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Samsung's most expensive digital camera, the new NX20, boasts the same huge megapixel count as the NX210 and the NX200 before it, but resides in a larger, supposedly more "professional" body. This is also one of the first enthusiast level cameras to feature WiFi connectivity, as Samsung—despite our collective eye-rolling—continues to push this technology even more aggressively in 2012.

Here in the office, we sometimes regard high-end Samsung cameras as comprehensive, but not quite cohesive. All the technology is there, but the end-result may not feel like a specialized tool for photography. In other words: there's reading a recipe book, and then there's cooking. So, is the NX20 a complete meal? Let's find out....

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Box Photo

• Samsung NX20 digital camera

• 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens

• lens hood

• neck strap

• wall socket battery adapter

• power cable

• USB cable

• user manual

• software CD-ROM

• warranty information

The NX20 ships with Samsung's NX series 18-55mm zoom lens, a very typical kit configuration. Lenses of this type are distinguished by the "iFunction" button, a customizable feature that commandeers the focus ring for control over other settings like aperture or exposure compensation. Action of the kit lens is not smooth, and feels like plastic rubbing on plastic. The stickiness of the zoom ring makes it difficult to rotate slowly or without vibration.

The lens mount is very sturdy, much more so than the lens itself feels. We consider the NX family of lenses to be of slightly below average comprehensiveness. We award less points for the NX mount than we do for other industry offerings such as Micro Four Thirds, Pentax's K mount, Sony's Alpha mount, and especially the extensive F and EF mounts from Nikon and Canon. That being said, the NX family covers most of the bases, including for glass for macros, portraits, some telephoto options, and a few pancakes. Sadly, a super wide angle lens is missing from the lineup at this time.

The huge APS-C is responsible for much of this camera's cost. Even for a large sensor, megapixel count is very high at 20.3. As we've said before, the extra resolution won't necessarily make shots sharper, but the ability to crop in and still retain detail will be better than some competitors.

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Convergence areas of different sensor sizes compared

The electronic viewfinder is darker and less accurate than the rear display, but we love the automatic face sensor which turns the EVF on or off depending on whether you're looking through it or not. Sadly the eyepiece is not very comfortable, and you'll need to really keep your head in the right place to see through it correctly. An easy to use diopter adjustment wheel is located on the left side of the eyepiece.

A gorgeous AMOLED monitor takes up most of the rear panel. This is a swing-out, rotating display that's plenty bright, has minimal delay, and renders color accurately to the final image. Viewing angle is wide but, like too many Samsung products, reflectivity is a problem in daylight.

The NX20's very bright internal flash has a guide number of 11 at ISO 100, and the enclosure deploys either automatically based on settings or manually via an electronic release on the left side. Recycle time is very quick, and a variety of synchronization options are available.

Flash Photo

The bright flash emitter can deploy automatically or via an electronic release.

A microHDMI port for output to an HDTV is housed underneath a sturdy door on the right side of the body, as is a USB terminal, however it is proprietary. Charging the battery cannot be accomplished with the USB port, thus charging directly from a computer is impossible.

A hot shoe mount is also included for use with supplemental flash or other accessories. It's located at the peak of the camera, above the EVF and straddled by the flash arm. Pretty standard stuff.

Samsung did not publish CIPA battery test results for this camera, but instead revealed the results of their own in-house testing method. This kind of thing sets off red flags for us, but after using the camera for a few weeks, we can confidently call the NX20's battery life "excellent." And who knows, their bold claim of 360 consecutive shots may even be true.

Battery Photo

Samsung doesn't provide CIPA ratings, but this battery had outstanding longevity.

Although color accuracy is merely passable, the combination of a high quality kit lens and impressive sensor results in remarkably sharp images with wide dynamic range. The noise reduction algorithm is functional but not overly aggressive, and keeps many shots usable well into the highest sensitivities. It's hard to take an ugly shot with the Samsung NX20.

To our surprise and delight, the Samsung NX20, when paired with the 18-55mm kit lens, is one of the sharpest cameras of the year. And that's saying a lot, we've seen some incredible, record-setting performers already in 2012.

Admittedly, a healthy dose of software edge enhancement is in use here, producing some fairly noticeable haloing in high contrast areas. However the effect is by no means extreme, like we might see in a lower quality camera. Raw sharpness figures regularly exceeded 2400 MTF50s, especially at the middle focal length. On very rare occasions we observed detail dropping below 1000, however these results were limited to the very edges of the frame, and just as often we observed detail spikes above 2700 or even 2800.

