Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Samsung NX210

I've been putting off writing this review because I reviewed the almost identical NX200 back in March. I hate repeating myself, so I'm trying to approach this review a little different.
Samsung NX210
My recommendation is to read the review of the NX200, which applies 99% to the Samsung NX210, and then read this review. The only significant differences between the two cameras are wireless capabilities and faster RAW processing with the NX210. 
Samsung NX210
The Samsung NX210 is a compact interchangeable-lens digital camera with a 20 megapixel APS-C sized sensor. Here is what you need to know:
- The camera has excellent image quality at low ISO and mediocre image quality at high ISO.
- The camera is quick to focus in daylight and slow in dim-light.
- There is no viewfinder (this will be a deal-breaker for some, but I don't think it is a big deal whatsoever).
- Exceptional user interface.
- Smaller and lighter than a DSLR, yet DSLR-like image quality.
- Reasonable price tag ($900 with a kit lens, can be found for as little as $600 if you shop around).
White Road - Tehachapi, California
You can absolutely do professional, paying work with the NX210. But you must know that it is a daytime camera and its performance in low-light situations is ho-hum. If you do a lot of low-light photography, you may want to look at other cameras.
Dusting Snow #1 - Tehachapi, California
In low ISO, the NX210 is able to produce image quality that rivals some full-frame DSLRs. If you are like most photographers, the vast majority of your images are captured in normal lighting, and you will experience excellent results.
Purple Flowers - Albuquerque, New Mexico
In fact, you'll surprise many of your photography friends with this camera. Show them the beautiful files, but don't tell them what camera you used--let them guess! They'll be shocked that a sub-$1,000 camera that is so small and lightweight could produce the images that they're viewing.
Warm Fire - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Compact interchangeable-lens cameras are great for when you don't want to lug around a DSLR. The smaller size and less weight make them ideal for travel photography. Because of their smaller size, they are also great for street photography, where you'll be more incognito.
Cold Apple Slices - Stallion Springs, California
The Samsung NX210 produces exceptional images at ISO 200 and below. ISO 400 is great, but a close study will reveal some increased noise. Image quality drops noticeably at ISO 800, but it is still above-average. There is an increase in noise and decrease in sharpness at ISO 1600, and image quality is average. ISO 3200 and higher are below average and should be avoided (unless you purposefully want noisy, soft images).
Two Fingers - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pretty much what you would expect from a 20 megapixel APS-C sized sensor is what you get. No one should think that this many pixels on such a small space will do well at high ISO. At the same time, at low ISO the camera competes well with many full-frame DSLRs that cost much, much more.
Red And Yellow Flower - Stallion Springs, California
Besides high ISO performance, another downside to the NX210 is focus speed in low light. The auto-focus will fish for a couple of seconds before locking onto something when the light is dim. You couple those two problems together and you see why I call it a "daylight" camera.
Pumpkin Painting - Stallion Springs, California
One issue that the ("old") NX200 had is slow RAW processing. If you save in RAW, that slow processing could become a problem when rapidly opening the shutter. Samsung claims that the problem has been fixed on the NX210, but RAW still seems slow. In my opinion, it is faster, but not fast enough.
Pink And White Rose - Tehachapi, California
I personally save as JPEGs as much as I can. As long as I have every setting as I want it (which only takes a few seconds to ensure), there is no real advantage to saving in RAW, especially in the lower ISOs.
Gathering Pollen - Tehachapi, California
Samsung added WiFi to the NX210, which is cool, I guess. I tried it to make sure it works, and it does. You can use the WiFi to upload images to your computer, to upload images to Facebook and some other websites, and as a camera remote if you download the app to your smart phone. However, I really haven't found a good reason to use it since initially testing it. Maybe I'm just not "tech" enough. I think if I forced myself to use the wireless features more that I would appreciate them.
Beginning of Autumn - Tehachapi, California
In conclusion, the Samsung NX210 is a great camera for a reasonable price. It is not perfect, but if you can accept its limitations, you'll be very happy with your purchase.

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