Samsung NX11 Hands-On Review

At first glance, the Samsung NX11 could be mistaken for the NX10.  In fact, the cameras are very similar in ergonomics, controls and overall specifications. I had a chance to spend a few minutes with preproduction NX11 at CES.  Read on for my initial impressions of the camera.

The NX11 has a slightly updated grip and i-Function control through an updated 18-55mm kit lens.  The VGA-quality viewfinder is competent but not nearly as functional as a true optical viewfinder – a feature which you give up with the mirrorless camera design.  The 3-inch AMOLED display is just as pretty as the one on the NX10.

As you can see from the design, like the NX10, the NX11 looks and handles a lot like a DSLR – albeit a very compact one.  The new grip is very comfortable and just feels good in the hand.

While I couldn’t take away any sample photos, it was easy to see that that same jello-effect that plagued the NX10’s video capture (some of the worst I’ve seen) is also present in the NX11’s video capture.  Of course, this would be expected as the cameras share the same 14.6MP sensor.  I would expect overall image quality to remain par for the course as well.  The one difference is that the NX11 takes the camera’s sensitivity one stop higher to ISO 6400, instead of ISO 3200 where the NX10 stopped.

As noted above, the i-Function capability of the NX11 is what really sets it apart from the NX10.  If you aren’t familiar with what Samsung is doing with its i-Function lenses, it’s basically turning the lens “focus” ring into a scroll wheel for making adjustments to things like shutter speed and aperture.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about the notion until I got my hands on the NX100 and NX11 at CES this year.  While it is something that will definitely take some getting used to, I found it to be a refreshing change for camera controls.

Of course, you can still use the focus ring to focus when you want to; however, if you hit the i-Function button on the lens, you can then make appropriate adjustments while holding the camera in a more natural shooting position (i.e., you left hand resting underneath the lens).

In short, the NX11 is a worthy, albeit minor, upgrade to the NX10.  Unfortunately, Samsung failed to update the rather poor video functionality in the NX11, but as a direct follow-up to the NX10 it’s understandable why the company left it alone.  I think the i-Function is a worthwhile feature and look forward to seeing Samsung expand its rather sparse collection of i-Function lenses.  Those looking for a big sensor in a mirrorless camera have yet another decent offering in the Samsung NX11.

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