Samsung NX300 review
Review Date : Thu, 25 Apr 2013
Author : Mike Topham
The Samsung NX300 follows on from the NX210 and is the new flagship model in the company’s NX-series. Have the latest developments and improvements made it a better performing system? We find out in the Samsung NX300 review...
|Pros:||Fast AF; Responsive touch screen; i-Function lens technology; Battery life|
|Cons:||Buffer performance; Screen resolution could be higher; No in-built flash|
The Samsung NX300 represents something of a seachange for Samsung. Up until recently, the Samsung NX20 had stolen the limelight in Samsung's NX-series – one reason for this is perhaps its design, which very much mimicked that of a DSLR.
Samsung has taken a different approach with its latest flagship model, opting against the idea of a chunky handgrip and electronic viewfinder, yet the NX300 is a model that boasts the most impressive specification we've seen from any NX-series camera to date.
Samsung NX300 review - Features
When the Samsung NX300's predecessor was launched a year ago in the form of the NX210, the key talking points were its 8fps burst rate, ability to shoot compressed Raw files and Wi-fi connectivity. The Samsung NX300 is not so much a subtle upgrade, but a much more significant improvement.
At its heart of the NX300 lies a new 3:2 aspect 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor. Though the resolution and the physical dimensions of the chip (23.5x15.7mm) haven't changed, the ISO range has broadened to 100-25600 – equivalent to a 1EV gain over the Samsung NX210.
The maximum permitted shutter speed and continuous burst rate have also been increased on the Samsung NX300. Previously on the NX210 the fastest you could shoot at was 1/4000sec, but this is now up rated to 1/6000sec with the option to shoot a continuous burst at 8.6fps. By uniting the renewed sensor with the DRIMe IV imaging engine, Samsung claim the NX300 is capable of producing better colour reproduction and more effective noise reduction.
Autofocus is an area where NX-series CSCs have struggled to perform well in the past. Samsung has stepped up to its competition with the NX300 by incorporating a new hybrid AF system that promises faster AF response. Though this is not new technology (other CSCs with hybrid AF systems include the Canon EOS M and Sony NEX-5R), it's certainly a step in the right direction.
The pairing of contrast detect AF and phase detection AF should see an improvement in AF speed and accuracy, with the phase detection being used to identify focus and contrast detect taking over to fine-tune the focusing. Single and continuous AF modes are provided, and there are four AF area modes to choose from including selection AF, multi AF, face detection and self-portrait AF.
The rear of the Samsung NX300 features a 3.3in AMOLED touch screen complete with a 768k-dot resolution. Again, this is an improvement when it's compared to the NX210's 3in, 614k-dot display. The hinge at the bottom of the NX300's touch screen also allows it to be pulled out and tilted when shooting at low or high angles - a welcomed addition for the consumer that this camera is aimed at.
Samsung's i-function technology is featured on the 18-55mm II f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens that the NX300 is bundled with. The idea of this is that you can touch the i-Fn button on the lens to cycle through common variables before rotating the focus ring to apply new settings. There are 14 different settings to choose from within the NX300's smart mode.
These include a 'panorama' function that combines a series of photos to create a panoramic image in camera, a 'rich tones' function that merges multiple images with different exposures to create photos with a wide dynamic range and 'creative shot', which studies a scene before it applies what it thinks is the best filter available.
Improving on its Wi-fi capabilities, the Samsung NX300 also features NFC (Near field communication). A late development to the camera after the initial pre-production models were rolled out, NFC allows users to touch the camera with NFC enabled devices to share images by touch.
To take full advantage of the Wi-fi capabilities of the camera, Samsung NX300 users are requested to download Samsung's Smart Camera App - a free download for Android and iOS devices from Google Play and the iTunes store.
Not forgetting HD video, the Samsung NX300 shoots Full HD movies in the MP4 format at 50, 25 and 24p using H.264 compression. Samsung has also taken the opportunity to update the battery on the NX300 and it now uses a BP1130 lithium ion battery pack.