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Samsung NX200

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Samsung NX200 Video Recording

High-definition video capture has become ubiquitous in the latest generation of interchangeable-lens cameras, and essentially all the major manufacturers now provide some form of video capture in their compact system cameras. The Samsung NX200 offers a reasonably rich feature set, although it does lack some features found on more advanced models. Videos can be recorded at up to Full HD resolution, and full manual exposure control is possible, but there's no support for external microphones, manual audio levels control, or the fine-grained control over frame rate that professional use typically demands. There are, however, some more consumer-friendly options such as single / full-time autofocus and pre-capture video filters, and these are arguably more likely to be used by the NX200's target customer than the pro-oriented features that the camera lacks. The absence of a wind cut filter may have more significance to consumer users.

Overall, though, we found the Samsung NX200 to offer a fairly capable video mode, and although pro videographers will certainly find it too limiting, it will offer a nice alternative to their camcorder for the average consumer.

Samsung NX200 Basic Video Specs

Samsung NX200 Video: Image Size, Frame Rate, and Encoding

The Samsung NX200 records at four different video resolutions from 1080p to QVGA, using MPEG-4 Part 10 compression, more commonly known as MPEG-4 H.264/AVC. Two quality levels are available: Hiqh Quality (HQ), or Normal (N) quality. In all but the 720p mode, the frame rate is fixed at approximately 30 frames per second. For 720p video, there's a choice of either 60 or 30 frames per second capture.

Unless audio capture is disabled, movies include AAC stereo audio. No spec is provided for the audio sampling rate, though video players report 16-bit audio at a 32 kHz sample rate.

The table below shows the specs for various video recording options.

Samsung NX200 Video Options
MPEG-4 H.264/AVC Format (.MP4 files)
Resolution
Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate
Average Bit Rate

1,920 x 1,080

16:9

30.01 frames per second

15 Mbps
13 Mbps

1,280 x 720

16:9

59.97 frames per second

16 Mbps
14 Mbps

1,280 x 720

16:9

29.99 frames per second

9 Mbps
8 Mbps

640 x 480

4:3

29.99 frames per second

3.5 Mbps
3 Mbps

320 x 240

4:3

29.99 frames per second

1.1 Mbps
0.9 Mbps

Continuous movie recording is limited to approximately 25 minutes regardless of the capture settings, and maximum movie file size is 4GB. Samsung doesn't provide a recommended Secure Digital card speed rating to avoid issues with write speeds during video capture, but other manufacturers typically specify at least a Class 6 card, and the same is likely true with the NX200.

Here are some examples of video shot with our sample of the Samsung NX200:

Samsung NX200: Video Samples
1,920 x 1,080, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 60fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
640 x 480, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
320 x 240, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,920 x 1,080, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 60fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
640 x 480, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original

Samsung NX200 Video-Mode Focusing

For a consumer audience used to camcorders that can automatically focus during video capture (and who don't necessarily have the time and patience to learn to pull focus manually), autofocus is a pretty critical feature. The Samsung NX200 goes further than some competing interchangeable-lens cameras, in that its autofocus function can either offer full-time autofocus, or perform single AF operations when directed by the user. Note that the Autofocus Area mode is fixed at Multi for movie capture; it isn't possible to use face detection, or to manually select the focus point.

At the current time, only one NX-mount lens--the Movie Pro-badged Samsung NX 18-200mm F3.5-6.3ED OIS lens--has been specifically tuned to provide for near-silent autofocus operation. With other NX-mount lenses, there will likely be some amount of autofocus drive noise picked up by the camera's microphones during recording. Given that there's no external microphone connectivity in the NX200, there's no way to mitigate this, save for relying on an external audio capture device and some time spent replacing the audio track in post processing. The level of noise is likely to vary depending upon the specific lens model in use, and many consumers will find the AF noise to be less objectionable than the camera entirely lacking autofocus; for larger and noisier autofocus operations, you can always edit the noisy portions out of the video post-capture, after all.

If supported by the lens, you can also use manual focus instead. It's worth noting that even if you choose to focus manually, there is still the likelihood of some focus drive noise being picked up, though. That's because current NX-mount lenses rely entirely on fly-by-wire manual focusing. As you turn the focus ring, there's no direct mechanical connection; instead, you're simply commanding the focus motor in the lens to make the adjustments for you. Helpfully, however, there's a Manual Focus assist function that magnifies the center of the frame by up to 8x to aid in fine-tuning of the focus point.

Samsung NX200 Video Exposure Control

Some video-capable cameras still offer only fully automatic exposure in movie mode, but the Samsung NX200 gives you a choice of either Programmed, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority or Manual exposure modes. As well as direct control of the shutter speed and aperture, it's also possible to manually control the sensitivity which the camera will use up to a maximum of ISO 3,200 equivalent. In Programmed and Priority modes, 3.0EV of exposure compensation is available in 0.3 EV steps, and white balance settings also carry over to video mode.

Samsung NX200 In-Camera Image Adjustment for Movies

Catering to those who really want to express their creative side without relying on computers and complicated post-processing, the NX200 also includes some pre-capture functions that change the look of videos, in some cases quite radically.

The Picture Wizard effects are the more subtle, changing contrast, saturation, color and sharpness to yield nine different user-adjustable presets. These include Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, and Classic.

The Smart Filter functions--accessed through the Magic Mode option in the shooting menu--bring a more radical difference to the look of videos, but with a significant limitation. They're only available when recording at VGA resolution or below. Smart Filter options include Vignetting, Miniature, Fish Eye, Sketch, Defog, Halftone Dots, Soft Focus, Old Film 1, Old Film 2, and Negative.

