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Samsung NX30 Review

Samsung NX30 Review - Joshua Waller reviews the latest Samsung NX camera, the NX30, with tilting EVF and high resolution AMOLED screen.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX30
Price : £899
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX30 Black (6)

The Samsung NX30 is the latest DSLR style mirrorless camera from Samsung and features a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, a 3inch tilting screen, as well as a tilting electronic viewfinder (EVF), along with built in Wi-Fi, NFC and a mic socket. 

Samsung NX30 Features


Samsung NX30 Black (3)

The Samsung NX30 updates the Samsung NX20 and adds NFC, a higher resolution 2.359 million dot tilting EVF, as well as a higher resolution 3inch tilting AMOLED screen, while retaining the 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor of the previous model. With an improved image processor the camera is said to offer improved image quality as well as speed. 

The NX30 features the Samsung NX mount, with a number of Samsung lenses available, with built in Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), and an i-function button on the side that lets you quickly change settings using the lens.

Samsung NX30 Black (12)

The Tag & Go function lets users tap and share memories instantly and easily, pairing the NX30 with NFC enabled smartphones and tablets. The Photo Beam feature allows the transfer of an image or video to a smartphone or tablet by simply touching the two devices together with no other configuration needed.

MobileLink lets users select multiple images to send to four different smart devices at one time - without the need to take repetitive shots on each individual device. AutoShare automatically sends every photo taken instantly to smartphone or tablet devices and the Remote Viewfinder Pro function enables control of the NX30 from a smartphone, allowing the user to capture shots remotely, as well as manually set shutter speed and aperture.

Dropbox, an on-line web storage service, is pre-loaded on the NX30 (in selected regions) making direct-to-Dropbox uploading possible. Additionally, direct upload to Flickr is support (in select regions). 

Tilting EVF Samsung NX30 (GIF Animation)

Key Features

  • 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Samsung NX Lens Mount
  • 3inch vari-angle 1037k dot Super AMOLED touch screen
  • Tiltable Electronic Viewfinder (XGA, 2,359K-dot resolution), 80 degree
  • Hybrid AF (Phase and Contrast) type
  • FullHD Video recording with stereo sound and mic socket
  • ISO100 to ISO25600
  • 2 custom modes
  • 9fps continuous shooting
  • 1/8000s shutter speed
  • Wi-Fi, NFC
  • HDR, Sweep Panorama

Samsung NX30 Handling

Samsung NX30 Black (10)

The larger rubber hand grip has a patterned texture, and is soft to the touch making it feel like a premium camera. The rubber surround around the electronic viewfinder is now much softer than the previous model, making it more comfortable to use. The camera feels very well built, despite being made out of plastic, although one disappointment is that the memory card slot is in the battery compartment, when a number of competitors gives side access to the memory card. 

The NX30 features additional controls and buttons compared to the NX20, with a new drive mode dial on top, as well as two custom modes on the mode dial. Although we found it quite easy to accidentally turn the drive mode dial, due to the raised area. The video record button has been moved, which should make it more difficult to press accidentally. 

Samsung NX30 With Lenses
Samsung NX30 With Lenses

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is a high resolution unit (with 2359k dots, 100% field of view, and 0.96x magnification equivalent to a 50mm lens) which makes the view through it look very sharp and clear, however it does not seem to be as high quality optically as some other cameras, as any deviation from the very middle can be noticed as the left or right of the view becomes slightly blue toned and hazy. The large overhang of the rubber surround can also make it more difficult to get close to the viewfinder when wearing glasses. There is a dioptre adjustment, which can be accessed when you pull the viewfinder away from the camera. Colour reproduction from the EVF and screen is good, although at times can look a little too saturated. 

The camera has 105 phase detection focus points, and 247 contrast detection focus points, and you can set the focus point anywhere within the screen, as well as adjust the focus point size. There is a focus assist light that helps the camera focus in low-light, however the camera's focus speed does slow down when the camera has to use this feature, although does focus successfully.

You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point, as well as set a different area for exposure. There is an eye-detection sensor, however as it's possible to set the focus point with the touchscreen, you need to be careful to make sure your nose does activate the touch screen while you are using the EVF otherwise you may end up focusing on the wrong thing, or alternatively you can twist the screen round so that the touch screen is hidden from you. 

