Samsung NX100 Review

 
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Samsung NX100 Optics

 

Lens Test Results

20-50mm Zoom
Very good performance with the 20-50mm kit lens.

20mm @ f/8 50mm @ f/8

The Samsung NX100 is available bundled with the Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NX lens, with a 35mm equivalent focal range of about 31-77mm. Its 2.5x zoom ratio is lower than average for a kit lens, and it doesn't go as wide as most kit lenses either. Optical performance was however quite good at 20mm, with strong detail across most of the frame and only minor softness in the corners (at f/8). Coma distortion in the trees was low, and chromatic aberration was very well controlled. Results were excellent at the 50mm setting, with very good sharpness across the frame and negligible chromatic aberration.

Macro
A larger than average area, with somewhat soft detail.

Macro with 20-50mm kit lens
50mm @ f/5.6

As with zoom performance, the Samsung NX100's macro performance will depend entirely on the lens in use. However with the 20-50mm kit lens set to 50mm, the Samsung NX100 captured a larger than average minimum area measuring 3.44 x 2.29 inches (87 x 58 millimeters). Resolution was pretty consistent across the frame, though detail was a little soft overall. The corners didn't show significant softening compared to the center. Most lenses show some softening in the corners at macro distances, so the 20-50mm kit lens performed better than most in this regard, though we found it too soft overall.

Geometric Distortion
Very low geometric distortion at both wide-angle and telephoto in JPEGs, high barrel distortion at wide-angle in uncorrected RAW.

In-Camera JPEG: Virtually no distortion at 20mm, less than a pixel
In-Camera JPEG: Pincushion distortion at 50mm is 0.1 percent, barely visible
Uncorrected RAW: High barrel distortion at 20mm, about 1.7%
Uncorrected RAW: Pincushion distortion at 50mm is 0.1 percent, barely visible

The Samsung NX100's 20-50mm kit lens produced less than a pixel of pincushion distortion at wide-angle, which is much better than average and not even noticeable in its images. At the telephoto end, there's about 0.1 percent pincushion distortion, which is low and only slightly perceptible. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

"Jaggies."
(20mm, 200% crop)

Not surprisingly, uncorrected RAW files converted with dcraw show a lot of geometric distortion at wide-angle (about 1.7 percent).  There was hardly any geometric distortion at full telephoto. That's not unusual for a compact system camera lens, though the Samsung NX100's in-camera JPEGs do show more artifacts as a result of the correction than most other compact system cameras that correct for high amounts of barrel distortion. Artifacts such as jagged edges on horizontal and vertical edges are visible if you look closely (see magnified crop at right). The bundled Samsung RAW Converter 4 software as well as Adobe Camera Raw automatically correct for geometric distortion in the NX100's RAW files, and they both don't generate these artifacts seen in the in-camera JPEGs.

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
JPEGs have low and not very bright chromatic aberration at wide-angle and full telephoto. The lens produced some slightly soft corners, mainly in the lower corners.

20-50mm kit lens
20mm @f/3.5: Lower left
C.A.: Low and not very bright
Softness: Minor blurring
20mm @f/3.5: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp
50mm @ f/5.6: Lower right
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very slight blurring
50mm @ f/5.6: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration in the corners with the NX100's 20-50mm kit lens at wide-angle (20mm) is fairly low in terms of the number of pixels, and not very bright, so the effect is not that noticeable. At full telephoto (50mm), C.A. is quite low. 

Corner Softness. The Samsung NX100's 20-50mm kit lens produced some slightly soft corners in a few shots, but corner sharpness was generally pretty good. At full wide-angle, the lower left corner was softest overall, though modest blurring was also present in the other corners. The center of the image was sharp with good contrast. At full telephoto, the corners were again only slightly soft, while the center was sharp. There doesn't appear to be much corner shading ("vignetting"), which is very good. A much better than average performance for a kit lens here, especially considering these shots were taken "wide-open" at maximum aperture, though keep in mind this lens does not go as wide or as long as most kit lenses.

20mm @f/3.5: In-Camera JPEG 20mm @f/3.5: Uncorrected RAW
50mm @ f/5.6: In-Camera JPEG 50mm @ f/5.6: Uncorrected RAW

C.A. Reduction in JPEGs. As you can see from the crops above comparing an in-camera JPEG (left) to a dcraw converted SRW file (right) taken with the 20-50mm lens, the Samsung NX100 does appear to be applying chromatic aberration reduction during its processing of JPEG files. In the second set of crops at 50mm, C.A. was pretty low to begin with, so there's not as much difference between the JPEGs and uncorrected RAW crops.

 


Samsung NX100 Viewfinder


Viewfinder Test Results

Accuracy
Very good accuracy from the AMOLED monitor.

20mm, AMOLED Monitor 50mm, AMOLED Monitor

The Samsung NX100's AMOLED monitor proved to be quite accurate, showing about 99% coverage with the 20-50mm kit lens at wide-angle, and about 100% at full telephoto. The slightly lower accuracy at wide-angle is likely the result of the geometric distortion correction applied for the kit lens. Still, very good results here.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Samsung NX100 Photo Gallery.

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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