Review

In this Samsung NX300 Mirrorless Camera Review, I will cover everything you need to know using real world photography and experience. I’ll be using the 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens and the Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens which should give you a nice sense of what the NX3oo is capable of in the real world.

 

Sony’s Most Fierce Mirrorless Rival??

The Samsung NX300 has the features and specs to challenge the Sony Nex series, but does it actually hold up in the real world?


Key Features:

  • 20.3MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DRIMe IV Image Processor
  • 3D Still & Video Capture Capability
  • Full HD 1080p 60fps Video Capture
  • 3.31″ AMOLED Tilt Touch Screen Display
  • Hybrid Auto Focus System
  • Dual Channel Wi-Fi via SMART CAMERA App
  • Touch AF and Touch Control LED
  • Includes 20-50mm Lens and SEF-8A Flash
  • Includes Adobe Lightroom Software
 

NX300 Body and Design

A few body shots and design comments:

From the front 3/4 view you can see the impressive sized grip and retro style design. The main mode control knob feels like quality, and to the right, the shutter button is surrounded by the cameras on/off toggle switch. Just behind that is a zoom wheel that does a variety of tasks depended on what mode etc.. The direct link button is also on the top of the camera for instant uploading to cell phones or tablets with ease, but I have not tried this feature yet.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera review

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless Camera

Here is the NX300 w/ the 20-50mm kit lens mounted.

The Samsung NX300 ergonomics are better than expected with large grip and thumb rest on the upper right of the back side. The zoom dial on the top of the camera works perfect with your pointer finger and I’ve been using it constantly for zooming in and the  photos while reviewing them on the large high res display. The wheel on top also changes the aperture when in aperture priority mode, and the shutter when in shutter priority mode. I have not played with full manual node yet.

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera review

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless Camera w/ 20-50mm kit lens

From the right side you can see where the camera design merges from a more rugged, to modern digital back.

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera review

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless Camera – Right Side

When looking at the back from this slightly elevated view you cam see pretty much everything, and the buttons are well layed out in my opinion. The thumb grip is also very similar to the Sony Nex-6. The rear display screen is excellent and has decent glare control open daylight. The articulation is very similar to the Sony Nex-6 and Nex-7 design.

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera review

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera – Back

Note in the image below of the left side where the textured skin meets the more modern plastic back of the camera. This area seems like it could be refined a bit more refined in my opinion and takes away from the otherwise very solid feel and build quality. The rear of the camera has lots of buttons! I like physical buttons personally, and the NX300 allows you to customize some to your liking.

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera review

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera – Left Side

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera - Display Articulation

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera – Display Articulation

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera - Display Articulation

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera – Display Articulation

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera - Display Articulation

Samsung NX300 ILC mirrorless camera – Display Articulation

 

Samsung NX300 - Ports

Samsung NX300 – Ports

 

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

 

Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Samsung NX300, Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Samsung NX300, Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Features

  • New 20.3MP sensor in the NX300 offers sharp imaging and accurate colors in a range of lighting conditions
  • The DRIMe IV image processor provides fast performance, lifelike color reproduction and low noise imaging when utilizing high sensitivity ISO settings. It also provides support for the camera’s 1080p HD video and 3D photo and video capability
  • Also included with the NX300 is the SEF-8A flash unit which mounts to the camera’s hot shoe. This compact flash, with a Guide Number of 8 at ISO 100, flips up to turn on and flips back down to turn off
  • In combination with the new Samsung 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D lens, the NX300 can capture and process 3D photographs and videos. The single 45mm lens can adjust between standard 2D and 3D modes to provide realistic 3D imaging that can be viewed on 3D-enabled viewing devices
  • With fast dual-channel Wi-Fi, the NX300 utilizes the Samsung SMART CAMERA App to transfer images to your Android or iOS smartphones or tablets for instant sharing
  • A large, clear 3.31″ LED screen provides composition and playback viewing with 800 x 480 resolution
  • The NX300 features a fast and accurate hybrid auto focus system that combines a phase and contrast detection auto focus
  • Full HD 1080p Video is available at 60 frames per second as is 3D video when utilizing the 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D lens
  • A wide ISO range offers low-noise imaging in all lighting conditions
  • The NX300 allows for continuous shooting of up to 9 frames per second and a shutter speed that ranges from 30 seconds to 1/6000 of a second
  • A handsome retro design and ergonomic grip provide easy handling and access to controls as well as a stylish look

