Samsung NX11

      Photo Review 8.5

      In summary

      A modest upgrade to the NX10 with a redesigned grip and support for i-Function lenses.Samsung’s mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera line-up now consists of four models: the original NX10, the NX5, NX100 and the new NX11. The NX11features a re-designed hand grip and adds a new panoramic shooting mode plus 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios for still capture and support for the company’s i-Function lenses (introduced with the NX100). The sensor, viewfinder and LCD monitor are unchanged since the NX10. . . [more]

      Full review


      Samsung’s mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera line-up now consists of four models: the original NX10, the NX5, NX100 and the new NX11. The NX11features a re-designed hand grip and adds a new panoramic shooting mode plus 1:1 and 16:9 aspect ratios for still capture and support for the company’s i-Function lenses (introduced with the NX100). The sensor, viewfinder and LCD monitor are unchanged since the NX10.

      The NX11 is offered in kit form with an 18-55mm i-Function lens for $749 (RRP).The NX10 continues to be listed on Samsung Australia’s with a $100 higher price tag than the NX11. The NX5 and NX100 are priced at $799 and $899 respectively.

      Build and Ergonomics
      Aside from the grip and mode dial, nothing much has changed since the NX10. To save repetition, we’ll cover only the key features and differences introduced with the new model. For a detailed description of the camera, refer to our review of the NX10 via this link.

      The NX11 was supplied for use to review with the older 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS and 50-200mm kit lenses, which we reviewed in April 2010.

      Unlike the NX10, the NX11 is constructed entirely from black polycarbonate to match its pricing to mass market expectations. Nevertheless, the new camera feels solid to hold and the larger grip is more comfortable and positions your fingers over key controls. Superficially, the front and rear panels are the same as on the NX10.


      Front view of the Samsung NX11 with the new 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED lens that was announced at the same time as the camera body. (Source: Samsung.)

      The rear panel has the same 3-inch AMOLED (active matrix organic light-emitting diode) monitor as the NX10. With a resolution of 614,000 dots it uses a PenTile layout that is designed to compliment the complex mechanics of the eye-brain system and provide VGA viewing quality.

      As on the NX10, it’s supposed to cover the sensor’s field of view while providing wide viewing angles – even in outdoor lighting. However, when conducting our Imatest tests we noticed it cropped a small amount of the frame away, leaving us with narrow borders around the test target. (The viewfinder cropped in a similar fashion.) Neither would phase normal users; only those requiring framing precision.


      Rear view of the Samsung NX11, showing the AMOLED monitor and main button controls. (Source: Samsung.)

      The layout of the top panel is essentially unchanged and resembles that of a conventional DSLR, with a single mode dial and forward-positioned shutter button. The latter has a surrounding on/off lever and is backed by a rather small control dial wheel that is set into the camera body.


      Top view of the NX10 with the 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED lens, shown in the silver version. (Source: Samsung.)

      The mode dial has been upgraded with three new additions: the press-and-sweep panorama mode, a Sound Picture mode that captures a 10-second sound bite before or after capturing each shot and the Lens Priority Mode, which automatically selects the best scene option for the attached lens. The Landscape, Portrait and Night settings have been shifted into the Scene sub-menu where they join pre-sets for Beauty Shot, Children, Sports, Backlight, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Beach & Snow and Fireworks.

      As on the NX10, the Smart Auto applies built-in scene recognition, covering 16 common subject types (including five types of landscape shots, three portrait types, four types of close-ups, backlighting, sports and tripod-mounting). Exposure and focusing parameters are set according to the detected scene type.

      Samsung’s i-Function control was introduced with the NX100 and requires suitably-enabled lenses. Firmware upgrades released late last year add i-Function capabilities to the NX10 and NX5 models.

      The system is relatively simple to use, although it only works with the P, A, S, M and Lens Priority shooting modes. A button on the lens allows users to control certain camera functions, which would otherwise require the menu to access. When the button is pressed, the adjustable functions are shown along the lower edge of the camera’s screen with graphical icons.

