Exclusive – Samsung NX500 Footage & First Impressions

Samsung NX500-2++++Update+++ The NX500 is currently shipping in Korea. According to users and the written user manual, when recording 4K or UHD video, the angle of view becomes narrower (cropped). Also, there is no peaking when shooting in 4K mode and the 2.5K resolution tested in this review did not make it to the final version. What a shame. Samsung is clearly trying to protect their NX1 camera.


Important notice: Samsung was kind enough to send us for a review an early engineering sample of their NX500. Please do not draw any conclusion regarding the final visual quality of the camera as it will be (even) better on its final production camera. 

Traditionally, the market for photo cameras that can shoot video is being ruled by the Japanese manufacturers, but now it looks like Samsung, the mighty Korean giant manufacturer is very determined to change the face of the pro-sumer camera industry especially when it comes to affordable large sensor 4K video recording within those photo cameras.

samsung-nx500The Samsung NX1 was their first serious attempt to enter this slowly growing market and now they are proudly presenting the “little sister”, the Samsung NX500.
As stated in the “important notice” above, I kindly ask you NOT to conclude any final thoughts regarding that camera based on the sample Footage above, simply because it is a very early “engineering sample” and as such it has some limitations like:

  • 4K resolution recording is not functioning. The highest resolution I could shoot on was 2560×1440
  • x0.5 and x0.25 Slowmotion is not enabled

So what is there to review if the image quality is not yet set to “4K”?.
For me it was the handling of the camera which best be compared to the Panasonic LX100. The price range is identical, the video resolution is almost the same, camera size is equivalent and “only” the sensor size and lens are different but when it comes to “handling”, I feel very comfortable comparing the two. (Please head to my Panasonic LX100 review by clicking here).

YU2A3098At the end of the day the Samsung NX500 is a much more pleasant and easier camera to work with. Samsung did something right about this camera…. The overall placement of buttons is logically arranged (wish the REC button was placed elsewhere but somehow it was not bothering me too much like in the Sony cameras). The supplied lens for this test (Samsung 18-55mm) was a great companion as it nicely kept the overall hand balance correctly and allowed me to easily work with the camera in most situations. (Please note that the Samsung NX500 will be supplied with a different lens as a “kit lens”, the Samsung 16-50mm. I had no chance testing this lens at the present time).

Other positive remarks based on working with the engineering sample (in no particular order):

  • Excellent battery life
  • full manual control
  • Good fast mostly accurate autofocus in video mode
  • High quality OLED screen which allows easy focusing (especially if used in combination with LCDVF from Kinotehnik)
  • Peaking is accurate and pleasant to the eyes
  • Multi resolution/frame rate camera
  • Multi region (PAL/NTSC)
  • H265 codec (currently not supported by the major editing platforms but it’s only a matter of time)…
  • Touch screen (for the one who likes/needs it)
  • Interchangeable lens system

On the downside:

  • No dedicated headphone/ line-in terminals for better audio recording/monitoring
  • 30 min recording limit
  • No built in viewfinder
  • No “flat picture profile” in this engineering sample.
  • “In camera” battery charging

As there was no “flat” picture profile I’ve set the camera as follows:
Picture wizard: Custom 1. Saturation -4, Sharpness -10

Conclusion: There is a lot to like when working with this little camera. If Samsung will improve just a bit the video quality in the final version, I won’t hesitate getting one and use it as a backup camera for my journeys. 

Additional remarks: No sharpness added in post. FilmConvert was used in order to give a little better look for my liking. Shot mostly on ISO 400/800

Converting H265 material: Use RockyMountains Movie Converter It’s free, fast and will convert your H265 footage to ProRes 422 HQ,SQ,LT,Proxy quality to your liking.

Music: The music bedNever Wanna Grow Up – Instrumental by Katrina Stone

Special thanks to Wolfgang Rakusan and Sonja Völker from http://www.herzilein-papeterie.at


Johnnie Behiri is a freelance documentary cameraman/editor/producer working mostly for the BBC and other respected broadcasters. He is also co-owner of cinema5d.com

Watch it on Vimeo

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Jacek Ryń Reply
Jacek Ryń March 16, 2015

Does it have crop in lower than 4k resolution while recording?

Johnnie Behiri March 16, 2015

Hi Jacek.

In the highest resolution that was available for me to shoot (2560×1440), there is NO crop.
I’m not sure that this resolution will be available in the final model though.

Thank you!


Jacek Ryń Reply
Jacek Ryń March 16, 2015

Thanks for the reply! 2.5K without crop would be great compromise.


Werner H. Graf Reply
Werner H. Graf March 16, 2015

NX 500 English manual 4096×2160 24fps, 3840×2160 30fps, 1920×1080 1280×720 640×480 50fps

Luca de Sensi Reply
Luca de Sensi March 16, 2015

Hi Johnnie. I’ve come across a few comments these days regarding the 4k video mode of this camera, and it seems like they’re windowing (probably 1:1) rather than using the whole surface…
I was really looking into this camera but this kind of seems as show stopper if I have to use it for video.
Do you have additional info on this?


Johnnie Behiri March 16, 2015

Hi Luca.

Indeed I can see other reports coming from Korea where the camera is being shipped already talking about the “4K cropped mode”.

I can not confirm it as the engineering sample I had could not record in 4K.

Will try and get a production camera when it is out and report.

Thank you!


