February 5, 2015

New Samsung NX500 Shoots 4K, Costs $800, & Fits in the Palm of Your Hand

Samsung NX500
Samsung might be one of the newer players in the budget mirrorless market, but they've certainly made themselves heard.

First with the impressive NX1, which for only $1,500 gave us a 28MP APS-C camera capable of 4K video at 24fps and UHD at 30fps. So what did they do for their next trick? They removed the EVF and shrunk the internals of the NX1, and stuck them into a new camera called the NX500

Here are the specs (which are mostly the same as the NX1):

  • 28.2MP 6480 x 4320 BSI APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 4096 x 2160: 24 fps & 3840 x 2160: 30 fps
  • 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
  • HEVC/H.265 Codec for 4K and UHD
  • Tiltable 3.0″ HD 1036k-dot touchscreen
  • Continuous shooting up to 9 fps
  • ISO 100-25,600 (Extended Mode: 51,200)
  • Micro-HDMI, USB 2.0, No Microphone or Headphone port, Built-In Mic
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi capability coupled with Bluetooth 3.0 technology
  • 30 minute clip limit
  • Samsung NX Lens Mount
  • Availability: March 2015
  • Price: $800 with 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS Lens
Samsung NX500 Top

First, to get a sense of the quality, here's the launch video for the NX1, as they share mostly the same internal parts (this was not shot with the new NX500):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_LzX6S0Pac

In partnership with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Hitrecord, a short film was recently shot on the NX1 for Samsung (again, not the new NX500). I expect quality to be basically the same between these two cameras though:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOuqGmbQy-k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5msi2W4DDeE

The NX1 is by no means a perfect camera just because it has a pretty large sensor and shoots 4K at a relatively affordable price. The new NX500 won't be a perfect camera either, but it will cost about half the money to get you in the door. If you're just experimenting or want to see how it is dealing with the NX mount, $800 with a lens is a much easier pill to swallow than $1,500 without a lens. A recent firmware update for the NX1 improved that camera immensely, and while the NX500 does not have 120fps like its big brother, I imagine that the current specs aren't necessarily set in stone, and we could see improvements with firmware.

Samsung NX500 Back

While it saves on space, many have had trouble dealing with the new HEVC (H.265) codec. It's not supported as widely across all hardware and software as H.264 is, so there will still be some growing pains in these early days. One of the bigger issues that still remains is the lens system. Samsung doesn't have nearly the range and depth of lenses that other companies like Sony, Canon, and Nikon have. Metabones has also said they won't be able to make a Speed Booster for the NX mount, so if you were hoping to get a full-frame FOV with this APS-C sensor, you'll have to look elsewhere.

This camera is also missing some more of the filmmaking-specific features, like a headphone and microphone port. I'm sure in order to make the camera as small and as cheap as it is, those things were likely sacrificed. It's not totally clear, but it also does not seem like the NX500 has clean HDMI as the NX1. Considering the price, the NX500 does much of what the more expensive model can do, so these subtractions aren't really that surprising.

Either way, if you really, really want a 4K camera with interchangeable lenses, this is going to be one of the cheapest ways to get into that game.     

Your Comment

12 Comments

Can it be a good buy to shoot a feature film?

Thanks

February 5, 2015 at 8:05AM, Edited February 5, 8:05AM

0
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Moosa Saleem
Director, Director of Photography
540

I do not know but maybe it's better something that shoot in RAW video.

February 5, 2015 at 10:17AM

11
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I mean to shoot a feature film for me I would choose RAW 100%.

February 6, 2015 at 7:04PM

7
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For your info, it's just "raw." It's not an acronym.

February 6, 2015 at 8:51PM

8
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David Gurney
DP
1987

right thanks

February 19, 2015 at 9:49AM

9
Reply

Will there be (or is there) a mount for Canon (or any other brand) of lenses for this model. I see it seems to have a different mount than the NX cousin, and know such mounts exist for that line.

Thanks!

-Daniel

February 5, 2015 at 1:24PM, Edited February 5, 1:24PM

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Daniel Pierce
Director, Actor, Voice Actor
74

The problem with Samsung is they've, to date, not released a single cinematic demo on their cameras. Look at the brand new Olympus camera - great indie filming demo right out of the gate showing the power of its built-in stabilization aimed directly at us Indie filmmakers.

All I've seen from all the Samsung users is the requisite ducks in a pond, kids and babies - nothing that would attract indie filmmakers.

February 5, 2015 at 2:16PM

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Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
330

There are a few Samsung NX1 videos that look interesting, and these were shot before the recent "LOG-like" profiles that were added with the last firmware upgrade.

[Uh Oh.] A Samsung NX1 Test Film
http://vimeo.com/115004338

So there's a possibility that this NX500 could be a great entry-level 4K camera. We'll have to wait and see how it performs in real world conditions.

February 5, 2015 at 4:17PM

2
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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
31406

Yeah I've looked at about every NX1 shot in existence and nothing compared to the wide variety of shots Olympus has provided for their new cam on day one. I'm looking for pro shot clips from the NX1 that might show it's usefulness for Indie film and sadly have yet to find one.

February 5, 2015 at 5:36PM

6
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Lance Bachelder
Writer/Director/Editor
330

Did you see the "In a City" short on this page?

February 5, 2015 at 8:18PM

4
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I wonder if the HDMI port will support 4K output, allowing for off-camera recording...

February 5, 2015 at 4:29PM

0
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Tom Funk
Executive Director / CEO
74

Yet another lens mount. These manufacturers should just standardize on Canon EF for APS-sized sensors, and 4/3 for everything else.

February 6, 2015 at 8:54PM

0
Reply
David Gurney
DP
1987