Learning curves are inevitable whenever you jump from one type (or brand) of camera to another. Among the things you need to re-learn are the button and menu layouts - and such is our experience with the Samsung NX11 mirrorless aka EVIL camera. We ask ourselves: is going back to school for this worth it?
The Samsung NX11 is significantly smaller than a typical SLR, but it's still far from being handy. The same factors that discourage you from lugging your SLR around every day are present such as a protruding lens, non-compact body, bulky charger, etc. It saves space and may fit your daily bag, but not small enough for you to not notice that's there. It's like parking a subcompact car (Suzuki Swift) vs. parking a full-sized sedan (Toyota Camry) - the former is a lot smaller, but a single parking slot (your bag) can still only accommodate one.
The NX11's claim to fame is its i-Function lens. To put it simply, iFunction lets you control camera variables such as exposure, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed using the lens' focus ring. Instead of relegating your left hand solely as a supporting hand, it can now serve more purposes.
The question now however is, does it work?
We went on a shooting spree one fine October weekend and true enough, iFunction had its share of ups and downs. It's particularly useful for when you're using the electronic viewfinder since the values of whatever it is that you're tweaking show up on the display. With it, there's no need to remove your eye from the viewfinder just to check if you selected the right ISO setting, for example.
i-Function is great, too, for shooting with Live View as it allows for on-the-fly adjustments. The fact that it's semi-analog (you tweak values using the focus ring) makes you feel like a certified pro.
On the downside however, making such controls available for your left hand means you will tend to have a flimsier grip on the body. We found ourselves almost dropping the unit because we were undecided whether to tweak the settings via the lens or the old fashioned way - it sounds trivial but it does happen. The tiny barrel already makes it hard to hang on to the lens and it's not like the main grip is slip proof.
All told, iFunction is great, but it takes some getting used to. Lefties might appreciate it more given its nature.
Check out the gallery below for photos
Click on next for the rest of the review