Samsung NX500 Review

March 17, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The Samsung NX500 is an affordable new 28 megapixel compact system camera that offers 4k video recording. The rangefinder-like NX500 features a 28.2 megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter, both 4K and UHD video recording, DRIMeVs image processor, 9fps continuous shooting, a 3-inch tilting/flip-up FVGA Super AMOLED touchscreen, ISO range of 100-51200, Auto Focus (AF) System III with 205 Phase Detection AF points and contrast detection, AF speed of just 0.055sec, top shutter speed of 1/6000th second, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, and support for Samsung's unique i-Function lenses. Available in Black, White and Brown, the Samsung NX500 retails for £599.99 / $799.99 with the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS power zoom kit lens. Note that Adobe Lightroom is not supplied with the NX500, as with some Samsung CSCs.

Ease of Use

Samsung have combined the core specs of the flagship NX1 camera with the much more compact, lightweight design of the older NX300 model, which the new NX500 now replaces in Samsung's range of compact system cameras.

First impressions of the NX500 are positive given the relatively modest price tag, with good build quality that we've come to expect from recent Samsung compact system cameras, although most of the buttons are again plastic rather than metal. The Samsung NX500 has a polycarbonate body, a brushed aluminum top plate and a metal lens mount. It has a functional look with a two-tone white and silver colourway on our review sample, sharp edges and a tactile curved handgrip on the front that has a faux-leather textured area which runs around the front and rear of the camera. There's a smaller area on the back with a pronounced raised lip for your thumb to sit.

At 119.5 x 63.6 x 42.5mm the NX500 is about the same size as its predecessor, and the same weight at 287g for the body-only. Once again there's no viewfinder or built-in pop-up flash, and while beginners probably won't notice the lack of an EVF, being more used to holding a camera at arm's length than holding one up to their eye, they will undoubtedly miss having a flash, while the reverse is probably true for more experienced photographers. Flash is provided for by a supplied accessory (SEF-15A) which slots into the hotshoe on top of the camera, but this adds to the bulk of the camera and obviously isn't as well integrated as some of its main rivals. Still, at least you can leave it at home if you don't need it.

We tested the NX500 with the Samsung 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS lens, which has the built-in i-Functionality, a metal mount and more crucially optical stabilisation, important as the NX system doesn't offer in-body stabilisation. It's also smaller and more compact than the 18-55mm kit lens that shipped with the NX300. Samsung's now standard i-Function button is present and correct, an innocuous looking button on the lens barrel which when pressed activates a sub-menu of key options and allows you to change them simply by turning the focus ring. Consecutive presses of the i-Function button moves through the four available settings - shutter speed and/or aperture, ISO, exposure compensation, and white balance.

While the i-Function button does provide a quick way of accessing certain key settings, we can't help feeling that the idea is best suited to a camera with an electronic viewfinder where you can hold it up to your eye, press the button and turn the focus ring with your left hand, and grip the camera with your right. Holding the NX500 at arm's length to view the settings while pressing the i-Function button and rotating the focus ring just seems a little cumbersome, especially when you can also use the rear control wheel to perform the same actions, something that we found ourselves doing by default.

As with all current Samsung cameras, optical image stabilisation is supplied via the lenses, rather than being built-in to the NX500's body. It can be turned on and off either via the OIS menu option, or via a more handy switch on the lens barrel, with two different modes available. When enabled, the NX500 automatically compensates for camera shake, which is a slight blurring of the image that typically occurs at slow shutter speeds when the camera is hand held. In practice we found that it does make a noticeable difference. You don't notice that the NX500 is actually doing anything different when anti-shake is turned on, just that you can use slower shutter speeds than normal and still take sharp photos.

On the front of the Samsung NX500 is a small focus-assist and self-timer indicator lamp, round plastic lens release button, and the metal NX lens mount which protrudes out from front of the camera. Located on the bottom of the camera is the shared SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card slot (note that the NX500 supports UHS-I cards, but not does not include UHS-II) and battery compartment, protected by a plastic lockable cover. The BP1130 (1130mAh) battery provides up to 400 shots under the CIPA testing standard. Note that the NX500 only supports in-camera battery charging via USB, rather than using a separate battery charger. Also found on the bottom of the camera is a metal tripod mount which is commendably located in-line with the centre of the lens.