      Users rotate the camera’s control dial to choose from five options: Exposure Value, White Balance, ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. The last two require the corresponding shooting mode to be set, although both are accessible in Manual mode. Adjustments within each parameter can then be made by turning the Value Ring at the front of the lens (which also doubles as a focus ring for manual focusing).

      Two i-Function lenses were introduced with the NX100: a 20mm f/2.8 prime lens and a 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED zoom lens. (We received the 20-50mm lens with the NX11 body and will cover it in a separate review.) An 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS i-Function lens has also been released.

      Although Samsung lists seven lenses on its Australian website, the 18-55mm and 50-200mm zooms come in versions with and without i-Function, which reduces the choice of focal lengths to five. According to a ‘roadmap’ published last year, five mode lenses are due in 2011: a 60mm f/2.8 macro, a 16mm f/2.8 ‘pancake’, an 85mm f/1.4 ‘portrait’ lens and two zooms covering 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5 and 18-200mm f/3.5-6.5 focal lengths.

      Five more lenses are scheduled for introduction in 2012: a 35mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 135mm f/2, 12-24mm f/4 and 75-300mm f/4-5.6. The following year will see 24mm f/2, 200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4, 16-50mm f/2.8 and 50-135mm f/2.8 lenses.
      Other Controls
      The Lens Priority Mode was introduced as the ‘iScene’ mode on the NX100. This sets the camera for automatic scene recognition, depending on the lens attached to the camera. Users can change the selection by rotating the Value Ring.

      Sound Picture is a brand new shooting mode that allows users to add voice memos to JPEG images before they are recorded as well as in playback mode. You can set the recording time for either five or 10 seconds via the Sound Rec Time entry on page 3 of the menu.

      The Panorama mode is also new and enables users to capture and combine a series of up to 20 JPEG images recorded as you pan the camera steadily across the scene. The end result is an image of 5792 x 832 pixels.

      The camera defaults to fully automatic shooting and raw file capture is not supported in this mode. Pans can be vertical or horizontal and the camera detects the direction of the pan automatically.
      The highest speed available for continuous shooting three frames/second (fps) for an unlimited number of 14M/Superfine JPEGs or five SRW.RAW images. An additional Burst mode lets you choose from frame rates of 10, 15 and 30 fps with a buffer capacity of 30 shots at reduced resolution (1.4-megapixels with 30 fps).

      The Smart Range dynamic range extension feature, which was introduced in Samsungs digicams and ported across to the NX series, is accessible via the Fn button or on Page 3 of the shooting menu. The effect was quite subtle and the setting tended to boost overall brightness, as shown in the illustrations below.


      The image on the left was recorded with the Smart Range switched off, while the one on the right was recorded with it on.

      Picture Wizard options include Standard (the default), Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm and Classic (B&W) plus three Custom memories where users can store their own settings. Examples of the pre-set modes are shown below.


      Picture Wizard settings: top row from left – Standard, Vivid, Portrait; second row – Landscape, Forest, Retro; bottom row – Cool, Calm, Classic.
      Sensor and Image Processing
      The 23.4 x 15.6mm CMOS sensor in the NX100 appears to be the same as in the NX10. Developed and manufactured by Samsung with input from Pentax, it boasts a total of 15.1 million photosites, with 14.6 megapixels effective.

      Unlike most other manufacturers, Samsung makes no reference to its image processor in either the user manual for the camera (which is brief and not particularly helpful) or on its website so we can’t provide any information about the capabilities of the chip.

      The NX11 supports the same file sizes as the NX100 and can record still pictures in JPEG format (Exif 2.21) or Samsung’s proprietary SRW.RAW format. Three JPEG compression levels are provided: Super Fine, Fine and Normal, along with three aspect ratios – 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1.

      Raw files can be coupled with any JPEG size and compression level. The table below shows typical file sizes for individual files.