Samsung NX30 Black (11)

Menus – Pressing the Fn button lets you set the controls on the back screen making it quick to change options. The menus are easy to navigate with clear text and built in help that will display information about the settings. There are a number of options available including an electronic shutter (on/off) increasing the fastest shutter speed from 1/6000sec to 1/8000sec.

Samsung NX30 Black (1)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 360 shots according to Samsung / CIPA test results, which is slightly better than average for a mirrorless class of camera. The battery life is now indicated as a percentage remaining, much like Sony's InfoLithium batteries, and this can be extremely useful when planning time out shooting. 

Samsung NX30 Black (9)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Samsung NX30
Shutter Response <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.3
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.8
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slowdown)
8.69fps (17 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 3fps
Continuous Shooting - RAW 8.94fps (13 shots)

The specifications say it can shoot at 9fps whether shooting JPEG or RAW. We were able to shoot at 8.69fps, which is very nearly 9fps when shooting JPEG, which then slowed to 5fps after 17 shots, and then after 5 more shots slowed to roughly 3fps. We were able to shoot at 8.95fps when shooting RAW and the camera slows after 13 shots and then after taking another photo stops shooting. 

Samsung NX30 Tilting EVF

Samsung NX30 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung NX30 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Exposure is reliable with the camera delivering bright saturated photos straight from the camera. The camera takes good photos with flash, and there are no signs of red-eye in the portrait photo above, although the second portrait shot shows less detail as the ISO setting has increased to ISO1600.

Samsung NX30 Lens test images


Lens Performance -  There is quite noticeable barrel distortion at the wide-angle end of the lens, and minimal pincushion distortion at the telephoto end, however with lens correction switched on the camera does a very good job of correcting for these issues. There is some vignetting visible but nothing too concerning, and some purple fringing can be seen in areas of high contrast. Macro performance is reasonable, although for closer shots a dedicated macro lens is recommended. Images have good levels of detail over most of the frame, with just a very slight softening in the far corners of the image.

Samsung NX30 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low at ISO100, ISO200 and ISO400, with a very slight increase in noise at ISO800 if you are looking at the images very closely. At ISO1600 there is a slight loss of fine detail, but noise levels remain almost as low as ISO800. At ISO3200 noise becomes more visible, and the loss of fine detail becomes more noticeable - this can also be seen in the portrait shot above, shot at ISO1600, where there is a loss of detail in the models face. ISO6400 shows more noise again and less detail, although colour saturation remains fairly good. At ISO12800 noise becomes much more dominant and there is a loss of colour saturation, although results may still be usable with further processing or resized. ISO25600 shows the most noise, with low levels of detail and colour saturation, and due to the large blotchy noise we would recommend you avoid using this setting.

Samsung NX30 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a warm result. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a slight yellow colour cast. 

Samsung NX30 Panoramic SAM 0151 | 1/3200 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/3200 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - The camera has an automatic panoramic photo mode, where you simply pan the camera from one side to the other and the camera automatically stitches the photo as it goes. The resolution is fairly low, but images are quite sharp. 

Samsung NX30 Other sample images


Dynamic range is good and can be expanded using a number of options including Smart Range+ / HDR (JPEG only), or the Rich Tone HDR scene mode (JPEG only). Examples of these settings, including a shot with this switched off can be seen above. 

Samsung NX30 Digital filters


Digital Filters - The NX30 has a number of Smart Filter Effects available (JPEG only) as shown above. There are also Picture Wizard settings that can be customised with options to change colour, saturation, sharpness and contrast - it's possible to shoot JPEG and Raw images when using the Picture Wizard.

Video - Video resolution is recorded at 1920x1080 at 50p and 25p, as well as 1920x810 (2.35:1), at 24p. Options include wind cut, mic level settings, a microphone socket, and on-screen audio level meter. Digital image stabilisation is also an option, an example with this switched off can be found here, and an example with it switched on here. Live Full HD (30p) HDMI is output through the HDMI port. Video quality is good, although the optical stabilisation does not appear to have a huge effect (if any) on the stabilisation of video.