Samsung NX500
Front of the Samsung NX500

Large metal neck strap eyelets are located on top of the NX500 at the sides, with the left one rather annoyingly located on the actual grip, which digs into your forefinger a little when pressing the shutter button. The rear is dominated by the tilting 3 inch AMOLED screen. On the right hand side of the body is a plastic cover that houses a USB 2.0 port and an HDMI port for connecting the NX500 to a HD television or monitor. The USB port can be used as a remote socket for use with the SR2NX02 remote shutter release.

The NX500 uses the same built-in dust-removal system as the original NX100 and NX10 models, which vibrates the sensor 60,000 times per second to remove any unwanted specks from appearing in your images. By default this feature is turned off, something of an oversight by Samsung, so make sure to enable it so that it works every time you start-up the camera (it only takes about one second). You can also perform a manual sensor clean at any point.

The NX500 has a hot-shoe that will accept compatible Samsung flashguns. Also found on top of the NX500 are two microphone ports for the stereo sound and a larger one for the built-in speaker, a small rotating dial for setting the shutter speed and zooming into and out of images during playback, a tactile shutter button encircled by the on/off switch, and a new Auto-Exposure Lock (AEL) button.

The renamed Mobile button can be configured to quickly access the camera's wireless connectivity options. By default it accesses the built-in wi-fi, with an array of options available. Users can email their images, upload them directly to Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket and YouTube, or instantly copy them to a home PC via Auto Backup. Samsung’s AllShare Play and Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud services provide free storage space that's accessible by anyone with an account. MobileLink allows you to directly send images to a compatible smartphone or tablet, while Remote Viewfinder utilises a smartphone as a live image previewer. Finally TV Link takes the place of a physical HDMI connection by playing back photos on any device that's connected to the same wireless access point as the camera.

The NX500 also follows in the footsteps of the flagship NX1 by featuring built-in Bluetooth 3.0, which although slower than wi-fi to transfer files, is a lot simply to establish a connection with another device. The NX500 also supports NFC (Near Field Communication) technology (the same technology that's used for mobile payments), which allows you to connect it to a compatible internet enabled device or another NFC-enabled camera by simply tapping them together.

There's a traditional round shooting mode dial with a positive click for the different exposure modes located on the far-right, which is a typical feature of DSLR cameras and enables you to quickly change between the various options. The usual selection of Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual are available for the more experienced photographers, the more beginner-friendly Smart Auto and SAS (Samsung Auto Shot) modes are also accessed via this dial, and a new C customizable preset shooting mode.

Samsung NX500
Rear of the Samsung NX500

Smart Auto is Samsung's equivalent of the intelligent auto modes now found on most competitors models. You simply point the NX500 at a scene or subject and the camera hopefully recognizes it from 16 commonly used presets and automatically adjusts its settings to deliver optimum results. This means that it's not necessary for the user to manually delve into scene modes to call up the likes of 'landscape' or 'flower', essentially making the NX500's operation merely a case of point and shoot.

In practice the Smart Auto system works very well, with the NX500 usually picking the most appropriate combination of settings for the current situation. Obviously not all situations are covered by the scene modes that the system uses, but it does work for the majority of the time. It makes it possible for the less experienced photographer to easily take well-exposed, sharp pictures of people, scenery and close-ups by simply pointing and shooting the camera and is more intuitive than the traditional scene modes (which are still available via the Smart Scene option).

The NX500 can record both 4K (4096x2160 at 24p) and Ultra HD (UHD) (3820x2160 at 30p) video that's saved on to the SD card, rather than having to be connected to an external storage device, as on some compact system cameras, plus there's full HD 1080p 1920x1080 at 60/50/25/24fps.