      Image Size

      Aspect Ratio



      Super Fine






      4592 x 3056





      4592 x 3056





      3872 x 2592





      3008 x 2000





      1920 x 1280




      1.4M (Burst)

      1472 x 976






      4592 x 2584





      3872 x 2176





      3008 x 1688





      1920 x 1080






      3056 x 3056





      2592 x 2592





      2000 x 2000





      1280 x 1280




      As with the NX10, the NX11 records HD video clips at 1280 x 720 pixels, using the H.264 compression and MP4 codec. Soundtracks are recorded monaurally using the AAC format.

      SD video recording is available at VGA and QVGA resolution and all video modes have a frame rate of 30 fps. The maximum clip length is 25 minutes and recording will stop when the size of the movie file reaches 4GB. The table below shows typical video clip sizes with a 4GB memory card.


      Frame rate

      Total video capacity with 4GB card

      1280 x 720

      30 fps

      60 minutes

      1 hour 28 minutes

      640 x 480

      30 fps

      2 hours 56 minutes

      4 hours 24 minutes

      320 x 240

      30 fps

      9 hours 40 minutes

      14 hours

      In Movie mode you can choose between the Program and Aperture priority AE shooting modes. The former adjusts aperture and shutter speed settings automatically while the latter lets the user adjust the lens aperture with the navigation wheel. (The aperture can’t be re-adjusted after shooting begins.)

      Four Fader options are available for in-camera scene transitions: Off, In (fade in), Out and In-Out. You can’t control the speed or duration of the fade, which occurs over a period of roughly four seconds, with fade-ins beginning to show a picture about two seconds after the shutter button has been pressed to initiate recording.

      The same menu page also contains a Wind Cut filter and a Voice recording mode. Both can be turned on or off but provide no intermediate adjustments. Recording is initiated and stopped by pressing the shutter button.

      Playback and Software
      Nothing has changed since the NX100 and options are covered in our review of this camera. The new camera provides a wide range of playback settings, including basic editing functions such as red-eye and backlight correction plus the ability to add five filter effects or choose from eight Photo Styles. Edited images are saved separately with different file names.

      The software bundle includes Samsung’s Intelli-studio, a fairly basic image and video organiser, viewer and editing application that only works with JPEGs, plus Samsung Raw Converter 4.0. The latter is based on the Silkypix application developed by the Ichikawa Soft Laboratory.

      Our Imatest tests were carried out on the NX11 body with the relatively new 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens, which supports the i-Function adjustments. Pictures straight out of the review camera were quite sharp with a reasonable amount of detail recorded in both JPEGs and SRW.RAW files.

      However, tonal subtlety – particularly in JPEG files – wasn’t quite up to the standards set by Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony DSLRs, even at entry level. Bright highlights tended to blow out in even overcast conditions. Skin tones in many shots had a slightly ‘chalky’ appearance reminiscent of very slight posterisation. Raw files were better, although still not as clear as files from other cameras.

      Imatest showed resolution to be at or above expectations for a 14-megapixel with both JPEG and SRW.RAW files that were converted into 16-bit TIFF files with Adobe Camera Raw. However, saturation levels were high for both file types, with JPEGs a little higher than we commonly find with the latest compact digicams. Most boosting took place in the red/orange section of the spectrum, which may account (at least partly) for the relatively poor skin tones produced in our tests.

      Resolution held up well across the camera’s ISO range, with JPEG files coming in a little below SRW.RAW files, as expected, although not a huge gap between them. The graph below shows the results of our tests across the camera’s sensitivity range.


      Very little noise was visible in high ISO shots, right up to ISO 3200 with flash. For long exposures, both pattern and colour noise could be seen in shots taken at ISO 3200 but neither was obvious at ISO 1600.

      Applying long-exposure noise-reduction processing softened images slightly but this was only evident at ISO settings of above 800. High ISO noise-reduction appeared to have little effect on image quality but visibly softened shots taken at ISO 3200.

      Autofocusing speeds were variable. In bright lighting, where it was easy to locate well-defined contrast boundaries within the subject, focusing was fast and accurate – as long as the closest subject was more than about half a metre from the lens.

