Introduction and Physique
We have so many ways to call the newest camera revolution. Be it Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera (MILC), Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens (EVIL), or simply the DSLR Killers, they all have one thing in common: an unheralded rise in the consumer camera market around the world. With sensor sizes as large as that of a DSLR and bodies nearly the size of the endangered compact cameras, this new wave defies the conventional wisdom of “larger equals better image quality” or “smaller is handier.” And yet, mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras have a long way to go. Baby steps are still being taken during the infant stages of the newest technologies it’s introducing, which include the electronic viewfinder and autofocusing system to name a few. Samsung looks to keep the ball rolling while dodging the critics’ bullets of doubt with its NX20. This flagship MILC has as many questions to answer as it has expectations to live up to.
The Samsung NX20 is the highly anticipated successor to the former MILC flagships, the NX10 and NX11. It’s the largest, most feature-packed, and most expensive of its siblings, which include the also recently released NX210 and NX1000. The NX20 is touted as being one of the first Wi-Fi-capable MILC system. By simply looking at photos of the body, unaware of the actual dimensions and weight, the NX20 can easily be mistaken for a full-fledged DSLR. Same can be said about the specs sheet, which are remarkably DSLR-like. A viewfinder that’s actually electronic, a solid handgrip, and interchangeable lenses complete the illusion, but that’s as far as it goes. Upon actual usage, the NX20 behaves like a super compact, something we’ll look into more as we go along.
Cutting to the chase, the power of the NX20 lies in its 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. Matching the size of a DSLR sensor, it can produce photos at rates of up to 8fps and shutter speeds of 1/8000 seconds. An ISO range of 100-12800 ensures bright photos in poorly lit environments, and Full HD 1080p video recording is backed up by built-in stereo sound. Another signature feature of the NX20 is the i-Function button found on compatible lenses. This button adds an extra versatility when adjusting certain exposure or focusing configurations. The image sensor utilizes contrast detection, unlike the phase detection a DSLR would use for autofocusing. Each has its own share of pros and cons, but for the situation the NX20 is placed in, it works wonders with its contrast detection autofocus.
An all-plastic housing and strategically placed rubberized segments of the body welcome the first-time user. The feel is exceptionally solid and screams of high-quality build construction. A vari-angle 3.0-inch VGA 614k-dot AMOLED can be found at the usual spot, just below the non-optical viewfinder and to the left of the rear controls. On top are parts common to an entry-level DSLR, namely a pop-up flash, mode dial, exposure dial, a hot shoe, and of course, the shutter button. We can’t stress enough how identical it is to an actual DSLR if not for the somewhat condensed size. At a listed weight of just 341g without a battery or memory card, it surely fits the bill of an enthusiast-level MILC.