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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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
- Send to SNS + Cloud: Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, SkyDrive
- Allshare Play (Web storage, DLNA devices)
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|
|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).
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Samsung NX300 Sample Photos
Drive | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Thoresby Hall | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 22.0 mm | ISO 100
Daffodil | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Flash Portrait | 1/60 sec | f/5.0 | 40.0 mm | ISO 400
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
Wide | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Zoom | 1/320 sec | f/7.1 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Trees | 1/160 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Macro | 1/30 sec | f/5.6 | 55.0 mm | ISO 200
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
1/5 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 100
1/13 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 200
1/20 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 400
1/50 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 800
1/100 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 1600
1/160 sec | f/5.6 | 48.0 mm | ISO 3200
1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 48.0 mm | ISO 6400
1/320 sec | f/8.0 | 48.0 mm | ISO 12800
1/500 sec | f/9.0 | 48.0 mm | ISO 25600
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
AWB Tungsten | 0.4 sec | f/8.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 0.4 sec | f/8.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
AWB Flu | 1 sec | f/8.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
Flu Preset | 1 sec | f/8.0 | 25.0 mm | ISO 100
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 | 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
Miniature | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 55.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Acrylic | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Coloured Pencil | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Ink Sketch | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Negative | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Oil Sketch | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Part Colour Green | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Vignette | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Wash Drawing | 1/250 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
Smart Filter Watercolour | 1/320 sec | f/6.3 | 18.0 mm | ISO 100
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 MoneyThe 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.
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.
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|The Samsung NX300 delivers excellent image quality and has one of the best screens available on a CSC.|
Samsung NX300 ProsGreat 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
Samsung NX300 ConsRAW not available when shooting some effects
20-50mm lens doesn't include OIS
Wi-Fi use noticeably reduces battery life
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Samsung NX300 Specifications
|CCD pixels||20.3Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size (width)||23.5mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||15.7mm|
|Screen resolution||768,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/6000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||No Data|
|Video FPS||60, 30|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable battery : BP1130|
|Box Contents||Intelli-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|
Update 11/06/13: We originally found that the NX300 had an issue with the orientation sensor in the camera setting portrait photos upside-down when viewed on the computer, this has now been resolved with a firmware update.