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Samsung adds to compact system camera stable with new NX2000

Check out our review of the Samsung NX2000 digital camera. 

Last month Samsung quietly updated the NX line with the NX1100, a compact system camera (CSC) that isn’t a whole lot different from the outgoing NX1000. If you wondered why there wasn’t a big to-do, it may be because Samsung was saving all that noise for today’s global introduction of the new NX2000, a CSC that has design and technical cues from several NX models, including the recently introduced NX300.

From the front the NX2000 bears a slight resemblance to the NX1100, except it’s a bit wider. On the back and top is where you’ll notice some of the differences: the NX2000 has a large 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen and does away with the mode dial. Taking advantage of the screen real estate, you pick your shooting modes via an onscreen menu, a feature borrowed from the Galaxy Camera. Whereas the NX300 has a hybrid user interface that combines physical function buttons and onscreen menus, the NX2000 has a cleaner layout like the NX1100. 

The NX2000 uses a large 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. It has an ISO range of 100 to 25,600 and a shutter speed of 1/4,000th of a second. With performance the NX1100 is closer to the NX300. Although it uses a contrast autofocusing system like the NX1100 (versus the NX300’s hybrid autofocus that combines phase and contrast detection), Samsung says the NX2000 is actually way faster because it shares the same image processor as the NX300, the DRIMe IV (Samsung says they have the most powerful digital signal processor chips in cameras). In addition to improved noise reduction, speed, and color reproduction, the processor also allows the NX2000 to shoot photos and videos in 3D, using a lens like the NX 45mm 3D lens introduced at the start of the year alongside the NX300. Other specs include lens-shift image stabilization (lens dependent); RAW image capture; HD video recording (MPEG-4 and AVC/H.264); and Smart Mode that offers a variety of automatic shooting modes. The camera will mount any of the 12 available NX interchangeable lenses.

Wireless connectivity, of course, is a big deal for Samsung. You’ll find Wi-Fi support in the NX2000, which you can use to transfer images to a computer or smart device running on Android and iOS; connect to a smartphone or tablet for remote viewing and operation via the Smart Camera 2.0 app; backup your content automatically locally or to a cloud service; upload directly to Facebook; and enable the AutoShare feature that automatically sends photos to a smartphone or tablet as it’s being taken. Samsung is also pushing near field communication (NFC) with this short-range technology built into the camera. Like bank cards or transit cards, you can “tap” the camera with an NFC-enabled Android device for automatic, instant pairing via Wi-Fi.

For storage, Samsung has switched to MicroSD. While there isn’t a performance difference between regular SD and MicroSD, we find this change somewhat odd since it hasn’t made the camera significantly thinner or smaller. If you already own a drawer full of SD cards, you won’t be able to use them here. We don’t know about you, but we find inserting and removing tiny MicroSD cards a bit challenging at times. Perhaps Samsung doesn’t want us to remove those cards once they’re inserted, preferring we use Wi-Fi for transferring and uploading purposes instead.

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We had a little bit of hands-on time with the NX2000 and walked away with some quick impressions. The camera body has a fairly solid construction with a balanced heft, although it shares more design cues with the NX1100 than the retro-looking NX300. The display is quite big, and although it isn’t an AMOLED like the NX300’s, the LCD (rated at 1,152k dots) is bright with sharp icons and details; paired side by side, you’ll notice the NX300 has a bit higher resolution and color saturation than the NX2000, but it isn’t big enough of a difference to say one is superior than the other. The touchscreen is very responsive and navigating between menus is straightforward. Autofocusing is fast, but we noticed some focusing issues; we encountered this with the NX300 when we first tried the camera during the press preview, but Samsung noted that we were playing with engineering samples, so we’ll leave that judgment for a later date. We typically like mode dials to quickly change shooting modes. The NX2000’s lack of one isn’t an issue for those who shoot entirely in automatic, but for those who like some control over the camera, having to go through an onscreen menu can be tedious. Again, we’ll reserve judgment on the camera until we spend more time with it.

The NX2000 is slotted between the NX1100 and the NX300 in Samsung’s NX lineup (there’s also the NX20 at the top end). The camera, which will come in black, white, and pink, will retail for $649 (body) and come bundled with Adobe Lightroom 4 – a nice added value for useful software.

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