Samsung has just announced the Samsung NX300 Camera ($749.99), a compact system that is going its flagship compact interchangeable lens camera going forward. The Samsung NX300 is equipped with an APS-C sensor and can shoot photos in an ISO range of 100-25600 which is particularly remarkable when you associate it with the f1.8 kit 45mm lens (the lower the “f” number, the more light is incoming). This camera should be particularly great for low-light and portrait photography. I’ve asked Samsung to ship a “fast” (large aperture) kit lens for years (in the USA), but it looks like this lens is not the “kit” lens that ships with the camera. Let’s wait and see what the lens pricing will look like. Update: the 50mm f1.8 lens costs
$599.99 $499.99 and the camera ships with a 20-50mm f3.5-f5.6 kit lens.
In the back, there is a 3.31″ AMOLED touch screen which you will use as a viewfinder and controls. It can also tilt to a horizontal position, which is useful when recording video and holding it at a chest-level, or when shooting photos at an odd angle near the ground. You may be reassured to know that this is not an “all touch” camera, and there are plenty of buttons that can be used for quick access. A quick glance at the photos will reveal a flash shoebox that could receive be a cool accessory (flash, microphone, others…)
The overall (retro) design is reminiscent of the previous NX cameras, it looks solid, but yet is not heavy (some even say “surprisingly light and smaller than you’d think”). We love the fact that the NX300 can be charged via a microUSB port. This is the best option in our experience, and there is really no excuse for camera makers not to do it these days. For years, we’ve been told that it was “impossible”, but finally, it looks like microUSB is beating proprietary camera chargers.
Thank to a new image processor (the DRIMe IV), this camera can also shoot in 3D mode which typically requires twice the processing power to encode, and a bit less to decode. Obviously, you need the 3D lens, but keep in mind that the same lens won’t shoot in 3D with the older NX models because they don’t have the horsepower to handle the two images required for 3D — especially 3D 1080p video. Finally, this is a WiFi camera, so it should be able to transfer photos to a smartphone very easily.
Overall, this seems like a solid update, but the camera won’t come for cheap: at $750, it will compete with what Sony and others have in store. The immediate advantage that I see is the fast lens (if you can afford to lose the zoom with this one). What do you think?
Thanks to Stewart Wolpin for his contribution to this post (photo and video).