      Focusing slowed noticeably in dim lighting and with subjects where contrast was relatively subtle and we found it almost impossible to focus on fuzzy subjects, such as the tips of grasses and furry animals. Use of the Macro mode in the Scene sub-menu was required to focus closer than about half a metre and focusing was relatively slow.

      Auto white balance performance was similar to most APS-C DSLR s we’ve reviewed. Shots taken under incandescent lighting retained a warm cast, while shots taken with fluorescent lighting were close to cast-free.

      For both lighting types, the pre-sets slightly over-corrected colours but the manual measurement system delivered a neutral colour balance. Plenty of in-camera adjustments are provided for tweaking images as you shoot and white balance bracketing of +/- three levels in one-step increments is available for dealing with tricky lighting.

      HD video from the review camera was mostly clear and colour accurate as long as the lighting wasn’t too contrasty and subjects moved slowly and steadily. Some colour aberrations were found in clips recorded in contrasty lighting but we found little evidence of the rolling shutter effect that plagues many cameras with CMOS sensors.

      The AF system had trouble keeping up with fast-moving subjects and there was a lag of almost one second between when the shutter button was pressed and when recording actually began. Many clips were cut short slightly before the recording ended. It often took several seconds before the buffer memory was cleared, particularly with clips longer than about a minute.

      Our timing tests were conducted with a 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-1 card, the fastest card the camera could use. The review camera powered up in just under half a second and shot-to-shot intervals averaged 1.3 seconds without flash and 3.1 seconds with.

      In the still capture modes, we measured an average capture lag of 0.1 seconds when the viewfinder was used for shot composition and 0.4 seconds with the Live View mode. Pre-focusing reduced both lag times to less than 0.1 seconds.

      Image files are processed more rapidly than they were in the NX10. It took 1.9 seconds to process a JPEG file, 3.4 seconds for each RAW file and 3.9 seconds for each RAW+JPEG pair. The camera freezes while files are being processed.

      In the Continuous mode, we recorded seven Large/Fine JPEG frames in 1.9 seconds, after which capture rates slowed noticeably as the buffer was cleared. This equates to roughly three frames/second, which matches the specifications. It took 7.6 seconds to process this burst.

      In the high-speed burst mode, the camera recorded 30 JPEG frames in one second, each frame with a resolution of 1472 x 976 pixels. It took 8.4 seconds to process this burst.

      On swapping to raw file capture, the review camera was able to record four SRW.RAW frames in one second. It took 8.3 seconds to process this burst. Four frames was also the limit for RAW+JPEG files, where the camera also met the four frames/second capture rate. It took 10.4 seconds to process this burst.

      Buy this camera if:
      – You want a compact SLR-like, interchangeable-lens digital camera that represents good value for money.
      – You’d like an easy-to-use control suite.
      – You require a built-in flash plus the ability to accept external flash units.
      – You’d like to be able to shoot high-resolution still pictures plus HD video clips.
      – You want adequate battery life.

      Don’t buy this camera if:
      – You require fast autofocusing for all shooting conditions.
      – You require a wide range of interchangeable lenses.
      JPEG image files


      Raw image files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.




      Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


      Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


      30-second exposure at ISO 100; 24mm focal length, f/3.8.


      15-second exposure at ISO 800; 24mm focal length, f/4.


      10-second exposure at ISO 1600; 24mm focal length, f/4.3.


      10-second exposure at ISO 3200; 24mm focal length, f/6.3.


      Flash exposure at ISO 100; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 800; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 1600; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      Flash exposure at ISO 3200; 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at f/7.1.


      The inherent high contrast with the Standard setting produces blown-out highlights, even on overcast days;


      Skin tones; 50-200mm lens at 200mm; ISO 800, 1/400 second at f/5.6.


      Skin tones; 50-200mm lens at 200mm; ISO 400, 1/250 second at f/5.6.


      20-50mm lens at 50mm; ISO 100, 1/80 second at f/5.6.


