Samsung NX11: Hands-on Quick Review

Samsung has just launched its third mirrorless interchangeable lens (MIL) camera. NX11 marries some of the features found in NX100 with identical body design as NX10 (only the grip is modified). The kit lens now comes with the i-Function button to allow the user to adjust the important shooting parameters - aperture, shutter, ISO, WB - without leaving the eyes off the viewfinder

Here's what I found based on my experience over the past 2 weeks of using the NX11.

Added from NX10:
- i-Function and i-Scene modes, selectable from the mode dial
- Sound Picture is selectable from the mode dial
- GPS settings is built in the menu
- Smart Filter is added for post processing

New features not available in the previous NX series:
- When pressing i-Function buttons on the lens, on-screen instructions appear on the top to provide additional guide
- new kit lens 18-55mm II OIS (with i-Function) offers more silent focusing for still and video recording
- faster and more accurate continuous auto focus (CAF) during video recording
- able to adjust the brightness and colour of the EVF and the AMOLED display independently
- able to manually select EVF or AMOLED display or AUTO
- Auto ISO now goes up to ISO 1600, and it displays the chosen ISO after you half-press the shutter. NEAT!
- Panorama shooting mode

What's no longer there:
- Maximum ISO is 3200, whereas NX100 can go up to ISO 6400, albeit extremely noisy
- Smart Filters for Sketch and Vignetting are not available
- Video recording AF is default to continuous (CAF), and there is no option to set as single AF. A simple workaround is the toggle AF-MF at the lens, provided the lens has this option. The NX11 kit lens has it, but not the NX100.

From what it appears, the NX11 is positioned as a different product line from the NX100, as it does not inherit all the features. It also did not undergo any major design changes from the NX10. I suppose the model number says it all: NX11 is a minor upgrade from NX10. Between the NX100 and NX11, I would prefer the button layout of the NX100 but the grip and built-in EVF and pop-up flash of the NX11. In particular, the 2-scroll NX100 facilitates changing of aperture and shutter simultaneously in Manual mode. Not-so-particular users can still easily change them using the i-Function buttons, but one at a time.

The one new NX11 feature that is worth shouting for is the Panorama mode. The way it's implemented on NX11 is the press-and-sweep method, meaning just press the shutter once and then slowly sweep at the desired direction. The NX11 detects the direction and will capture automatically at regular intervals until it senses that you have stopped moving or when the memory is full. Here are some samples I've snapped:

Here's another way to make use of Panorama: portrait mode.

The stitched photos are around 800-1200 pixels at the short end (when panning at landscape orientation), while the long end can go as far as 5800 pixels. There are limited settings you can customise with Panorama mode: only EV compensation, AF mode, JPG quality, Color Space (RGB mode) are modifiable.

NX10 owners might be jealous of this new model, but frankly, there isn't much technical enhancements. Given the price-value, NX10 is a good grab, unless you don't mind paying a third more for the Panorama function in NX11. And the Sound Picture function. And the new kit lens. And the improved video recording mode. OK, sorry I'm not helping.

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