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Samsung NX11 Mirrorless Camera Review

Samsung NX11 Mirrorless Camera Review - Joshua Waller tests the Samsung NX11 Mirrorless Camera - with a 14.6 megapixel APS-C sensor, how does it perform?

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX11
Price : £150
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX11

The Samsung NX11 is the updated version of the NX10, and is Samsung's mirrorless or compact system camera, with a 14.6 megapixel Digital SLR sized sensor, it gives the image quality of a Digital SLR but with a much more compact size. Find out how it performs in our expert review.

Samsung NX11 Features


Samsung NX11

The kit lens has a clever iFunction button, the idea being that in combination with the focus ring on the lens, it allows you to quickly change settings without having to use the screen on the back of the camera, and should let you change settings with the camera held up to your eye. A large high resolution Samsung AMOLED screen is featured on the back, as well as a high resolution VGA electronic viewfinder.

Samsung NX11

Key Features

  • 14.6 megapixel APS-C size CMOS sensor
  • 18-55mm OIS iFunction Kit lens
  • 3.0inch AMOLED VGA (640 x 480) 614k dots (PenTile) resolution Screen
  • 921k dots Electronic Viewfinder
  • Lithium Ion Rechargeable battery
  • Dust removal system
  • Smart Filters: Playback
  • Picture Wizard Modes: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Custom (1 - 3)
  • ISO100-3200
  • AF-assist lamp (Green LED)
  • Dynamic Range Expansion: Smart Range On / Off
  • 720p Video at 30fps
Samsung NX11

Samsung NX11 Handling


The Samsung NX11 has a redesigned hand grip at the front of the camera, in comparison to the NX10.

Samsung NX11

The NX11 is small compared to an SLR however with a rubber grip at the front and back it feels like Samsung have made a great compromise between size and handling. It's small, but still good to hold, giving a firm grip on the camera. The electronic viewfinder works well with diopter adjustment, and is easy to see even when wearing glasses.

Menus - The menus are straight forward and fairly easy to navigate, however, I feel that by adding some colour coding it would be easier or quicker to go from one set of menus to another, currently they are setup as 9 pages of options, with the photo, custom, and setup, options all the same colour (blue).

Samsung NX11

Battery life - the camera's battery life is rated at 400 shots according to CIPA standard when using the provided 1300mAh 7.4v lithium ion batteries. I was able to take 400+ shots before they went flat, this is good for a compact system camera.

Speed - we tested the Samsung NX11 and have compared it to the new Panasonic Lumix G3.

  Panasonic G3 Samsung NX11  
Shutter Response* <0.05 0.1  
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3  
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3  
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.7 1.3  
Shot to Shot (without flash) 0.5 1.0  
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.0 1.1  
Continuous Shooting
(full resolution, shots)
4fps (8 shots) 3fps (15 shots before slow down)  
Continuous Shooting (with flash) N/A 2fps (infinite shots)  
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 4fps (8 shots) 3fps (5 shots before slow down)  

Performance was very good with quick focusing, shutter response, and excellent shot to shot time even with flash. Continuous shooting is respectable at 3fps, and the buffer is very good allowing 15 shots before the camera slows down. A quick shooting mode is available that shoots 10, 15, or 30fps at the lower resolution of 1472x976.

Samsung NX11 Performance

Here you can view sample photos taken with the Samsung NX11 under a variety of conditions, with further sample photos available in the equipment database.

Samsung NX11 Sample Photos


Portrait flash shot - the flash performs well producing a photo with very low levels of red-eye. The shots of the Samsung sponsored BSB motorbike come out well despite the slow shutter speed of just 1/8th of a second, thanks to the lens having build in optical image stabilisation.

Samsung NX11 Other sample images


Macro performance - with a kit lens the NX11 isn't ideal for macro images but the lens is still capable of taking decent macro photos with the closest focusing distance around 10cm away from the front of the lens, when using it at full zoom. For better macro photos, the dedicated 1:1 macro lens would be a good choice.

Samsung NX11 Lens test images


Some pincushion distortion can be seen in the ISO test shots, although this wasn't noticed in real world shots. The camera and lens combination produces images with very low purple fringing. Anti shake performance was very good. The camera performed well in low light thanks to the lens based image stabilisation, although not all lenses have built in IS, for example the 20-50mm kit lens for the NX100 does not.

