Samsung NX3000 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Samsung Cameras i First Shots
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Samsung NX3000
Resolution: 20.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
Kit Lens: 3.13x zoom
16-50mm
(24-75mm eq.)
Viewfinder: LCD
ISO: 100-25600
Shutter: 30-1/4000
Max Aperture: 3.5
Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in.
(117 x 66 x 39 mm)
Weight: 8.1 oz (230 g)
MSRP: $529
Availability: 06/2014
Manufacturer: Samsung
Full specs: Samsung NX3000 specifications
20.30
Megapixels
Samsung NX APS-C
size sensor
image of Samsung NX3000
Front side of Samsung NX3000 digital camera Back side of Samsung NX3000 digital camera Top side of Samsung NX3000 digital camera Left side of Samsung NX3000 digital camera Right side of Samsung NX3000 digital camera

Samsung NX3000 Review -- First Impressions

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Preview posted

Samsung NX3000 Review -- Front left view with flash attached

The Samsung NX3000 slots into the company's product line between the earlier NX300 and NX Mini mirrorless cameras, a position previously occupied by the NX2000. In doing so, it aims to pair the best of both worlds: the affordability of the NX Mini, along with the much larger sensor size of an NX-mount camera.

So long as compact size and performance aren't your primary concerns, the NX3000 offers you a chance to save some of your hard-earned cash, or perhaps put the savings towards lenses or accessories to accompany your new camera body, as pricing is quite competitive with kits starting as low as US$479 (see below).

Although it's not as compact as the NX Mini -- it's just a little taller and wider, but close to twice as thick thanks to the larger sensor and lens mount -- the Samsung NX3000 is still just a touch smaller than the NX300 in both width and depth, and only a smidgen taller. It's also handily lighter than that camera, and not a whole lot heavier than the smaller-sensored NX Mini. Its handsome body features styling quite similar to that of the NX300, although its hand grip is rather shallower than that of its higher-end sibling.

Samsung NX3000 Review -- Front view without lens

On the inside, the NX3000 boasts the same sensor size and resolution as found in the NX300, and it yields the same sensitivity range, to boot. It's not the same chip, however, as the NX3000 lacks the on-chip phase detection pixels of the pricier model. We understand that with the exception of its image sensor, the NX3000's imaging pipeline is also more similar to that in the similarly affordable (but smaller-sensored) NX Mini, which also relies solely on contrast-detection autofocus.

Samsung NX3000 Review -- Rear view

The NX3000 also resembles the Mini in a few other ways. It shares the same cellphone-like MicroSD storage slot and 2,330mAh slimline rechargeable battery pack as found in the NX Mini, and also has a similar three-inch LCD monitor. (That's a little smaller than the display found in the NX300, and also quite a bit lower-resolution.) However, it lacks the touch-sensitivity of both siblings, relying solely on physical controls in the interests of saving a little in production cost. And it also trails both the NX300 and Mini somewhat in terms of burst performance.

Samsung NX3000 Review -- Top view

Those changes, though, mean you get a much larger sensor than you'll find in the NX Mini, as well as the image quality advantages that should bring. And it also translates to a significantly lower list price than the NX300 -- and that despite a newer version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in the product bundle. Where the NX300 still ships with last year's Lightroom 4 release, the NX3000 -- like the Mini before it -- will arrive with Lightroom 5.

Samsung NX3000 Review -- Front left view with LCD swing

The Samsung NX3000 is available with a stabilized, 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens in place of the usual 18-55mm optic. It's the first time the company has delivered the 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS as a kit lens, and if you're a video shooter, that's a nice change. No longer will you have to splash out on a lens if you want shake-free zoom during video capture. Pricing for this kit is set at around US$529.

The NX3000 can also be purchased bundled with the unstabilized 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 lens that shipped with the NX2000 for $50 less, at only about US$479.

As well as Lightroom 5, the NX3000 will also include DNG Converter and iLauncher software in its product bundles, and it will be available in the same three body color choices as the NX300: black, brown, or white. Both kits include an SEF-8 external flash, and will be available from June 2014.

