Samsung NX500 Review | Mirrorless Digital Digital camera

Samsung NX500

MSRP $799.00

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


  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C sensor
  • 4K motion pictures
  • Terrific image top quality
  • Speedy autofocus system


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

It didn’t take prolonged for Samsung to cash in on the popularity of its NX1, one amongst our favorites of 2014. The company saved the extraordinarily regarded imaging components and packed them proper right into a rather a lot smaller bundle, the NX500 ($800), for virtually half the worth. In contrast, there are some sacrifices made to achieve the cheaper value, nevertheless Samsung managed its most interesting to handle the image top quality and extreme effectivity, which is a feat.

The NX500 is the successor to the NX300, a camera we preferred once more in 2013. Nonetheless the NX300 had a gimmick: it could shoot 3D photographs and films. It was designed to help push content material materials onto 3D televisions, which had been carefully touted as the next large issue (to borrow from Samsung parlance), nevertheless failed to comprehend traction with prospects.

Fast forward to 2015, and Samsung is promoting one different video attribute: 4K. Nonetheless this time spherical, 4K has a brighter future than 3D ever did. Whether or not or not for journey or a various for an earlier entry-level DSLR, the NX500 is an excellent camera for every stills and films. Merely don’t rely on the NX500 to have the NX1’s video prowess.

What’s throughout the subject

Our gear comes with the f/3.5-5.6 16-50mm Power Zoom with built-in optical image stabilization (OIS). Moreover throughout the subject is the AC adapter, USB cable, strap, and Quick Start info. You should acquire the whole information (218 pages) as properly the immediate software program program: iLauncher, Power Media Participant, Samsung Movie Converter, and RAW/DNG Converters.

Choices and design

The NX500 might share the equivalent guts as a result of the NX1, nevertheless it’s obvious they aren’t solely the equivalent camera, nor are they designed for the same purchaser. The NX1 seems and appears like an fanatic DSLR, on account of that’s the put it up for sale’s targeted in direction of, notably videographers. The NX500, nonetheless, is the epitome of a compact system camera (CSC): It is rather a lot lighter and smaller, with far fewer buttons and dials (constructing is steady, nevertheless it doesn’t come close to the NX1’s). It seems like many various mirrorless rivals, such as a result of the 24MP Sony A6000 (moreover $800). The consumer proper right here is the step-up client who wants an easy-to-use camera, nevertheless with the flexibility of an interchangeable lens model.

The design is fairly regular; in reality, it hasn’t dramatically modified from the NX300. It’s obtainable 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 gear lens is the steady 16-50mm Power Zoom with i-Carry out performance. The lens is okay for regularly use, nevertheless there are completely different Samsung and third-party glass selections to pick out from, along with primes and zooms.

Along with the lens mount, the doorway has an AF Assist lamp to help focus in dim gentle and an enhanced grip. On account of the camera isn’t very tall, this writer didn’t uncover the grip comfortable to utilize, nevertheless one different DT writer thought it was constructive. This demonstrates why it’s best to do a hands-on verify earlier than you buy. In some other case, the camera’s design is obvious, which matches for virtually all NX cameras.

The best-deck has stereo mics, a pinhole speaker, and scorching shoe. Two large variations between the NX1 and the NX500 are the dearth of a built-in flash and digital viewfinder (EVF). Given the $700 distinction and goal market, that’s to be anticipated. Samsung does present an adjunct flash that attaches via the latest shoe, so that base is roofed; the EVF is not and it’s a key distinction with the Sony A6000, which presents every amenities. Nonetheless, we didn’t miss the EVF as a result of the rear present is superb, nevertheless there have been only a few instances the place it might have come useful (further on this later).

Samsung saved the extraordinarily regarded imaging components of its NX1 and packed them proper right into a rather a lot smaller bundle.

Moreover on the top-deck is a Mobile button to connect with a smartphone for sharing capabilities, a jog wheel to maneuver by way of menus and enlarge photos all through playback, and a Mode dial. Shut by are the on/off lever, shutter button, and auto publicity lock.

The once more is dominated by a 3-inch, 180-degree tilting Large AMOLED touchscreen (rated 1,036K dots). Coloration accuracy is good, although we positively had some reflectivity factors, making the camera laborious to utilize on a lake or beneath vibrant sunshine all through a whale-watching tour off the Hawaiian coast. As alluded, not having an EVF in these circumstances is a draw back.