Unlike the NX1, however, the 4K mode is achieved by cropping the middle 60% of the image from the camera's 6.5K sensor, which drastically changes the effective focal length of the attached lens, instantly making it more telephoto. What's more, the NX500 doesn't have a dedicated Movie shooting mode, so it won't display the 4K crop in live view until you press the Delete button to access the Movie Standby mode, and as it's name suggests, you have to press this button every time you want to record a 4K movie (if you need the preview). The NX500 should really just display the right view if 4K is selected without having to require such regular intervention by the user.

The NX500 uses the brand new H.265 HEVC Codec, which runs at 40Mbps and compresses video to half the size and bit rate of H.264 footage at 100Mbps without compromising on the quality, but comes at the cost of compatibility issues with some services e.g. YouTube, and currently can only be natively edited using Samsung's software. There are two compression options, Normal and HQ, with the NX's Pro setting notably missing, which means that the NX500 has a maximum bitrate of just under 50Mbit/s.

Samsung NX500
Top of the Samsung NX500

The mini-HDMI socket provides a clean 1080p output, but sadly not also 4K, although you can at least stream 1080p whilst recording 4K. Stereo sound is recorded during video capture via the small internal mics on the top of of the camera, complete with an onscreen Audio Level Meter and adjustable input levels, but notably there's no standard 3.5mm microphone input for higher quality audio capture or a headphone jack, which will almost certainly push pro videographers to the NX1.

The NX500's movie mode offers full control over ISO speed, metering, white balance, timer settings and exposure during video recording via the Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual shooting modes, and all of the various Smart Filters and Picture Wizard settings can be applied (and the selective color options too). Multi-Motion recording can either slow down (by 0.5x or 0.25x) or speed up (by 5x, 10x or 20x) the video, the quality can be set to Normal or High. Three auto-focus modes are available - single, continuous and manual - and there are three manual focus assist options to help you achieve accurate focusing. Finally, the optical image stabiliser also works for video recording as well as stills.

The NX500's 3-inch, 1037k-dot rear LCD touchscreen is also very impressive, incorporating AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology that provides a number of key advantages over traditional LCD screens. These include easier viewing in bright sunshine and a very wide viewing angle, 10,000 times faster refresh rate than conventional LCDs, less power consumption and a high contrast ratio of 10,000:1. One plus point in the NX500's favour is that the screen can be flipped-forwards through 180 degrees to make the ubiquitous selfie even easier to take, plus downward about 45 degrees, although it's a shame that it doesn't also tilt out to the side.

The NX500's touchscreen can be used for a whole multitude of things, including accessing the Main menu and Function menu options, setting the AF point, and even firing the shutter. The Touch AF mode offers a very clever feature that we haven't seen before on any other camera. You touch the subject to set the point of focus, and can then drag a second box across the screen to where you want to meter the exposure from - very clever. Finally, you can drag down from the top of the screen to see a summary of the camera's main settings (screen brightness, storage, battery level and recently changed camera settings).

To the right of the AMOLED is a familiar round navigation pad with four buttons above and two below. Starting at the top are handily placed buttons for instant movie recording and setting the exposure compensation, then the self-explanatory Menu button. Joining these controls is a very welcome new rear command dial, which in conjunction with the front mounted one makes it easy to use the camera in the more advanced shooting modes - this is a big improvement on the previous NX300 model.

Samsung NX500
Tilting LCD Screen

The fourth button is the useful Fn, which now provides quick and easy access to virtually all of the most important camera settings (12 in total) via the very useful Smart Panel. This is an intuitive graphical interface that allows you to move around and choose the main camera settings via a combination of the AMOLED screen, the navigation wheel and/or the shutter speed dial on top of the camera.

Used in combination with the four directions on the navigation pad that set the Display, which cycles through the various display modes on the AMOLED screen, Auto-focusing mode, ISO and Self-timer/Drive, you can access most of the NX500's key options with one press of a button, although changing them takes a couple more presses.