Samsung NX11 ISO test images


ISO Noise - with a large DSLR sized APS-C sensor, the NX11 has lower noise than alternative compact cameras, but doesn't quite match the low ISO performance of a Nikon D5100 for example (which is known to have very low noise). The camera copes well with noise processing and gives low noise at ISO100, 200, through to ISO400, and then at ISO800 noise starts becoming more noticeable, and more colourful. As you continue to increase the ISO setting, you also increase noise, and detail in images is degraded, at the highest ISO settings available ISO1600 and ISO3200 noise is noticeable and noise reduction has reduced the colour saturation slightly - but the camera could still produce full size images with some additional processing. Strangely ISO800 seems to give the most noticeable noise in images, with the noise appearing as multi coloured grain, then when you increase the ISO setting the noise reduction kicks it up a notch and the noise becomes much more black and white and more film like.

Samsung NX11 White-balance test images


Auto White Balance performance - using auto white balance under tungsten lighting the camera performs well, however better results were possible using the tungsten preset. Under fluorescent lighting the auto white balance gives a slightly cooler green look to images, and using the preset gave more pleasing results with warmer colour.

Lenses available: The key benefit of a mirrorless / interchangeable lens camera is the ability to change lenses, the Samsung NX system currently has the following lenses available as well a Pentax K Mount adapter (RRP £90), and a number of other adapters available from third party companies. The Samsung NX has a 1.5x crop factor so any lens mounted will give 1.5x the focal length:

16mm f/2.4 Pancake (24mm equivalent)
20mm f/2.8 Pancake (35mm equivalent)
30mm f/2.0 Pancake (45mm equivalent)
20-50mm (NX100 kit lens, 30-75mm equivalent)
18-55mm OIS (NX10,11 kit lens, 27-82.5mm equivalent)
50-200mm f/4-5.6, 75-300mm equivalent
18-200mm f/2.5-6.3, 27-300mm equivalent
60mm Macro 1:1 OIS lens, 90mm equivalent
85mm f/1.4 Portrait lens, 127.5mm equivalent

There are also 8mm Fisheye f/3.5 (12mm equivalent), 35mm f/1.4 (52.5mm equivalent), 85mm f/1.4 (127.5mm equivalent) and 14mm f/2.8 (21mm equivalent) lenses available from Samyang.

Video

The Samsung NX11 has 1280x720p video, fade in, out or both fade in and fade out, program (auto) or aperture priority shooting, and optical image stabilisation options (modes 1, 2 or off).

Value for Money

Value for money is good, with the Samsung NX11 available for a similar price to the competition. Alternatives include the Sony NEX series with slightly less lenses available currently, although the camera bodies are more more styled like a compact camera than a DSLR. The Micro Four Thirds system gives you the choice of Panasonic or Olympus cameras with both companies offering three different (new) models, including the option of both DSLR styled cameras (such as the Panasonic G3, GH2), and compact cameras (such as the Panasonic GF3, Olympus EP-3, EPL3, and EPM1) as well as 20+ lenses and readily available adapters that allow the use of old Olympus OM, Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Konica Minolta lenses (the list goes on forever). At around £430 you could also look at the Pentax K-r a very compact DSLR with high speed and low noise, available for less than £399 with kit lens.

Samsung NX11 Verdict

The Samsung NX11 is a great camera to use, quick at focusing and produces Digital SLR quality photos with good colour and detail. The camera has a good rubberised grip front and back yet is still smaller than most interchangeable cameras that have Digital SLR styling. The iFunction lens gives a quick way of altering settings without having to go through menus options or move the camera away from your eye. The camera also features a smart mode and a full range of scene modes, that will help beginners, or anyone who's not sure how to get the best shot in a particular setting. The camera has a great screen, a great electronic viewfinder, and an abundance of controls and buttons on the outside and despite being made by a huge electronic company, feels like a real camera with a re-assuring shutter sound. The Samsung NX11, with a great Digital SLR styled body, is a fun camera to use and produces great images.

The Samsung NX11 makes a compelling case for itself, with a particularly impressive camera body, and good image quality.