Proper right here’s one different head scratcher: The LCD flips up, and the camera robotically enters selfie mode, nevertheless you’ll solely try this with the flash eradicated – in some other case, it blocks the show display. This bothered us as we like having the flash obtainable for fill-flash accountability, and it’s annoying to take the flash on and off. We’ll say selfies are gratifying to take with this camera, as a result of the touchscreen makes it quick and straightforward.

To the perfect of the touchscreen are the identical previous camera buttons, along with publicity compensation, menu, carry out, playback, and delete. A center OK button is surrounded by present, AF, ISO, and burst mode buttons that give entry to major parameters. On the perfect edge is a red-dot video button; it’s barely hidden and we’d select it to be on the top-deck for simple entry.

Samsung NX500 back angleGiuliano Correia/Digital Traits

Giuliano Correia/Digital Traits

With the touchscreen, i-Carry out lens (pressing the button brings up an onscreen menu), and bodily buttons, there are 3 methods to change settings. We like i-Carry out on account of it gives you entry to often-used parameters quickly.

Basic, this very plain-looking camera is certainly fairly refined beneath, making it a wide variety of interchangeable lens newbies and more-sophisticated shutterbugs.

The left facet has a small compartment for USB 2.0 and HDMI connections (the NX1 has USB 3.0 for speedier transfers – one different occasion of pricing compromise). On the underside are battery (rated at 370 photos – a bit higher than completely different mirrorless fashions) and SD card slots, along with the NFC tag.

Specs, effectivity, and use

We put the NX500 gear by way of its paces over a variety of weeks of long-term testing, in a variety of locales, taking photos stills and films. Although the Power Zoom is first fee with a 35mm range of 24-75mm, we positively missed masses on the telephoto end. There have been a variety of instances the place we would like we had the longer zoom, equal to distant jet-skiers or humpback whales. We moreover used a 50-200mm lens for a day, and whereas we had the telephoto, we had been missing the up-close wide-angle. We advise budgeting for the 18-200mm lens ($799), which works to you a rather a lot wider range with out having to swap lenses; preserve the Power Zoom for regularly photos.

Samsung NX500 lens shoeGiuliano Correia/Digital Traits

Giuliano Correia/Digital Traits

One among many camera’s large claims to fame is its 28.2MP backside-illuminated (BSI) APS-C sensor. It’s the most important BSI sensor obtainable, producing an image of as a lot as 6,480 x 4,320 pixels. The sensor works together with the DRIMe Vs processor (every sensor and processor are the equivalent ones used throughout the NX1, nevertheless the NX500’s DRIMe Vs is technically a variation of the NX1’s DRIMe V).

The beefier NX1 presents further processing power and is masses sooner in burst mode. The NX1 grabs 15 frames per second (fps) nevertheless the NX500 does “solely” 9. That’s hardly sluggish nevertheless it’s considered one of many tradeoffs. Even so, the NX500 stands up properly to its same-priced opponents and tops them with higher-quality movies and primarily probably the most pixels for any APS-C mirrorless camera.

Image top quality is nice, with very appropriate colors.

We had been invited by Samsung to take a look at the camera in Hawaii. Working spherical from train to train, we found that the NX500 – and CSCs often – makes a unbelievable journey camera. We might merely match the camera proper right into a coat pocket or backpack. We’ll’t take into consideration lugging throughout the NX1 or a DSLR whereas touring. It’s not a knock in direction of these cameras, nevertheless CSCs do have their advantages. We love that Samsung put as rather a lot power as a result of it could proper right into a smaller physique, so it under no circumstances left us really sad, besides the fast lens. The Hawaiian panorama launched us with a variety of colors, lighting, and actions to shoot, and we found the NX500 to be succesful in virtually all circumstances.

On paper, specs are one issue, nevertheless how does it translate into exact top quality? No shocker proper right here: that they had been superb, with very appropriate colors and a pleasing depth, even when blown as a lot as full dimension on a giant present. We even caught some gorgeous sunsets which could be postcard worthy. Considering its viewers, the NX500 comes with a variety of scene modes and explicit outcomes. One to take a look at is a waterfall mode that captures streaming water beautifully, nevertheless it requires a tripod.

The NX500 has a extremely speedy hybrid autofocus (NX AF System III) that makes use of a combination of half detect and distinction detect strategies. Similar to the NX1, it’s prime notch and we had no factors grabbing focus. We primarily used single AF nevertheless there are regular, energetic, and information selections. The optical image stabilization moreover labored properly. We like with the flexibility to tap-to-focus on the touchscreen, and the pliability to manage publicity based mostly totally on the place we faucet. Basic, navigating by way of menus is simple and easy.

