Price: $890 with 16-50mm power zoom [street price]
THE LOW-DOWN: This 28 megapixel compact mirrorless camera is the little brother to the acclaimed Samsung NX1. It shares the sensor and most of the features of the NX1 but without the electronic viewfinder and with a cheaper kit lens. The high definition Super Amoled, touch sensitive, tilting LCD almost compensates for the absent viewfinder. The 16-50mm lens (24-75mm in film equivalent) is powered and incorporates the Samsung iFn button. 4K video recording, WiFi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity are featured. The Samsung smartphone app is one of the best and connection is easy with no password required. Software for RAW conversion and converting 4K to conventional high definition is supplied in the camera and must be downloaded to a PC via the USB connector.
LIKE: The image quality, both in jpeg and RAW, is excellent. Video quality is outstanding, although we were not able to test the 4K output. Auto focus, using both phase and contrast detection, is fast. The camera has a luxurious fit, finish and feel.
DISLIKE: The RAW converter supplied in the camera is weird, using bewildering terminology unique to Samsung. It will only be a stop-gap until Adobe update Camera RAW, but for those who are stuck with the supplied software we recommend looking for an alternative. The absence of a viewfinder at this price is disappointing.
VERDICT: The NX500, like the NX1, is an indication that Samsung intends to be a serious player in the camera business. It is a long way from the first Samsung DSLRs which were essentially re-badged Pentaxes. The NX1 and NX500 stand at the top level of compact system cameras, setting standards for construction, useability and image quality that challenge the established brands.