For serious travel photographers, manufacturers are bridging the gap between sophisticated digital SLRS and the basic compacts with the hybrid compact system camera: slightly larger than a compact with interchangeable lenses but lighter than a DSLR.
The NX100 (RRP just over $1000, including one lens) is the latest from Samsung.
The basics are sound: a superb quality 14.6 megapixel full-size image sensor; multi-function settings including manual; 720HD video; and a range of lenses including the new i-Lens allowing control of manual functions through the lens (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, EV and white balance). With i-Scene choosing the appropriate mode for the lens, shooting great pictures should be easy.
But there are some niggles: no built-in flash, viewfinder or image stabiliser.
An electronic viewfinder is available as an extra but uses the flash mount, so it's one or the other. ISO steps from 100 to 6400. Anything in-between requires a tricky calculation and above 800 ISO produces noisy images.
The sleek body fits nicely in hand and feels solid, but the lens felt light and "plasticky".
Making the NX100 into a fully functioning travel kit (including lenses, flash and EVF) costs over $2000.
Compared to some lighter DSLRs with pop-up flash and two lenses for about $1500, you would need a very good reason to buy the NX100.
Maybe i-function will make the difference.
Alex Robertson is the Herald deputy illustrations editor