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Samsung NX210 Wi-Fi CSC Review

Samsung NX210 Wi-Fi CSC Review - Joshua Waller reviews the new Samsung NX210 Mirrorless camera - the latest camera from Samsung with Wi-Fi built in.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX210
Price : £339
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Samsung NX210
The Samsung NX210 is the latest compact mirrorless camera from Samsung and is an update to the 20.3 megapixel NX200 - adding Wi-Fi and quicker continuous shooting it sits in the middle of this year's Samsung NX range, with the NX20 at the premium end with EVF, and the plastic bodied NX1000 at the entry level end.

Samsung NX210 Features


Samsung NX210
The lens features an "i-function" button - this allows you to adjust certain settings using the ring on the lens that would normally be used for manual focus. The camera also includes Full HD video with stereo sound.


Samsung NX210

Another feature of the NX210 is the inclusion of a new compact pop-up flash. With a more compact body than the NX20, the NX210 would make an ideal companion for the compact 20-50mm kit lens, or one of the pancake lenses available for the NX mount.

Wi-Fi features are shared with Samsung's compact Wi-Fi cameras, and includes mobile link, remote viewfinder, social sharing (facebook, youtube etc), email, skydrive, auto backup, and TV link. We look at these in more detail below.

Key Features

  • 20.3 APS-C sensor
  • NX Lens Mount
  • 3 inch screen, 614k dots AMOLED
  • Flash Hot Shoe
  • Full HD Video mode
  • Lens based image stabilisation
  • Burst Mode: 8fps full resolution
  • Manual Control, RAW
  • ISO 100 - 12800
  • New compact pop-up flash

Samsung NX210 Handling


Samsung NX210

Handling - The camera has a textured finger grip on the front as well as the same pattern for the thumb on the rear - in addition to this, the front curved hand grip has a softer feeling texture and the back of the camera has a faux-leather look to it, although it is plastic and not particularly soft. The main body of the camera is made out of metal, with quite sharp angles. The mode dial can easily be changed with your thumb and it's easy to switch between the shutter release button and the top control wheel. A dedicated video button can also be found on the back.

The top of the NX210 features a control wheel, used to change settings or to zoom in during playback mode. The camera has one custom button on the back, that is used as a delete button in playback, and the iFunction button can be set to control different settings.

Samsung NX210
Menus and display: The menus and controls have been updated to give clearer menus, with the sections more noticeably defined with larger icons and clear text - this makes it easy to navigate and set options. Settings can be changed by using the Fn button to access the rear screen controls (shown below, left) and using the control wheel on the top it is very easy to alter settings. The camera will also display additional information about the settings making it easier to use. The NX210 and NX1000 menus are identical with the same options and settings available, however the NX210 with an AMOLED screen is noticeably brighter with better colour and darker blacks.

Samsung Nx210 Screens (4) Samsung Nx210 Screens (1)
Quick access to settings. Wi-Fi menu.

Wi-Fi connectivity: Here are the Wi-Fi options available from the dedicated Wi-Fi mode on the dial, and it's also possible to access Wi-Fi sharing from the playback mode, although with limited options:
  • Mobilelink (for Android/iPhone) - lets you copy photos and videos to the phone although it took a while to connect and occassionally crashed on our Android phone it works quite well and makes it easy to copy images.
Samsung Mobile Link Samsung Remote Viewfinder
Samsung Mobile Link Samsung Remote Viewfinder
  • Remote Viewfinder (for Android/iPhone) - lets you control the camera with your smartphone - the options available are flash, self-timer and image size, the benefit of this is that you can save the image to your phone if needed. The app doesn't work in landscape mode, so the view is smaller than the camera's screen, even on a large 4.7 inch phone. 
Samsung NX210 Facebook Upload
  • Social Sharing - Upload photos to Facebook / Picasa (part of Google+) / Photobucket and Video to Youtube.
Email From Nx20 Keyboard Entry Nx20
Email From Keyboard Entry
  • Email - lets you email photos directly to others, images are sent resized to 2 megapixels.
Samsung Nx20 Skydrive Samsung Nx20 Skydrive Images
Skydrive logon Selecting Skydrive Images To Upload
  • SkyDrive - Lets you backup / upload your photos to Microsoft SkyDrive.
  • AutoBackup - Lets you backup to your PC through the Wi-Fi network - this needs to be setup on a PC using the Samsung Intelli-Studio software before it can be used.
  • TV Link - Links the camera to a DLNA compatible TV for viewing up to 1000 photos.
Battery life - The battery life is rated at 330 shots according to CIPA standards and the camera uses a battery with a 1030mAh rating. We were able to take over 300 shots before the battery went flat. This is reasonable, although is shortened by the use of Wi-Fi.