Value For Money

The Samsung NX30 is available for £899 with 18-55mm OIS kit lens as tested, this makes it relatively expensive compared to a number of alternatives on the market, although as the price drops over time it will become much better value for money, and it also comes bundled with a full version of Adobe Lightroom 5. Alternatives to consider include the following:

Olympus OM-D E-M5, £869 with 12-50mm lens, weather sealed
Olympus OM-D E-M10, £699 with 14-42mm lens, Wi-Fi
Panasonic Lumix G6, £499 with 14-42mm lens, Wi-Fi
Panasonic Lumix GX7, £749 with 14-42mm, tilting EVF and Wi-Fi
Sony Alpha A6000, £649 with 16-50mm OSS lens, Wi-Fi
Canon EOS 700D, £585 with 18-55mm IS lens
Nikon D5300, £739 with 18-55mm VR lens, Wi-Fi, GPS

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung NX30 Verdict

The Samsung NX30 improves over the NX20 in a number of ways, including a more Digital SLR styled design, with improved grip and additional controls, as well as a higher resolution screen and electronic viewfinder. This also makes the NX30 larger than the NX20, which was larger than the rather compact NX11. This should suit those who prefer a more grip-able camera, and for those looking for a smaller mirrorless camera, there are a number of alternatives from Samsung and others. 

The NX30 was introduced with a number of new lenses, including a new premium 'S' range of lenses, although as shown in pictures earlier in the review, the first of these lenses isn't particularly small. For those interested in a compact system, there are a range of small pancake prime lenses, as well as a new compact 16-50mm zoom lens, which will be available.

Image quality is excellent with very good noise control, good colour, and good white balance. The 18-55mm kit lens performs well, and the camera has improved video recording, including a microphone socket. The Samsung NX30 has one of the best implementations of Wi-Fi and now supports Dropbox which will make sharing and backing up photos extremely easy, as long as you have a good Wi-Fi connection. The Samsung NX30 would make an excellent choice for anyone with Samsung lenses, and the introduction of additional lenses is a good sign, although the relatively high introduction price may put some off. 


 
  The Samsung NX30 delivers excellent image quality and has one of the best Wi-Fi implementations of any camera.
 

Samsung NX30 Pros

Excellent image quality
9fps continuous shooting
Very quick focusing
Improved ISO range and performance
Excellent handling
Improved screen and EVF resolution
Adobe Lightroom 5 provided
Best Wi-Fi implementation of any camera (excluding Android cameras)
Dropbox support

Samsung NX30 Cons

Nose can activate touch screen when using EVF
No side access to memory card
Price

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Samsung NX30 Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.3Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3648
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolutionFVGA (720x480) 1,037k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
  • TTL
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
  • Bracket
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionXGA 2,359K-dot resolution
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting9fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS60, 30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion BP1410, 1410mAh
CIPA Rating360
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight375g
Width127mm
Height95.5mm
Depth41.7mm

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Comments


Niknut e2
4 644 63 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2014 3:27PM
Mmmmmmm...Yummy !!......ticks all my boxes !!

Size, weight, ergonomics, image quality.......but £900 ??......I'll bide my time !WinkSmile
lush 2 1 United Kingdom
27 Feb 2014 4:17PM
It is a very nice camera with a strong feature set (some unique to samsung) but it faces some very capable and currently cheaper competition. I wonder if it will stand out enough from the crowd to draw attention in a competitive market, other than from established NX system users . Like many other NX owners I will be waiting to see if the price falls.
dannyr 5 18 United Kingdom
28 Feb 2014 8:44AM
For a long time Samsung were quite aggressive with their pricing, but this price seem too expensive. I don’t think it will help shift cameras considering the completion out there.

I’ve also noticed when I have spoken to people about Samsung cameras, a few have said ‘I don’t want an android camera’!
So is it just me or does it seem people are starting to think all Samsung cameras are Android?
kodachrome 2 473
2 Mar 2014 9:33AM
I guess if you have already bought into the system, A NX 30 Body would be a good upgrade, but wait a while for the price to drop.
josa 2 25 Czech Republic
2 Mar 2014 8:13PM
I don't understand Samsung lately (I have NX10) It's getting bigger and bigger and the design is silly at the best.
At least the IQ is great...a tilting EVF might be cool thing but adds extra $$$. With the new 16-50mm f2.0-2.8 it will one hell of big and heavy camera. So here you have it, definitely not for me.

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