An innovative new lens system makes Samsung's new interchangeable lens compact a unique option.
We found a lot to like about Samsung's previous mirrorless camera, the NX10. But, now Samsung is taking things in a different direction, ditching the SLR form factor and introducing a true interchangeable lens compact in the NX100.
Like the NX10, the NX100 has an APS-C sensor (14.6-megapixels) and, predictably, the three-inch AMOLED display Samsung is so proud of. But, rather than looking like a DSLR, the press material claims the NX100 was "inspired by the simple shape of dew forming on leaves." While that may be a little abstract for us, we can say that the much more portable design is a welcome change.
The most interesting innovation, however, can't be found in the body, but rather in its lenses. The i-Function system allows for total exposure control using only the buttons and focus ring found on the lens itself. The idea is that shooters can continue to hold the camera in ready position while changing settings on the fly.
Each lens (the details of which are outlined later) is marked with an icon that suggests the shooting situation in which it will feel most at home. For instance, wide angle lenses are referred to as "landscape lenses." Put the camera in lens priority mode (that feels odd to type) and it will automatically switch to the shooting mode that matches the lens. While it probably won't get much use from experienced shooters, it should help take some of the mystery out of changing lenses for those who are just learning.
At launch, only a single lens 20-50mm zoom lens will be available — that lens priority mode won't be needed for a while — followed shortly by a 20mm pancake prime. In the first half of 2011, Samsung is planning to produce a 60mm macro and an 18-200 do-it-all zoom. And by the first stroke of 2012, they expect to add a 16mm, 85mm and a 16-80mm zoom to the mix.
If all of that glass isn't evidence enough that Samsung is confident in their new camera system, they're also releasing a full range of accessories, like an external flash that mounts to the hot shoe, an electronic viewfinder and a GPS attachment to enable GPS tagging of photos in real time.
Ultimately, it's nice to see a new camera with this much support behind it. Sure, it's not perfect, even on paper — 1080p video would've been nice (it maxes out at 720p) — but we're excited to see how it measures up to the other options currently out there. See the next page for some easy-to-digest specs.
20-50mm F/3.5-5.6 ED Standard Zoom Lens
20mm F/2.8 Pancake Lens