Goondu review: Samsung NX300 camera

July 24th, 2013 | by Wilson Wong
Goondu review: Samsung NX300 camera
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The compact NX300 is Samsung’s latest mirror-less camera camera system, which the Korean company says is “worthy of professional photographers”.

The camera comes in a white-silver combination, as my review unit did, as well as brown-silver and black-silver. Measuring at 122 x 63.7 x 40.7 mm, its size is comparable to most CSC or Compact System Cameras in the market. Its 284-gram weight without battery feels light in the hand.

Out of the box, the NX300 comes with Samsung’s own 18-55mm, f3.5-5.6 kit lens. That’s similar in terms of capabilities for most standard camera kits out there.

Having said that, the NX300’s 20.3-megapixel, APS-C sized sensor does promise better image quality than those with smaller sensors. And it does not disappoint up until ISO1600, with ISO800 being the best between high light sensitivity and ISO noise.

Colour reproduction and auto white balance are among the best I have seen in a while. There is good skin tone in both natural and artificial light.

The camera is also able to shoot at shutter speeds of up to 1/6000s – perfect for quick action shots.

Do take note though: unless it is paired with a Class 10 SD card, the camera can take a while to save all the files taken in quick succession and one could miss shots during its “down time”.  During my tests, a burst of 15 shots took an average of 6 seconds to record for SDHC cards and half that time for Class 10 SD card.

Hong Kong Night Scene. ISO 400 1/10s f3.5. Handheld shot.

The focusing is impressive with Samsung’s new Hybrid AF sensor being utilised in the NX300. Although not as precise as a DSLR camera, the NX300 can focus quick enough for most uses.

It also comes with a tilting AMOLED screen good enough to use under direct sunlight. Having a touch-enabled rear screen means the camera can be used like a smartphone. You can pinch to zoom out, for example.

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The AMOLED screen can be tilted upwards till 90 degrees and downward till 45 degrees.

The camera is what you’d call “consumer friendly”. With Wi-Fi connectivity, the NX300 opens up more creative uses.

After downloading a Samsung app on my Android phone, I can send a copy of the pictures to my phone even as I am shooting with the camera. This means I can share photos quickly on my social network without needing a cable to transfer the pictures over to the phone.

Another cool feature is the remote viewfinder mode. I can set up a camera to point at a certain scene and wait for my subject to pop into the frame and take the picture from my smartphone instead of using the clicker on the camera.

Self Portraiture Capture with the Remote Viewfinder App. The shot is taken via Smartphone Control.

It’s also easy to connect up the phone and camera. The near-field communications technology built in on the NX300 means you just turn on NFC on the smartphone (assuming it’s supported) and the camera will send the necessary data to pair it.

If there’s no smartphone around and you want to upload the pictures onto Facebook,  just log in with a Wi-Fi hotspot directly on the camera. For video junkies, the NX300 records Full HD movies with the ability to zoom and achieve auto-focus easily.

During my tests, battery life was pretty good for the camera and I was able to wring a day’s worth of shooting – 500 images in all – before the battery needed recharging. Do note that the NX300 does not come with an external camera charger and the battery is charged via the microUSB port on the camera.

The other peeve I have with the camera is the placement of the jog dial. On most cameras, the jog dial is operated using the right thumb, but the NX300 requires the use of the index finger which is not very intuitive. The mode dial being so near to the jog dial hinders the movement of the finger while changing settings.

Having said that, the NX300 is an easy camera to use. For most consumers, its ability to link up with smartphones helps differentiate if from other rivals in the market.

 

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