Samsung NX30 Field Tests

Samsung NX30 Field Test Part I

A comfortable, lightweight camera with great specs and performance

by John Shafer | 06/09/2014

This was my first opportunity to spend some quality time with a Samsung interchangeable lens camera, and I was really looking forward to it. On paper, Samsung NX cameras have a very competitive feature-set and excellent performance specs. I was excited to see how the NX30 performs compared to other mirrorless cameras I've used -- especially at action performance and image quality. Samsung sent me the NX30 in a kit with an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 image-stabilized zoom lens. The camera is spec'd with a 20-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, built-in Wi-Fi with NFC, 9 frames per second high-speed burst, hybrid auto focus, a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), 3-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, i-Function control system, and Full HD video at 60 frames per second. It definitely looks great on paper. But do those specs measure up to a great camera in real life?

In this first part of my NX30 shooter's report, I'll share my general, first-impressions of the camera -- handling, basic elements, image quality, and standout features -- especially the built-in Wi-Fi, electronic viewfinder and the i-Function controls.

The NX30 looks great on paper, but how does it handle in the real world?

Samsung NX30 Field Test Part I

Samsung NX30 Field Test Part II

Performance & Action Shooting

by John Shafer | 07/17/2014

I'm primarily an outdoor action-sports photographer who spends a lot of time way up in the mountains, I'm always interested in small, light cameras that have great action performance. The NX30 can shoot full-resolution raw bursts as fast as nine frames per second. That's fast -- faster than the Canon EOS 7D I've been using for most of my action shooting over the past few years.

The NX30 also has a hybrid autofocus system that combines contrast-detection and phase-detection autofocus for increased accuracy and speed. My contacts at Samsung assured me that the camera's action performance was amazing, and that I would be impressed. I've had a chance to shoot a lot of mountain biking with it now, and I am prepared to pass judgment. Read on to learn how the NX30 performed in my world -- a world dominated my mountain biking and other high-speed activities of doubtful value.

The NX30 gets pushed to the limit with action and sports photography.

Read Field Test Part II

Samsung NX30 Field Test Part III

A worthy option: solid performance and image quality at a great value

by John Shafer | 08/07/2014

I spent over a month getting to know the Samsung NX30. I took nearly 3500 pictures with it, and I pushed it hard -- probably harder than most people ever will. It's a solid all-purpose enthusiast camera with great features, a travel-friendly body, and for the most part, the performance is great. Overall, I was very pleased with what I was able to do with it. I shot high-speed action, landscapes, food porn, people photos, low light photos, and video; and the NX30 handled most everything very well.

It wasn't all perfect, though. I had some problems with the camera locking up, the color wasn't exactly to my taste, and the continuous auto focus didn't live up to my expectations. For those who want all the nitty-gritty on the auto focus, I went into it in detail in part II of my NX30 Field Test. Basically, it's okay for casual use with slow-moving subjects. But for anything that's moving quickly, it can't keep up at all. Don't expect to be able to track Formula One racing, or even your kid's soccer games with the NX30. To be fair, though, it's pretty much on par with most other mirrorless cameras. As a rule, when it comes to mirrorless cameras and continuous auto focus -- don't believe the hype. You can certainly take great action photos without continuous auto focus, though. You just need to pre-focus and plan them a little more carefully.

Read Part III for John's final thoughts on Samsung's flagship mirrorless camera.

Read Field Test Part III

Buy the Samsung NX30

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