The main menu system on the NX500 is very straight-forward to use. There are four main menus - Camera, Movie, Custom, and Settings - presented as a column of vertical icons, and due to the large AMOLED screen and restricting the number of on-screen choices to five, the various options and icons are clear and legible. If you have never used a digital camera before, or you're upgrading from a more basic model, reading the easy-to-follow manual before you start is a good idea. Unfortunately Samsung have chosen not to supply it in printed format, so you can't carry it with you for easy reference.

Completing the rear controls are buttons for playing back and deleting your images, with the latter also doubling up as the Custom button, which activates the Optical Preview (essentially a digital Depth of Field Preview) by default and can be alternatively set to either One Touch White Balance or One Touch RAW+.

The Samsung NX500 features the same sophisticated Hybrid Auto Focus (AF) systems that's used by the flagship NX1. The AF System III combines phase- and contrast-detection autofocus methods to deliver an auto-focus system that's even snappier and more accurate than the NX30 camera, thanks to the 205 phase-detection (153 cross type) and 209 contrast AF points which combined together cover almost the entire image frame, making tracking moving subjects easier. With a very quick AF speed of just 0.055sec and a fast continuous shooting rate of 9fps for up to 40 JPEGs and 5 RAW files, the Samsung NX500 is a very quick performer.

Samsung NX500
The Samsung NX500 In-hand

There are four AF Area modes on offer, including Selection AF with a selectable focus area, Multi AF, Face Detection, and Self-Portrait, with Single, Continuous and Manual AF Modes available. Selecting an individual AF point requires you to press the center button on the navigation pad, and then use the arrow keys to move the point around - we'd prefer to be able to configure the camera to skip the first step altogether and jump straight to moving the AF point. The NX500 also has a useful AF Priority function that begins focusing as soon as you point the camera.

Manual focusing is assisted by the 'enlarged display' function. Once you have selected manual focus mode on the lens barrel, turning the manual focus ring automatically increases the magnification on the LCD display by 5x or 8x, which is a big help in getting the focus spot on. This is real, non-interpolated magnification, very useful for accurate manual focusing - provided you find a way to steady the camera. The screen cleverly returns to normal magnification when you stop using the manual focus ring for a few seconds. The NX500 also offers the ever popular Focus Peaking assist.

Metering uses a 221 Block Segment system, with options that include Multi, Center-weighted and Spot with the ability to bracket by an impressive ±5 EV (±3 EV for movies), while the ISO range runs from 100-51200. There are 6 white balance presets plus Auto and Custom settings and the ability to set a precise Kelvin value, and if you can't make up your mind the white balance, exposure and even the Picture Wizard settings can all be bracketed.

The start-up time from turning the NX500 on to being ready to take a photo is impressively quick at less than a second. The NX500 successfully achieves focus virtually all of the time with the 16-50mm kit lens, helped by the AF assist lamp - the NX500 doesn't have any notable problems locking onto the subject in low-light situations. It takes about 1 second to store a single full-resolution JPEG image, allowing you to keep shooting as they are being recorded onto the memory card, with a brief AMOLED blackout between each image, while storing a single RAW image takes around 3 seconds.

Once you have captured a photo the Samsung NX500 has a fairly good range of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images. You can instantly scroll through the images that you have taken, view thumbnails (up to 40 onscreen at the same time), zoom in and out up to 7.6x magnification, view slideshows, delete, share and protect an image and set the print order. There are a number of different ways to alter the look of an already-captured photo, including smart filters, redeye fix, backlight, changing the photo style, resizing, rotating, face retouch, brightness, contrast and vignetting. The Display button toggles detailed settings information about each picture on and off, such as the ISO rating and aperture / shutter speed, there are small brightness and RGB histograms available, and the Highlight option makes any blown-out highlights areas flash on the LCD screen.

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 28 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 10Mb.

The Samsung NX500 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The 28.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS megapixel sensor used in the NX500 produces noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100-1600, with ISO 3200 also looking very good. ISO 6400 only shows a little noise, while the fastest settings of ISO 12800-25600 are quite a lot noisier and suffer from softening of fine detail and a loss of saturation. The NX500 does apply quite a lot of noise reduction to the JPEGs, as demonstrated by the RAW files which have more noise at the comparable ISO settings.

