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Samsung NX300 Review

Samsung NX300 Review - The new Samsung NX300 is a faster mirrorless camera from Samsung, featuring high speed shooting, focus and a large touch-screen. We find out if it's as fast as they say.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX300
Price : £599
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX300 (4)

The Samsung NX300 is this years update to the Samsung NX210, and introduces a large 3.3inch 760k dot tilting touch-screen, improved focus speed and slightly quicker continuous shooting, as well as a new two-tone design, available in black/brown/white and silver.

Samsung NX300 Features

Samsung NX300 (5)

On the rear is a large 3.3inch 760k dot AMOLED touch-screen that tilts up and down to allow shooting at varying angles. The sensor in the camera now features built in phase detection pixels for improved focus speeds, and the NX300 supports 3D images and video with the new NX 45mm f/1.8 3D/2D lens.

Shooting speed and operation is now quicker, with a slightly quicker continuous shooting speed bumped up to 8.6fps from 8fps. Image quality is also said to be improved due to a new DRIMe IV imaging engine. The camera features an improved design, with retro styling thanks to a new textured surround, available in black, white or brown.

Wi-Fi features are shared with Samsung's compact Wi-Fi cameras, and includes mobile link, remote viewfinder, social sharing (facebook, youtube etc), email, skydrive, auto backup, and TV link. We look at these in more detail below.

Samsung NX300 (2)

Key Features

  • 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3.31inch AMOLED tilting touch screen - WVGA (800 x 480) 768k dots (Pentile)
  • Samsung NX Lens Mount
  • Full HD Video, 1080/60P, stereo sound
  • ISO100 - 25600
  • 8.6fps continuous shooting
  • 1/6000s shutter speed
  • Hybrid AF - Phase and Contrast detection
  • 320 shot battery life
  • Wi-Fi connectivity, NFC 
  • Best Face - Takes 8 continuous shots and you choose your favourite
  • Available in black, brown or white with silver on the top/bottom

Samsung NX300 Handling

Samsung NX300 (9)

Handling - The top features a brushed aluminium style design, with flash hot-shoe, Wi-Fi button, shutter release, mode dial and stereo mics. Surrounding the shutter release button is the on-off switch and underneath is the command wheel which is also used for zoom.

You can see the textured front grip, which gives a good level of resistance even though it is made out of tough plastic. On the rear is a decent sized rubber thumb grip with the video record button neatly placed so that you can avoid accidentally pressing it.

The screen tilts up 90 degrees for a good top view of the camera, however only tilts 45 degrees down. You can use to touch screen to set the focus point, as well as touch and shoot, or alternatively the touch shooting options can be switched off.

Samsung NX300 (6)

The menus are neatly laid out, and can be scrolled and selected using the touch screen or the 4-way buttons on the rear. The options are large and easy to read.

Underneath the camera has the usual tripod socket and battery / memory compartment, and battery life is rated at 320 shots according to Samsung / CIPA standards. Wi-Fi use noticeably drains the battery, and we'd recommend keeping the camera charged, or a spare battery handy if you plan on using the Wi-Fi feature a lot.

Samsung NX300 (10)

Wi-Fi Features:
  • MobileLink (Smart Camera app for Android and iOS) - used to transfer photos
  • Remote Viewfinder (Smart Camera app for Android and iOS) - can be used for shots, there is a noticeable delay in updates, and it can seem quite sluggish.
  • Auto Backup
  • Email
  • Send to SNS + Cloud: Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, SkyDrive
  • Allshare Play (Web storage, DLNA devices)
NFC can be used with a compatible smartphone to setup the link

Samsung NX300 (8)

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 NX300 Sony RX100
Shutter Response <0.05 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.25 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.3 2.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.7 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.9 2.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
8fps (14 shots) 7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 3fps 1.6s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 8fps (5 shots) 4fps (13 shots)

Focus speeds are improved over the NX210 and NX200, and continuous shooting is also quicker. Shooting JPEG Fine images it's possible to shoot at roughly 8fps, for around 14 shots before slowdown. After continuous shooting in RAW or JPEG it takes roughly 13 seconds to clear the buffer, before you can enter playback (depending on the speed of card used).

Samsung NX300 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 NX300 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Flash performance is good with no signs of red-eye, and good skin tones. Colour is good with bright colourful images, and there is plenty of fine detail in photos taken outside.

Samsung NX300 Lens test images


Lens Performance The lens has quite strong barrel distortion at the wide end, which is taken care of with the lens based distortion correction switched on. Purple fringing was not a problem. Detail is good throughout the zoom range, with good levels of detail even into the corners, and the camera delivers good dynamic range with reliable exposure. Macro performance is pretty good for a kit lens, although a dedicated macro lens will give better results.

Samsung NX300 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The ISO range is extended from ISO100 to ISO25600, an improvement over the previous model. Noise performance is greatly improved over the last model with usable results up to ISO3200. After this noise performance is good, however there is a slight drop in detail at ISO6400. ISO12800 may provide usable images, if resized, and ISO25600 is best avoided.

Samsung NX300 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs very well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a warmer result. AWB performs very under fluorescent lighting with the fluorescent preset giving a warmer result.

Panoramic SAM 0036 | 1/1600 sec | f/4.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/1600 sec | f/4.0 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - The built in sweep panoramic mode will automatically take a panoramic photo where you simply need to press the shutter button and hold it while panning around. You can shoot both horizontal or vertical panoramic photos.

