Samsung NX20 Review

 
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Samsung NX20 Performance


Timing and Performance

Sluggish cycle times and buffer clearing, but fast prefocused shutter lag and burst rates.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~1.6 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~1.6 seconds

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time
16 seconds after 11 large/superfine JPEGs*
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.
25 seconds after 8 RAW files*
31 seconds after 8 RAW+ LSF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times are about average for a CSC, but much longer than most SLRs. (Firmware v1.11 did however reduce startup from 3 seconds with v1.01, so be sure to upgrade.) Buffer clearing will depend on image size and quality, as well as card speed. Here the Samsung NX20 was very sluggish when RAW files were included, even with a relatively fast card. (The NX20 does not appear to take advantage of faster UHS-I cards.)


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.9 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~3.2 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.7 second

Time to display a large/superfine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was pretty good for its class, except Record to Play which was very sluggish.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
0.350 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All timing performed with Samsung 18-55mm OIS kit lens at medium focal length.)
Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode
0.650 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.
Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto flash enabled
0.620 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. Built-in flash enabled.
Continuous AF
0.282 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual Focus
0.060 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.044 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Samsung NX20 exhibited full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) that ranged from 0.350 second in single-area AF mode to 0.650 second in multi-area AF mode when using the 18-55mm OIS kit lens. This is a bit slower than average for a CSC these days. Enabling the flash increased shutter lag to 0.620 second, to account for the preflash metering.

Shutter lag was 0.282 second in continuous mode AF, though the subject may not be in focus in this mode. When manually focused, the Samsung NX20's lag time dropped to 0.060 second, which is quite fast. The NX20's prefocused shutter lag time was very fast, at 0.044 second, much faster than average.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Superfine JPEG

1.40 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 3 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

1.32 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 4 shots, 7 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG
1.38 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 4 shots, 11 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous Hi Mode
Large/SuperFine JPEG

0.13 second (7.52 frames per second);
11 frames total;
16 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 16 shots.

Continuous Hi Mode
RAW

0.14 second (7.37 frames per second);
8 frames total;
25 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 8 frames.

Continuous Hi Mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.13 second (7.45 frames per second);
8 frames total;
31 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 8 frames.

Flash Recycling

3.6 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times are quite sluggish, ranging from 1.40 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs to 1.32 seconds for RAW files.

Continuous Hi mode at full resolution was well above average for its class, though, at about 7.5 frames-per-second for large/superfine JPEGs, 7.4 fps for RAW, and 7.5 fps for RAW+LSF JPEGs. Buffer depths were somewhat limited though, at 11 large/superfine JPEGs, and only 8 RAW or RAW + LSF JPEGs. Note that our test target for this is designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths may be longer with typical subjects. The NX20 has a Burst mode that can capture at up to 30 frames-per-second at a reduced resolution of 5 megapixels, however we didn't test that mode. As mentioned previously, buffer clearing is quite slow, though, taking up to 31 seconds to clear after a burst of 8 RAW + LSF JPEG frames, and that's with a pretty fast card.

Flash recycle was a bit slow, taking an average of 3.6 seconds after a full power discharge.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,338 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds via USB 2.0 were just okay. You may want to consider a separate card reader, especially if you shoot a lot of RAW files or HD videos. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec UHS-I SDHC: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Samsung NX20's performance is a mixed bag. Startup is a bit sluggish but fairly typical for a CSC (after upgrading to firmware v1.11). Autofocus speeds are a little slower than average compared to recent competitors, but prefocused shutter lag is quite fast. Single-shot cycle times are slow, but continuous mode speeds are quite good. Buffer depths are a little shallow though, and buffer clearing very slow, especially with RAW files.

Battery

Battery Life
Slightly above average battery life for a compact system camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(Samsung standard)
360 shots

The Samsung NX20 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. Samsung rates the NX20's battery life at 360 shots per charge, but doesn't distinguish between using the EVF or OLED monitor.

That's a bit above average for CSCs tested using the CIPA standard, but we still recommend getting a second battery for your NX20 if you plan any extended outings or shoot a lot of video.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

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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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