Samsung NX2000 Preview
by Mike Tomkins
2013 is looking to be the year of the connected camera, and Samsung assuredly got the memo. Almost all of the company's recent NX-series mirrorless cameras already boast Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, and the NX2000 kicks it up a notch by also adding Near-Field Communications support.
NFC makes interfacing to a compatible smartphone or tablet quick and easy -- just hold the devices together and they establish the Wi-Fi wireless connection all by themselves. The Wi-Fi connectivity provides greater bandwidth so you can get large image files off the camera via your phone quickly, assuming you have a good data plan. From there, it's a short step to social networks thanks to a Direct Link button on the top deck, just like that we saw previously on the NX300 and NX1100.
While that button is retained, another important control is now absent. The NX2000 lacks a physical Mode dial, instead relying on a virtual dial controlled via the camera's touch-screen interface, much like that of the Galaxy Camera.
Compared to the NX1000, the new Samsung NX2000 is just slightly taller, a little less wide, and now has a deeper grip that should make for more comfortable handholding. On the rear panel is a significantly larger -- in fact, uncommonly large by digital camera standards -- 3.7-inch, capacitive touchscreen LCD display. It has a high 800 x 480 pixel (1,152,000 dot) resolution, and is more akin to what you'd find on a typical smartphone, and feels much roomier than the 3.0-inch displays found on most cameras. That's good news giving that there's no electronic viewfinder: A larger LCD preview means you'll feel more intimately connected to your subject.
Under the skin is a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor that's very similar to the chip found in the NX1100 and NX300, although the latter has phase-detect elements on-chip that aren't found on the NX2000's imager. The new camera instead relies solely on contrast-detection autofocus, but Samsung says that by using the same DRIMe IV engine image processor found in the NX300, contrast detect speed is "considerably" improved over that of the NX1100. The new processor also allows support of Samsung's unique single-optic 3D lens that was announced alongside the NX300, both for stills and video.
Like that camera, the Samsung NX2000 offers a wide ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 25,600 equivalents. Burst shooting performance is manufacturer-rated at eight frames per second with full resolution. By dropping the resolution to five megapixels, you can manage up to 30 frames in a one-second period.
As you'd expect for an NX-series compact system camera, the Samsung NX2000 sports a standard NX lens mount. As well as the aforementioned 3D lens, this also accepts all twelve current Samsung NX lenses, including their i-Function control buttons.
On the top deck is a flash hot shoe, but that there is no built-in flash on the NX2000. Instead you get a bundled SEF8A flash strobe with a guide number of eight meters at ISO 100.
Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, plus a bulb position that runs to a maximum of four minutes. Exposure modes include Auto, and the full complement of Program, Aperture- and Shutter-priority, and Manual modes. There's also a Smart mode that provides a fairly generous selection of scene and effect types.
As we've alluded to, the Samsung NX2000 also shoots video. The maximum resolution is Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) or below, with a rate of up to 30 frames per second. Movies use MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 compression, and include AAC audio.
In addition to the Wi-Fi and Near Field Communications wireless connectivity mentioned earlier, the Samsung NX2000 also sports both Micro USB and Micro HDMI version 1.4a ports. The Micro USB port is also used to provide for in-camera battery charging, and the NX2000 accepts the same BP-1130 battery used by the NX300, rather than the physically compatible (but 100mAh less energy-dense) battery used in the NX1100.
Images and movies are stored on MicroSD, MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC, or UHS-1 MicroSD cards, rather than the full-sized SD cards used by most cameras. Both raw and JPEG file formats are provided for stills, and 3D images are stored in MPO format.
Available by the end of May 2013, the Samsung NX2000 is priced at US$650 or thereabouts, with a 20-50mm kit lens. The product bundle, like that of the NX1100, includes Adobe's excellent Photoshop Lightroom 4 application plus Samsung's own iLauncher app.
Samsung has been showing the traditional camera manufacturers a thing or two about quality at affordable price points, and the NX2000 is another fine example of that.
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