Samsung NX3000 Review - The Samsung NX3000 continues the NX series tradition of combining a full specification with a broad range of imaging technology at a competitive price point, and may well be the best value NX camera yet.
In terms of its feature-set it’s probably most similar to the Samsung NX Mini, although it does feature the larger 20.3MP APS-C sensor. This sensor places it in competition with some impressive models, so the question is does it have enough to shine in a crowded marketplace? Read on to find out…
Samsung NX3000 Review – Features
As you might expect for a Samsung NX camera new to the market, the Samsung NX3000 features a host of wireless functionality. The model ships with both Wi-fi and NFC connectivity, and the amount of functionality supplied by the technology is extensive.
Once connected, users can wirelessly send and transfer images to a compatible smartphone or tablet, wirelessly control their camera and adjust settings through the Samsung SMART camera application, and even send images to a group of up to four people at once.
One quirky feature found on the Samsung NX3000 is that it makes use of the smaller Micro SD memory format as opposed to the conventional size. Although this does have the obvious benefit of taking up less space than a standard SD card, and thus enabling a smaller camera body, Samsung smartphone users will also benefit from the fact that it’s compatible with a lot of their devices, as well as a range of tablets and devices from other manufacturers.
Another welcome bonus with the NX3000 is a pair of unexpected bundled extras. Firstly, although the NX3000 doesn’t feature a built-in flash as standard, it comes with a small SEF-8 external flash in the box. Also, the NX3000 ships with a full version of Adobe Lightroom 5 as standard, giving you access to one of the most desirable image editing software suites out of the box at no extra cost.
The chip in mind is APS-C in dimensions and features a resolution of 20.3MP, covering an ISO range of 100-25600. Unfortunately, Samsung has done away with the on-chip phase detection technology seen in those cameras, and as such may deliver slower AF performance.
Speed isn’t an issue when it comes to continuous shooting however, as the Samsung NX3000 promises a continuous shooting speed of 5fps in full resolution JPEG.
Finishing off the attractive package is the 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED OIS Power Zoom lens first announced at CES earlier this year. This lens features optical image stabilisation, allows for quiet zooming whilst recording video and also features Samsung’s impressive iFunction capability.
Samsung NX3000 Review – Design
The first thing that strikes you about the NX3000 when it’s in the hand is its retro styling.
The body is described in promotional material by Samsung as having a ‘premium vintage’ feel, and with the silver top plate and either brown, white or black leather-styled textured front it’s easy to see where they’re coming from.
Unlike some of the other models in the NX series, the NX3000 doesn’t feature a touchscreen. As a result, all of the camera’s functionality is accessed through a wide collection of physical controls including – a d-pad / scroll wheel on the rear, a host of surrounding control and a pair of function buttons, both on the camera and the lens.
Although the Samsung NX3000 shares a host of its functionality with the Samsung Mini, it doesn’t quite inherit that models ultra-diminutive dimensions. In fact, it’s just a touch smaller than its predecessor, the NX2000.
That’s not to say that it’s not small, and with the kit lens attached the NX3000 will comfortably fit inside of a small bag.
Samsung NX3000 Review – Performance
As mentioned in the introduction, although the NX3000 features an almost identical sensor to both the NX30 and the NX300, unfortunately it’s lacking the key component of on-sensor phase detection and as such isn’t able to offer the highly desirable hybrid AF set-up seen on those two.
As a result, the AF set-up is the same as that seen on its predecessor, and while it’s by no means terrible it’s not as impressive as its peers.
In good, bright conditions the NX3000 focuses quickly, and while the camera isn’t particularly slow to focus in more difficult lighting conditions it doesn’t feature the same accuracy as a hybrid focus system might offer.
What’s also slightly disappointing is that while more accurate focusing can be provided by the focus point selection functionality, due to the lack of a touchscreen this has to be positioned using the d-pad toggle.
The screen is also somewhat disappointing in terms of specification in comparison with its predecessor. While the NX3000 sports an entirely respectable 3in, 460k-dot vari-angle LCD screen, the NX2000 featured a best-in-class 1,152k-dot, 3.7in touchscreen LCD.
Although the screen on the NX3000 still offers good image reproduction in bright conditions, as well as offering a decent refresh rate, the change in specification means that the unit feels like something of a downgrade from its predecessor.
Elsewhere, the NX3000 sports the same DRIMe IV processor as used previously in the Samsung NX Mini. Unfortunately there are a few performance issues here with regards to processing large amounts of data, and when writing both Raw and JPEG files in tandem it can take up to two seconds before the buffer clears.
Samsung NX3000 Review – Image Quality
Colour and white balance
There are a few issues with regards to colour performance, with colour rendition sometimes varying from shot to shot even in the same lighting conditions.
However, on the whole the colours themselves are usually vibrant and punchy with darker tones correctly rendered low in saturation.
Auto white balance, meanwhile, does a good job in general although it can struggle when presented with conflicting light sources.
There are a range of metering modes on hand, including the option to link metering with the selected AF point, and in general the metering performance is fairly accurate.
There is a slight tendency to preserve highlight detail and when shooting backlit subject the NX300 can produce particularly bright exposures, although on the whole the camera is reliable in this regard.
Noise and Resolution
Thanks to the APS-C sensor, the NX3000 is capable of resolving a large amount of detail thanks to its ample APS-C sensor. In fact, at the base ISO 100 the amount of detail captured is comparable to DSLRs featuring equivalent sensors.
The level of detail reproduction is maintained right up to ISO 800, although beyond that it does tail off somewhat due to in camera noise reduction.
The level of performance with regards to noise at high ISO settings is also pleasing, with images showing little sign of luminance noise. Images are also relatively noise free at ISO 1600, although above this noise reduction does begin to smudge finer details.
Samsung NX3000 Review – Verdict
There’s no denying that the NX3000 is an attractive package which offers great value for money.
That’s not to say that it’s not without its flaws however, and it doesn’t offer a great deal of improvement on its predecessor as far as the more serious photographer is concerned.
The lack of a hybrid AF set-up is felt when it comes to shooting in lower light conditions, while the new LCD screen is definitely a step backwards.
That being said, the NX3000 offers a lot for the mass market at a good price point, although more serious photographers are certainly better catered for by other cameras in the NX series such as the NX300.
Sample Image Gallery
These are just a few images taken with the Samsung NX3000. For a wider range of images, visit the Samsung NX3000 review sample image gallery.