Samsung NX500 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops comparing the Samsung NX500 with the Samsung NX300, Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Olympus E-PL7 and Sony A6000. All of these models sit at relatively similar price points and/or categories in their respective product lineups as compact, travel-friendly, consumer-class cameras.

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 NX500, Samsung NX300, Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Olympus E-PL7 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 NX500 to any camera we've ever tested.

Samsung NX500 vs Samsung NX300 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100
Samsung NX300 at ISO 100

The 28MP sensor in the NX500 clearly gives this new model a boost in resolution compared to the 20MP NX300, however here at base ISO, both cameras do very well with fine detail in their own regard. The NX500 does show a noticeable improvement in the fabric swatches, though, especially the pink fabric.

Samsung NX500 vs Canon T6i at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100
Canon T6i at ISO 100

Despite the relatively minor resolution difference here (28 vs 24MP), the NX500 has the edge over the T6i with crisper fine detail in all three crops, especially in the mosaic and fabric crops.

Samsung NX500 vs Nikon D5500 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100
Nikon D5500 at ISO 100

Here's another 28 vs 24 megapixel comparison, however the D5500 puts up a fight against the NX500. Both cameras lack an OLPF which really helps with fine detail, but the NX500 still has the edge, particularly in the fabric and mosaic crops. It does however show more moiré patterns than the Nikon in the red leaf fabric.

Samsung NX500 vs Olympus E-PL7 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 200

Comparing a 28MP APS-C sensor and a 16MP Four Thirds sensor is quite difficult given the large difference in image resolution, but both cameras here at base ISO display a lot of fine detail.

Samsung NX500 vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX500 at ISO 100
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

While both cameras display a lot of fine detail here at base ISO, the NX500 again comes out ahead with sharper, crisper fine detail. The red leaf pattern in the fabric is a little more defined from the A6000, though.

Samsung NX500 vs Samsung NX300 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600
Samsung NX300 at ISO 1600

Here at ISO 1600, noise and noise reduction characteristics are noticeably different between the predecessor and the new model. In the shadow areas, the NX500's NR processing doesn't appear quite as heavy-handed as it is on the older model. However, you can see how the NX500's NR smoothes out low contrast detail in areas such as the red fabric, though it handles the pink fabric much better that its predecessor.

Samsung NX500 vs Canon T6i at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600
Canon T6i at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, both cameras show some minor image degradation due to noise and noise reduction processing compared to base ISOs. The T6i shows a bit more luminance noise in the shadows compared to the NX500, and fine detail in the mosaic crop is a bit sharper from the NX500. The Canon does better with the red leaf fabric, though, while the Samsung wins with the pink fabric.

Samsung NX500 vs Nikon D5500 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600
Nikon D5500 at ISO 1600

Luminance noise is quite low for both cameras; the D5500 displays a bit more, but it's very finely-grained and images still have lots of detail. Both cameras, in fact, do well with fine detail in this comparison. Both struggle with the fabric swatches, notably the red, though.

Samsung NX500 vs Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 1600

The E-PL7 holds its own here against the larger-sensored, higher-res NX500. Both cameras display low noise and a good amount of fine detail, though the NX500's resolution advantage is still quite apparent in the mosaic crop. The E-PL7 tries to resolve the leaf pattern in the red fabric a bit better than the NX500, while the NX500 handles the pink swatch better.

Samsung NX500 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX500 at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

As with other comparisons at ISO 1600, both cameras here display minimal noise. Fine detail is good from both cameras, but the NX500 has the edge here, particularly in the mosaic crop. The A6000, however, does better with the red fabric, with a somewhat more discernible leaf pattern.

Samsung NX500 vs Samsung NX300 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200
Samsung NX300 at ISO 3200

In a closer look, you can see how the NR processing has improved in the NX500 compared to its predecessor, which heavily smoothed out detail and left behind visible artifacts. The NX500 does show a bit more luminance noise, however detail in both the bottle and mosaic crops is impressive. Both cameras struggle with the red fabric but the NX500 does do a bit better, and it displays more detail in the pink.

Samsung NX500 vs Canon T6i at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200
Canon T6i at ISO 3200

The T6i displays more luminance noise, particularly in the shadowy bottle crop compared to the NX500. Fine detail in the mosaic crop is slightly crisper from the NX500, as well, however detail is very minimal from both cameras in the fabric swatches.

Samsung NX500 vs Nikon D5500 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200
Nikon D5500 at ISO 3200

Noise at ISO 3200 is very well-controlled from both cameras. The Nikon shows more of that finely-grained luminance noise, but it doesn't overly degrade detail. Both cameras show lots of detail in the mosaic crop, but the edge goes to the Samsung. As with other comparisons, both cameras struggle with the fabric swatches, particularly the red fabric.

