Samsung NX300 Review - Digital Photography School

Samsung NX300 Review

Samsung NX300 Review.jpg

The Samsung NX300 arrived on the scene to me with little warning, accompanied by its sibling, the NX2000 (review coming soon!).

Samsung has not been overly noisy about its NX line of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras but, in this game, there’s no prize for false modesty and IMHO the NX range of cameras should be better known.

Of course, for the company, it’s going to be a hard road to hoe due to its orphan lens mount. Although unable to check this, it would appear that adapters are available to use Pentax lenses and (via Novoflex adaptors) optics for Panasonic/Olympus Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-mount, Leica M, Fujifilm X and Canon EF-M plus some other less well known lenses, so you are not bound irrevocably to the Samsung lineup.

So if you’re prepared to swing along with Samsung lenses, the range is wide: f2.4/16mm, f2.8/20mm, f2.0/30mm, f2.8/60mm macro OIS, f1.4/85mm, f3.5/18-200mm OIS, f4/50-200mm OIS, f3.5/18-55mm OIS, f3.5/20-50mm and quite a few more. There are even three pinhole lenses made by another company! And a Lensbaby!

Note: there are only four OIS lenses in the range; the third party lenses do not offer it. Some people feel that maybe Samsung should have designed their NX cameras with internal stabilisation.

NX300 Top View.jpg

NX300 Back LCD.jpg

The review camera landed with the f3.5/18-55mm OIS kit lens and did look very splendid in its metallic look top and bottom plates with brown leather-look trim. A little retro in style!

Handling

The camera is very hand friendly, thanks to a prominent speed grip and overall modest dimensions.

The 7.6cm AMOLED screen is touch sensitive and variably-angled vertically by 90 degrees and 45 degrees downwards.

After a week of walking around with the NX300 I got to like the camera. Big time! To my mind many camera companies should look hard and strong at its layout, ergonomics and configuration. It proved to be one of the best handling cameras I have ever toted.
Lens priority.JPG

Smart mode.JPG

WiFi.JPG

Layout

The top deck is relatively clean, with nothing but the flash shoe, WiFi button, on/off lever plus concentric shutter button, a selector jog dial and a mode dial with positions for auto, PASM, lens priority (to adjust depth of field), smart mode (presets for shots like beauty face, macro, silhouette etc).

Rear: the video record button is at the top; beneath it is the EV adjust, menu and Function buttons replay and trash buttons pus the familiar four way jog button with positions for self timer/continuous shooting, ISO setting, display and AF options.
Menu.JPG

Overall, the control layout is exemplary. The viewfinder menu is sufficient without overkill and just sufficient options to make the camera sing and dance.

Samsung NX300 Features

The NX300’s APS-C sized CMOS sensor captures 20.3 million effective pixels and manages to store a maximum image size of 5472×3648 pixels or as a 46x31cm print.

Video? Full HD at 1920×1080 pixels.

If you try to shoot a still image while recording video, the camera stops recording. I think that’s a bit of a sad situation; many times in a video shoot you may want to shoot a still. But you cain’t!

Child running.JPG

Flowers 1.JPG

Jaguar E-type.JPG

Water craft.JPG

The big feature, in common with many recent cameras, is WiFi connectivity. The Direct Link hot key feature enables images to be shared at the touch of a button between compatible camera, smartphone or tablet. There is a Smart Camera App1, available on Android and iOS, which connects the user’s compatible smartphone to the camera via the connection, allowing you to edit, share and back-up images.

And a freebie: Adobe Lightroom 4 is bundled with the camera. Worth a few bucks in any language.

Plus a special note and I quote: ‘Samsung has launched a 3D-capable version of its f1.8/45mm NX lens. The 3D version can be used as a conventional lens but also has two LCD screens that scissor down into the optical path when you engage 3D mode. These two screens take turns to black-out their respective sides of the lens, meaning a slightly different image is projected onto the camera’s sensor. The NX300 can capture and combine these alternating frames to create either 3D movies or stills … the feature cannot be extended to earlier NX models.’

The 3D version of the lens will cost nearly double the price of the conventional version.

ISO Tests

Samsung NX300 ISO 100.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 400.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 800.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 1600.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 3200.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 6400.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 12800.JPG

Samsung NX300 ISO 25600.JPG
Plain sailing until ISO 6400, then at ISO 12800, the noise and weirs artefacts became unbearable.

You may notice the ISO test shots are dark. NO reason. Got me puzzled too.

Samsung NX300 Review Verdict

Quality: excellent image quality, up there with the best.

Why you’d buy the Samsung NX300: terrific camera layout; easy to use; vari-angle screen.

Why you wouldn’t: not sure about the lens range.

This is quite a camera and a sign that Samsung mens serious business in electronics, from smart phones to digicams. Most impressed.

The NX300 is available in brown or white.

Samsung NX300 Specifications

Image Sensor: 20.3 million effective pixels.
Metering: Multi segment, centre-weighted, spot.
Lens Mount: Samsung NX.
Exposure Modes: Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
Effective Sensor Size: 23.5×15.7mm CMOS.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1.5x.
Shutter Speed (stills): 30 to 1/6000 second and Bulb.
Continuous Shooting: 8.6fps in RAW and JPEG; 10/15/30 fps at 2736X1824 size.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-1/and micro version cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): Stills: 5472×3648 to 1024×1024.
Movies: 1920×1080, 1280×720, 640×480, 320×240.
Viewfinder: 7.6cm AMOLED screen (768,000 pixels).
File Formats: JPEG, RAW (SRW), JPEG+RAW, MPO (3D), MPEG4.
Colour Space: sRGB, Adobe RGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 25,600.
Interface: USB 2.0, HDMI mini, WiFi.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, DC input.
Dimensions: 122×63.7×40.7 WHDmm.
Weight: 284 g (ex battery and card).
Price: get a price on the Samsung NX300 & 20-50mm Lens at Amazon.

