Samsung NX200 Digital Camera Review$899.00
Samsung has made the sensible decision to move the shooting mode dial to just above the rear thumbrest, allowing for easy switching between the various shooting modes. The camera features 10 modes on the physical dial, including program, shutter/aperture priority, manual, smart auto, magic frame, scene, panorama, movie, and lens priority modes. Turning the dial brings up a shooting mode menu on the rear LCD that offers a brief explanation of the mode's purpose. The modes strike a fair balance between enthusiast-level control and more amateur-driven options like panorama, smart auto, and scene modes.
The NX200 makes use of a contrast-detection autofocus system, with a built-in AF lamp. The AF is pretty fast in bright light conditions, but it does seem to have some issues with latching onto background elements when there's a moving subject and not adjusting fast enough. The camera can continuously autofocus in live view and during video recording (fairly quietly, too), but it doesn't re-adjust fast enough between subjects.
We found it was able to accurately achieve focus in low light with the built-in lamp, but it would not be considered fast by any means in these conditions. Focus speed has been a major area of improvement in the compact system camera market this year, with the Nikon J1 and Olympus E-P3 both achieving very fast focus speeds. The NX200 doesn't quite reach those heights, but in bright light it gets the job done.
The camera's 18-55mm kit lens comes with a dedicated AF/MF switch and a comfortable focus ring. In the main menu users can activated a focus assist digital zoom of up to 5x, bringing subjects in closer to let the user judge focus accuracy. It's not quite as good as focus peaking found on Sony's NEX cameras, but it matches other compact system cameras for utility.
The NX200 shoots JPEGs at a maximum resolution of 20 megapixels in its native 3:2 aspect ratio, with options for 10.1, 5.9, and 2.0-megapixel images. The camera also offers the ability to shoot in a 16:9 aspect ratio (at sizes of 16.9, 7.8, 4.9, and 2.1 megapixels) and at a cropped 1:1 ratio (in sizes of 13.3, 7.0, 4.0, and 1.1 megapixels). These options can all be selected in the camera's live guide function menu or in the main menu.
For those unfamiliar with previous Samsung NX-series efforts, the NX200 features their innovative i-function control button, which allows the user to control shooting functions with the left hand by pressing the dedicated button and rotating the focus ring. In the menu users can assign a variety of options to this function, including ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure compensation, and "i zoom." The NX200 also comes with a lens priority mode, which turns the i-function button into a scene mode selector. Altogether it's another way to control specific functions, and if you're a manual shooter it came be of particular use, allowing for easy control of exposure settings.