Samsung NX500 vs Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200
Olympus E-PL7 at ISO 3200

Again, the E-PL7 does a great job at controlling noise, and both cameras perform well even at this higher ISO. As before, the large resolution difference makes this comparison difficult, but the detail in the mosaic crop from the NX500 looks very good, while the E-PL7's NR processing reduces the fine detail in this crop. The fabric swatches prove equally challenging for both cameras, however.

Samsung NX500 vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX500 at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

We have another close comparison with both cameras displaying relatively low amounts of noise, even at ISO 3200. The A6000, upon close inspection, displays ever-so-slightly more visible NR processing artifacts. The NX500 displays more fine detail in the mosaic crop. However, there is ever-so-slightly more definition of the leaf pattern in the red fabric from the A6000 (but both cameras really struggle to resolve this recognizable pattern).

Samsung NX500 vs. Samsung NX300, Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Olympus E-PL7, Sony A6000

100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX500 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Samsung NX300 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Olympus E-PL7 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 6400
Samsung
NX500
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Samsung
NX300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
T6i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D5500
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-PL7
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. High-contrast detail is also important, pushing the camera in different ways, so we like to look at it too. Across the board, all cameras here display crisp, sharp, fine detail at base ISOs, but as the ISO rises, differences become more apparent. Particularly, the biggest improvement is between the NX500 over its predecessor, with the newer model displaying much better performance with high-contrast detail at higher ISOs. The new Canon T6i doesn't fare as well in comparison to the NX500 or other competitors at ISO 3200 and 6400, with softer fine detail and less contrast.

 

Samsung NX500 Print Quality

Fantastic prints up to 30 x 40 inches at base ISO through ISO 400; Very good 20 x 30 inch prints at ISO 1600; and acceptable 5 x 7 inches prints are possible all the way up to ISO 25,600.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100 through 400 images all display outstanding clean, crisp fine detail and great colors, which can be used for prints all the way up to 30 x 40 inches and larger; you're really only limited by the resolution of the sensor. At 30 x 40 inches, even at very close inspection, pixelation is practically nonexistent, but at normal viewing distances for these very large prints, details are nice and sharp.

ISO 800 prints are impressive up to 24 x 36 inches. Images are very clean with hardly any visible luminance noise thanks to the noise reduction processing. This clean-up does soften very fine detail somewhat compared to lower ISOs, however a 30 x 40 inch print would be suitable for wall display.

ISO 1600 images look similar to ISO 800, however the NR softens up fine detail just a little bit more, and so we're calling it at 20 x 30 inches here. Overall, the detail is still very good, and the colors are pleasing.

ISO 3200 prints drop down a size to 16 x 20 inches as shadow noise becomes slightly more apparent and softens up fine detail in those areas along with NR processing. We'd be okay with 20 x 30 inch prints for less critical applications, though.

ISO 6400 images look good at 13 x 19 inches, as the noise/NR processing effects further reduce fine detail resolution.

ISO 12,800 prints top out at 8 x 10 inches, as noise as well as noise reduction processing effects are becoming more and more visible and taking their toll on fine detail. Colors, as well, begin to appear a little on the drab side.

ISO 25,600 images reach the limit of what we can consider an acceptable print for this camera, with 5 x 7 inches. Detail loss due to noise and less pleasing colors really limit printing at larger sizes.

ISO 51,200 prints are all too noisy with lots of detail loss as well as drab colors to be considered acceptable, however a 4 x 6 may be okay for less critical applications, though we'd recommend avoiding this ISO level for prints.

The compact, travel-friendly Samsung NX500 really packs a punch in the print department alongside its larger sibling, the NX1. With a very high-resolution 28MP APS-C image sensor, this camera's files can create some really large prints. At base ISO until ISO 400, prints look excellent all the way up to 30 x 40 inches and larger. You're only limited really on how much you're willing to push the boundaries of the 28MP sensor's resolution. Fine detail is fantastic and colors are accurate at these lower ISO prints. At the middle ISO level, the NX500 still manages to produce some excellent and quite large prints. At ISO 1600, the NX500 yields a nice 20 x 30 inch print, while IS0 3200 manages a good 16 x 20. At the extremely high ISOs, the NX500 can still make acceptable prints, with ISO 25,600 being the top limit at 5 x 7 inches. However, colors become less pleasing at these really high ISOs. The NX500 can hit ISO 51,200, but this ISO is best avoided for prints.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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