We have some serious Samsung love for the NX300. Built to please both the both the amateur and aficionado the NX300 has what it takes to rise to the top.
My guess is that some people are a little wary of Samsung cameras. Whether they are unsure of the image quality or uncertain of the build and design of the camera, those that are hesitant can cite reasons that are founded in truth...at least up until recently.
Samsung has recently taken the opportunity to reinvent themselves in the camera market. Over the last year or so, they have released a hoard of new cameras that embrace Samsung's dedication to digital imaging. Samsung has increased their sensor technology, lens quality and overall speed of their cameras to a point where they are serious contenders in the mirrorless camera race. The NX300 is leading the Samsung pack with its 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, fast autofocus and growing line of high quality lenses.
The NX300 is the flagship model of the NX lineup of cameras--and with great reason. The camera has a large 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and a new hybrid autofocus (phase and contrast) that proves to be fast and reliable. The NX300 has a 3.3-inch AMOLED tilting touchscreen. It also offers users ISO sensitivities from 100 to 25,600 and a respectable 8.6fps continuous shooting speed. It has a maximum shutter speed of 1/6000th of a second for better action photography. The NX300 can shoot RAW or JPG files and takes SD, SDHC, SDXC, and UHS-1 enabled memory cards. The camera has an MSRP of $800 and includes either the 18-55mm or 20-50mm lens. However, we were able to find deals at B&H and Best Buy for $698 and $650, respectively.
Build and Design
Maintaining the same shape and basic design as many other NX cameras, the NX300 comes in a variety of colors including the brown leatherette that we reviewed. The camera measures 4.8 x 2.5 x 1.6 inches (WxHxD) and weighs just over 0.7 pounds (11.5oz). This weight comes from its metal alloy body--a load we are happy to carry if it means foregoing a cheap plastic exterior. The top of the camera features a sleek chrome finish. The camera offers a nice size hand grip for its overall dimensions. Carrying around the NX300 all over NYC was never a problem and my hands or neck did not tire from the extended shooting spree that day.
Ergonomics and Controls
The NX300 offers users a nicely arranged user interface that is similar to other NX cameras--logical and uncomplicated. All buttons and controls are simple to reach and easy to navigate. The top of the camera houses an on/off switch, a zoom dial, a mode dial and a direct link button to access Wi-Fi connectivity. The back of the camera has a bunch of buttons including: exposure compensation, direct video access, menu, function (Fn), display, autofocus, ISO, continuous shutter/timer, playback, delete and OK button. The side of the camera has a door which encloses the HDMI and charging cord. The bottom of the NX300 has a tripod mount. The battery and SD card slot are also located on the bottom of the camera.
Menus and Modes
I'm always a happy girl when I have a compact mirrorless camera with a shooting mode dial. The NX300 delivers this and more. On the top of the camera sits a simple mode dial with P,S,A, and M modes. The dial also houses an auto mode, a lens priority mode (i), a smart mode for accessing a plethora of effects and a Wi-Fi mode for quick uploading to Samsung's mobile link, social media sites or email. The menu consists of 4 simple-to-navigate pages.
The NX300 lacks a viewfinder, but makes up for it with a very sharp 3.3-inch AMOLED LCD touchscreen that is tiltable. The screen has 768k dot resoltion which displays very nicely indoors, but can have a bit of trouble outdoors in the direct sunlight. That being said, the screen is easily tilted for better viewing when faced with this situation. In the shade, the screen looked great. The touchscreen on the Samsung NX300 was extremely responsive and I did not experience any lag. The screen has approximately 100% field of view. While composing and viewing images you can choose to view one of four grids, the histogram, the distance scale or the icons.
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