Samsung NX210

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced, we also made sure to test all the cameras at the same time to ensure the cameras were being tested under the same conditions.


Samsung NX210 Samsung NX200
Shutter Reponse 0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
0.4 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9 1.2
Shot to Shot (without flash) 1.8 1.0
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.8 1.2
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 7fps (11 shots)* 7fps (11 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 2fps (11 shots) 2fps (11 shots)
Continuous Shooting (RAW) 6fps (8 shots) 7fps (8 shots)

7fps continuous shooting is nice, but the delay while the camera writes to the memory card can be quite frustrating at times, taking 10 seconds "Processing" before you can take the next shot. If shooting RAW, then you can easily wait 28 seconds for the camera to write the files to the memory card, all the time "Processing" is displayed on screen.

Despite the claims of 8fps for the new NX range, we were only able to get a maximum of 7fps from the NX1000, NX210 and NX20. *Distortion correction set to ON noticably slowed the continuous shooting speed with the 18-55mm lens.

Samsung NX210 Performance

We've taken a number of sample photos in a variety of settings to show you the image quality produced by this camera, you can view them full size by clicking the "High-Res" link. Additional sample photos can be seen in the equipment database, where you can add your own review.

Samsung NX210 Sample Photos


The portrait shot has very low red-eye using the provided pop-up flash, with good colour and skin tones. The camera coped well with a variety of shooting conditions including low light where the built in focus assist lamp helped focus.

Samsung NX210 Lens test images


Detail is good with sharp corners at both the wide angle and telephoto settings and there is very little barrel or pincushion distortion (although some is visible in the ISO test shots, it wasn't noticed in other shots). Purple fringing was very low and difficult to spot except in extreme areas of contrast. The lens is capable of producing reasonable macro photos, although to get close a dedicated macro lens is recommended.

Samsung NX210 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Shots show very low noise at ISO100 to ISO200, low noise at ISO400, some noise starts creeping in at ISO800 and increases at ISO1600 although results are still good, with good colour and detail. At ISO3200 noise is more noticeable and viewing the images at 100% it's possible to see the loss of detail. At ISO6400 strong noise reduction is being applied and detail suffers, it's also possible to see chroma noise. ISO12800 shows the highest levels of noise, as expected and as a result image quality is quite low, however colour still appears quite good, so images may be suitable for web use.

Samsung NX210 White-balance test images


White Balance - The auto white balance did a good job under both tungsten and fluorescent lighting although the images are a little warm. The presets give a slight green cast under tungsten lighting and a slight orange cast under fluorescent lighting. Detail is reasonably good in these photos with although less detailed than the NX200 photos of the same subject.


Panoramic | 1/1600 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/1600 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200

A built in sweep panoramic mode will automatically take a panoramic photo where you simply need to press the shutter button and hold it while panning around. You can shoot both horizontal or vertical panoramic photos.

Samsung NX210 Digital filters


Digital Filters - The NX210 has a number of interesting filters, as well as Old Film 1 and 2. Other features available include the ability to expand the dynamic range by switching on Smart Range. In playback mode smart filters are available as well as red-eye fix, backlight compensation, face retouch, brightness, contrast and vignetting.