Samsung NX11 Pros

Great handling with rubber grips
iFunction button gives another useful way of accessing options
Quite good value for money
Very good image quality
Good video
Great AMOLED screen
Low noise* (see below)
Built in EVF with eye-detection

Samsung NX11 Cons

Menu structure could be better
ISO800 seems to produce the most noticeably noisey images (coloured grain)
Kit lens with OIS is quite large

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Samsung NX11 Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Image Sensor
CCD pixels14.6Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4592
Pixels (H)3056
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.4mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution614k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionVGA (640 x 480) 921k dots equiv.
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting3fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
CIPA RatingNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsSamsung NX11 Camera, BP1310 Lithium Ion Battery, 18-55mm II OIS Kit lens, Neck Strap, Lens Cap, Lens Hood, Basic Manual, Battery Charger, Software CD-Rom, Warranty Card
Dimensions
Weight353g
Width123mm
Height87mm
Depth39.8mm

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Photographs taken using the Samsung NX11

EDCafter the stormEnd of the lineTWINSLunch - Sienese-style!Italian Family Relaxing in SienaSunny Side UpSeasons GreetingsStill Walking the PathHethersett ChurchShropshire SundownBallon GirlGarden SpiderNot so Insy-Winsy !!
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Comments


Niknut e2
4 481 60 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2011 4:05PM
Mmmmmm.....very tempting !

Would love to give one a test run, to see the results for myself.....the idea of an APS-C sensor
with low weight (to carry all day !) is very appealing.

Love the concept of a mirrorless DSLR & this NX11 looks to be lovely quality piece of kit !

I would hope that 3rd party lenses would be available eventually (as well as Samyang), particularly
W/A, similar to the Sigma 10-20 zoom ?????

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Niknut e2
4 481 60 United Kingdom
22 Jul 2011 4:08PM
Oops !....forgot to mention.......1st class detailed review !!!!!!!Grin
22 Jul 2011 6:23PM
Interesting review.
At first sight, seems like NX11 has good details & colours at base iso but there is no improvement at the higher ISO settings (from 800 up).
bent 2
6 Feb 2012 7:28PM
Ok, novice aswell as pro's listen carefully.

This camera will blow your mind, no matter what you have used before. The Koreans know their stuff.
First of is the Sensor, which is the same as in Nikon D7000 (23,4 x 15,6) together with Cmos technology gives superb, rich and detailed images.
The house/body might feel small but it's not, Samsung came up with a perfect grip and feel, the camera is small but still has some good weight to it.
Secondly.. the iFn button on the objectives is beyond clever, imagine holding your camera ready to shoot and without moving any of your hands or removing your eye from the eyepiece, just pushing the button on the objective and with the focusring scroll through WB, ISO, Apertue, Shutter and much more.
That is pretty awesome.

The Amoled screen on the back is another great feature, not many camera developers use this technology due to the high cost, but Samsung does and the difference between LCD and AMOLED is miles apart.

Shutterlag, AF are close to none.. as fast as any other DSLR (faster than the entrylevel cameras from Canon and Nikon), it does struggle in lowlight but it's just a few 0. more.
ISO ise absolutly no problem up to 800, or even higher.. and seriously.. who cares about high ISO? Up the shutter or fix some lights damn it Smile

Other stuff is the menusystem, layout of the buttons on the house/body, perfectly placed.
The look and feel of the entire camera will blow your mind.

Here is two images i took with the NX 11 and kitlens (18-55mm): http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2Gsm1U0v4Vk/Ty651PG4m6I/AAAAAAAADVE/3xTrPgrvNM8/s1600/SAM_7873.jpg
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ArV48mHzBe0/Ty67Mq7cvLI/AAAAAAAADVs/tvUuTlhe6mw/s1600/SAM_7920.jpg

I'm gonna order the 50-200mm and 30mm lenses soon.
NX11 supports other lenses (Pentax and i think i heard Tamron) with an adapter but i suggest sticking to their iFn lenses since you get all the features.

Don't knock it til you tried it... this little camera is a masterpiece.

For reference, i got 3 friends who are photographers for many years, one uses the D7000, one use the Canon 40D and one uses the 600D. I tried alot of cameras (Nikon D60, D90, D5000, D7000, Hasselblad, Pentax, Canon and so on) and this camera is right up there with any of the above.. and even outperformes some of them.

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