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Samsung has joined the mirror-less digital camera parade with the introduction of the Samsung NX100, a compact digital camera that features a 14.6-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor and an interchangeable lens mount.
Available in a choice of black or brown, Samsung's NX100 incorporates a number of interesting technologies designed to enhance the user's picture-taking experience. And technology aside, it's also rather slick-looking.
Although the Samsung's NX100 shares the same 14.6-megapixel APS-C format CMOS sensor, lens interchangeability, and 3" (416,000-dot) VGA AMOLED display as the Samsung NX10, it lacks its predecessor's electronic viewfinder (EVF), making it even smaller than the already quite compact NX10. But the features designed into the new camera—and lenses—go beyond the EVF housing.
Samsung's NX100 captures stills in a choice of JPEG (Super Fine, Fine and Normal), RAW (SRW) or a combination of RAW+JPEG (Super Fine, Fine or Normal) in either sRGB or Adobe RGB. You can shoot up to three frames per second (RAW or JPEG) in continuous mode and burst shooting at 10, 15 or 30 frames per second per shutter press. In the motion-picture department, the NX100 captures HD 720p video (up to 25-minutes in length) and the camera's native ISO sensitivity of ISO 100 can be increased up to an equivalent of 6400 in 1/3-stop increments. And in addition to Exposure and White Balance bracketing (+/-3), the NX100 allows for micro adjustments of the Amber, Blue, Green and Magenta channels in seven-step increments.
Perhaps the most interesting new feature to be found on the Samsung NX100 isn't on the camera body, but on its new line of "pro-active" i-Function optics, which work in concert with the camera body and allow you to set exposure settings that are lens specific. The idea behind this new approach to setting camera controls is based on the fact that shooters adjust exposure settings using dials that are traditionally located on the top-right side of the camera body, usually around the shutter button, making it awkward to adjust the settings while shooting.
To get around this, Samsung's engineers came up with an i-Function switch, that allows the user to adjust exposure settings from the base of the lens, which is typically where shooters brace the camera with their left hand. According to Samsung, the new lens system will allow shooters to adjust shutter speeds, f/stops, white balance and ISO sensitivity levels while bracing the lens with their left hand in its natural shooting position. The result is a smoother, uninterrupted shooting experience with fewer "missed moments."
To go along with the new camera, Samsung is also introducing a series optics, including a compact 20–50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED zoom (a 30.8 to 77mm equivalent), followed by a 20mm f/2.8 "pancake" lens (30.8mm equivalent). Two additional lenses—a 60mm Macro and an 18–200mm zoom, will be released in the near future, followed by a 16mm, 85mm and a 16–80mm zoom sometime in 2011 (which isn't that far off!).
Other upcoming accesories to complement Samsung's NX100 include an Electronic Viewfinder that slips onto the camera's hot shoe, a flash and a GPS tracker.
Stay tuned for updates and a hands-on review of the new camera and lenses as they become available.