Samsung NX500 vs Sony A68
The Samsung NX500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2015 and November 2015. The NX500 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the A68 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Samsung has a resolution of 28 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Samsung NX500 and the Sony Alpha SLT-A68? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Samsung NX500 and the Sony A68. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A68 is considerably larger (94 percent) than the Samsung NX500. Moreover, the A68 is substantially heavier (113 percent) than the NX500. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the NX500 nor the A68 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The power pack in the NX500 can be charged via the USB port, so that it is not always necessary to take the battery charger along when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|Samsung NX500||4.7 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||10.1 oz||370||n||Feb 2015||799|
|Sony A68||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||21.5 oz||540||n||Nov 2015||699|
|Canon M3||4.4 in||2.7 in||1.7 in||12.9 oz||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|Fujifilm X70||4.4 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||12.0 oz||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|Fujifilm X-A3||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|Nikon D5600||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||14.8 oz||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Panasonic ZS100||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.7 in||11.0 oz||300||n||Jan 2016||699|
|Ricoh GR II||4.6 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||8.9 oz||320||n||Jun 2015||699|
|Samsung NX1||5.5 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||19.4 oz||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499|
|Samsung NX30||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.3 in||13.2 oz||360||n||Jan 2014||999|
|Sony A77 II||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||22.8 oz||480||Y||May 2014||1,199|
|Sony A5100||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A58||5.1 in||3.7 in||3.1 in||17.4 oz||690||n||Feb 2013||599|
|Sony A77||5.6 in||4.1 in||3.2 in||25.8 oz||470||Y||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A68 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 13 percent) than the NX500, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A68 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 28MP, the NX500 offers a higher resolution than the A68 (24MP), but the NX500 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.63μm versus 3.91μm for the A68). Moreover, the A68 is a somewhat more recent model (by 8 months) than the NX500, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the NX500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Samsung NX500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 32.4 x 21.6 inches or 82.3 x 54.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 21.6 x 14.4 inches or 54.9 x 36.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A68 are 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The NX500 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Samsung NX500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha SLT-A68 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under review, the NX500 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the A68 (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 0.4 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80|
|Sony A77 II||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the NX500 provides a higher video resolution than the A68. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the A68 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the NX500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Samsung NX500 and Sony A68 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|Sony A77 II||2359||Y||3.0||1229||full-flex||n||1/8000s||12.0||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The NX500 has a touchscreen, while the A68 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.The NX500 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the A68 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Samsung NX500 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The NX500 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A68 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Samsung NX500 and Sony Alpha SLT-A68 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|Sony A77 II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the NX500 offers wifi support, while the A68 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the NX500 and the A68 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Samsung and Sony. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Samsung and Sony websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Samsung NX500 better than the Sony A68 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Samsung NX500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (28 vs 24MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60i).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 460k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/6000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x64mm vs 143x104mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 323g or 53 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2015).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha SLT-A68:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (13 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (8 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the NX500 is the clear winner of the match-up (21 : 8 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Samsung NX500 and the Sony A68 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the NX500 and the A68 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Samsung NX500||..||81/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2015||799|
|Sony A68||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Nov 2015||699|
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|Fujifilm X70||..||76/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|Fujifilm X-A3||..||74/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|Nikon D5600||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|Nikon D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Panasonic ZS100||+ +||82/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|Ricoh GR II||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||699|
|Samsung NX1||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Sep 2014||1,499|
|Samsung NX30||..||77/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||999|
|Sony A77 II||..||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2014||1,199|
|Sony A5100||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2014||549|
|Sony A6000||+||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Sony A58||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||599|
|Sony A77||91/100||81/100||..||4.5/5||5/5||Aug 2011||1,399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Samsung NX500 vs Sony A68
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Samsung NX mount lenses||Sony A mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2015||November 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 799||USD 699|
|Sensor Specs||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||28 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6480 x 4320 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.63 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.59 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 51,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DRIMe Vs||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||87||79|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.8||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.9||13.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1379||701|
|Screen Specs||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1036k dots||460k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/6000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||9 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Samsung NX500||Sony A68|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||370 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||no USB charging|
120 x 64 x 43 mm
(4.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 in)
143 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||287 g (10.1 oz)||610 g (21.5 oz)|
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