We test cameras for resolution, dynamic range and signal to noise ratio using laboratory test charts, measurements and analysis. We also pick three rival cameras so that you can instantly compare the performance of the test camera against it's closest competitors.

For our Samsung NX500 comparison, we've chosen the Sony A6000, Panasonic GX7 and Olympus E-P5.

The Sony A6000 is Sony's top APS-C format compact system camera, with a 24-megapixel sensor, state-of-the-art autofocus system and a viewfinder built in.

The Panasonic GX7 is Panasonic's top compact-style compact system camera. It has a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor than the Samsung and lower resolution, but it does have a viewfinder and high-end controls.

The Olympus E-P5 is two years old now, but it's still Olympus's top compact-style compact system camera. It's solidly made with powerful features but, like the NX500, it lacks a viewfinder.

Resolution test

This is carried out in controlled lab conditions using an industry-standard resolution chart. The resolution is measured across the ISO range to test the camera's performance at higher ISOs

The results are displayed as line widths/picture height, today's universal standard for resolution measurement because it's independent of sensor size, image size and megapixels. To put the results into context, a resolution of 3000 line widths/picture height is about as good as it gets for APS-C format cameras like the Samsung NX500.

Samsung NX500 resolution chart

JPEG resolution analysis: With their 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lenses mounted the Sony A6000 and Samsung NX500 are capable of capturing a similarly high level of detail up to ISO 1600, when the NX500's performance drops sharply. This is the impact of noise and noise reduction obliterating detail.

Samsung NX500 resolution chart

Raw resolution analysis: The pattern is broadly similar when comparing raw files (converted to TIFFs). This time the NX500's drop off in performance at ISO 1600 is less noticeable, but the Sony A6000 has a clearer advantage throughout the ISO range. The two Micro Four Thirds cameras lag a little way behind in both the JPEG and raw tests, though they still perform well in absolute terms.