camcorders

Samsung NX200 Digital Camera Review

The NX200 from Samsung boasts a huge image sensor and the ability to record Full HD 1080p video.

December 20, 2011
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Introduction

The NX200 is the top new camera from Samsung that boasts a huge image sensor and the ability to record Full HD 1080p video. The camera's set of manual controls in video mode are also impressive, although we noticed some problems in our motion, sharpness, and low light sensitivity performance tests.

Color & Noise

In bright light video testing the NX200 put up a decent result, with a color error of just 4.09, though we found the images to be slightly undersaturated at just around 89% of the ideal. The main issue came with the camera’s inability to process magenta and orange tones correctly, as even though most colors were toned down they remained above their ideal saturation levels. See our full color performance review, including color swatches and crops.

The Samsung NX200 put up astounding results in our bright light noise test, as it kept noise to under 0.19% when shooting in conditions similar to a sunny day. It tended to bring saturation down a bit under these conditions, but the noise results are admirable and are practically nonexistent when viewing videos back. See our full noise performance review, including crops and comparative analysis.

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Motion & Sharpness

The motion rendition on the Samsung NX200 was quite good, with very little color bleeding visible in our tests. Motion on the edges got a little spotty in some areas, but overall the camera handled it quite well, as long as it didn’t have to render any fine patterns. See our full motion performance review, including video clips.

In testing we found that the NX200 was consistently able to render sharpness up to 550 lw/ph horizontally and 525 lw/ph vertically. The camera was capable of sharpness to a much higher level (at times matching the sharpness you’d see in a mid-range prosumer camcorder), but the camera simply couldn’t suppress aliasing enough so that such sharpness only turned up in select moments when pausing the video. The result is a very distracting moire effect that haunted the video on the NX200 anytime it was pointed at a fine pattern on clothes, walls, carpets, or test charts. Read our full sharpness performance review.

Low Light

The NX200 required 19 lux of light to render an image that reached 50 IRE on a waveform monitor. This puts it slightly below the best video-capable DSLRs and prosumer camcorders in this price range, but still within an acceptable range. Low light sensitivity can be ramped up significantly by increasing ISO in video, an option many camcorders and cameras do not even offer. Read our full low light sensitivity performance review.

The NX200 offered some of the best low light color accuracy results we’ve seen yet. It didn’t quite match its performance in bright light still photography, but in an area where most cameras struggle to keep it together, the NX200 performed admirably. The Samsung offered a color error of just 3.06 by our measurement, but seemed to have an issue controlling for the lighting setup we used, with a noticeable shift toward warmer colors (a bit of an overcorrection given the lights we use). See our full low light color performance review, including comparative images and analysis.

The NX200 did not perform quite as ably in the noise department in low light (at least compared to its stellar bright light noise testing), but it still did well enough to fall in the middle of a group of well-performing cameras in low light. The NX200 had a noise level of just 0.83% in low light, which puts it among the better cameras we have tested so far. See our full low light noise performance review, including crops and comparative images.

Conclusion

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}The NX200 is certainly one of the most impressive cameras we've seen from Samsung in terms of video capability and features. The camera showed us positive results in our color accuracy tests, with the NX200 producing strong, deep colors even in low light situations. The camera also consistently produced videos with very little presence of noise.

But we did see plenty of interference in our video motion and sharpness test. There was discoloration, moire, and aliasing that brought down the cameras overall video sharpness score, which is one of the main reasons the NX200 was unable to compete with some of the top-level video cameras we've reviewed. The NX200 also needed quite a bit of light to pass our low light sensitivity test, but this is something that can be improved upon by using a different lens with the camera.

In terms of video capability, we can't put the NX200 in the same realm as the Canon 5D Mark II, Canon T3i, or Panasonic GH2, but the Samsung NX200 definitely fits into the next class. It has a good set of manual controls in video mode, and its video performance was decent enough for us to recommend it as an excellent camera for recording video—it's just not a model we'd go around recommending to pros or student filmmakers.

To read our full conclusions for the Samsung NX200 including analysis of the camera's video handling and audio options, plus see sample videos and photos, visit the full review at DigitalCameraInfo.com.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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