Samsung NX200 – 20-Megapixel Compact System Camera

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Samsung NX200 - 20-Megapixel Compact System CameraSamsung updated their NX mirrorless compact system camera line last week with the new NX200, their fourth NX-Series camera. With a 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, full HD video, improved auto focus and shot-to-shot time and a metal body, Samsung is clearly targeting the NX200 at serious photographers and pros. The camera has a full range of exposure controls including full manual, aperture priority, shutter priority and SmartAuto with sensitivity up to ISO 12,800. The NX200 has a 3-inch 614k-dot AMOLED display as well as Samsung’s i-Function lens-mounted control – a button on selected lenses that allows the photographer to access and control shutter speed, aperture, ISO, exposure compensation and white balance.

Samsung NX200 mirrorless compact system camera

Samsung has been the underdog in the compact system camera space so far. I don’t know what their market share is but the NX cameras certainly don’t have the public profile that the Sony NEX, Panasonic Lumix-G and Olympus Pen cameras do. The NX200 deserves more attention, though. It’s a handsome camera, with a body design that falls somewhere between the retro styling of the Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras and sleek, ultra-modern Sony NEX cameras. The 3-inch AMOLED display is a really nice feature. You don’t know how much difference an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) display makes until you use one. Using an OLED-equipped camera is a much better experience than using one with a traditional LCD display – it makes it easier to see your photos in bright sunlight and the display quality is so much better that it makes your photos look better.

Samsung NX200 Key Features and Specs:

  • New 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 1920 x 1080 30p full HD video
  • 7 FPS full-resolution burst
  • 3-inch 614k-dot AMOLED LCD display
  • Sensitivity to ISO 12,800
  • i-Function control
  • Full range of exposure controls including full manual and SmartAuto
  • Metal body

There’s been a theme with the recent round of compact system camera announcements – more speed. The NX200 continues the trend with a 7 frames-per-second full-resolution burst rate, 100-millisecond auto focus and 400-millisecond shot-to-shot time. It’s not the fastest compact system camera on the market but it’s more than fast enough for most subjects and photographers. To put the NX200′s speed in perspective, the Canon EOS 7D, a prosumer digital SLR designed for action sports photographers, also has a max burst rate of 7 frames-per-second.

The most interesting thing about the new NX200 is the 20-megapixel sensor. Samsung says the new APS-C CMOS sensor was, “developed in-house by Samsung, ensuring image quality that highlights even the smallest detail and puts performance at the fingertips of all photographers.” The NX200 sensor has 25% more resolution than the new Sony NEX-5N or the Panasonic Lumix G3. However, 20 million pixels is a lot to cram into an APS-C sensor so we should be skeptical. Does it increase noise and compromise image quality as is often the case with high pixel density imaging sensors? Lucky for us, dpreview has posted some high-res sample photos (dpreview’s Samsung NX200 sample photos) from a pre-production camera, including a couple taken at ISO 3200. I think they are very impressive – definitely better than I’d expect from a 20-megapixel APS-C camera. Of course, low ISO images are basically noise free. I would expect nothing less. More importantly, I think the ISO 3200 samples look pretty damn good. Yes, there is visible noise at ISO 3200, but it’s not unpleasant and I rule them totally usable.

I’m not sure if anyone else is asking this so I will – do we really need a 20-megapixel compact system camera? I brought this same issue up in my intro article for the 22-megapixel Sony NEX-7. I think it’s great that Sony and Samsung are able to make high-resolution APS-C sensors that produce image quality of this caliber. But personally, I’d rather see lower-resolution cameras with even less noise. I don’t have any need for 20-megapixel files. I can make huge prints and 2-page glossy magazine spreads with 12-megapixels. To me, more pixels looks like a marketing ploy and ultimately means I need to buy more memory cards and hard drives. I thought the megapixel race was starting wind down but I guess I was wrong. Maybe the hard drive companies are behind this.

Although I question the value of the NX200′s 20-megapixel resolution, I’m still pleased with the announcement. It looks like compact system cameras are driving the industry this year and the Samsung NX200 keeps things moving in the right direction. More competition means better cameras and I’m down with better cameras.

Samsung NX200 Press Release >>

Related Content:
All Samsung Camera User Reviews
Interchangeable Lens / Digital SLR User Reviews
EVIL & Micro Four Thirds Cameras Forum
Samsung Digital Cameras Web Site

Samsung NX200

Samsung NX200 3-inch AMOLED display

Samsung NX200 - top view w/o lens

Samsung NX200 - 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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