DigitalCameraReview.com
Samsung NX30 Hands-On Preview
by Sarah White -  1/2/2014

Samsung has introduced the NX30 compact system camera as a predecessor to the NX20, featuring improved performance and a host of wireless connectivity. Alongside the NX30, Samsung also announced its new S Series 16-55mm premium lens, and DigitalCameraReview was able to get some hands-on time with both.

The NX30 boasts a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, allowing users to capture professional level quality images. The NX30 features a compact body size, measuring 5 x 3.75 x 1.64 inches, with a solid design that is nice to hold in the hand. Its mirrorless design means that the NX30 offers DSLR features and quality with a more portable design. Its compact design doesn't take away from comfort while shooting, and the hand grip on the NX30 gives it a stable feel. DCR also found that the camera offers a sturdy build with high quality materials, while still being lightweight at just .83 pounds without the battery. There are a number of dedicated buttons located on the device, including a useful dial to quickly change between modes. Experienced users will also appreciate the ability to reconfigure some of the buttons to quickly access regularly used settings.

Along with the NX30, Samsung introduced its new S series lens, a 16-50mm wide angle lens with a max aperture range of F3-F5.6. Samsung totes the device as being dust and splash proof with powerful yet quiet motors. It weighs just .24 pounds and feature a compact 31mm frame, giving it a low profile design at 2.55 x 1.22 inches. Samsung also designed the lens with Silent Auto Focusing, a feature that allows for a quiet zoom. This is especially useful when filming video. Samsung also built the lens with its Optical Image Stabilization, which is designed to help reduce blur when taking photographs.

The NX30 is quick to boot, letting users go from start up to shooting in seconds, and the flash pops up on command without any delay. The external flash features high speed wireless sync with the device, allowing for more intuitive lighting when photographing. Samsung introduced a new metal process when designing the NX30, which the company states allows for better light efficiency but creating a more direct path for light to reach the sensors. The AF system has also been optimized to allow for faster speed and better accuracy when using autofocus and offers ISO settings ranging from 100 to 25600. Samsung states the NX30 will autofocus in 80 milliseconds and, while we couldn't confirm the exact time frame, we found the autofocus to be snappy and noted that it quickly found subjects in the frame, making it easy to snap a quality shot at a moment's notice.

The electronic viewfinder tilts and rotates 80 degrees and boasts a 1024 x 768 resolution, or 288 ppi, packed into its 3-inch LCD touchscreen display. The touchscreen is responsive and relatively easy to navigate, although there are plenty of menus for more experienced photographers to get lost in. Within the menu users can access up to 16 smart modes, which make it easier for beginners to capture various scenes. Smart modes include Beauty Face, Landscape, Macro, Action Freeze, Rich Tone, Panorama, Waterfall, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks, Light Trace, Creative Shot, Best Face, Multi-Exposure, and Smart Jump Shot.

However, for those uneasy about changing settings within the camera menus, Samsung included a physical dial on the devices to change modes without having to dive into the menus on the LCD display. Users can also configure up to two custom modes that can be accessed via the dial on the device. Additionally, with iFunction Plus, pro users can reconfigure up to 3 of the physical buttons with preferred settings.

With the NX30, users can capture Full 1080p HD video recording and sound through the 3.5mm microphone input. Users can also make use of the live stream via the built in HDMI port, which captures full HD video at 30p. Samsung even touts its live stream capabilities as a way to set up a baby monitor when paired with the Remove Viewfinder Pro app for smartphones and tablets.

Photographers will appreciate the versatile angles of the EVF when shooting both stills and videos. The display tilts and rotates so photographers can easily frame shots no matter how the camera is set up for shooting. DCR was unable to upload the photos shot with the NX30 to a computer, but at first glance, photos looked crisp on the LCD display. Zooming in made it easier to check on the quality of each photograph for blur and other imperfections.  

Samsung included its smart connectivity features on the NX30, allowing users to connect to a wireless network as well as share content via NFC. Images can be tagged directly from the device's display and shared instantly via email, social networking, cloud storage, or NFC compatible smartphones and tablets. With the Photo Beam feature, users can simply tap the camera against up to four NFC enabled devices to share photos without any prior configuration necessary. With Auto Share, users can set up the NX30 so that it immediately sends all photos to their smartphone or tablet. Samsung also included its Remote Viewfinder Pro feature on the NX30, which lets users turn their smartphone or tablet into a viewfinder to frame shots and control the camera remotely.

Samsung will have the new NX30 and S lens on display at its CES 2014 booth in Las Vegas. The company has not released information regarding the release date or pricing of either device.