This is overall an extremely impressive performance, especially for a kit zoom lens. It's easy for manufacturers to get away with cheap kit glass, especially as we near the high end of the lineup. Thankfully, Samsung has done no such thing. More on how we test sharpness.

Science Section 3 Images

Optical image stabilization resides inside many of the NX system lenses, with no in-camera technique available. The kit lens' stabilization absolutely mastered our horizontal testing scenario, resulting in nearly a 60% improvement to detail resolution. Best of all, test shots from the control group weren't particularly unsharp to begin with, so stabilization merely turns acceptable shots to excellent ones. We tested Samsung's "Mode 1" setting, which stabilizes only when the shutter is depressed halfway. Mode 2 is useful for precision framing at long zoom.

Color accuracy is above average, but not one of the NX20's best features. Our test returned an error value of only 2.89, a little bit ahead of the 3.00 median, with errors restricted almost exclusively to yellows and reds. This could cause human subjects to appear very slightly unnatural, but most other subjects and shades should be fine. Saturation, thankfully, is decent too: over by only 2.3%. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

Color scores are almost the same as the Samsung NX200, suggesting an identical sensor, identical software, or both. Each camera is ahead of the Olympus E-M5, but for the most accurate camera in this segment, look to the Nikon V1, one of the most accurate cameras we've ever tested.

The most accurate color mode is actually a tie between two of them, Standard (which was used for the remainder of our tests) and Landscape. Samsung refers to these as Picture Wizard settings and there are 11 more available, including three custom slots, as well as an Off setting. We recommend sticking with Standard.

The NX20's white balance algorithm is unremarkable, and exhibits the same tendencies we've seen time and time again from countless cameras.

Automatic White Balance ()

The automatic system tends to underestimate color temperature. Incandescent tungsten lighting conditions produce the worst results, as they often do, this time by an average of approximately 1000 degrees Kelvin. Fluorescent light returned errors of only 400 degrees Kelvin on average, and daylight is by far the most desirable source of illumination, producing errors of only 250 degrees Kelvin.

Custom White Balance ()

Using custom white balance, it's possible to achieve almost the same accuracy in the worst lighting conditions as the automatic algorithm can manage in the best. Tungsten light is now only subject to errors 300 K, fluorescent light is off by only 180 K, and daylight minimizes errors to only 55 K. Again, nearly all white balance errors were on the warm side.

Seven white balance presets are available, including three different varieties of fluorescent and a setting for the built in flash. Direct entry in degrees Kelvin is also possible, and advanced settings like these are even available quickly from the Function menu.

Shots captured with the NX20 are generally free of image noise at low and moderate ISO levels. We were happy to find that—even without reduction software—noise levels do not cross 1.00% until ISO 6400. Chroma and luminance noise make up a fairly even share of the total noise, and ultimately this manifests as pixelation at low ISOs and color splotching at the top end. More on how we test noise.

Science Section 2 Images

ISO sensitivities extend from 100 to 12800 and no reduced resolution extended options are available. As mentioned above, auto-ISO can meter up to 3200, with options to limit the system to a maximum of 1600, 800, 400, or even 200. Another menu option unlocks 1/3-step ISO levels like 125 and 160.

The NX20 offers excellent dynamic range. We detected usable data across a maximum of 9.65 stops at ISO 100, and 9.41 stops at ISO 200. As always, dynamic range slowly drops off from there: 8 stops at ISO 400, 6 stops at 800, nearly 5 stops at 1600, and so on. Range levels off at around 4 stops between ISO 1600 and 6400, and finally 2.89 stops of dynamic range is possible at maximum sensitivity.

In practice, dynamic range will be excellent until ISO 400, and acceptable at 800. Beyond that, highlights and shadows will start to appear limited and unnatural. More on how we test dynamic range.

In this segment of the market, only the expensive Sony NEX-7—a camera known for its dynamic range—offers better performance than the NX20. Both the Nikon V1 and Olympus E-M5 lag way behind. Scores were also much better than Samsung's own NX200, making dynamic range one of the key reasons to invest in the larger, pricier NX20.

Shots captured with the NX20 are generally free of image noise at low and moderate ISO levels. We were happy to find that—even without reduction software—noise levels do not cross 1.00% until ISO 6400. Chroma and luminance noise make up a fairly even share of the total noise, and ultimately this manifests as pixelation at low ISOs and color splotching at the top end. More on how we test noise.