Note that the Magic Mode's Magic Frame functions are not applicable to movie mode.

In addition to the filter functions, the NX200 has an unusual feature that can add a fade effect to the start or end of a video--or both, if you prefer--automatically, when they're captured. The length and fade effect can't be adjusted. Another less common feature is the ability to adjust the capture rate for fast-motion or slow-motion movies. Rates are from 0.25x to 20x, although the precise selection of rates on offer varies depending on the resolution. All rates other than 1x automatically disable audio capture.

Samsung NX200 Movie-Mode Image Stabilization

Samsung's NX-mount cameras rely on image stabilization in the lenses, rather than an in-body system. This of course means that unless the particular lens model you're using supports image stabilization, it isn't available. Compared to in-body systems, lens-based stabilization typically seems to perform better at longer focal lengths, where it's most needed, however.

The Samsung NX200 offers three operating modes for image stabilization. Mode 1 enables stabilization only while the shutter button is half pressed and during capture, and Mode 2 operates the system at all times, making it easier to precisely adjust your framing before capture starts. The third option is to disable the system altogether. This is to be advised when shooting with the camera tripod-mounted, or when a clear audio track is more important than shake-free video. (Samsung notes that its onboard microphone may be prone to picking up noise from the stabilization system, when it is activated.)

Samsung NX200 Video: Audio Recording

Audio recording in movies is optional with the Samsung NX200. Audio can be turned on or off using the Voice function located in the Movie menu. Audio is recorded as 32kHz, 16-bit MPEG-4 AAC stereo, captured via two microphones on the camera's top face, with each channel having a separate single-hole grille on either side of the flash hot shoe. No provision is provided for an external microphone.

Audio recorded with the camera's internal mic sounded clear, but we do no tests to measure frequency response or sensitivity, so can't comment quantitatively. While there some light hiss in audio tracks recorded in relatively quiet environments, it wasn't any more noticeable than we're accustomed to on competing models.

As noted above, the autofocus drive on the 18-200mm Movie Pro lens is said to be essentially silent, although we weren't able to test this ourselves. Other lenses will induce noticeable autofocus noise though, and since NX-mount lenses are so far all fly-by-wire, the same is true when focusing manually. With the 18-55mm kit lens, autofocus noise was noticeable as a light knocking sound when making minor adjustments.

As with most of its competitors, the Samsung NX200 doesn't have any provision for manual audio level control. Nor is there a wind cut function, something which may be slightly more of an issue for the NX200's primary target buyers.

Audio capture is automatically disabled at capture rates other than 1x.

Samsung NX200 Movie Recording / Playback User Interface

Although the Samsung NX200 has a separate Movie mode accessed via a separate position on the camera's Mode dial, there's also a dedicated Movie record button on the top of the rear panel, unlike some cameras which share the main shutter button for this purpose.

A few movie-specific setting adjustments are made in a dedicated Movie Menu, which has relatively few options. Other settings applicable to both still and video shooting are made in the still image menus. Options on the Movie Menu for video recording are:

Movie Menu Options:
Top-Level Selection
Second-Level
Notes
Movie Size
- 1,920 x 1,080 30p
- 1,280 x 720 60p
- 1,280 x 720 30p
- 640 x 480 30p
- 320 x 240 30p
Quality
- HQ
- N
High or Normal quality
Multi Motion
- 0.25x
- 0.5x
- 1x
- 5x
- 10x
- 20x
Available options depend on video resolution. Except at 1x, audio capture is not possible.
Fader
- Off
- In
- Out
- In-out
Applies a canned fade effect to the start and/or end of videos.
Voice
- Off
- On
Enables or disables audio capture

 

Rolling Shutter Artifacts ("Jello Effect")

Samsung NX200: Rolling Shutter Artifacts
1,920 x 1,080, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 60fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
1,280 x 720, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original
640 x 480, 30fps, High Quality
View on Vimeo | Download Original

Essentially every video capable digital SLR/CSC currently on the market exhibits some level of motion-related distortion called rolling shutter artifacts. These are caused because the image data is captured and then read off the chip sequentially by rows, rather than each frame's data being captured all at once. In the case of the Samsung NX200, this means that image data for the last row of a given frame is captured and read out as much as 1/30th second after the data for the top row was captured. The effect on moving objects is like that of a focal plane shutter in an SLR, but more pronounced, because the video frame is read out much more slowly than the slit of a focal plane shutter moves across the sensor.

For a camera that scans video frames vertically (as all do that we're aware of), rolling shutter artifacts will be most noticeable for subjects that are moving rapidly side to side, or when the camera itself is being panned horizontally. Verticals in the scene will appear tilted to the right or left, depending on the direction of camera motion. As an example, consider the case of a camera being panned from left to right, with a flagpole or other vertical object in the middle of the scene when recording for a particular frame begins: If the top of the object was centered horizontally when the first line of the video frame is acquired, by the time the last line of the frame has been captured, the bottom of the object will have shifted to somewhere left of center: As a result, the vertical object would appear to be leaning to the right.

Computer Requirements for Viewing HD Video

A typical computer these days has little trouble dealing with still images, but high-definition video can be another matter. Depending on the file format involved, it can take a pretty beefy computer to handle HD-resolution video playback without stuttering or dropping frames. The MPEG-4 H.264/AVC image compression used by the Samsung NX200 is a fairly compute-intensive format, and its high maximum resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels resolution means there's a lot of data in each frame to deal with. The net result is that you'll need a reasonably recent computer to play the NX200's Full HD video files smoothly, and will want a pretty powerful machine for Full HD video editing.

You can of course view your movies on a high definition TV via the HDMI output, or a standard-def TV via the combined USB / Video output.