      Panorama mode;28mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/320 second at f/4.


      Still frames from 720p video clips.


      Still frames from VGA video clips.

      Note: Additional images can be found in our review of the Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.




      Image sensor: 23.4 x 15.6 mm CMOS sensor with 15.1 million photosites (14.6 megapixels effective)
      A/D processing: 12-bit
      Lens mount: Samsung NX Mount
      Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
      Image formats: Stills -SRW.RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.21), RAW+JPEG; Movies – MP4 (H.264) with AAC audio (monaural)
      Image Sizes: Stills – RAW: 4592 x 3056; JPEG: 3:2 – 4592 x 3056, 3872 x 2592, 3008 x 2000, 1920 x 1280, 1472 x 976 (burst mode only); 16:9 – 4592 x 2584, 3872 x 2176, 3008 x 1688, 1920 x 1080; 1:1 – 3056 x 3056, 2592 x 2592, 2000 x 2000, 1280 x 1280; Movies: 1280 x 720 (default), 640 x 480, 320 x 240 all at 30 fps
      Image Stabilisation: Lens Shift (depends on lens)
      Dust removal: Supersonic vibration of low-pass filter
      Shutter speed range: 1/4000 sec – 30 sec (1/3EV or 1/2EV step) plus Bulb (max. 8 minutes)
      Exposure Compensation: +/- 3EV in 1/3 and 1/2EV steps
      Exposure bracketing: 3 frames across +/- 3EV
      Self-timer: 2-30 seconds delay selectable in increments of one step
      Focus system: Contrast AF with 1-point (free selection), Multi (Normal: 15 points, Close Up: 35 points), Face Detection (Max. 10 faces)
      Focus modes: Single AF, Continuous AF, MF
      Exposure metering: TTL 247-segment (19 x 13) metering with Multi, Centre-weighted, Spot modes; Metering range: EV 0-18
      Shooting modes: Smart Auto, P, A, S, M plus Night, Portrait, Landscape, Scene (Beauty Shot, Children, Close-up, Text, Sunset, Dawn, Backlight, Fireworks, Beach & Snow), Movie
      Picture Style/Control settings: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Custom (1-3)
      Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (1EV or 1/3EV steps)
      White balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (W/ N/ D), Tungsten, Flash, Custom, K (Manual); adjustable in 7 steps in Amber/Blue and Green/Magenta axes; WB bracketing also supported
      Flash: TTL Auto Pop-up flash (GN 11/ISO100) with Smart Flash, Auto, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, 1st and 2nd Synch and Off modes; hot-shoe provided for accessory flash units; max. synch speed 1/180 sec.
      Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 1.2EV steps
      Sequence shooting: 3 fps for up to 3 RAW or 6 JPEG; Burst mode: max. 30 shots at 30 fps at 1472 x 976 pixels
      Storage Media: SD and SDHC cards
      Viewfinder: EVF with VGA resolution (921,000 dots equivalent); Approx. 100% FOV, Approx. 0.86x magnification, 20.2mm eye relief, approx. -4.0 – +2.0 dioptre adjustment
      LCD monitor: 3.0-inch AMOLED display with 614,000 dots (PenTile) and wide viewing angle
      Data LCD: No
      Playback functions: Single-frame, Index (3/9/20 images), Slide show, Movie; Highlight warning available; Editing functions: Red eye fix, Back light comp., Photo Style Selector, Resize, Rotate, Face Retouch, Smart Filter
      Interface terminals: USO 2.0, HDMI 1.3, AV-out (PAL/NTSC), external release available; geotagging with optional WGS84 module
      Power supply: BP1310 (1300 mAh) rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 400 shots or 200 minutes of video playback
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 123 x 87 x 39.8 mm (body only)
      Weight: 353 grams (without battery and card)





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      Rating (out of 10):

      • Build: 8.5
      • Ease of use: 9.0
      • Autofocusing: 7.5
      • Image quality: JPEG – 8.5; RAW – 8.8
      • Video quality: 8.0
      • OVERALL: 8.5