Samsung Galaxy NX Review

 
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Samsung Galaxy NX Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Samsung Galaxy NX against the Samsung NX30, Canon 70D, Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D7100 and Sony A6000. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or category in their respective product lineups. The only exception is the A6000, but it uses Sony's latest 24-megapixel APS-C sensor and BIONZ X processor, shared with the similarly priced A77 II.

These comparisons were somewhat tricky to write, as the cameras vary a great deal in resolution, so bear that in mind as you're reading and drawing your own conclusions. (We generally try to match cameras in these comparisons based on price, given that most of us work to a budget, rather than setting out to buy a given number of megapixels.)

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Samsung Galaxy NX, Samsung NX30, Canon 70D, Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D7100 and Sony A6000 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Samsung Galaxy NX to any camera we've ever tested.

Samsung Galaxy NX versus Samsung NX30 at Base ISO

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 100
Samsung NX30 at ISO 100

Sharing the same 20.3MP CMOS sensor and Samsung's latest DRIMe IV image processor, it's not surprising that the image quality from these two cameras looks very similar. Interestingly, at default shooting settings, the Galaxy NX handles the pink fabric a bit better than the NX30, while the NX30 handles the red a bit better in terms of contrast. But the NX actually renders some of the fine thread pattern in the red-leaf fabric more faithfully, which points to slight differences in default noise reduction. The mosaic tile crop is also nearly identical, with the Galaxy NX looking a hair sharper.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Canon 70D at Base ISO

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 100
Canon 70D at ISO 100

The Samsung wins hands-down in this comparison with lots of crisp, clean fine detail. The difference is most obvious in the mosaic and fabric areas, where the Samsung is noticeably sharper and more finely detailed despite the Canon's more conspicuous sharpening halos, though the Canon's smoother rendition of the red-leaf pattern does retain a bit more detail in the leaves.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Fujifilm X-T1 at Base ISO

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 200

There's a slight resolution difference here (20MP vs 16), but both do very well with fine detail at base ISO. Even at ISO 100, you can see the Samsung's default noise reduction at work smoothing out shadow detail slightly. The mosaic tile pattern from the Samsung is incredibly sharp and detailed with higher contrast compared to the Fujifilm. With the fabric swatches, the Samsung does much better with the pink fabric, although the Fuji easily wins in the red fabric comparison.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Nikon D7100 at Base ISO

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 100
Nikon D7100 at ISO 100

Again, another resolution difference (20MP vs 24), however, the sharpening on the Samsung is noticeably stronger than the Nikon's. Both are excellent at producing clean, crisp fine detail, however, the Nikon has the edge with fine detail in the fabric swatches. We can also see how the Samsung's default noise reduction is more aggressive, even at ISO 100, with our textured background smoothed-out in the shadows.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Sony A6000 at Base ISO

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 100
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

Another tough comparison here between the Samsung and the Sony. Again, both cameras display excellent performance at producing crisp, finely detail images at base ISO. The sharpening of the Sony is not as strong as the Samsung's, which is evident in the mosaic comparison, though both show a lot of fine detail. The fabric crop comparison is a tough one, but the edge goes to the Sony with better reproduction of the leaf pattern in the red fabric.



Most digital SLRs and CSCs will produce an excellent ISO 100 shot, so we like to push them and see what they can do compared to other cameras at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1600 because we like to be able to shoot at least at this level when indoors and at night.

Samsung Galaxy NX versus Samsung NX30 at ISO 1600

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 1600
Samsung NX30 at ISO 1600

Like we saw with the ISO 100 comparison, these two cameras are very similar at ISO 1600, with low noise and still a lot of fine detail. Where they differ, again, is in the fabric swatches with the Galaxy NX doing better at the pink fabric, while the NX30 is better with the red.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Canon 70D at ISO 1600

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 1600
Canon 70D at ISO 1600

It's clearer now to see the effect of the more aggressive noise reduction processing from the Galaxy NX, as most of the noise, particularly in the shadows, has been removed, unlike the 70D, which shows a bit of grain. Nevertheless, the Samsung still does better with fine detail in mosaic crop and the pink fabric, while the Canon handles the red fabric a bit better.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 1600

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 1600

Both cameras do very well here at ISO 1600 to balance noise reduction and fine detail, however their approaches are quite different. The Samsung's NR looks much stronger in the bottle crop while the Fuji leaves more luminance noise, however the mosaic crop is very detailed from both cameras. The biggest difference is in the fabric, where the Fuji blows away the Samsung in the leaf pattern of the red fabric. Still though, the Samsung does better with the pink fabric.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 1600
Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600

While the Nikon is still nicely detailed at ISO 1600, the Samsung does better with lower noise and crisper details in mosaic crop. However, the Samsung struggles with red fabric pattern, while the Nikon handles that tricky area much better.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Both the Samsung and Sony do fairly well with noise reduction in the shadows, as well as fine detail, though the Samsung's mosaic crop appears just a hair crisper and more natural than the Sony's. There's a noticeable difference in the fabric swatches, though, with the Sony reproducing a better semblance of the leaf pattern on the red fabric, while the Samsung handles the pink much better (and the Sony noticeably struggles there).



Today's ISO 3200 is yesterday's ISO 1600 (well, almost), so below are the same crops at ISO 3200.

