By technical editor Matt Allard:
On paper the Samsung NX500 sounds like an exciting camera for capturing video. With 4K internal recording, a 28.2-megapixel backside-illuminated APS-C CMOS sensor, HEVC (H.265) compression and a 205 phase auto focus system it is certainly feature packed. It shares the same sensor as the more expensive NX1 and should offer similar image quality. It is also only $799US and comes with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS lens
So what is the catch? There is no EVF, no headphone jack, no microphone input and it only outputs HD over the HDMI connection. This by no means makes the camera unsuitable for filmakers but it does impose limitations on what the camera can be used for without adding accessories and recording separate sound.
The NX500 records the following frame rates:
4096 x 2160: 24 fps
3840 x 2160: 30fps
1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps
1280 x 720: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps
640 x 480: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps
According to the official specifications listed on the Samsung website the NX500 records 24p in full 4K, and only 30p in UHD. It lists PAL frame rates only being available when recording HD.
By utilising HEVC (H.265) compression technology the NX500 can capture high quality video at half the size and the bit rate of H.264 footage. H.265 is not supported as widely across all hardware and software as H.264 but that will change over time. Still images captured from Interval Capture mode can also be converted into a UHD Time-lapse video directly on the camera, without the need to transfer the images to a PC or MAC.
For a lot of potential buyers the proprietary NX lens system Samsung offers could be a sticking point. There is a range of third party adaptors to mount manual focus lenses but if your after electronic control and image stabilisation your stuck with the limited Samsung lens line up. It is currently not possible to buy a Speed Booster for the NX mount, so if you were hoping to get a full-frame FOV with this camera your out of luck at the moment.
It is interesting to see the continued push by manafacturers to incorporate 4K technology into smaller, cheaper and more compact cameras. The Samsung NX500 is definitely an interesting camera and if it can produce a similar image quality to the more expensive NX1 then it is sure to be a big hit with filmmakers.