++++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.
The 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).
At 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.
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