If you liked the 4K video quality and speedy shots of Samsung’s higher-end mirrorless NX1 camera but can’t swing the premium price, Samsung has a new camera for you: the NX500, a beefed-up version of the cheaper NX300 that includes nearly all the sexy features of the NX1.
The NX1 stepped up Samsung’s game for mirrorless cameras, but the body alone retailed for $1,500–and as an entirely new system, consumers had to buy new lenses. The NX500, retailing for $800 with an included 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 power zoom lens (which retails for $300 on its own), bridges the gap for point-and-shooters or cautious SLR enthusiasts looking to experiment with mirrorless cameras.
Mirrorless cameras capture images directly from lens to data storage–which means the camera focuses and shoots as fast as its processor allows and without any shutter sound. The NX500’s three-inch screen flips up 180 degrees “because selfies,” as CNet puts it.
The NX500’s body is visually identical to the earlier NX300–a slim body barely taller than its lens that’s wrapped all around in pebbled leather, a lean retro machine for folks who don’t want to lug around a full-size SLR. But the NX500 packs many of the features the full-size NX1 wowed consumers with, like an APS-C 28 megapixel sensor and 4K video (the soon-to-be-standard highest definition on commercial televisions), along with the Samsung Auto Shot feature that tracks what’s in front of the camera at 240fps until something crosses a pre-set point and triggers the shutter.
The NX500 also packs in the NX1’s phase-detection and cross-type autofocus sensor, and while its nine-frames-per-second shooting is slightly slower than the NX1’s 15-frames-per-second limit, it’s still remarkable. The NX500’s max shutter speed is also slightly lower at 1/6000 rather than the NX1’s 1/8000, but the NX500 matches its big brother’s max ISO at 25,600. And like most cameras jumping on the Smart Camera wagon, the NX500 can connect to devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or NFC and has apps to pair with iOS and Android for easy file sharing–and even remote operation via your device.
While the NX500 is roughly comparable on specs to the Sony A6000 released in April 2014, the ability to capture 4K video (the Sony A6000 only captures 1080/60p) and more precise autofocus features might tip consumers into Samsung’s camp–especially once 4K resolution comes more into vogue.