Luca de Sensi Reply
Luca de Sensi March 16, 2015

Hi Johnnie,

Thank you!
Looking forward a production model report in order to understand wether it’s a 4k contender or not….. hoping for the former!!!!


Crimson Son March 17, 2015

I am set to buy this camera but if the 4K shooting is cropped mode, then no thanks.
Ugh, i guess it was too good to be true. Any alternative people would recommend.

Johnnie Behiri March 17, 2015

Hi Crimson Son.

Indeed it looks like Samsung made a great prototype camera and from what ever reason decided to turn it to something else….

Me like many others, would have preferred having a good 2.5K camera rather then 4K cropped one.



Andrew Reid Reply
Andrew Reid March 17, 2015

Bit of a turn around from the NX1 review huh Johnnie!

Are you always this much more positive when a manufacturer plants one on your desk for free?

Johnnie Behiri March 17, 2015

Oh. The editor of EOSHD is here to flame again…
No more forum articles and video reviews to delete in your site so you are back here?

Andrew. Mind your own business and find someone else to blame with false accusations.

Other then that, have a great day and enjoy your NX500


Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber March 17, 2015

The manufacturer provided both the Samsung NX1 as well as the NX500 for us to review. All the cameras we test are sent back to the manufacturer after testing. No camera is “for free” at cinema5D. You as a reviewer should know better, or is this how you undertake your business?

There are costs involved for each test we undertake, sometimes these costs are covered, sometimes not. If anything we put in time and dedication to provide a feel for how these cameras work to our readers.
I think a little respect is in order. As a fellow camera reviewer I wonder what drove you to such a comment. If you have questions about our ethics and would like to discuss it I invite you to contact us personally.

Vlad Box Rojas Reply
Vlad Box Rojas March 18, 2015

Don’t mind him he is an unhappy fellow. BTW Johnnie great subject as usual.

matt March 18, 2015

Would just like to comment no matter how negative a review Johnnie gives, surprisingly enough he always manages to deliver a video that shows it would be usable for actual paid work.

Andrew you on the other hand can praise a camera to no end but only deliver videos that only impress hack amateurs, please stop hiding under your “art cinematographer” cloak as your “music videos” are corny as hell ….

That skate footage you helped someone film was the joke of a lifetime from someone who talks such a big game, then when someone calls you out on your own website you delete their comments and ban them …

And you wonder why people are rude or give you the middle finger in Germany, probably cos you look like an amateur creep wandering about with a camera and no clue what the hell you’re doing.

Johnnie Behiri March 19, 2015

Hi matt.

I love the challenge of working with those small cameras and try to bring the best out of them.

The next camera on my desk is relatively small in size but the resolution is crazy high….Review towards the end of next week.

Thank you!!


Vlad Box Rojas Reply
Vlad Box Rojas March 18, 2015

Johnnie, I have a question. You always manage to make any camera look sharp, I like the sharp look for I shoot quite a bit of corporate stuff that requires said look. Do you increase sharpness on post?. What were the settings for post that you use for this video?. Thanks beforehand for the info.

Johnnie Behiri March 19, 2015


“My rule of thumb” with all those photo cameras that can shoot videos:
-In camera sharpening off
-In Adobe Premiere Pro CC sharpening filter on 20.

Thank you and please let me know if it works for you.


jorge March 18, 2015

Cropping aside, I really like the results on this video. What I still don’t like is no peaking while video recording, that’s something that was a real turn down with my nx300 and nx30. A viewfinder would definetely make this camera a joy to use. Great work!

Johnnie Behiri March 19, 2015

Hi Jorge.

I was actually thinking asking Samsung to bring back the 2.5K shooting mode…Its peaking ia very accurate and pleasant to the eye.
I’m very much an “EVF shooter” myself, (yes, getting old) but adding Kinotehnik LCDVF to the OLED screen did the trick for me. Absolutely workable.

Thank you again!


BarnET March 20, 2015

About Samsung,

This just seems to be the way they want to adress the photography market.

At Photokina i had my hands on the 300mm f2.8. And itw as far from ready back then in october 2014. But everyone could just pick one up and try out. And give feedback along the way.

They seem very confident and willing to push the envelope. This product is not for me since it has no EVF. But i will keep an eye out for this brand. Especially since they’re now the only rival of Panasonic in making 4k capable consumer products. And unlike Panasonic are ahead of everyone in sensor development.

It’s only a matter of time before more people will notice these strong efforts. And I thank the guys of cinema5d in giving this often overlooked system the attention it deserves

amit April 6, 2015

Hi Johnnie,

very nice movie!

does the camera have zebra stripes for video?


Glenn Mercer October 29, 2015

Really nice video. I know this is an older review, but I recently purchased this camera and came upon your review. I, also, recently set my contrast to -4 and sharpness to -10. I have been using -5 for contrast. You didn’t mention what you set it at… Does that mean you left it at default 0?

Thanks for your time. Love your reviews!

Johnnie Behiri November 3, 2015

Hi Glenn. Thanks for the thumbs up!.

As stated in the article above, here are my settings for this review:
“As there was no “flat” picture profile I’ve set the camera as follows:
Picture wizard: Custom 1. Saturation -4, Sharpness -10”

Thank you again.


Dulce Valenzuela June 29, 2016

where did you buy your veiwfinder???

Johnnie Behiri June 29, 2016

Hi Dulce Valenzuela

At the end of the written article you will see “ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT USED”, then look for the “Kinotehnik LCDVF 169D” buy link.

Thank you!