Samsung NX500 firmware update improves autofocus performance and more

Update on June 26, 2015: Samsung is releasing a firmware update that adds several enhancements to both photo and video modes. Autofocus gets improvements in low-light conditions, backlit and spot light, corners when using 16-50mm PZ lens, face detection, and movie recording. Other photo upgrades include: “Zone AF” mode; increased size of AF to 5 steps in AF “Area Size”; increased Face Detection Area of the sensor; four presets (Cinematic, Memories, Gorgeous Night, and High Speed); “Selfie as Flipped” mode; improved “Selfie” AF function in Timer mode (Continuous AF is default); and simplified EXIF data preview.

For video capture, Samsung added a “Pro” mode that increases bit rates for movie size and quality up to 70 Mbps (movie recording time changes to 25 minutes at Full HD 60p/50p). The NX500 now has a larger sensor readout data size with improved Full HD quality up to 60p. After you’re done recording, the camera will remain in standby (before, the camera would return to photo-ready state). The Movie Size Menu now has quick access to 1280 x 720/120p mode, with sound recording. In 4K video, you can capture individual 4K frames and scan forward and backward with precision, with embedded EXIF data (JPEG). And, there’s a new MF Responsiveness mode that lets you set low, medium, high focus angle while in manual focus.

For more on the NX500, check out our review.

Recently announced cameras and camcorders are indicating a developing trend: 4K. Of course, 4K isn’t new, but shooting in 4K used to require expensive, pro-level equipment. Now, we’re beginning to see the feature trickle down to cameras and camcorders that cost less than $1,000. The latest entry is the new NX500 from Samsung, a compact mirrorless camera that’s capable of shooting both cinematic 4K and ultra-high-definition (UHD) 4K.

Designed for step-up users or enthusiasts who want something smaller than a DSLR for everyday use, the NX500 is the successor to the NX300 (one of our Editors’ Choice cameras of 2013). But it’s more than an evolutionary camera. In fact, we think of it as a kid brother to the new enthusiast NX1 (our favorite camera of 2014), which also shoots 4K and shares the same sensor. The NX300 touted its ability to capture 3D images and videos, but we’ve seen where 3D is going – nowhere. With TVs going UHD, 4K has stronger lasting power; even if you aren’t ready for it, shooting photos and videos in 4K help you future-proof your stuff.

EV-NX500_011_Detail1_Black

The NX500 retains a similar form-factor as its predecessor, but it has a redesigned grip with a sculpted-down front. Besides 4K, specs have also been greatly enhanced. It uses the same newly developed 28MP back-illuminated APS-C sensor and DRIMe V image processor that are in the NX1. It has a burst speed of 9 frames per second (fps), native ISO range of 100 to 25,600, and shutter speed of 1/6,000th/second. It also has the Samsung Auto Shot feature introduced in the NX1, which helps you quickly capture a fast-moving object like a pitched baseball. Performance wise, the NX1 is still stronger (and there are more features geared toward videographers, like headphone and microphone jacks, which may be future add-ons for the NX500), but Samsung told us to “expect this to be a crazy performance piece.” If the experience is as good as the NX1’s, Samsung could possibly have another hit in his hands.

The camera records in the HEVC Codec, a compression technology that allows for 4K and UHD recording to high-speed SD cards, and smaller file sizes than the H.264 format that’s commonly used. You can also create UHD time-lapse videos. Cinema 4K is recorded at 24 fps and UHD at 30 fps. The HDMI port, however, can only handle Full HD output – a concession Samsung had to make.

Other features include a flip-up, 3-inch Super AMOLED touch display, and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC wireless connectivity. Due to the changes in how Adobe is packaging its software, the NX500 will not come with Lightroom (Samsung will provide basic RAW conversion software).

The NX500 comes in black, white, and brown. It will retail for $799, and include a 16-55mm kit lens. Expect this camera in March 2015.

(This article was originally published on February 5, 2015.)

Photography

Sony crams best tech from its full-frame cameras into $900 crop-sensor A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Mobile

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Photography

Olympus’ latest teaser shares glimpse of new OM-D camera geared toward sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's geared toward sports.
Photography

Lexar’s latest SDXC card keeps you shooting with 1 TB of storage

Shoot large files at high capacity? Lexar's latest SDXC memory card will fit a terabyte of storage inside your camera. The Lexar SD card is part of the company's Professional 633x series. That higher capacity will come at a cost, however.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

See ya, CFast: 1TB CFexpress card transfers photos at 1,400MB per second

The latest trend in professional removable storage media is fast approaching. At CES 2019, ProgradeDigital revealed its first CFexpress card, featuring a 1-terabyte capacity and bewildering 1,400 megabyte-per-second transfer rate.
Photography

From 11K to just OK: The biggest photo gear announcements at CES 2019

From 11K cameras to 1 TB media cards, CES 2019 brought a peek at new gear for photographers and videographers. But what photography gear grabbed our attention the most? Here are the biggest photo gear announcements from CES 2019.
Photography

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide for 2016 has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Photography

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.
Photography

Authentic, holistic, retro photography is in: Here are 2019’s predicted trends

What types of imagery are we most drawn to? According to recent stock photography data from Adobe, StoryBlocks, and Shutterstock, authentic, holistic, and humanitarian content will be in high demand in 2019.