Samsung NX500 Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good overall performance.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.5 seconds

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.8 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Powering on and taking the first shot was about average for a mirrorless, but required two shutter presses to take a shot. Switching from Play to Record mode and taking a shot took about half the time.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode

0.202 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All timing performed with the Samsung 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom kit lens at medium focal length.)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto flash enabled

0.360 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. Bundled flash enabled.

Manual Focus

0.097 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

0.076 second

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

The Samsung NX500 produced a full-autofocus shutter lag (with the subject at a fixed distance) of 0.202 second using the center AF point, which is faster than most mirrorless cameras these days. (The NX3000 for instance measured 0.298 second with the same lens.) Mounting and enabling the bundled flash increased full AF shutter lag to 0.36 second to account for the preflash metering, also faster than average.

When manually focused, the Samsung NX500's shutter lag time dropped to 0.097 second, which is quite good. The NX500's prefocused shutter lag time was 0.076 second, which is about 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 Times, Burst Mode and Flash Recycling

Single Shot mode
Large Super Fine JPEG

0.83 second

Average time per shot.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.81 second

Average time per shot.

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

0.11 second
(8.77 fps);
~38 frames total;
1 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of about 38 shots, then slows to an average of 0.51s or 1.98 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Hi Mode
RAW

0.12 second
(8.47 fps);
6 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 6 frames, then slows to an average of 1.01s or 0.99 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous Hi Mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.12 second
(8.62 fps);
6 frames total;
4 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 6 frames, then slows to an average of 1.16s or 0.87 fps when buffer is full.

Burst Mode
(7MP JPEGs)

0.04 second
(27.4 fps);
30 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over fixed buffer length of 30 frames.

Flash Recycling

3.1 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 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 were about average for a mirrorless, at about 0.8 second for best quality JPEGs or RAW+ LSF JPEG files. (Note that we no longer test single-shot RAW mode only, as cycle time is usually somewhere between JPEG and RAW+JPEG cycle times.)

Continuous Hi mode was fast at about 8.8 frames-per-second for Large Superfine JPEGs. The rate decreased just slightly to 8.5 fps for RAW and 8.6 seconds for RAW+LSF JPEGs. That's just short of Samsung's 9 fps spec but still very good. (We test cycle times and burst mode at ISO 200 for all cameras, which may explain why our results are slightly slower than Samsung's claim.) Note that the NX500 offers two compression types for RAW: Lossless and Normal, the latter being lossy. We used lossless compression (the default ) for our testing. Also be aware the NX500 drops the bit-depth of RAW files from 14 to 12 bits when shooting in continuous mode, just like the NX1.

Buffer depths were very good when shooting Large Superfine JPEGs in Continuous Hi mode, at about 38 frames before the camera slowed down. However when shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG files, the buffer depth was rather shallow at 6 frames. Note that our target for this test is designed to be difficult to compress, so continuous mode buffer depths may be slightly larger with typical subjects. The NX500 also offers a Continuous Normal speed rated at 4 fps, however we did not test that mode.

The NX500's low-resolution 30 fps "Burst" mode captured 7-megapixel JPEGs at 27.4 fps in our tests. Buffer length is fixed at 30 frames and you can instead opt to capture at 15 fps for 2 seconds or 10 fps for 3 seconds. RAW files are not supported in this mode.

Buffer clearing times were fast with a fast UHS-I card, ranging from 1 second after a max-length burst of best quality JPEGs to 4 seconds after a burst of 6 RAW+JPEG files.

Flash recycle time was fair, taking an average of 3.1 seconds after a full power discharge.


Bottom line, the Samsung NX500's performance varies from typical to excellent for an enthusiast mirrorless, ranging from average startup and single-shot cycle times to swift autofocus, fast continuous mode and quick buffer clearing. Buffer depth when shooting JPEGs is good, however the buffer is shallow when shooting RAW files. Overall, though, very good performance.

Battery

Battery Life
Decent battery life for a mirrorless camera.

Operating Mode Battery Life
Still Capture,
(CIPA standard)
370 shots

The Samsung NX500 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with a single battery and an AC adapter for in-camera charging via USB.

Samsung rates the NX500's battery life at 370 shots per charge using CIPA standards. While that's slightly above average for a mirrorless camera, it's much lower than most DSLRs when using their optical viewfinders. As is usually the case, we recommend getting a second battery for your NX500 if you plan any extended outings.

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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