I shot with it briefly today. I'm still working on a preliminary review but here are my first impressions:
UPDATED 4/8/15 (see italics)
o In size, weight, and build quality, it feels very similar to the Sony a6000.
+ The Samsung 16-50 kit lens has decent sharpness. Significantly better than the Sony 16-50 kit lens.
+ I like the colors. Reds are reproduced accurately. I also like the tonality and contrast.
+ As shown by DPReview samples, the NX500 has very wide latitude for adjustments.
|as shot (captured in raw)|
This is the other headline feature of the NX500.
+ On a couple of quick side-by-side tests with the a6000 (with its kit lens), the NX500 was able to maintain focus on the subject more consistently than the a6000. I will definitely test this more thoroughly.
- Has a harder time with low contrast subjects, compared to the a6000. Also has a harder time in low light, or backlit subjects. I think I have a workaround for backlit subjects but am still experimenting with it.
This is my first Samsung camera and my biggest worry was that it would be like an electronic appliance (as in previous generation Sony NEX cameras). Fortunately, it handles pretty well, although it has its quirks.
+ The number and location of controls and customizable buttons is on par with mid-level cameras.
+ The touch screen helps a lot, not just for focus but for selecting options more quickly.
+ You can specify the minimum shutter speed based on 1/focal length and adjust it from slower to faster (+/- 2). Alternatively, you can specify a minimum shutter speed.
+ The metering is quite reliable. It avoids blowing out relevant highlights. Note: I was using SmartRange+.
+ It has an instant 100% zoom option on playback.
+ For basic operations, the controls are sufficiently intuitive. For intermediate and advanced options, the names and options are indecipherable. For example, "Framing mode". It turns out that is Samsung's term for selecting whether the display shows the exposure level in realtime or not. The NX500's saving grace is that it has a very descriptive help option. When enabled, it describes each option and parameter in detail. Whew!
o Adjusting the aperture or half-pressing the shutter will not show the depth of field.
o The LCD is not as bright as that of the a6000, but it's usable even in sunny conditions. In direct sunlight, it can suffer from glare and diffraction (rainbow) effects but is still usable.
- The buffer is very small. For raw, it can only do about 5 shots. I tried this with both lossless and normal (lossy) compression and it was the same in either case. At least it can clear the buffer in a reasonable amount of time.
- Bracketing has only 3 shots.
- Depending on what options you select, other options are grayed out but it's often difficult to figure out why.
Anyway, these are just my first impressions.