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
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.
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).
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
HDR, Sweep Panorama
Samsung NX30 Handling
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
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.
– 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slowdown)
8.69fps (17 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash
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 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
- 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
- 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.
Panoramic | 1/3200 sec | f/4.5 | 18.0 mm | ISO 200
- 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 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
, £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.
Samsung NX30 Pros
Excellent image quality
9fps continuous shooting
Very quick focusing
Improved ISO range and performance
Improved screen and EVF resolution
Adobe Lightroom 5 provided
Best Wi-Fi implementation of any camera (excluding Android cameras)
Samsung NX30 Cons
Nose can activate touch screen when using EVF
No side access to memory card
VALUE FOR MONEY
Samsung NX30 Specifications
|Sensor Size (width)||23.5mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||15.7mm|
|Screen resolution||FVGA (720x480) 1,037k dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/8000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Scene modes
- Centre-weighted - Average
- Multi Pattern
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 25600|
|Viewfinder Resolution||XGA 2,359K-dot resolution|
- 1280x720 720p
- 640x480 VGA
- 320x240 QVGA
|Video FPS||60, 30|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion BP1410, 1410mAh|
|Box Contents||No Data|
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