Samsung announces the powerful mid-range NX500

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The Samsung NX500 borrows heavily from the specification sheet of the flagship NX1

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Samsung has revealed its upcoming NX500 mirrorless camera, which packs a number of high-end features into a compact mid-range device. The new camera borrows heavily from the specification sheet of the flagship NX1, and features a 28-megapixel APS-C backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS sensor, 4K video recording, and the NX AF System III for speedy autofocus.

While Samsung has produced some very capable mirrorless cameras like the NX3000 and NX Mini, it was the NX1 – which was revealed last September – that arguably showed just how much it wanted to be taken seriously in the camera world. Now the firm has taken much of what made the US$1,500 NX1 great, and packed it into the considerably more compact and affordable NX500.

As such, just like its NX1 big brother, the NX500 features a 28.2-megapixel backside-illuminated APS-C (23.6 x 15.6 mm) CMOS sensor, paired with the fast and powerful DRIMe V Image Signal Processor. This means it's got the power to deliver quality stills and video in a variety of lighting conditions, as shown by its ISO range of 100 to 25,600 (extendable to 51,200). It can also rattle off a succession of images at a not-quite-NX1 speed of 9 frames per second (fps).

Autofocus should also be pretty quick. The NX500 features the hybrid NX Autofocus System III which uses 205 phase detection points, 153 of which are cross-type along with 209 contrast detection points. Showing the camera is geared toward photography beginners, there are a number of scene modes to choose from (Beauty Face, Fireworks, Landscapes, etc). Meanwhile, a Samsung Auto Shot (SAS) feature uses motion detection to predict when to capture the perfect shot in certain scenarios, the example given being when a child fields a baseball.

The NX500 is also capable of shooting 4K and UHD video, with 4096 x 2160 footage recorded at 24 fps, and 3840 x 2160 footage at 30 fps. If your video needs don't go further than Full HD 1080p, the camera is capable of 60/50/30/25 fps. Interval Capture mode can also be used to automatically convert still images into a UHD Time-lapse, without the need to use a computer.

On the back of the camera is a 3-inch AMOLED touchscreen with 1,036k dots. This can be tilted slightly downwards, or flipped up 180 degrees to make it easier to compose images in awkward situations and help capture those all-important selfies. While the Samsung NX500 lacks the weather-sealing of the NX1, it's also considerably smaller and lighter, while still featuring an ergonomic grip and nice styling.

Surprisingly compact for its specification, the NX mount NX500 measures just 19.5 x 63.6 x 42.5 mm (4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 in) and weighs in at 287 g (10 oz) without a battery or memory card. There's no built-in flash, but an external one will be bundled with the camera. As you might expect from a Samsung device, the NX500 boasts a selection of connectivity options, with Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth all on hand to make it easy when it comes to sharing images and video files.

The Samsung NX500 will be bundled with a 16-50-mm F3.5-F5.6 OIS kit lens when it goes on sale in March for US$800. It will come in black, brown and white color options.

Product page: Samsung NX500

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