ISO sensitivities extend from 100 to 12800 and no reduced resolution extended options are available. As mentioned above, auto-ISO can meter up to 3200, with options to limit the system to a maximum of 1600, 800, 400, or even 200. Another menu option unlocks 1/3-step ISO levels like 125 and 160.

We haven't yet started to score our new focus test, but we are performing the test on all future cameras to develop a baseline. The NX20 wasn't faster than average, but did perform as expected in both 40 lux and 10 lux lighting conditions, with no errors or false locks at all.

In order to gather 50 IRE of image data the NX20 requires at least 26 lux of ambient illumination. That's decent for a camera but no match for any respectable camcorder. Again, the NX20 is not suited to low light videos.

If you're using the kit lens, chromatic aberration is observable at any focal length, however the problem is worst close-up at 18mm. This type of distortion is limited to the edges of the frame, and is illustrated clearly in the crops below. Roughly half (or less) fringing can be found at other focal lengths, so thankfully the longest zoom ratio is not subject to the same issue.

Distortion correction is easily accessed from the main menu, but with this feature turned off barrel and pincushion distortion can dramatically affect shots captured with the kit lens. At 18mm, 2.62% barrel distortion can be somewhat distracting, however the problem isn't quite as bad at 35mm and 55mm, where you'll see 1.60% and 1.99% pincushion distortion respectively.

Moving subjects are handled beautifully in videos captured with the NX20. Contrast trailing is nonexistent, so is artifacting, and the footage is generally very smooth. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

Just like we saw with the Fujifilm X-Pro1, which deliberately omitted a low-pass filter to improve resolution, the NX20 suffers from extremely distracting moire when shooting patterned scenes. And just like X-Pro1, if you can stomach this effect than you'll end with some pretty sharp video footage. Both horizontally and vertically, the sensor can achieve 500 lw/ph of detail under full studio illumination. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

To our surprise, dropping the illumination down to 60 lux resulted in no loss of detail resolution. The sensor was still capable of 500 lw/ph both vertically and horizontally. Unfortunately, in addition to the moire, this time some severe artifacting was introduced. A poor tradeoff in our opinion. Don't use the Samsung NX20 for low light videography.

In order to gather 50 IRE of image data the NX20 requires at least 26 lux of ambient illumination. That's decent for a camera but no match for any respectable camcorder. Again, the NX20 is not suited to low light videos.

Samsung's inexperience with prosumer cameras is revealed by a few minor control quirks and departures from the norm, however the camera is comfortable, quick, and a lot of fun to shoot with.

Although we spent most of our time in the priority modes or Program Auto, a fully automatic Smart mode resides on the dial, and is helpful for handing your camera off to a beginner when necessary. This is a scene-detecting mode, and the camera will automatically compensate for various elements of the frame it's able to detect, including faces, landscapes, twilight, macro subjects, camera shake, or the use of a tripod.

Buttons layout is, unfortunately, one of those ways in which Samsung includes all the proper ingredients, but doesn't quite make them come together cohesively. For example, we love combination directional pads / rotating dials, but Samsung's is a little too small, and we didn't give it much use. Samsung's command dial is also too small and doesn't have enough grip, plus it's located on the top plate instead of the back, so you'll need to use your index finger instead of your thumb. Small issues like these aren't so bad by themselves, but together they show the difference between seasoned, specialist manufacturers, and those playing catch-up.

16 scene presets are available from the appropriate spot on the mode dial, and these include typical options like Landscape, Portrait, Children, Panorama, Sports, Sunset, Dawn, Text, Fireworks, etc. For more dramatic changes, Samsung's Smart Filter functionality can overlay effects like Vignetting, Miniature, Fish Eye, Sketch, Defog, Halftone Dots, and more. Unfortunately, Smart Filter cannot be used in conjunction with the Picture Wizard (Samsung's version of color modes), which you'll need to achieve the best accuracy.

The NX20's main menu is designed well, it's a horizontal tab-based system, with up to three sub-menus on each tab so you can always see each page's complete set of options without scrolling down. The tabs are neither color-coded nor customizable, but some moderately-clear icons serve as navigational markers.

When you're in a hurry, the quick Function menu allows quick configuration of the most common variables, and can be jogged without leaving this screen by using the command dial on the top plate.

We only have minor complaints about the NX20's menu system. Although the design is functional, cosmetically it doesn't appear quite as professional as competitors, as if the camera is targeting a slightly younger audience. This leads to a second problem: the menu animates more than it needs to, slowing down the process and introducing some lag. While responsiveness is nowhere near as poor as many point-and-shoot cameras, for $1000 we expect the interface to keep up with our fast inputs.

