Samsung Galaxy NX Technical Info

by Mike Tomkins | Posted: 06/20/2013

Sensor. The Samsung Galaxy NX uses the exact same image sensor as in the NX300. It's an APS-C sized CMOS chip with an effective resolution of 20.3 megapixels, but what's more important is that it provides 105 on-chip phase detection points to allow for a hybrid autofocus system.

Maximum resolution of the Samsung NX's image sensor is 5,472 x 3,648 pixels.

Processor. Also like the NX300, the Samsung NX is based around a DRIMe IV-branded image signal processor that is distinct from the 1.6 GHz quad-core processor used to power the camera's smart functionality.

Performance. The pairing of sensor and processor combine to allow a swift manufacturer-rated burst shooting performance of 8.6 frames per second. (It wasn't quite that fast in our lab tests, but it managed 8.2 fps for JPEGs and 7.8 fps for RAW files.)

Sensitivity. The Samsung Galaxy NX has a base sensitivity of ISO 100 equivalent, and tops out at a maximum of ISO 25,600 equivalent. There's also an Auto ISO function which will raise sensitivity to a selectable limit of up to ISO 3200 under automatic control, however there's no option to specify a minimum shutter speed to maintain as offered on some other cameras.

Optics. Like its NX-series siblings, the Samsung Galaxy NX accepts all NX-mount lenses. As of this writing, the company currently offers 15 different lenses (excluding multiple variants of the 18-55mm kit lens), including its unusual 45mm 2D/3D lens, which works using two LCD shutters that swing into the optical path when the lens is switched to 3D mode.

Samsung's Super Sonic Drive dust reduction is provided, but there's no in-body stabilization system, so optical stabilization is available only if the lens supports it. You can also mount various third-party lens types using adapters, but this will typically mean relying on manual controls.

Autofocus. As we mentioned previously, the Samsung NX includes on-sensor phase detection pixels, allowing for hybrid autofocus that combines both phase and contrast detection. It's the same system -- and indeed, the same sensor -- seen previously in the NX300, and it helps improve autofocus performance, particularly Continuous AF. Single AF, Touch AF and Manual Focus (with magnification and peaking) are also available. A total of 105 phase-detect AF points and up to 247 contrast-detect AF points (depending on the display) are available. Face detection is also supported, with up to 10 faces max.

Body. There are no two ways around it: the Samsung Galaxy NX is large, by mirrorless camera standards. It's only an inch thick, but a full 5.4 inches wide and 4 inches tall. Compared to the Samsung NX20, that's half an inch taller and 0.6 inches wider, but the body is about a third slimmer. That's only if you ignore the popup flash housing and handgrip, however. Measure at the handgrip, and the Galaxy NX is around a third thicker than the NX20.

Display. That size comes in no small part thanks to the NX's truly vast capacitive touchscreen LCD panel, without which its Android operating system wouldn't be usable. It's a 4.8-inch panel with a high-definition resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels. By way of comparison, the NX20 has a 3.5-inch panel, and the NX300 has a 3.3-inch panel. That puts the Galaxy NX's screen at close to double the area of that on the NX20, and more than double that of the NX300.

Viewfinder. For those who prefer SLR-style framing, the Galaxy NX also includes a built-in electronic viewfinder, another significant contributor to its size. It has SVGA resolution (800 x 600), approximately 0.68x magnification (equivalent to a 50 mm lens on a 35 mm camera), 100% coverage, an 18mm eyepoint, and a -4.0 to +2.0 m-1 diopter adjustment.

Exposure. As you'd expect on an interchangeable-lens camera, the Samsung Galaxy NX offers a full complement of Program, Aperture- and Shutter-priority, and Manual exposure modes. There's also an Auto mode, 30 Smart modes that take into account the scene you're framing before deciding on appropriate camera setup automatically, and a User mode where you can store your own settings.

There's also a My mode which lets you access not just favorite camera modes, but also specific third-party apps for instant access from camera mode. For example, you could configure an option to launch Instagram's app, from which you could then capture a photo, edit, and upload it.

Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/6,000 second, adjustable in 1/3 EV steps, and there's a Bulb mode for exposures up to 4 minutes. Exposure compensation range is +/-3 EV in 1/3 EV steps.

Flash. The Samsung Galaxy NX is also unique among Android-based digicams in including not only a built-in flash strobe, but also a hot shoe for external strobes. The internal strobe is a popup type, and the hot shoe has connectivity for intelligent strobes, as well as a hole for a locking pin.

The built-in strobe has a Guide Number of 11 meters at ISO 100, and flash exposure compensation can be adjusted +/-2 EV in 1/2 EV steps. Flash modes include Smart Flash, Auto, Auto+Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in+Red-eye reduction, 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain and Off. X-Sync speed is 1/180 second.

