DigitalCameraReview.com
Samsung NX300 First Look at CES 2013
by Laura Hicks -  2/4/2013

Summary of Camera
Recently, Samsung announced the addition of their newest flagship camera -- the NX300. The NX300 is a mirrorless camera that boasts a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100-25,600. A new hybrid auto focus system promises to deliver fast, reliable phase and contrast detection. The camera offers 8.6 frames per second continuous shooting for capturing those moments that happen in the blink of an eye. Samsung is using their DRIMe IV imaging engine which is designed to produce pictures with better color reproduction and greater noise reduction. Image quality and speed are also increased with the DRIMe engine. In addition, the imaging engine supports 1080p HD video capture in both 2D and 3D when used in connection with 2D/3D lenses.

At the same time, Samsung also announced the 45mm f1.8 2D/3D lens. This lens is the world's first one-lens 3D system for a consumer camera. It has the ability to capture both still images and full HD 1080p video in both traditional 2D and innovative 3D.

First Impression
At CES 2013 I was able to take the opportunity to get some hands-on time with this camera. The Samsung NX300 has a sturdy body and a large 3.31-inch tilting Active Matrix OLED screen. It has a well-made, retro style which was not too heavy or too light. The camera sports a leather-like wrap around its midsection with brushed silver on the top and bottom. I liked that it had a small rounded grip making the camera feel more stable in my hands. The NX300 has 20.3 MP APS-C CMOS sensor proving to other camera companies in the mirrorless market that Samsung is "bringing it" with this model. Samsung has put a lot of money and time into advancements and updates for the NX300 and it shows.

While at CES, I used the NX300 in conjunction with the 2D/3D 45mm f1.8 lens. For the still images I used the lens in the 2D mode. The camera's AF was responsive and pretty fast. Although I was indoors, the Samsung booth was relatively bright, white and easy to photograph in. The images on the screen were crisp and clear. I struggled with only a few blurry images due to lower shutter speeds and moving subjects, but overall the lens/camera combo functioned smoothly and easily.

I like the physical buttons on the NX300. The mode dial, located on the top, right side of the camera gives users easy access to shooting modes P, A, S, M, and Auto. It also allows the photographer to access the scene mode, Wi-Fi and info screen as well. A "direct link" button allows users to connect easily with others and is also located on the top of the camera. The back of the camera houses a dedicated video button. Menu, playback, and delete buttons are just a few other physical feature options located on the back right side of the camera. 

Samsung cameras are known for their connectivity. I was able to witness several of their cameras, including the NX300, quickly and easily transfer data wirelessly from the camera to a tablet. The process was quick and easy. Within a few seconds after the image was taken, the picture appeared on the tablet. The image below is demonstrating this functionality with the Samsung WB800F and Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1


Although it's debatable if the 3D technology will actually take off, the concept behind is pretty cool. I also got to spend some hands-on time with this technology in the Samsung booth. They had an NX300 with the 45mm f1.8 2D/3D lens hooked up to their 3D screen. They were shooting video with the 3D lens. I stood in front of the camera while the screen showed my 3D image. I couldn't believe it; my image jumped off the screen. Although, in general, I don't love 3D imagery, the combination of high-end 3D glasses with the very pricey 3D television and the NX300 with the 3D lens was fascinating. Samsung told me that the camera lens' technology would be a great addition to anyone who already has a 3D television. Now you can record your home movies in 3D and watch them on your 3D television. I'm not sure how many people will actually utilize the technology, but it could be fun to watch your kids' soccer game or dance recital in 3D. And I am pretty sure my kids would love seeing themselves in 3D.

I like how Samsung has ramped up the specs for the NX300 and designed a lens that really stands out in the market. My guess is that the camera will be used more as a 2D imaging system than a 3D camera. Of course, there are a multitude of lenses available for this camera that can make use of the image quality from this sensor and processor without being 3D. I look forward to checking the NX300 out for you guys. The big question is how will it stand up against other cameras in the mirrorless market? Will the camera have what it takes to rise above the competition?

The NX300 will be available in black or white. The camera has a retail price of $750. The 45mm 3D lens has a price tag of $500. For $1250 you have a fully functional 3D system. Not bad!