Printed user manuals in English and Spanish ship with the NX20. They're not very detailed, but they do include tables of contents and indices in the back. The electronic version of the manual, included on a CD-ROM or available from Samsung's website, includes additional tips for beginner photographers, such as how the aperture works, or focal length versus depth of field, etc.

The larger body means handling the NX20 is much more comfortable than Samsung's slim profile NX cameras. The front of the chassis features a protruding right hand grip, which is rubberized all the way around. A lip at the top of this area gives the index finger something to push up against, so control is precise and accurate both horizontally and vertically.

Handling Photo 1

Handling is very comfortable thanks to large ergonomic areas on the front panel.

On the rear panel, there's a sticky rubber thumb rest, with plenty of real estate to prevent accidentally wandering onto the adjacent hotkeys for AEL and EV. The thumb comes to rest naturally in this area, and lips to the bottom and right keep it there comfortably.

Handling Photo 2

The rear thumb rest is large and the designers have place it in an ideal spot (something that's becoming a lost art these days).

Buttons layout is, unfortunately, one of those ways in which Samsung includes all the proper ingredients, but doesn't quite make them come together cohesively. For example, we love combination directional pads / rotating dials, but Samsung's is a little too small, and we didn't give it much use. Samsung's command dial is also too small and doesn't have enough grip, plus it's located on the top plate instead of the back, so you'll need to use your index finger instead of your thumb. Small issues like these aren't so bad by themselves, but together they show the difference between seasoned, specialist manufacturers, and those playing catch-up.

Buttons Photo 1

We would've preferred a much larger command dial, and wouldn't have placed it on the top.

Imperfections aside, there's plenty to like about the NX20's control scheme. The shutter release is shallow but has excellent tactile feedback, while a number of well-placed shortcut keys speed up creative control, these include dedicated buttons for AE-Lock, exposure compensation, metering, and a green "reset" button that returns shooting variables to the camera's best guess. The full sized mode dial is nice and thick, but it's loose enough to turn accidentally in a bag.

Buttons Photo 2

The rotating directional pad is a little thin for our big thumbs.

A gorgeous AMOLED monitor takes up most of the rear panel. This is a swing-out, rotating display that's plenty bright, has minimal delay, and renders color accurately to the final image. Viewing angle is wide but, like too many Samsung products, reflectivity is a problem in daylight.

The electronic viewfinder is darker and less accurate than the rear display, but we love the automatic face sensor which turns the EVF on or off depending on whether you're looking through it or not. Sadly the eyepiece is not very comfortable, and you'll need to really keep your head in the right place to see through it correctly. An easy to use diopter adjustment wheel is located on the left side of the eyepiece.

Optical image stabilization resides inside many of the NX system lenses, with no in-camera technique available. The kit lens' stabilization absolutely mastered our horizontal testing scenario, resulting in nearly a 60% improvement to detail resolution. Best of all, test shots from the control group weren't particularly unsharp to begin with, so stabilization merely turns acceptable shots to excellent ones. We tested Samsung's "Mode 1" setting, which stabilizes only when the shutter is depressed halfway. Mode 2 is useful for precision framing at long zoom.

The NX20 features full PASM shooting (for a thousand bucks it better) plus a custom mode, and additional dedicated modes for video, scene presets, WiFi, and even a "Lens Priority" mode that emphasizes the "i-Function" feature on NX lenses.

Samsung has included comprehensive manual control, leaving room for only the most specific complaints. Bulb mode, for example, is only accessible in manual, and the shutter cannot be released without a lens attached. Pretty trivial stuff.

Manual focus is much better than many systems cameras, despite the kit lens' "focus by wire" method, rather than mechanically coupled manual control. The motor is precise and responsive, so between this and the nearly lag-free EVF or LED monitor, the system feels just like mechanical manual in most situations.

We haven't yet started to score our new focus test, but we are performing the test on all future cameras to develop a baseline. The NX20 wasn't faster than average, but did perform as expected in both 40 lux and 10 lux lighting conditions, with no errors or false locks at all.

Samsung departs here slightly when it comes to focus modes. Face detection is supported, but other than that, only automatic Multi AF or Selection AF are supported. We don't mind the change, since Selection defaults to the middle and essentially replaces Center AF. Our only problem is the relative imprecision of the Selection AF mode, which uses large zones instead of points. Focusing on a subject's face, for example, is easy; but focusing specifically on their eyes is challenging.

