom, equivalent to distant jet-skiers or humpback whales. We additionally used a 50-200mm lens for a day, and whereas we had the telephoto, we had been lacking the up-close wide-angle. We advise budgeting for the 18-200mm lens ($799), which goes to you a a lot wider vary with out having to swap lenses; maintain the Energy Zoom for on a regular basis pictures.

Samsung NX500 lens shoeGiuliano Correia/Digital Traits

Giuliano Correia/Digital Traits

One of many camera’s massive claims to fame is its 28.2MP backside-illuminated (BSI) APS-C sensor. It’s the largest BSI sensor obtainable, producing a picture of as much as 6,480 x 4,320 pixels. The sensor works along with the DRIMe Vs processor (each sensor and processor are the identical ones used within the NX1, however the NX500’s DRIMe Vs is technically a variation of the NX1’s DRIMe V).

The beefier NX1 presents extra processing energy and is loads faster in burst mode. The NX1 grabs 15 frames per second (fps) however the NX500 does “solely” 9. That is hardly sluggish however it’s one of many tradeoffs. Even so, the NX500 stands up nicely to its same-priced competitors and tops them with higher-quality films and essentially the most pixels for any APS-C mirrorless camera.

Picture high quality is great, with very correct colours.

We had been invited by Samsung to check out the camera in Hawaii. Working round from exercise to exercise, we discovered that the NX500 – and CSCs usually – makes a fantastic journey camera. We may simply match the camera right into a coat pocket or backpack. We will’t think about lugging across the NX1 or a DSLR whereas touring. It’s not a knock towards these cameras, however CSCs do have their benefits. We love that Samsung put as a lot energy because it may right into a smaller physique, so it by no means left us actually unhappy, except the quick lens. The Hawaiian panorama introduced us with a wide range of colours, lighting, and actions to shoot, and we discovered the NX500 to be succesful in practically all conditions.

On paper, specs are one factor, however how does it translate into precise high quality? No shocker right here: they had been glorious, with very correct colours and a pleasant depth, even when blown as much as full dimension on a big show. We even caught some stunning sunsets which can be postcard worthy. Contemplating its viewers, the NX500 comes with a number of scene modes and particular results. One to check out is a waterfall mode that captures streaming water superbly, however it requires a tripod.

The NX500 has a really speedy hybrid autofocus (NX AF System III) that makes use of a mixture of part detect and distinction detect methods. Just like the NX1, it’s prime notch and we had no points grabbing focus. We primarily used single AF however there are steady, energetic, and guide choices. The optical picture stabilization additionally labored nicely. We like with the ability to tap-to-focus on the touchscreen, and the flexibility to regulate publicity based mostly on the place we faucet. General, navigating by means of menus is straightforward and simple.

We had been impressed with the NX1’s ISO efficiency, and the lower-priced sibling’s is not any exception. The native ISO vary is 100-25,600. Photos are stable to ISO 3,200 with a slight falloff as you ramp as much as the max of 25,600. Softness and lack of element enter the image at 12,800 however information are nonetheless useable at small sizes.

One of many NX500’s highlights – if not the spotlight – is film seize. Just like the NX1, you’ll be able to shoot each Cinema 4K and 4K Extremely Excessive Definition (UHD, that normal for 4K TVs), placing the NX500 forward of the competitors; 4K decision is 4,096 x 2,160 at 24 fps, whereas UHD is 3,480 x 2,160 at 30 fps. Compared, the Sony A6000 tops out at Full HD 1080/60p, which the NX500 can shoot as nicely. Observe, nonetheless, that the NX500 doesn’t use all the sensor throughout 4K recording; video is definitely cropped in a bit. Perhaps customers gained’t discover, however the video professionals ought to take be aware. One other factor we seen: there’s no video mode, however the delete (trash) button additionally capabilities as a video standby mode, which helps you to correctly body your shot (we wouldn’t have recognized this if a Samsung engineer hadn’t advised us).

Now, the flexibility to shoot 4K sounds cool – and it’s – however it’s nonetheless a distinct segment, albeit one which’s rising steadily. Few of us are literally in a position to course of or view 4K content material. Additionally, Samsung is utilizing a brand new compression codec, H.265 HEVC. Whereas it’s the broadcasting normal, there are few functions that acknowledge it (the profit is you could document 4K onto common SD playing cards). Samsung’s conversion software program solely works with Home windows; Mac customers can make the most of Handbrake. Different issues that separate the NX500 from the NX1 embody the dearth of a microphone port or headphone jack, 4K movies are restricted to fifteen minutes (versus 29 on the NX1), and the HDMI port helps Full HD-output solely (a bummer in the event you really personal a 4K TV).

The NX500 is extra of an off-the-cuff camera that occurs to shoot quick 4K video clips, whereas the NX1 is actually geared towards videography lovers and professionals. Contemplate the NX500’s 4K functionality as a future-proofing characteristic. You’ll be able to shoot clips in 4K and save them for later, whereas changing them to Full HD to be used at the moment. It’s also possible to shoot in 4K and seize 8-megapixel stills out of the footage, which is sweet for many who don’t wish to ever miss the second.

General, video high quality, like images, is great. The colours look nice, with some very good particulars. We did most of our taking pictures in Full HD, as that’s what’s best to work with and what we expect most customers will use more often than not. Regardless of the problems, the NX500 is a superb compact film camera for customers.

The DT Accent Pack

Up your sport and get essentially the most out of your gear with the next extras, hand-picked by our editors:

Samsung 18-200mm Multi-Function Lens ($800)Though the equipment lens is an efficient place to begin, you’ll be happier with this zoom.

SanDisk Excessive Professional SDXC UHS-1 Card (110)Whereas Samsung makes use of a compression format to create smaller 4K information, it is best to use the quickest and largest capability card you’ll find in the event you plan to shoot a mixture of video and photograph.

Booq Python Mirrorless ($80)This bag from Booq is designed for CSCs just like the NX500, but there’s sufficient room for equipment and your smartphone.

Linking the NX500 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an iPhone 5S smartphone is straightforward, however was very quick utilizing NFC with the S5. In addition to Wi-Fi, the NX500 has Bluetooth for distant shutter, however lots of the options work finest with choose Android units. Nonetheless, the iOS and Android apps deal with the fundamentals equivalent to swapping photos between units or utilizing the cellphone as a distant management.


Samsung presents a one-year restricted guarantee for elements and labor.


The $800 NX500 equipment has a great deal of positives, together with nice stills and in depth video choices. Our solely actual knock is the dearth of an digital viewfinder because the rear show display screen has some particular reflectivity points. There are additionally limitations to 4K video recording, however this will not be a problem to most customers. Whereas 4K is an actual star within the NX1, right here, it’s the supporting act.


  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C sensor
  • 4K movies
  • Terrific picture high quality
  • Speedy autofocus system


  • No viewfinder
  • Flash isn’t built-in
  • Some 4K-recording limitations

Les Shu contributed to this review.

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