Samsung NX300 Digital filters


Digital Filters - Picture Wizard gives you a number of preset colour modes, as well as Custom 1/2/3, where you can alter colour hue, saturation, sharpness and contrast. Dynamic range can be enhanced using the Smart Range+ option or the HDR option. Smart filters are another way of applying effects, however these are only available when shooting JPEG only.

Video - The camera has the usual Full HD 1080p video, at 50p, but also offers 1920x810 at 24p for "cinematic" shooting. There are options to fade in / out video. Wind cut is an option, as well as switching off audio recording.


Value For Money

The Samsung NX300 is available for £599 with 20-50mm compact kit lens and Adobe Lightroom 4 on CD. The 20-50mm kit lens does not feature optical image stabilisation, so we'd recommend the 18-55mm OIS kit lens as tested here, which is also available as a kit for £599 from Currys, unless you're particularly keen on the smallest system possible, and for that you'd be better off with one of the pancake lenses available.

Olympus PEN Lite E-PL5 - 16mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi option, £499 with 14-42mm lens
Sony NEX-5R - 16mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi, £505 with 16-50mm lens
Panasonic Lumix GF6 - 16mp, tilting touch screen, Wi-Fi, £499 with 14-42mm lens

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 NX300 Verdict

The Samsung NX300 is an welcome refresh to the Samsung NX range, with an impressive 3.31 inch touch screen (the largest on any mirrorless camera), and a good range of Wi-Fi features built in. Image quality is impressive with better results than the previous model, the NX210, thanks to improved noise performance, and excellent levels of detail.

The Samsung NX300 is introduced at roughly £100 more than the competition, although this can be justified by the inclusion of Adobe Lightroom 4 in the box. However, if you already have photo editing software or aren't interested in using Lightroom, then this may not appeal to you. The Samsung NX series has a growing number of lenses available from Samsung, and Samyang, however there are a larger choice of lenses available for other compact system cameras.

If you already have Samsung NX lenses, then the NX300 would make a great upgrade from an earlier model, particularly if you're using a model without Wi-Fi. If you're looking for a new mirrorless camera, then the Samsung NX300 with 18-55mm OIS kit lens is highly recommended, however, we wouldn't recommend the 20-50mm kit lens, as its shorter focal range can be limiting, and it costs the same price as the 18-55mm kit.

 
  The Samsung NX300 delivers excellent image quality and has one of the best screens available on a CSC.

Samsung NX300 Pros

Great image quality
Great 3.31inch touch screen
Improved noise results
Much improved front and rear grip
Adobe Lightroom 4 included on CD
Good AWB performance
Excellent Wi-Fi

Samsung NX300 Cons

RAW not available when shooting some effects
20-50mm lens doesn't include OIS
Wi-Fi use noticeably reduces battery life

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Samsung NX300 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 Monitor3.31in
Screen resolution768,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/6000sec
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 ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting8.6fps
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 TypeRechargeable battery : BP1130
CIPA Rating320
Box Contents
Box ContentsIntelli-studio 3.0, Samsung RAW Converter 4, Adobe Reader, Camera, 18-55mm OIS lens, hood, lens cap, Battery, Charger, Neck Strap, CD, Quick Manual, USB Cable
Dimensions
Weight280g
Width122mm
Height63.7mm
Depth40.7mm

View Full Product Details

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Photographs taken using the Samsung NX300

Chair, Battery and CatsBath and Gymnasium Complex, SardisTemple of Artemis, SardisAn Old DoorPoles and BoatsAgavesA Roller and A BoatSönmez, a PortraitTea BreakDemolishedNew BrightonGermiyan Yali, Cesme, IzmirTutor T1flamingos and a duck - coexistencespider
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Comments


9 May 2013 9:02PM
Thanks for the good review. I own this camera and in many ways it's really good, for me the best mirrorless without evf on the market.

It has one big flaw compared to older models, though, and you noticed it without stressing it enough. It allows only 5 raw files in continuous mode, while older nx models (like nx200) could do 8. I really hoped that thanks to the increased cpu power and overall faster operations, the newer camera could improve on this

But unfortunately it didn't happen. I really hopensamsung can at least bring the nx300 on par with the older models, through a fw update soon.

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joshwa e2
4 600 United Kingdom
10 May 2013 10:46AM
Thanks for your comment, that's useful information.
10 May 2013 6:25PM
Thanks for replying. If you can, it would be interesting to contact Samsung and stress this issue, so that they could fix it via fw upgrade. I bet it's possible, since raw files are smaller than in previous models and cpu is now much faster, so it has to be some fixable software glitch...
12 May 2013 4:48AM
Thanks for an excellent review - I just wish Samsung encouraged third party lensmakers to produce high quality lenses to complement their offering/ weakness ( Zeiss, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Voigtlander etc.)

Shot with the 50-200 which is fine stopped down, and in the center mostly (this is a crop)
flickr Kois
1 Jul 2013 12:35PM
Great review about the Nx-300!
We want also to share our website! We are great user of Samsung Nx System from years, we have tested and tried all the optics of Samsung in personal and professional way.
You can see our photos from sunny Florence with Samsung Nx-300 in you blog:
http://pixelsquare.it/samsung-nx-300-prime-fotografie-firenze/

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