Creative. There are also a variety of more specialized creative options in the Samsung NX. These include Multi Exposure mode which merges two shots into a single image, a 3-shot in-camera HDR mode, Panorama, Animated Photo which creates a five-second animated GIF file, and Sound & Shot which stores a brief audio clip alongside each photo captured.

Movies. The Galaxy NX can also shoot movies at up to Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixel; 1080p) resolution. Full HD movies are captured at a rate of 30 frames per second (NTSC; 25 fps for PAL mode), and use H.264 compression with AAC stereo sound in MP4 format. In addition, there's a 24p 1920x810 cinematic 2.35:1 aspect-ratio mode, as well as HD 1280x720 and VGA (640x480), both at 60p or 30p.  Maximum clip length is 20 minutes.

Also offered are a number of "Fast Motion" modes which record at a slower framerate so playback appears sped-up (2x, 4x or 8x up to Full HD resolution), as well as slow-motion modes recorded at higher frame rates (VGA at up to 240 fps).

PASM exposure control is available for movies, as well as effects such as Vignette, Gray-scale, Sepia, Vintage, Faded Colours, Turquoise, Tint, Cartoon, Moody, Rugged, Oil pastel, and Fish Eye, though we don't know what impact the effects have on frame rate.

Apps. Bundled apps include Google's Chrome web browser, plus Gmail, Local, Maps, Messenger, Navigation, Plus, both Search (including Voice Search), Talk, and YouTube. You also get the full suite of Play media apps, including Books, Magazines, Movies & TV, and Music. And then there's the Google Play Store, providing access to a world of content and apps, although not all will necessarily be available for download on the Galaxy NX. (That's up to the app developer to decide.) And there's no word on whether Samsung will offer updates to Android 4.2.2 to newer versions like KitKat (4.4).

There are also an array of Samsung-specific apps. These include Samsung ChatON, Group Play, Link, S Translator, S Voice, Photo Suggest, and Trip Advisor.

Power. With such a large screen and a powerful smartphone-like processor -- not to mention its array of radios and sensors -- the Samsung Galaxy NX requires lots of power. That comes courtesy of a huge 4,360 mAh battery which resides in the generously-sized handgrip, explaining its size. CIPA battery life is rated at 440 shots per charge, which is excellent for a mirrorless camera. Samsung also claims up to 190 minutes for video recording, 14 hours for video playback, 104 hours for audio playback, 13 hours for 3G or LTE connectivity, or 16 hours for Wi-Fi internet usage on a charge. The battery is charged in-camera via USB, and you can use the camera while charging (though charging time will of course be longer).

Storage. Perhaps surprisingly, for a camera this big, the Samsung Galaxy NX opts for the tiny MicroSD card format used in many smartphones, rather than the full-sized SD cards that are more common in dedicated cameras. Cards up to 64GB are accepted, and there's also 16GB of internal memory in which to store apps and data.

Connectivity. An important area of differentiation for the Samsung Galaxy NX is its built-in 3G (HSPA+ 42Mbps) and 4G (LTE Cat3 100/50Mbps) wireless data connectivity, which allows instant photo sharing direct from the camera whenever you're within range of a cell tower. Frequencies will vary by market, but will include 850/900/1900/2100 MHz for 3G, and 800/850/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz for 4G LTE.

Cellular connectivity in the U.S. is quite limited, though, as only T-Mobile Data SIM cards are said to be supported. The SIM slot resides in the base of the camera directly behind the battery, and alongside the MicroSD card slot.

It's a good thing the Galaxy NX also offers 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity, compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n networks, as well as a short-range Bluetooth 4.0 LE radio.

Wired connections include a Micro USB port, a Micro (Type-D) HDMI port, and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. An external mic is not supported.

And the rest. There are also an array of sensors and receivers you'd expect to find a typical smartphone. These include an accelerometer, compass, gyro, proximity sensor, and a GPS receiver with support for both GLONASS and A-GPS.

Software bundle. The Samsung Galaxy NX comes bundled with a copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, an extremely popular and capable photographer-centric imaging app. There's also a copy of Samsung Kies, an app used to transfer data between your camera and a Windows or Mac PC. (The same app comes bundled with many of Samsung's other products.)


In the Box

The Samsung Galaxy NX with Samsung 18-55mm lens package (as reviewed) contains the following items:

  • Samsung Galaxy NX body
  • Samsung 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III OIS Compact Zoom Lens, with lens hood
  • Samsung Kies Software
  • Adobe Lightroom Software
  • 1x Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 3.8VDC, 4360mAh
  • Micro-USB 2.0 data/charging cable and AC adapter
  • Neck strap
  • Warranty card


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