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Samsung NX100 Digital Camera Review$599.00
The Samsung NX100 uses MPEG-4 compression, which is the same compression system used by Samsung on its HD camcorders. The difference with the NX100, though, is that it tops out with a 1280 × 720 resolution rather than Full HD (1920 × 1080, what most consumer HD camcorders record at). It is fairly common for compact DSLRs like the NX100 to lack a Full HD record mode, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother us.
Not having a Full HD mode is a big deal, and it essentially limits how much detail and sharpness the NX100—and the other models we used as comparisons in this review—can capture in video mode. On the other hand, the NX100 does have two standard definition record modes, so you should be set if you want to record low-quality videos that are small and easy to share on the internet. There are also two quality settings to choose from when you record video: Normal and High Quality. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content
The NX100 does not have manual ISO or shutter speed control in video mode, but the camera is loaded with an aperture-priority video mode (that’s better than nothing). This allows you to play around with depth of field with the camera, which is one of the primary benefits of using a camera to record video instead of a traditional camcorder.
Auto exposure on the NX100 is choppy, and by that we mean the transitions aren't very smooth. Moving from light to dark scenes, we noticed a step-like transition taking place. It was subtle, but it was definitely there when you looked closely. A smooth, seamless transition is better, and that's something we look for in determining the quality of the auto exposure system.
We also noticed something funny with the camera set in aperture-priority mode. Even in this mode, we saw some slight exposure adjustments taking place, which we chalk up to the camera changing the shutter speed automatically. Usually, though, if you're in a manual mode like aperture-priority, the the exposure should not change unless you're changing the settings.
Zoom is controlled by rotating the zoom ring on the lens attached to the NX100. The amount of zoom you get is entirely dependent on what kind of lens you have attached to the camera. The kit lens is a 20 - 50mm lens, which doesn't get you much zoom (2.5x zoom).
The NX100 has auto focus, and this auto focus system even includes a continual auto focus option. The thing is, the continual autof ocus only works during video recording—and you have to activate it by pressing a hidden button on the left side of the camera. To top it all off, nowhere on the camera does a display pop up to let you know that you've turned on the live auto focus system. So, if you bump the left-side button accidentally you just have to guess as to whether or not that "bump" was hard enough to turn on the auto focus. That's not even poor design... it's just plain silly.
You can also perform a single auto focus with the camera by pressing the shutter button down half way (just like you would when taking a photograph). This is the preferred method if you have no reason to use the continual auto focus system. Speaking of the continual auto focus, the system also has the same faults we see on nearly all DSLR cameras: it is slow, noisy, and not always accurate.
Oh, we almost forgot. You can also go old-school with the NX100 and just focus manually using the lens ring. In fact, this may be the best option overall because it is quiet and it's the most precise. It just requires you to use your hands to rotate a ring and your eyes to make sure you've focused properly. If that's not too much work for ya, then you may want to try it sometime.
Exposure can be set manually on the NX100, but only prior to recording (you can’t adjust once recording has begun). The camera has the standard exposure adjustment range (-3 to +3 in 1/3 EV steps) and it is fairly simple to adjust. We do want the freedom to adjust while recording is taking place, though.
Aperture can be set manually on the camera, but you have to put the NX100 into a special Aperture-priority mode within video mode (the other option is Program mode, which sets the aperture automatically). Unlike exposure, aperture can be set during recording, although the NX100’s instruction manual makes it sound like this is not possible (the manual is wrong).
ISO is set to automatic control in video mode, but you can set white balance manually for videos (or choose from the variety of white balance presets). You also have access to the camera's extensive color adjustment controls in video mode and a built-in fader feature that adds a fade to the beginning or end of your clips.
The Samsung NX100 has the exact same set of audio features as the Samsung NX10, which is to say it doesn’t offer much. There’s no external mic jack or headphone port on the camera and there is no manual audio control (other than the ability to turn audio recording off). The built-in mono mic is also located on the top of the camera, which isn’t the best locale for a mic to be. The NX100 does have a wind cut option, though, so if you’re recording on a windy day you can turn this feature on to limit wind-related interference.