Samsung NX300 review
23.5x15.7mm 20.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (27-82.5mm equivalent), 548g
Price, specifications and rating based on the 18-55mm kit
Samsung's NX system has always faced tough competition from other CSCs, such as the Sony NEX, Panasonic G and Olympus PEN ranges. Samsung is clearly determined to make a success of NX, though, and this year its hard work has paid off. The NX300 doesn't so much excel in any one area, but instead comes at or near the top in virtually every area.
It's a strikingly handsome camera, with a brushed metal top plate and a leather-textured grip providing some retro chic from the front, while a gorgeous 3.3in articulated AMOLED touchscreen makes it look bang up to date from the back. It's a little bigger and heavier than the competing Sony NEX-5R, but not significantly so. The only let-down is the blocky plastic design of the detachable flash unit.
It's a very handsome camera indeed, classic-looking but yet still more modern than retro
The screen is a big improvement over the NX210's 3in fixed, non-touch-sensitive screen. The downside is that the buttons to the right are a little more cramped, and there's no longer a wheel encircling the navigation pad. There's still a command dial on top, though, and the lens-mounted i-Fn button reassigns the focus ring to a range of other duties. The buttons on the back are well thought out, with direct access to ISO speed and drive mode, and the touchscreen makes it quick to move the autofocus point and navigate the quick-access Fn menu. NX cameras have always fared well for controls, and thanks to the large touchscreen, this is the best yet.
A great screen and great controls
The NX300 also scores full marks for features. All the conventional photographic controls that we'd expect are here, as are new-fangled features such as HDR, sweep panorama and creative filters. We're delighted to find Samsung's innovative Best Face mode included too. It's designed for group portrait shots, capturing five frames and letting you choose the best pose for each person before stitching a composite image together. The resolution drops to 6 megapixels and some ghosting can appear along the joins, but it's one of the most genuinely useful new shooting modes we've seen in a long time.
Best Face mode helps to banish blinks and grimaces from group portraits
Not all of the features were quite so impressive. The camera automatically tags portrait-shaped photos for rotation, but they appeared upside down in Windows software. We're not the only ones to have noticed this, and have enquired to Samsung about what is most likely a firmware issue. We are awaiting a response at present, but it shouldn't be hard to fix.