Mirrorless cameras are all the rage and Samsung has come up with a good one in the NX 100. It’s a solid replacement for any serious compact camera shooter. If you’re a G12, LX5, or P7000 kind of person, this camera is certainly something you’d look at. Likewise, it compares favorably with the Olympus E-P2 and similar micro 4/3 cameras.

The $599 ($499 street) Samsung NX100 comes with a 20-50mm lens. (35mm EFL 30-75mm.)

I’ve only had a few days with the camera but here’s my first impression. It’s rock solid. The three-inch AMOLED display is simply the best looking screen I’ve ever seen on the back of any camera. That’s right ANY camera including my Nikon D3s or my Canon 1D MK IV. It’s that good.

Like all EVIL (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) cameras I’ve tested, it has most of the features of a DSRL in a more compact package.

It features a 14.6 MP APS-C CMOS sensor which is larger than most sensors in point and shoot or compact cameras you might be familiar with. This tends to yield slightly better image quality.

Autofocus on the NX100 is fast. I’d say it feels faster than any camera in the class. There’s no real shutter lag.

Samsung brings back a familiar interface to those of us with gray hair. The “i-Fn” i-Function lenses allow you to press a button located on the lens, then make most of your major changes to camera operation by simply rotating the lens focus ring. You can change things like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure compensation, etc., all with the press of one button. It’s something that may be hard for some photographers to get used to. I predict it will be a love it or hate it feature for many. As for me, I love it. When you are in the heat of battle trying to get the best shot, the last thing you want to do is fumble around the camera for the right button.

In low-light, the NX100 could be better. Like many cameras in this class, that’s its weak point. But in good light, the camera performs as well as most entry-level DSLRs. The AUTO ISO feature lets you adjust the ISO range the camera will work with if AUTO ISO is selected. That’s a pro-level feature. I set the AUTO ISO not to go above 1600 because in my opinion, the images at higher ISOs are too noisy.

The lenses for this camera are all sharp but far and away my favorite is the 20mm F/2.8 Pancake lens. On a traditional 35mm DSLR the EFL of this lens would be 30mm at F/2. It makes for a great walk-around camera/lens combo and is killer for those into street photography.

This is a good looking camera that’s very tough and well-built. It feels good in the hand and, if it featured built-in image stabilization it would be the best in class. Even without it’s close.

There are a number of accessories available including a flash, an electronic viewfinder and even a GPS for geo-tagging.

The Samsung NX100 fooled me. I was almost prepared to write it off. I had no idea how serious Samsung is about photography – until now. I really like this camera and believe it is worth your consideration if you’re buying a sub-DSLR camera. Whether you are a pro who likes the control this camera offers, or an amateur who wants an automatic camera that you can grow into, the NX100 is worth a try. Highly recommended.

This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

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