Samsung NX300 previewed: Is this 3D-ready mirrorless the fastest focusing digital camera?


posted Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 2:29 PM EDT

Big, bulky cameras aren't for everybody. You don't need chunky, SLR-like styling to get interchangeable-lens versatility, and some of us are more than happy to forgo a few features for street shooter anonymity. Back in 2011, Samsung answered that need, dropping the electronic viewfinder from the then-flagship NX11, and creating the stealthy NX200 mirrorless.

The Samsung NX300 is the latest successor to the NX200, and unlike last year's NX210, it makes some pretty significant changes throughout. Nutshell view: It's gotten a little bigger, but should be quite a bit speedier and more versatile than its predecessor. In fact, the NX300's new hybrid autofocus system, featuring a sensor with on-chip phase detection, is touted as being very fast. How fast? At the launch event held today, Samsung's Jay Kelbley, senior marketing manager of digital imaging, told us that the NX300 "is probably the fastest focusing camera you've ever tried." Now that's a claim we can't wait to put to the test in our lab.

Other upgrades to the Samsung NX300 include a new DRIMe IV-branded image processor, a larger, tilting touchscreen display, dual-channel Wi-Fi networking and a restyled body.

The Samsung NX300 has a new image sensor, processor, display, and more.

Alongside the NX300 body, Samsung has unveiled a new variant of the 45mm f/1.8 lens it announced at Photokina. The new 45mm f/1.8 2D-3D lens will work on existing bodies in 2D mode only, and will offer single-lens 3D imaging when used on the NX300 body. This is achieved by employing two LCD shutters that swing into the optical path when the lens is switched to 3D mode, a design reminiscent of one announced several years ago by Canadian firm ISee3D, although we understand that Samsung has developed its system in-house.

Slated for availability March 2013 with list pricing of around US$750, including a 20-50mm kit lens and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software, the Samsung NX300 looks to offer quite a proposition for aspiring street photographers. Meanwhile, the 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D lens, will be available alongside the NX300 body priced at US$500, a premium of about US$200 over the 2D-only variant of the same lens. For much more information, read our Samsung NX300 preview.

Alongside the NX300 body, Samsung will ship a 3D-capable variant of its existing 45mm f/1.8 lens.

Updated 2013-01-04 18:00ET: The pricing information we originally received for the 45mm lens was incorrect, and this article has been updated to reflect the actual price of US$500.