We had been impressed with the NX1’s ISO effectivity, and the lower-priced sibling’s isn’t any exception. The native ISO range is 100-25,600. Images are steady to ISO 3,200 with a slight falloff as you ramp as a lot because the max of 25,600. Softness and lack of ingredient enter the picture at 12,800 nevertheless info are nonetheless useable at small sizes.

One among many NX500’s highlights – if not the highlight – is movie seize. Similar to the NX1, you’ll shoot every Cinema 4K and 4K Extraordinarily Extreme Definition (UHD, that standard for 4K TVs), inserting the NX500 ahead of the opponents; 4K resolution is 4,096 x 2,160 at 24 fps, whereas UHD is 3,480 x 2,160 at 30 fps. In contrast, the Sony A6000 tops out at Full HD 1080/60p, which the NX500 can shoot as properly. Observe, nonetheless, that the NX500 doesn’t use all of the sensor all through 4K recording; video is certainly cropped in a bit. Maybe prospects gained’t uncover, nevertheless the video professionals should take remember. One different issue we seen: there’s no video mode, nevertheless the delete (trash) button moreover capabilities as a video standby mode, which lets you accurately physique your shot (we wouldn’t have acknowledged this if a Samsung engineer hadn’t suggested us).

Now, the pliability to shoot 4K sounds cool – and it is – nevertheless it’s nonetheless a definite section, albeit one which’s rising steadily. Few of us are actually ready to course of or view 4K content material materials. Moreover, Samsung is using a model new compression codec, H.265 HEVC. Whereas it’s the broadcasting regular, there are few capabilities that acknowledge it (the revenue is you would doc 4K onto widespread SD enjoying playing cards). Samsung’s conversion software program program solely works with House home windows; Mac prospects can benefit from Handbrake. Completely different points that separate the NX500 from the NX1 embody the dearth of a microphone port or headphone jack, 4K motion pictures are restricted to fifteen minutes (versus 29 on the NX1), and the HDMI port helps Full HD-output solely (a bummer within the occasion you actually private a 4K TV).

The NX500 is further of an informal camera that happens to shoot fast 4K video clips, whereas the NX1 is definitely geared in direction of videography lovers and professionals. Ponder the NX500’s 4K performance as a future-proofing attribute. You can shoot clips in 4K and save them for later, whereas altering them to Full HD for use in the mean time. It is also attainable to shoot in 4K and seize 8-megapixel stills out of the footage, which is nice for a lot of who don’t want to ever miss the second.

Basic, video top quality, like photographs, is nice. The colors look good, with some superb particulars. We did most of our taking photos in Full HD, as that’s what’s finest to work with and what we anticipate most prospects will use as a rule. Whatever the issues, the NX500 is an excellent compact movie camera for purchasers.

The DT Accent Pack

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

Samsung 18-200mm Multi-Perform Lens ($800)Although the gear lens is an environment friendly place to start, you’ll be happier with this zoom.

SanDisk Extreme Skilled SDXC UHS-1 Card (110)Whereas Samsung makes use of a compression format to create smaller 4K info, it’s best to make use of the quickest and largest functionality card you will discover within the occasion you intend to shoot a combination of video and {photograph}.

Booq Python Mirrorless ($80)This bag from Booq is designed for CSCs similar to the NX500, however there’s enough room for gear and your smartphone.

Linking the NX500 to a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an iPhone 5S smartphone is simple, nevertheless was very fast using NFC with the S5. Along with Wi-Fi, the NX500 has Bluetooth for distant shutter, nevertheless a number of the choices work most interesting with select Android items. Nonetheless, the iOS and Android apps take care of the basics equal to swapping photographs between items or using the cellphone as a distant administration.


Samsung presents a one-year restricted assure for components and labor.


The $800 NX500 gear has quite a lot of positives, along with good stills and in depth video selections. Our solely precise knock is the dearth of an digital viewfinder as a result of the rear present show display has some explicit reflectivity factors. There are moreover limitations to 4K video recording, nevertheless this won’t be an issue to most prospects. Whereas 4K is an precise star throughout the NX1, proper right here, it’s the supporting act.


  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C sensor
  • 4K motion pictures
  • Terrific image top 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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