Samsung NX3300 Review

 
Camera Reviews / Samsung Cameras i Preview
20.30
Megapixels
Samsung NX APS-C
size sensor
image of Samsung NX3300
Front side of Samsung NX3300 digital camera Front side of Samsung NX3300 digital camera Front side of Samsung NX3300 digital camera Front side of Samsung NX3300 digital camera Front side of Samsung NX3300 digital camera
Basic Specifications
Full model name: Samsung NX3300
Resolution: 20.30 Megapixels
Sensor size: APS-C
(23.5mm x 15.7mm)
Kit Lens: 2.50x zoom
20-50mm
(30-75mm eq.)
Viewfinder: No / LCD
Native ISO: 100 - 25,600
Extended ISO: 100 - 25,600
Shutter: 1/4000 - 30 seconds
Max Aperture: 3.5 (kit lens)
Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in.
(117 x 66 x 39 mm)
Weight: 8.1 oz (230 g)
Availability: 03/2015
Manufacturer: Samsung
Full specs: Samsung NX3300 specifications

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Samsung NX3300 Review -- First Impressions

by Zig Weidelich and Mike Tomkins
Posted: 03/10/2015
Updated:

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

The Samsung NX3300 is a minor update to the NX3000, with enhanced firmware and tweaked cosmetics compared to its predecessor. Perhaps the most significant change is not in the camera itself, but in the product bundle, as Samsung is no longer including Adobe Lightroom. The NX3300's software bundle consists of Samsung's i-Launcher, Samsung Raw Converter (based on SILKYPIX) and Samsung DNG Converter.

The two cameras look very similar with identical shape, control layout, dimensions and weight, but the NX3300 does away with the metallic top and bottom panels, instead using colors that match the rest of the body for a cleaner, less retro look. The NX3000's silver accent plate just below the top panel is now an attractive blue color, and the kit lenses have a matching blue stripe as well. The NX3300 comes in black or white, dropping the brown version that the NX3000 offered.

Imaging Pipeline

At the heart of the Samsung NX3300 is a 20.3 megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS image sensor, and as far as we know, it's the same sensor as in the NX3000. 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 as that model. There are no on-chip phase-detection autofocus pixels in the NX3300'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.

We believe the processor is the also same as found in its predecessor, the NX3000, though as mentioned, the firmware has been updated.

The Samsung NX3300 offers the same 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.

Burst performance is also the same, at a manufacturer rated five frames per second, in either JPEG or RAW formats. Buffer depths are claimed to be 13 JPEGs or 5 RAW files. Drop the resolution to five megapixels, and you'll get a manufacturer-rated 10, 15, or 30 fps with a buffer size of 30 JPEG frames.

Optics

Like all NX-series mirrorless cameras except the NX Mini, the Samsung NX3300 is based around the company's NX lens mount. There are currently over a dozen lenses available in the US market, excluding minor variations such as color, and of these, all but one should work with the NX3300. (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.)

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

The NX3300 officially comes bundled with the 20-50mm F3.5-5.6 ED II lens in the US, though we've also seen kits bundled with the 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS lens instead. The latter is optically stabilized and 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 NX3300 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.

Autofocus

As we alluded to in the sensor section, the Samsung NX3300 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).

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

Display

The Samsung NX3300 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 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. With the Auto Self-shot feature enabled, though, you can turn the camera on by flipping up the screen, which coupled with a 3 second self-timer and face detection allows you to snap your selfies without touching a single physical control.

Exposure

The NX3300's selection of exposure modes are for the most part self-explanatory, consisting of Smart Auto, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, Beauty Face, Smart, and Wi-Fi. Smart modes are essentially scene modes, and these include Best Face, Continuous Shot, Kids Shot, Landscape, Macro, Food, Parties and Indoors, Action Freeze, Rich Tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Firework, and Light Trace. One change from the NX3000 is that the NX3300 replaces the Panorama position on the mode dial with Beauty Face, which is used to reduce facial imperfections with adjustable brightening and smoothing settings.

The NX3300 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.

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

Creative

Samsung has included quite a few creative options on the NX3300 including Wink Shot mode, which takes a selfie photo when you wink at the camera. It's accompanied by a 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 (Smart Range+) 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 Painting, 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 NX3000, the Samsung NX3300 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. +/-2 EV flash exposure compensation is available, maximum flash sync is 1/180 second and there are Smart Flash, Auto, Auto Red-eye, Fill-in, Fill-in Red, 1st Curtain and 2nd Curtain modes.

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

Movie capture

As well as still images, the NX3300 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 and maximum recording time per clip is 20 minutes.

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-I MicroSD cards.

Wi-Fi 

Samsung puts a big emphasis on wireless networking in its products, and the NX3300 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.

Samsung NX3300 Review -- Product view

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 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 NX3000 and NX Mini. Battery life from the pack is rated to CIPA standards at 370 shots or 185 minutes of playback.

Pricing and Availability

In the US, the official Samsung NX3300 kit is bundled with the 20-50mm lens and SEF-8A flash at a list price of $499.99. An alternate kit with the 16-50mm OIS Power Zoom lens is also available from some retailers, for a premium of about $100. As mentioned previously, the camera comes in all black or white with a blue accent stripe below the top panel, and the lens is colored to match the body. Availability appears to be limited to only a few retailers as of late summer 2015, though this may change over time.

Since the Samsung NX3300 is so closely related to its predecessor, be sure to see our Samsung NX3000 review!

 

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