If autofocus isn't cutting it, manual focus varies from lens to lens. The kit lens, for example, uses focus by wire, and it works moderately well. However the 85mm NX portrait lens uses mechanical manual focus, a much better solution. Manual focus assist zoom can be set to 5x, 7x, or neither; and an electronic focus accuracy meter is also available.

Five resolution options are available in the standard 3:2 aspect ratio, and four resolution options each are available for 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios. JPEG compression quality may be set to Normal, Fine, or SuperFine. RAW encoding is available for the very best image quality, and the NX20 is also capable of storing a RAW file plus a JPEG at your choice of compression simultaneously.

Inside the NX20's extensive drive mode menu you'll find options for high speed and low speed full resolution bursts, a faster reduced resolution burst, customizable self-timer, and bracketing of exposure, white balance, or Picture Wizard modes. This camera's ability to shoot at 8 frames per second has been one of the most advertised features, so we were excited to test out this capability for ourselves.

Strangely, the camera is actually slower while shooting JPEG images. We clocked the NX20 at only 7.5 frames per second using JPEG compression, yet that figured climbed up to 7.98 frames per second in RAW. Usually things are the other way around. The buffer fills up after 11 shots at the most while shooting JPEG, and 8 shots in RAW.

The reduced resolution burst most is faster at 10 frames per second, however this locks photos to only 2 megapixels.

The NX20 does not feature an automatic interval timer, and the self-timer's countdown may be customized but not the number of shots. This was annoying for our testing purposes since we prefer a two-second countdown with two shots, but this cannot be automated with the NX20. Countdowns of anywhere between two and thirty seconds are allowed.

We haven't yet started to score our new focus test, but we are performing the test on all future cameras to develop a baseline. The NX20 wasn't faster than average, but did perform as expected in both 40 lux and 10 lux lighting conditions, with no errors or false locks at all.

Samsung departs here slightly when it comes to focus modes. Face detection is supported, but other than that, only automatic Multi AF or Selection AF are supported. We don't mind the change, since Selection defaults to the middle and essentially replaces Center AF. Our only problem is the relative imprecision of the Selection AF mode, which uses large zones instead of points. Focusing on a subject's face, for example, is easy; but focusing specifically on their eyes is challenging.

If autofocus isn't cutting it, manual focus varies from lens to lens. The kit lens, for example, uses focus by wire, and it works moderately well. However the 85mm NX portrait lens uses mechanical manual focus, a much better solution. Manual focus assist zoom can be set to 5x, 7x, or neither; and an electronic focus accuracy meter is also available.

This will surely be the NX20's weakest area. Samsung is banking on WiFi as their unique feature and we just do not see the point. But other than that, the feature set is good: video control is better than average, and burst speeds are actually faster in RAW than they are in JPEG.

16 scene presets are available from the appropriate spot on the mode dial, and these include typical options like Landscape, Portrait, Children, Panorama, Sports, Sunset, Dawn, Text, Fireworks, etc. For more dramatic changes, Samsung's Smart Filter functionality can overlay effects like Vignetting, Miniature, Fish Eye, Sketch, Defog, Halftone Dots, and more. Unfortunately, Smart Filter cannot be used in conjunction with the Picture Wizard (Samsung's version of color modes), which you'll need to achieve the best accuracy.

WiFi Connectivity

Samsung was really the first company to start featuring WiFi in cameras that were any good. Previously this was a technology reserved for inexpensive point-and-shoots, presumably to distract from limited image quality. But the NX20 has great image quality, so we're really not sure why Samsung is continuing to push this technology across the rest of its product line. Perhaps they're feeling the pressure from mobile devices and apps like Instagram?

Either way, we don't see the relevance of WiFi in digital cameras, and that's mostly because it has never worked very well. We've rarely been able to get the WiFi features of Samsung cameras up and running. And even if that's a problem on our end, at the very least we're certain the process is much slower than simply sticking your memory card in a computer. Listed features such as Remote Viewfinder might have some legitimate applications, but you'll need a little more patience than us to get it working. Buy this camera for the excellent performance, not the WiFi.

