Samsung has formally announced its new NX100 compact camera, featuring a slim body, interchangeable lens capability, and a mirrorless design. However, the NX100’s standout feature is a new i-Function lens control mechanism that enables users to quickly move through settings and control them with the camera’s focus ring. The idea is that users can rapidly move through the most common manual camera settings—aperture, shutter speed, ISO sensitivity, and more—while taking pictures and without having to fuss with menus.
“We are the first to create a mirrorless camera with high quality imaging technology which has been designed based on intuitive consumer insights from our in-depth consumer research,” said Samsung’s president for digital imaging Mr. SangJin Park, in a statement. “Our unique and pioneering i-Function Lens stands out from the competition as an example of our unparalleled innovation, which will appeal to every photographer.”
The NX100 follows up on the well-received NX10, combining a far slimmer body with a 14/6 megapixel resolution, an APS-C-sized CMOS sensor, a 3-inch AMOLED display, 720p HD movie recoding capability, and ISO sensitivity all the way down to 6400 (with extension setting). The camera saves images to SD/SDHC cards, features automatic scene modes, and an optional GPS module enables users to geotag photos automatically.
The standout feature is the intelligence Samsung is aiming to built into its lenses: the i-Function capability not only communicates directly with the camera body for fast photography, but also offers customized settings specific to individual lenses. To cycle through settings, users press the camera’s i-Function button, then use the manual focus ring to cycle through settings without having to take the camera off its target. The NX100 also features a priority mode that speeds lens changes—lenses are marked with icons indicating their strengths so users can get the right one the first time—and the camera will recognize the lens type right away and automatically configure itself, saving time.
Samsung says the NX100 will be available with a “range of innovative lenses,” including a compact 20–50mm lens and a 20mm pancake lens coming shortly after the camera’s launch. In the first half of 2011, Samsung says a 60mm macro lens and an 18–200mm super zoom lens will be available.
However, Samsung is still withholding some crucial information about the NX100: how much it will cost, and when it might be available. Eager photographers will just have to wait and see.