Samsung puts camera controls on the lens with new mirrorless NX100
By Darren Quick
September 14, 2010
Following on from the release of its first mirrorless camera, the NX10, earlier this year, Samsung has announced the launch of the NX100. Like the NX10, the mirrorless NX100 features a 14.6-megapixel APS-C size sensor and a 3-inch VGA AMOLED screen. Setting it apart, however, is the world’s first i-Function Lens, which communicates with the camera body and allows users to control camera settings using the lens.
i-Function LensEven though most camera users wrap their left hand around the camera lens when taking a shot, conventional lenses don’t allow this hand to control any camera settings. With its ability to communicate with the camera body, the i-Function Lens changes all that by allowing users to naturally use their left hand to change shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure value, and ISO settings. This is done using the i-Function button on the lens, which allows users to scroll through manual settings, and a focus ring, which is used to cycle through parameters – meaning you’ll never have to take the camera off your subject.
Lens priority modeRevealing Samsung’s target market for the camera, the NX100 also has a lens priority mode, which is designed to make switching between lenses child’s play. Each lens is marked with icons that illustrate their main usages, so beginners can easily understand which lens they need to select for a given scene. The lens priority mode then provides scene options specifically designed for the chosen lens – for example, when a landscape lens is attached, the camera will immediately display the landscape mode.
Additionally, when users change to a specialized lens, the camera will recognize the lens type and automatically configure the settings that would best match with the attached lens – this feature will work with future, specialized Samsung lenses.
Samsung claims the NX100 boasts one of the fastest autofocus on the market today, and an ISO that is raised to a maximum of 6400 for action shots. The NX100 also supports 720p HD movie recording (H.264), while a "Sound Picture" mode records audio when a photo is taken to catch Dad telling everyone to, “sit still and smile goddammit!”
Eliminating the need to find room for a mechanical mirror means the NX100 is slim and compact, with the body coming in at 120.5 x 71 x 34.5mm (4.74 x 2.79 x 1.35-in) and tipping the scales at about 119g (4.2 ounces). Images and video are stored on SD/SDHC memory cards up to 32GM in capacity.
At launch, the lens line-up includes a compact zoom 20-50mm lens, while a 20mm wide angle Pancake lens will be introduced shortly after. Two additional specialized lenses will be available in the first half of 2011 – a 60mm Macro lens and 18-200mm Super Zoom lens. Three more lenses will be introduced by the second half of 2011, including 16mm, 85mm, and 16-80mm lenses.
No concrete U.S. pricing and release details available as yet, but the Samsung NX100 should be released in the U.K. from the end of October for GBP449 (approx. US$690), including the 20-50mm kit lens.