The images were a little soft straight out of the NX500 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting for JPEG files. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and bulb mode of 4 minutes allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Colours were vibrant without being over-saturated in the default Standard Picture Wizard mode, and you can always choose Vivid if you want even more punch or one of the other presets to change the mood of your JPEG images, with three customisable settings also available. The Panorama shooting mode, Dynamic Range mode and extensive range of Smart Filters are welcome additions.


There are 10 ISO settings available on the Samsung NX500. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right.


ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 51200 (100% Crop)

iso51200.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The Samsung NX500 has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option, and you can also shoot in the RAW format. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

28M SuperFine (8.61Mb) (100% Crop) 28M Fine (5.65Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_superfine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
28M Normal (2.81Mb) (100% Crop) 28M RAW (34.1Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_normal.jpg quality_raw.jpg


Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg


The flash settings on the Samsung NX500 are Smart Flash, Auto, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in + Red-eye reduction, 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain, and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Fill-in - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Off - Telephoto (75mm)

Fill-in - Telephoto (75mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill-in or the Fill-in + Red-eye reduction settings caused any red-eye.


Fill-in (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg

Fill-in + Red-eye reduction

Fill-in + Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg


The Samsung NX500's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb setting of up to 4 minutes, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 30 second setting the actual exposure takes 60 seconds.


Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Picture Wizard

Samsung's various Picture Wizard options are similar to Olympus' Picture Modes, Nikon's Picture Styles and Canon's Picture Controls, offering preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings, all of which can be changed. The nine available Picture Controls are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also three additional Custom styles so that you can create your own looks.



picture_wizard_01.jpg picture_wizard_02.jpg



picture_wizard_03.jpg picture_wizard_04.jpg



picture_wizard_05.jpg picture_wizard_06.jpg



picture_wizard_07.jpg picture_wizard_08.jpg



Smart Filters

The Samsung NX500 offers nine creative filter effects that can be applied to both JPEG stills and movies.



smart_filter_01.jpg smart_filter_02.jpg

Miniature (H)

Miniature (V)

smart_filter_03.jpg smart_filter_04.jpg



smart_filter_05.jpg smart_filter_06.jpg



smart_filter_07.jpg smart_filter_08.jpg



Dynamic Range

The Smart Range+ feature noticeably increases the visible detail in both shadow and highlight areas, although it does tend to wash-out the stronger colours in the process. The HDR option successfully combines three shots taken at different exposures into a single photo with greatly expanded dynamic range, with three different strengths on offer.


Smart Range+

dynamic_range_01.jpg dynamic_range_02.jpg

HDR - Low

HDR - Medium

dynamic_range_03.jpg dynamic_range_04.jpg

HDR - High



Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Samsung NX500 camera, which were all taken using the 28 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample RAW Images

The Samsung NX500 enables users to capture RAW and JPEG format files. We've provided some Samsung RAW (SRW) samples for you to download (thumbnail images shown below are not 100% representative).

Sample Movies & Video

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 4096x2160 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 130Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 3840x2160 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 143Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 60 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 58.1Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 29.2Mb in size.

This is a sample movie at the quality setting of 1920x1080 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 30 second movie is 26.1Mb in size.

Product Images

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500 / Lens Fitted

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500 / Flash Raised

Samsung NX500

Side of the Samsung NX500

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Side of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Side of the Samsung NX500

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Side of the Samsung NX500

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Rear of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Image Displayed


Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Turned On

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Main Menu

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Function Menu

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Mobile Menu

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Tilting LCD Screen

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Tilting LCD Screen

Samsung NX500

Rear of the Samsung NX500 / Tilting LCD Screen

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500 / Tilting LCD Screen

Samsung NX500

Top of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Bottom of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Side of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Side of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Front of the Samsung NX500

Samsung NX500

Memory Card Slot

Samsung NX500

Battery Compartment


The new Samsung NX500 is by far the cheapest interchangeable lens camera to offer 4K video recording, coming in at less than half the price of the flagship NX1 whilst cramming in most of that camera's features into the design of the more compact previous NX300 model. It isn't quite as simple as NX1 meets NX300, though, as the NX500 makes quite a few concessions, particularly on the video side, to hit both the aggressive price point and to the compact dimensions. Still, it feels slightly mean to criticise the NX500 too much when it delivers so much of the NX1's features and image quality at such a competitive price.