Samsung Galaxy NX versus Samsung NX30 at ISO 3200

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 3200
Samsung NX30 at ISO 3200

Just like the other two ISO comparisons between these cameras, the bottle crops and mosaic tile crops look remarkably similar. At ISO 3200, both show relatively low noise and a nice amount of fine detail for an APS-C sensor. The fabric swatches are where they differ most: the Galaxy NX handles the pink better, while the NX30 does a slightly better job at reproducing the leaf pattern in the red fabric, though noise and NR processing take their toll.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Canon 70D at ISO 3200

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 3200
Canon 70D at ISO 3200

It's even clearer now to see the effect of the more aggressive noise reduction processing in flatter areas from the Galaxy NX, as most of the noise, particularly in the shadows, has been removed, unlike the 70D, which shows a bit of grain. Nevertheless, the Samsung still does better with fine detail in mosaic crop and the pink fabric, while the Canon handles the red-leaf fabric better.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 3200

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-T1 at ISO 3200

The Fujifilm shows its prowess at high ISO shooting with only minor -- if almost pleasant -- luminance noise in the shadows, very low chroma noise, and lots of fine detail. There is a fairly big resolution difference, but the mosaic pattern from the Fujifilm looks a bit more natural, while the Samsung's shows a bit of artifacting from the noise reduction (though still displaying a nice amount of fine detail). The starkest comparison, again, is the fabric swatches, with the Fujifilm doing a fantastic job with fine detail, even in the troublesome red fabric. The Samsung does show an advantage with the pink fabric, however.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 3200
Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200

Like we saw with the previous Fujifilm comparison, the Nikon D7100 trades off more aggressive noise reduction for better fine detail handling, which in this case only works in certain areas, notably the red fabric. In the mosaic crop, the black tile pattern from the Nikon looks a bit more natural while the Samsung's shows a little distortion from the NR processing.


Samsung Galaxy NX versus Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

Samsung Galaxy NX at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

While both cameras here at ISO 3200 show some aggressive noise reduction processing, the Sony's looks heavier and more patchy in the bottle crop, with less detail in the mosaic crop as well. The big difference, as we've seen with many of these comparisons, is in the fabric crops, where the Samsung still handles the pink fabric quite well, whereas the Sony does a slightly better attempt at reproducing the leaf pattern in the red fabric.



Detail: Samsung Galaxy NX vs. Samsung NX30, Canon 70D, Fujifilm X-T1, Nikon D7100 and Sony A6000.

Samsung
Galaxy NX

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

Samsung
NX30

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

Canon
70D

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-T1

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D7100

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. This lettering allows us to really examine fine, high-contrast detail. At base ISO, all cameras are able to produce sharp, crisp detail, though the Canon and Nikon are a little on the softer side. Both the Galaxy NX and NX30 do great with very fine, high-contrast detail. As the ISO rises, we see a little drop in contrast pretty much across the board with all cameras, with the exception of the Canon and Sony, but very fine detail on the Samsung Galaxy NX remains visible and undistorted for the most part, even with the aggressive noise reduction.

 

Samsung Galaxy NX Print Quality

Overall, impressively large 36 x 48 inch prints at ISOs 100 and 200; ISO 1600 capable of a nice 16 x 20; ISO 6400 prints a good 8 x 10.

ISO 100 and 200 images are excellent at 36 x 48 inches, with accurate colors and fantastic detail, which is very impressive. Even still, the Galaxy NX is capable of producing very large 40 x 60 inch prints for wall display, and while those will show some minor pixelation upon close inspection (and the 36 x 48 prints, as well, to a lesser extent), at normal, comfortable viewing distances these prints look crisp and detailed.

ISO 400 prints look very good at 30 x 40 inches, with wall display prints easily possible up to 36 x 48 inches. Colors look excellent and fine detail is impressive, but you can start to see some aggressive noise reduction in the shadow areas.

ISO 800 yields a nice 20 x 30 inch print. Colors still look accurate, and the camera still has the ability to resolve lots of fine detail in most of the image, with nary a hint of noise thanks to noise reduction. Difficult areas like the low-contrast red fabric swatch of our test image have started to lose a bit of fine detail, however.

ISO 1600 is capable of a good 16 x 20 inch print. The troublesome red fabric swatch in our test target is losing more fine detail, but there's very little noise in the entire image -- even in the shadows -- and color still looks great at this ISO.

ISO 3200 prints are good at 13 x 19 inches, with some minor softness in the shadows due to the heavy default noise reduction. Colors still look good and fine detail elsewhere in the image is still strong.

ISO 6400 produces a nice 8 x 10. Noise is starting to show up more, particularly in the shadow areas and noise reduction as a whole is starting to take its toll on fine detail. However, colors are holding strong and remain pleasing to the eye.

ISO 12,800 prints are acceptable at 4 x 6, and although colors look fine, the noise reduction produces some splotchiness as it tries to combat the high ISO noise.

ISO 25,600 does not produce a usable print and is best avoided, though for less critical applications a 4 x 6 may be acceptable.

Wow. The Samsung Galaxy NX is an impressive camera when it comes to print quality and resolution. At base ISO and 200, the Galaxy NX's 20MP APS-C sensor is able to handle prints all the way up to 36 x 48 inches and wall-mountable at 40 x 60! Highly detailed with excellent color reproduction, the prints at these low ISOs are fantastic. Even at the mid-range higher ISOs, like 1600 and 3200, the Galaxy NX produces very good 16 x 20 and 13 x 19 inch prints, respectably. While noise reduction, by default, is quite aggressive, it does very well at removing practically any and all hints of grain, while leaving most of the fine detail intact (NR is most noticeable in the shadow areas). It's only at the very high ISOs levels that the noise and heavy NR take their toll on fine detail, making ISO 12,800 the maximum sensitivity with an acceptable print at 4 x 6 inches.

 



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