Place your pre-order with a trusted Imaging Resource affiliate now:

Adorama:

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Amazon:

  • Samsung NX3000 kit with 20-50mm lens: Black | Brown | White
  • Samsung NX3000 kit with 16-50mm PZ OIS lens: Black | Brown | White

B&H:

  • Samsung NX3000 kit with 20-50mm lens: Black | Brown | White
  • Samsung NX3000 kit with 16-50mm PZ OIS lens: Black | Brown | White


Let's take a closer look at the NX3000's features.

 

Samsung NX3000 Technical Info

by Mike Tomkins

Sensor. At the heart of the Samsung NX3000 is a 20.3 megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS image sensor. Although it has the exact same 5,472 x 3,648 pixel output resolution as that of the NX300, it's not the same sensor. There are no on-chip phase-detection autofocus pixels in the NX3000's imager, and so it must rely on contrast-detection autofocus. Total resolution is 21.6 megapixels, and the chip has a standard Bayer RGBG color filter array.

Processor. Although its image sensor is radically different, the NX3000 shares the same image processor as featured previously in the NX Mini, and its imaging pipeline is in other respects similar.

Sensitivity. The Samsung NX3000 offers a sensitivity range of ISO 100 to 25,600 equivalents, in either 1/3 or 1EV steps. There is, of course, also an Auto ISO function.

Performance. Although Samsung has yet to reveal burst shooting depth for the NX3000, we do know that its maker rates it as capable of shooting at a rate of five frames per second, in either JPEG or raw formats. Drop the resolution to five megapixels, and you'll get a manufacturer-rated 10, 15, or 30 fps, again with an unstated burst depth.

Optics. Like all NX-series mirrorless cameras except the NX Mini, the Samsung NX3000 is based around the company's NX lens mount. There are currently 14 lenses available in the US market, excluding minor variations such as color, and of these, all but one should work with the NX3000. (You won't, however, be able to use Samsung's unique 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D lens, although the standard 2D-only version should be fine.)

The NX3000 is the company's first model to ship with a 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS lens as the kit optic. As well as stabilization -- which is always lens-dependent for the NX-mount, as the camera bodies lack built-in stabilization -- this kit optic also allows control of zoom courtesy of a rocker button on the side of the lens barrel, or even remotely via Wi-Fi. That should make it easier to zoom during video capture without shaking the camera, as compared to a standard mechanical zoom ring.

The Samsung NX3000 also supports in-camera lens correction for certain lenses, and allows control of aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity and white balance using the i-Function button found on most NX-mount lenses.

Focus. As we alluded to in the sensor section, the Samsung NX3000 lacks on-chip phase detection pixels, and hence must rely on contrast-detection autofocus. Its CDAF system supports face detection for up to 10 people at a time, and provides 21 focus points by default, or 35 points for closeup shooting. You can also opt for a single, movable point, and tracking autofocus is available. So, too, is manual focus.

An autofocus assist lamp is included on the front of the camera, just above and to the left of the handgrip (as seen from the rear).

Display. The Samsung NX3000 doesn't include any form of viewfinder, nor make provision for an external one. Instead, you'll frame and review images on a 3.0-inch, flip-up IPS LCD monitor. This display tilts upwards 180 degrees, allowing it to be used to frame selfies.

The panel has HVGA (320 x 480 pixel; 460,800 dot) resolution, and a manufacturer-claimed 100% field of view. As mentioned earlier, there's no touch-screen overlay, and so it can't function as an input device. Interestingly, though, you can turn the camera on by flipping up the screen, which coupled with the Wink Shot function allows you to snap your selfies without touching a single physical control.

Exposure. The NX3000's selection of exposure modes are for the most part self-explanatory, consisting of Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Panorama, Smart, and Wi-Fi. Smart modes are essentially scene modes, and these include Beauty Face, Best Face, Landscape, Macro, Action Freeze, Rich Tone, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Firework, Light Trace, Continuous Shot, Kids, Food, and Party/Indoor.

The NX3000 determines exposures using a 221-segment (17 x 13 area) multiple metering system that, like any mirrorless camera, operates on information provided by the image sensor. The system includes multiple, center-weighted and spot metering modes, and has a working range of EV 0-18 at ISO 100, using a 30mm f/2 lens.