Summary
Reviewer
Barrie Smith
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Samsung NX300
Author Rating
3

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

  • Marco

    The camera is also available in black. Samsung released the source code behind the nx300, so that ppl could make their own firmware if they can code.

    Last, nx300 just won the Tipa award as the best advanced csc on the market.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/provia400f/ Gary

    The NX300 appears to be a very capable and enjoyable unit. I look forward to further reviews found on the ‘net by other respected sites before I decide whether or not this little camera would serve me well as a casual shooter with worthwhile high ISO capability. The lens options need to be further widened, but I am confident Samsung will continue to develop its range of quality optics to support their NX line-up.

    Barrie Smith may be an experienced writer but someone seriously needs to proof read the text before publishing it. It is wrought with typos and grammatical issues.

  • Barrie Smith

    Grammar’s not here. Grampa was around but now suffers from split infinitives and dropped aitches.
    If you want a review, visit DPS. If you want grammar, read Fowlers.

  • Michael Ma

    I was at a Samsung store, and give one of these (NX300) cameras a whirl. I saw that it boasted dual image stabilization. I put it in manual, set the shutter to 1/8s and seemed razor sharp while paying no attention to trying to hold the camera steady. I was stunned to say the least. Enough to go home, Google it, and verify that I wasn’t off my rocker thinking Samsung is making amazing cameras now. Also, I though the lens had a really shallow DOF for it’s size which produced beautiful results with the kit lens. I think more investigation is necessary in this area.

    Also at the booth, it listed 1080p video at 60fps. Something I believe Canon or Nikon has yet to offer, especially in this line of cameras.

    Still a Canon fanboy…but maybe……

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/ Andre

    I have used the NX1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/56627043@N00/8031883943/ and was relatively pleased, except for its being slow and its huge raw files.

    The NX300 sure looks like a winner with all its options, especially wifi – BUT the big issue is still getting high quality lenses available. I hope Samsung can get Sigma, Tokina or Zeiss interested in making at least a 28mm equivalent high qualty prime. Or get one developed by its partner, maybe Voigtlander /Cosina. That would be the ticket and close the most glaring hole in its lineup.

    Otherwise its new competition is the Fuji X M1…

  • Stop_Coward_Plutocrats

    Is it so hard to ‘verify’ there are myriad lens adapters for NX mount? Took me about 20 seconds on eBay. On what verifiable source does the author base the offhanded comment that NX is an ‘orphan’ mount..?

    What kind of oddly slanted comment is ‘some people think (the NX line should have in-body IS)’? Why be oblique – just come right out and say ‘I think this camera should have IBIS’. Nikon, Canon, Ricoh, Panasonic, Fuji and Leica all offer non-IS bodies and people seem to make do with lens-based stabilization for those…

    The author omits the black color and for a review that claims to be ‘most impressed’ with ‘quite the camera’, three out of five stars seems quite low.

Some older comments

  • Andre

    July 11, 2013 11:51 pm

    I have used the NX1 http://www.flickr.com/photos/56627043@N00/8031883943/ and was relatively pleased, except for its being slow and its huge raw files.

    The NX300 sure looks like a winner with all its options, especially wifi - BUT the big issue is still getting high quality lenses available. I hope Samsung can get Sigma, Tokina or Zeiss interested in making at least a 28mm equivalent high qualty prime. Or get one developed by its partner, maybe Voigtlander /Cosina. That would be the ticket and close the most glaring hole in its lineup.

    Otherwise its new competition is the Fuji X M1...

  • Michael Ma

    June 15, 2013 02:55 am

    I was at a Samsung store, and give one of these (NX300) cameras a whirl. I saw that it boasted dual image stabilization. I put it in manual, set the shutter to 1/8s and seemed razor sharp while paying no attention to trying to hold the camera steady. I was stunned to say the least. Enough to go home, Google it, and verify that I wasn't off my rocker thinking Samsung is making amazing cameras now. Also, I though the lens had a really shallow DOF for it's size which produced beautiful results with the kit lens. I think more investigation is necessary in this area.

    Also at the booth, it listed 1080p video at 60fps. Something I believe Canon or Nikon has yet to offer, especially in this line of cameras.

    Still a Canon fanboy...but maybe......

  • Barrie Smith

    June 14, 2013 10:33 am

    Grammar's not here. Grampa was around but now suffers from split infinitives and dropped aitches.
    If you want a review, visit DPS. If you want grammar, read Fowlers.

  • Gary

    June 12, 2013 05:25 pm

    The NX300 appears to be a very capable and enjoyable unit. I look forward to further reviews found on the 'net by other respected sites before I decide whether or not this little camera would serve me well as a casual shooter with worthwhile high ISO capability. The lens options need to be further widened, but I am confident Samsung will continue to develop its range of quality optics to support their NX line-up.

    Barrie Smith may be an experienced writer but someone seriously needs to proof read the text before publishing it. It is wrought with typos and grammatical issues.

  • Marco

    May 31, 2013 09:21 am

    The camera is also available in black. Samsung released the source code behind the nx300, so that ppl could make their own firmware if they can code.

    Last, nx300 just won the Tipa award as the best advanced csc on the market.

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