Samsung NX200 hands-on

The Samsung NX200 is a serious looking compact system camera, arriving with an impressive run of specs. A 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor lies at its heart, rivalling the newly announced Sony NEX-7.

Of course it doesn’t offer you a viewfinder like Sony’s model does, but you do get an impressive 3-inch AMOLED display around the back, which not only brings shots to life, but offers great viewing angles too.

That screen is put to good use because Samsung has employed a graphically rich user interface to negotiate the various shooting modes and features the camera offers.

First up you get a proper mode dial which we always like to see, so switching into manual shooting modes only takes a twist of the dial. There are also two other dials, one encircling the four-way controller on the back, the other nestled on the top.

Using these two dials you can easily balance aperture and shutter speed to get the exposure you want. Outside of these controls, the immediate buttons are close to the sort of layout you’d expect on a compact camera, so the NX200 doesn’t look quite as techy as Sony’s latest offering.

Although the camera is small, there is a surprising amount of grip. The raised handgrip on the right-hand side is not only large enough to feel you have control of the camera, but is also finished in a sort of hard foam, so rather than feeling slightly slippery like a metal finish, it is tactile and sits securely in the hand.

Returning to the display, it isn’t the highest resolution that you’ll find on a camera at 614k-dots, but the colours are stunning. The graphical interface, once you step away from the basic menu settings, is engaging so rolling into some of the fun features of the camera feels welcoming.

In this way the NX200 should appeal not only to those who know how to handle the manual controls, but also those casual photographers who want to play with some of the creative features that come as part of the package.

There are a range of “magic” options that you can dive into to bring something a little different to your shot such as a vignette, or miniature effect. Each mode or setting pops-up with a little description on the screen to help guide you through the options available.

From our first exploratory plays with the camera, we found these either lingered on the display a little too long, or vanished before we’d had a chance to read them, but generally speaking we found it easy enough to dive in and find what we wanted.

As an evolution of the NX100, the Samsung NX200 does feel like a more sophisticated camera. It doesn’t offer you a viewfinder and it still doesn’t have a built-in flash which some might see as a bit of a problem, but the build feels more substantial than its forebear, which was accused of being a little too plasticy.

Of course we haven’t had a chance to really get to grips with the camera’s features and we haven’t yet had the chance to gauge the quality of the images it produces, or the Full HD movies that it will capture, which we’ll have to judge when we get the camera in for a full review.

The Samsung NX200 will be available from October, we don’t have the price confirmed, but it’s listed on Amazon at £649, which seems expensive alongside some of the rivals out there like the Panasonic Lumix GF3.