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Samsung NX300 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 600
inc VAT

A luxurious compact system camera with big improvements across the board

Specifications

23.5×15.7mm 20.0-megapixel sensor, 3.0x zoom (27-82.5mm equivalent), 548g

http://www.currys.co.uk
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WI-FI PHOTOGRAPHY

Wi-Fi is built in, complete with NFC so you don’t have to even enter a Wi-Fi password when connecting to a NFC-enabled smartphone for the first time. Samsung has consolidated various functions into a new Samsung Smart Camera App, available for iOS and Android. This includes wireless transfers, with browsing on either the camera or the smartphone, plus automatic transfers as you shoot. With the app running in the background on our Android smartphone, this made instant online sharing as easy as if we had taken a photo on the phone.

The remote viewfinder mode isn’t quite so impressive, with only basic control from the app and no option to record videos this way. Our modestly powered HTC One V suffered from significant lag for both the remote live view and the shutter release, but the iOS app running on a third-generation iPad was more responsive.

Samsung NX300 Android
Samsung has neatly integrated all its Wi-Fi features into one app

Photo uploads to Facebook via a home network passed without a hitch, and the touchscreen made light work of entering log-in details. It can also upload photos to Microsoft SkyDrive, but we’re not sure why it needs permission to access our Windows Live contacts and calendar at any time. Video uploads to YouTube are limited to 30 seconds and the lowest 320×240 resolution.

SPEED AND VIDEO

Performance is much improved over previous NX models, with extremely responsive autofocus helping it take a photo every 0.7 seconds in normal use. Continuous mode ran at 8.6fps, slowing to 2.7fps after 14 frames – a superb result. Switching to raw mode took its toll, though, keeping us waiting for two seconds between shots once the six-frame buffer was full.

Previous NX cameras’ videos modes have been held back by chattering noises from the autofocus motor leaking into the soundtrack, but that’s been fixed on the NX300. There’s a much wider choice of frame rates than before, too, ranging from 24 to 60fps at 1080p. Priority and manual exposure work for videos just as they do for photos, and the shutter speed and aperture (but not ISO speed) can be changed while recording. We encountered an odd problem with truncated soundtracks when importing clips into Sony Movie Studio and Vegas Pro editing software, but had no problems with other software. This time we’re looking to Sony to provide an answer.

1080p videos were incredibly sharp, but repeating textures such as bricks and fabric revealed moiré interference, and diagonal lines looked slightly pixelated. Gentle motion such as a flowing river displayed slightly odd motion as details hopped from one pixel to the next. Noise was quite intrusive at fast ISO speeds, too, all of which leads us to suspect that the camera is simply discarding pixels to convert its 20-megapixel sensor output to (2-megapixel) 1080p frames. The best cameras use interpolation to resize the sensor output to avoid these problems. This might put keen videographers off, but we’ve no hesitation in recommending the NX300 for casual videos. The majority of our test clips looked superb.

Videos are seriously sharp, but there are various artefacts that other cameras don’t suffer – note the odd motion in the water half-way up the frame, and also the blocky appearance of the overhead cables – click through to YouTube for 1080p

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Basic Specifications

Rating*****
CCD effective megapixels20.0 megapixels
CCD size23.5×15.7mm
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size3.3in
LCD screen resolution768,000 pixels
Articulated screenYes
Live viewYes
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent27-82.5mm
Image stabilisationoptical, in kit lens
Maximum image resolution5,472×3,648
File formatsJPEG, RAW; MP4 (AVC)

Physical

Memory slotSDXC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)320 shots
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI, Wi-Fi, NFC
Body materialaluminium
Lens mountSamsung NX
Focal length multiplier1.5x
Kit lens model name8-55mm F3.5-5.6 ED OIS II
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Weight548g
Size67x123x115mm

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£600
Supplierhttp://www.currys.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.com/uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed30 to 1/6,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-22 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 25600
Exposure compensation+/-3 EV
White balanceauto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpness, colour, dynamic range, noise reduction
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus28cm
Auto-focus modesmulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, Picture Wiard bracket, HDR, panorama, 3D panorama