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:
There are also a number of lenses available from Samyang, including: 8mm Fisheye f/3.5 (12mm equivalent), 35mm f/1.4 (52.5mm equivalent), 85mm f/1.4 (127.5mm equivalent), 24mm f/1.4 (33.6mm equivalent) and 14mm f/2.8 (21mm equivalent) lenses. It's likely there will be additional lenses added in the future to the Samsung NX system.

Video Example - The camera records 1920x1080 (Full HD) video at 30fps, as well as at 1920x810 24fps / 720p / VGA and 240 (email). The camera doesn't feature a wind filter. ISO can be manually set up to ISO3200. P/A/S/M modes are available, as well as Picture wizard colour options. Multimotion lets you record at different speeds 0.25x / 0.5x slow motion at VGA/720p as well as Full HD 5/10/20x for high speed playback. Smart filters, such as old film are available however video is reduced to VGA / 15fps. Selective colour is also available. The AF mode can be chosen, and MF assist is available.


Value For Money

The Samsung NX210 is available for £749 with the 20-50mm or 18-55mm kit lens and comes with a small pop-up flash making it noticeably more expensive than the predecessor (the NX200 was around £499 with 20-50mm lens when reviewed, now it's available for £399), although none of the competition features built in Wi-Fi. The 20-50mm lens does not feature optical image stabilisation, whereas the 18-55mm kit lens tested does. Alternatives include the Panasonic Lumix GX1 (16mp, £425 body only), Sony NEX-7 (24.3mp, £999), Sony NEX-5N (16mp, £449) and Olympus PEN E-P3 (12mp, £629). Have a look at other compact system cameras available here.

Samsung NX210 Verdict

The Samsung NX210 is a subtle but worthwhile update for anyone who wants to share photos straight away. The addition of Wi-Fi to the NX200 brings the whole NX line of cameras up to date with a number of extremely useful Wi-Fi sharing options. However, if Wi-Fi is not something you are interested in then you can save a lot of money by going for the Samsung NX200. The NX210 promises quicker focusing and shooting speeds, but in our tests was no quicker, and sometimes slower, than the Samsung NX200. The camera also frustrates at times with the regular display of "Processing" when the camera is writing photos to the memory card, this is particularly frustrating when taking JPEG and RAW photos.

Saying that, the NX210 is capable of taking some excellent photos, with plenty of detail, and very pleasing colours. Noise levels are low and certainly appears to be on a par with competitors from Sony and Canon with well controlled noise up to ISO3200. The camera has a fast 7fps shooting mode and an easy to use control system and menus. With the addition of Wi-Fi, the NX210 doesn't seem to offer as good value for money as the NX200, but if you're interested in a metal bodied compact system camera with high image quality then the NX210 is an excellent choice. Alternatively, you could save some money by looking at the plastic bodied NX1000.

The Samsung NX210 brings excellent Wi-Fi connectivity, helping you share the high quality images this camera is capable of taking.


Samsung NX210 Pros

Good ISO noise performance
Very good detail in photos
7fps continuous shooting
Very good colour
Excellent screen
Compact flash
Excellent Wi-Fi connectivity
Easy to use

Samsung NX210 Cons

Delay after continuous shooting
Price seems quite high
Slower than NX200

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
VERDICT

Samsung NX210 Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3648
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution614,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
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
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
  • Bracket
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS60, 30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable battery : BP1030
CIPA Rating320
Box Contents
Box ContentsIntelli-studio 3.0, Samsung RAW Converter 4, Adobe Reader, Camera, 18-55mm OIS lens, hood, lens cap, Battery, Charger, Neck Strap, CD, Quick Manual, USB Cable
Dimensions
Weight222.2g
Width116.5mm
Height62.5mm
Depth36.6mm

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