Overall performance and video are the two areas where the NX500 doesn't compare quite so favourably to the flagship NX1. The NX500's DRIMeVs processor has less memory than the NX1, resulting in a slower (but still very impressive) 9fps burst shooting rate, a lower maximum bitrate of just under 50Mbit/s, the inability to stream 4K video from the HDMI port, and a 4K mode that is achieved by cropping the middle 60% of the image from the camera's 6.5K sensor, which drastically changes the effective focal length of the attached lens. The NX500 also suffers in comparison to its big brother by not having a standard 3.5mm microphone input for higher quality audio capture or a headphone jack, all things which will make serious videographers choose the NX1.

On the stills side, image quality is identical to the NX1, making the NX500 one of the best APS-C cameras in terms of image quality despite only being a mere mid-range model. And despite its compact dimensions, the NX500 offers pretty good handling and customisability and also solid build quality too, although the lack of a viewfinder is a bitter pill for serious photographers to swallow (the AMOLED screen is excellent though).

So although the Samsung NX500's formula isn't quite as simple as NX1 features meets NX300 design, the fact that you can now buy a 28 megapixel, 4K video interchangeable lens camera that's stylish, well-built and fast for just £599.99 / $799.99 (with a half-decent lens) is a really aggressive move by Samsung, one that should make the other manufacturers sit up and take note. Our only concern is that the NX500 might prove to be too complicated for its target consumer audience, and not quite complicated enough for advanced users, especially on the video side...

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 5
Value for money 4.5

Main Rivals

Listed below are some of the rivals of the Samsung NX500.

Fujifilm X-E2

The new Fujifilm X-E2 is a faster, more full-featured version of last year's X-E1 compact system camera, promising better image quality too. Can this gorgeous retro-styled model improve on one of our favourite cameras of 2012? Read our Fujifilm X-E2 review to find out...

Fujifilm X-T1

The Fujifilm X-T1 is a brand new compact system camera that looks, feels and performs very much like a classic DSLR that''s been shrunk in the wash. Is this the best X-series camera that Fujifilm have released, and can it compete with the likes of the Sony A7/A7R and Olympus OM-D E-M1, not to mention DSLRs from Canon and Nikon? Read our in-depth Fujifilm X-T1 review to find out...

Nikon 1 V3

The Nikon 1 V3 is the latest flagship compact system camera from Nikon, boasting an amazingly fast 20fps burst shooting rate with continuous focusing (60fps without), a new tilting touchscreen LCD, built-in wi-fi, new 18.4-megapixel "CX" format sensor and a more compact design . Read our in-depth Nikon 1 V3 review to find out if this is the best Nikon compact system camera yet...

Olympus E-PL7

The Olympus E-PL7 is a new compact system camera aimed at the discerning fashionista. Also known as the PEN Lite, the EPL7 boasts a 3 inch 180-degree tilting LCD display, full 1080p HD movies, and an extensive range of creative filters. Read our in-depth Olympus E-PL7 review to find out if it offers both substance and style...

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a new high-end compact system camera with a number of innovative features that make it stand out from the crowd, including the world's most effective image stabilisation system. Read our expert Olympus E-M5 II review to find out if it's also the best compact system camera...

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 is the first compact system camera to offer 4K video shooting. The exciting GH4 also features a 16 megapixel sensor, 12fps burst shooting, 3 inch swivelling touchscreen, electronic viewfinder, built-in wi-fi and NFC connectivity, a weather-proof body, and an extensive ISO range of 100-25600. Read our in-depth Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 review complete with with sample photos, test shots, videos and more...