An autoexposure lock function is available via a custom button, and +/-3.0 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps. There's also a +/- 3EV autoexposure bracketing function. Available shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds in 1/3 EV steps, plus a Bulb mode that's limited to a maximum of four minutes.

Available white balance modes include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (W, N, D), Tungsten, Flash, Custom, and Kelvin. A +/-7-step white balance tuning function is available on both Amber/Blue and Green/Magenta axes.

Creative. Samsung has included quite a few creative options on the NX3000, of which some are familiar, and others less so. We've already mentioned the Wink Shot mode, which takes a selfie photo when you wink at the camera. It's accompanied by the more common Smile Shot function, which trips the shutter when you're smiling.

There are also a number of Picture Wizard modes: Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, and three Custom modes. In Record mode, you also have four Smart Filter functions to choose from: Miniature, Vignetting, Sketch, and Fish Eye. And you have a Dynamic Range Expansion function, which can operate either in Auto or HDR modes when active.

In Playback mode, there are even more Smart Filters to choose from. As well as those available in Record mode, you also have Soft Focus, Classic, Retro, Oil Paint, Cartoon, Ink Painting, Cross Filter, and Zooming Shot filters. There are also red-eye fix, crop, resize, and rotate tools in Playback mode, and you can retouch faces, tweak brightness, contrast, saturation, and color / RGB levels, and have adjustments applied automatically.

Flash. Like the NX300, the Samsung NX3000 lacks a built-in flash strobe, but includes an external one in the product bundle. It's the same SEF-8A flash strobe bundled with other NX-series cameras, and has a guide number of 8 meters at ISO 100.

Movie capture. As well as still images, the NX3000 can also record movies. The maximum resolution is Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels; 1080p) at a rate of either 25 or 30 frames per second. Movies include stereo audio from a built-in microphone, and there's no external microphone connectivity. You can opt for Program autoexposure, or instead choose Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, or Manual exposure for more control.

A number of reduced-resolution movie modes are also available, including 1280 x 720 , 640 x 480, or 320 x 240 pixels. In these last two resolutions, you can opt to record at high speed for 0.25x playback, or at low speed for 5x, 10x, or 20x playback.

Movies are stored with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression and AAC audio, in an MP4 container. There are two quality choices available.

Storage: Still images, meanwhile, are recorded either using JPEG compression at one of three quality levels, or in Samsung's proprietary .SRW v3.0.0 raw format. (A converter application included in the product bundle will convert these to the Adobe-controlled but more open .DNG format.)

Images and movies are stored on MicroSD cards, as used by many smartphones. Support is also offered for MicroSDHC, MicroSDXC, and UHS-1 MicroSD cards.

Wi-Fi. Samsung puts a big emphasis on wireless networking in its products, and the NX3000 is no different from its siblings in this regard. It offers 802.11b/g/n compatibility, as well as support for simple NFC setup with compatible devices. (Essentially, many Android smartphones and tablets, but nothing from Apple, which continues to resist the standard in favor of its own proprietary solutions. NFC is also supported on other platforms, but in the absence of an app for anything except Android or iOS, that's of little help.)

If you're on iOS, you'll have to take the old-fashioned route to pairing, using the dedicated Mobile button on the camera's top deck, after which you can share your photos with your phone or tablet using Samsung's free apps. You can transfer content to up to four devices at once using the Mobile Link / Group Share functions, or control the camera remotely -- and even operate the power-zoom lens -- using Remote Viewfinder Pro.

Connectivity. The NX3000's connectivity options include HDMI high-definition video output, and a USB 2.0 High Speed port for data. The latter uses a micro connector, and supports USB charging (DC 5.0V, 0.55A.) A USB charger is included in the product bundle.

Power. Since you charge in-camera, there's no way to charge a second battery while you're using the camera, without purchasing an external charger separately. The built-in, slimline rechargeable battery is much the same as the lithium-ion pack you'd get in a smartphone, and is rated for 3.8V and 2,330 mAh. It's the same pack as used in the NX Mini. Battery life from the pack is rated to CIPA standards at 370 shots or 185 minutes of playback.

Samsung NX3000

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