Samsung just made its NX500 camera official. The NX500 is a mid-range (no NX500 pricing yet, but the NX300 model sells for $499 on Amazon) camera that has been designed to bring some of the high-end NX1 Camera features into a more affordable and more compact body. The NX500 shares most, if not all of the core capabilities of the Samsung NX1.
The software and smart sharing options are nearly the same, with support for Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Like its predecessors, this new NX camera will run on Samsung’s SmartCamera firmware, which include a host of options, including turning your camera into a baby monitor if you choose so (always handy when dinning at a friend’s place, since you would probably not use the camera then anyway).
On the hardware side, the difference in term of body form-factor is quite obvious, but look at the specs: 28 Megapixel Backside Illuminated (BSI) APS-C sensor, 4K and UHD video recording in HEVC format. The BSI sensor will help in low-light situations because the BSI design allows more light to reach the sensor. The HEVC format is much more efficient in terms of video file size, without compromising quality. If you remember the first generation of 4K video recording, the files were huge, and that was a problem in terms of storage and streaming. HEVC is one of the key changes that will make 4K and UHD much more practical.
Samsung also added an Interval Capture mode, which can capture individual still photos at set intervals, but it is also capable of building a movie directly from the captured images without requiring an external app, or downloading the images to a computer, which is a major time saving feature.
The 4K/UHD capabilities come from the DRIMeV processor, which is the same one used in the Samsung NX1 camera. One of the more remarkableexamplese of the DRIMeV power is the “autoshott” feature that can be programmed so that the camera will automatically capture an interesting image by itself.
With the NX1, the typical example was that it could capture the precise moment where the ball passes a reference point. This is impossible for a human to time perfectly and photographers have shot bursts of photos and hope for the best. The DRIMeV can analyze the scene every 4 milliseconds, predict the best moment to capture the shot and do it. Note that this could get pretty specific with each type of sport, but there is a great potential for all kinds of situations, like capturing flying insects etc.…
The NX500 isn’t as fast as the NX1 when burst shots are concerned, but with a speed of the 9FPS instead of 15FPS, its performance in that respectremainsn quite decent for a camera in this price range.
Design-wise, the NX500 keeps the same design language as its NX300 predecessor. It’s a compact design with a slight retro accent, which has proved to be popular according to Samsung’s market research. I liked the way the NX300 felt, and the NX500 should be close enough for that.
I suspect that the Samsung NX500 will compete with the A6000, and while there are a lot of differences, the presence of an integrated electronic viewfinder (EVF) in the A6000 may prove to be the feature that determines who wins. Not every cares about having an EVF, but those who do would probably be biased towards an integrated solution. Overall, the NX500 is probably a bit “smarter” than the A6000 which is an excellent camera too. Your personal usage model will define what will work best.