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  • Color


  • Camera Type

    Interchangable Lens Camera


Image sensor

  • Effective Pixel

    28.2 MP

  • Total Pixel

    Entire amount of pixels in a camera's chip regardless of whether any are shaded or inactive.

30.7 MP

  • Image Sensor Type



  • Type

    Samsung NX lens

  • Mount

    Samsung NX mount

Shutter Speed

  • Modes

    Auto:1/6000 - 1/4sec. Manual:1/6000 - 30sec. Bulb


  • Compensation

    Still: ±5 EV, Movie: ±3 EV (1/3EV step)

  • ISO Equivalent

    Auto, 100-25600 (1EV or 1/3EV step)

  • Metering System

    TTL 221 Block segment


  • Modes

    Active AF, Single AF, Continuous AF, MF

  • Range

    EV -4-20



  • Drive Modes

    Single, Continuous, Self-timer, Bracket

  • Modes

    Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Samsung Auto Shot, Smart, Custom

  • RAW format shooting

    28M (6480x4320)


  • Field of View


  • Main LCD Screen

    3" Super AMOLED w/Touch Screen

  • Resolution

    1036k dots


  • Edit

    Still Image Capture, Time Trimming

  • Recording

    4096x2160 (24 fps),3840x2160 (30 fps),1920x1080,1280x720,640x480,*When recording 4K or UHD video, the angle of view becomes narrower. (Effective angle of view : approx. 4K 1.68 times, UHD 1.77 times the focal length)

  • Movie Clip

    Audio On/Off


  • Modes

    Smart Flash, Auto, Auto+Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in+Red-eye reduction, 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain, OFF

  • Sync. Speed

    Less than 1/200sec.

Image Stabilization

  • Optical Image Stabilization

    OIS Mode1 / Mode2 / Off

Smart Settings

  • Smart Filter

    Vignetting, Minature, Watercolor, Selective Color (R/G/B/Y 4 Colors)


Picture Effects

  • Picture Wizard

    Standard, Classic, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Custom(1-3)


  • i-Zoom



  • Self-timer

    2 - 30sec. (1sec. step)

Dust Reduction

  • Dust Reduction

    Supersonic drive


White Balance

  • Modes

    Auto, Auto+Tungsten, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (W, N, D), Tungsten, Flash, Custom, K(Manual)


  • File Format

    RAW, JPEG, MPO(3D)

  • Image Size

    JPEG: (3:2):28M (6480x4320), 13.9M (4560x3040), 7.1M (3264x2176), 3M (2112x1408) (16:9):23.6M (6480x3648), 11.9M (4608x2592), 6.2M (3328x1872), 2.4M (2048x1152) (1:1):18.7M (4320x4320), 9.5M (3088x3088), 4.7M (2160x2160), 2M (1408x1408)
    RAW: 28M (6480x4320)
    Burst: 7M (3232x2152)

  • External Memory (Optional)

    SD, SDHC, SDXC(UHS-1 support)

Wireless Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi


  • Bluetooth


Inputs & Outputs

  • HDMI


  • USB 2.0



  • Product Size (WxHxD)

    4.7" x 2.5" x 1.7"


  • Product without battery and card

    0.63 lb.


  • DC power input

    DC 5.0V, 1A via Micro USB port

  • Battery

    Rechargeable Battery BP1130

System Requirements

  • Windows

    Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 Intel 3rd Gen. i5 3.4GHz or higher (equivalent AMD processor) recommended

  • Macintosh

    Mac OS 10.7 or higher recommended

Operating Conditions

  • Humidity

    5 - 85%

  • Temperature

    32 - 104 °F


  • Included in Box

    iLauncher, Power Media Player, Samsung Movie Converter, Samsung Raw Converter, Samsung DNG converter

User Interface

  • Supported Languages

    33 Languages (Arabic, Chinese(Simplified/Traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norsk, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese)

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