H.264 MPEG videos may be captured in up to 1080p resolution at 30 frames per second, and Samsung has also included the uncommon option of 1920x810 resolution at 24 frames per second, as well as 720p, 480p, and 240p. Compression quality is user-definable to either Normal or High Quality. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

The NX20 goes out of its way to add versatility and manual control to the video mode. All four PASM shooting modes are available within video mode, and the associated variables may be adjusted on the fly while a recording is in progress. Using the switch on the kit lens, focus mode can also be swapped on the fly—and manual focus applied—all while recording the same clip.

Auto Controls

The camera is fully capable of automating exposure and focus while a recording is in progress, though the continuous autofocus has a tendency to delay for awhile then finally snap to the proper position.

Scene modes cannot be combined with video, the system will simply revert back to its standard recording mode, however digital filter are compatible with video. As you can probably imagine, this leads to plenty of opportunities for fish-eyed footage of your friends or half-toned clips of your dog. Not our cup of tea, but the functionality is there if you want it.

The camera's body has a way of picking up and exaggerating all sounds made by hand-holding, so you'll want to consider a tripod for video applications. The only real audio feature is mute, and no wind-cut functionality is available.

Samsung's NX20 is a sharp, comfortable, all-around excellent camera. We had a ton of fun with it, and scored some gorgeous shots over the past few weeks. Test results were consistent, and we have no problem giving our full recommendation here.

But—and this is a big "but"—here's the thing about Samsung: by the time an average consumer feels ready to spend over one thousand dollars on a camera, we have doubts about them going with a Samsung over the competition, at least in the U.S. The reason why, we're supposing, is because either that consumer doesn't really care about gear, and they'll go with Canon or Nikon out of brand recognition, or they're gear-heads like us and—recognizing the importance of a lens family—will go with Canon or Nikon, or Pentax, or even Sony. Samsung knows this of course and, seeking a "hook" to set their cameras apart, has gone with integrated WiFi.

The problem with WiFi is that it's a huge waste of time. Any photographer who's performed more than five minutes of processing knows that actually getting your shots onto the computer is the easiest, simplest, fastest element of the entire ordeal. It's impossible to sell high-end customers on a gimmick, they're too smart and simply demand a quality photography tool above all else.

Yet, in Samsung's defense, that's exactly what the NX20 is. WiFi can be safely ignored because the rest of the camera is so impressive. Samsung lacks the same experience as some of their competition, and it shows in minor ways, but the NX20 is clearly modeled after a true camera-lover's camera. Manual control is comprehensive, hotkeys and shortcuts are everywhere, and the ergonomic body shape is suited to comfort and stability. We love the bright, sturdy AMOLED monitor that swings out to accommodate difficult angles, and the electronic viewfinder, while imperfect, is still accurate and useful.

The same care has been given to image quality which, plainly, is outstanding. Color accuracy is only adequate but that 18-55mm kit lens is no joke. We recorded some of the sharpest test results of the year and, when combined with this camera's high megapixel sensor, produced stunning levels of detail. Were it not for a bit of software oversharpening, and some fringing at close focal lengths, this camera would've surpassed the entire 2012 field. We also spent some time with Samsung's 60mm macro and 85mm portrait lenses, and although this family is only ten models deep or so, we were very encouraged by the sky-high quality of this glass. The NX series officially has our attention.

The NX20 is also at home in low light. Noise reduction is certainly not without its quirks, so you'll want to read the appropriate page of our review, but in general you shouldn't become distracted by artifacts until ISO 3200 and above. The kit lens' excellent optical stabilizer conspires with outstanding noise performance to enable slower shutter speeds in dimmer light, and the focus system remained accurate and dependable even at only 10 lux.

We do not recommend the NX20 for video applications, or at the very least, advise you to watch out for repeating patterns. Sharpness is fairly strong during video, and sensitivity isn't bad, however moire is a distracting issue that popped up constantly during our testing. In fairness, we deliberately shoot patterns for scoring, so your results may be different than ours. Still, for the price this is a fairly severe limitation.

Ultimately the Samsung NX20 takes up position just behind the excellent Sony NEX-7, and just ahead of the still-impressive Olympus OM-D E-M5, making it one of the best mirrorless cameras of 2012. Believe it or not, $1100 is a fair price for this caliber of camera and in light of the competition. If you're optimistic about the NX lens family (we're believers) then this is a camera that's easily worth buying.

Meet the tester

Christopher Snow

Christopher Snow

Managing Editor

@BlameSnow

Chris was born and raised less than ten miles from our editorial office, and even graduated from nearby Merrimack College. He came to Reviewed after covering the telecom industry, and has been moonlighting as a Boston area dining critic since 2008.

See all of Christopher Snow's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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