Specs

Lens Mount Samsung NX
Camera Format APS-C (1.5x Crop Factor)
Pixels Actual: 21.6 Megapixel
Effective: 20.3 Megapixel
Max Resolution 20.0MP: 5472 x 3648 at 3:2
Other Resolutions 10.1MP: 3888 x 2592 at 3:2
5.9MP: 2976 x 1984 at 3:2
5.0MP: 2736 x 1824 at 3:2
2.0MP: 1728 x 1152 at 3:2
16.9MP: 5472 x 3080 at 16:9
7.8MP: 3712 x 2088 at 16:9
4.9MP: 2944 x 1656 at 16:9
4.1MP: 2688 x 1512 at 16:9
2.1MP: 1920 x 1080 at 16:9
13.3MP: 3648 x 3648 at 1:1
7.0MP: 2640 x 2640 at 1:1
4.0MP: 2000 x 2000 at 1:1
1.1MP: 1024 x 1024 at 1:1
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 23.5 x 15.7 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Movies: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
Audio: AAC
Memory Card Type SD
SDHC
SDXC
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL
Resolution 1920 x 1080: 60 fps
1280 x 720
640 x 480
320 x 240
Aspect Ratio 1:1, 3:2, 16:9
Audio Recording With Video, Stereo
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Manual Focus (M)
Viewfinder Type LCD Display
Display Screen 3.3″ Rear Screen Tilting Live Preview LED (768000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Live View Yes
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-25600
Shutter 30 – 1/6000 seconds
Metering Method Center-weighted average metering, Multi-zone metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Auto, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -3 EV to +3 EV (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
Burst Rate Up to 9 fps
Flash Modes 1st Curtain Sync
Auto
Fill-in
Forced On
Off
Red-eye Reduction
Second-curtain Sync
Built-in Flash No
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
Continuous Shooting Up to 9 fps
Self Timer 2 sec
Custom: 2-30 sec
Connectivity HDMI D (Micro), USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Capable (w/Optional Transmitter) Yes
Battery 1x BP1130 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack1130mAh
Focal Length 18 – 55 mm
Comparable APS-C Focal Length: 27.7 – 84.7 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5 – 5.6
Minimum: f/22 – 22
Angle of View 75.9deg. – 28.7deg.
Minimum Focus Distance 11.02″ (0.28 m)
Magnification 3x
Groups/Elements 9/12
Diaphragm Blades 7
Autofocus Yes
Image Stabilization Yes
Filter Thread Front: 58 mm
Dimensions Lens: Approx.2.48 x 2.56″ (63 x 65.1 mm)
Camera: 4.8×2.5×1.6″ / 121.9×63.5×40.6mm excluding extension
Weight Lens: 0.44 lb (0.199 kg)
Camera: 9.88oz / 280g without battery
 

Samsung NX300 – Raw Sample Photos

On the deck we have some really nice flowers that are blooming, so I grabbed a few snapshots with the Samsung using the 20-50mm kit lens hand held.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Raw Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Raw Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Raw Quality - 100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Raw Quality – 100% Crop

 

Street Scenes

Looking up at an old hotel sign.

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/640sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

 100% Crops – Click on Photos for Full Size!!
100% Crop

100% Crop

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Here is a really good hot dog place my friend told me about and we happen to walk past.

samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 28mm, f/5.6, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 28mm, f/5.6, 1/500sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
100% Crop

100% Crop – Left Side

100% Crop

100% Crop

 

Separation from the busy streets is easy to achieve when zoomed in and relatively close to your subject like this mouse sculpture below.

samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 45mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 45mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

100% Crop

100% Crop

 

Another street scene which shows off these off sculptures that act as light holders at night. They are all over and very unique to say the least.

samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, 1/800sec, ISO 100, Raw Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
100% Crop

100% Crop

100% Crop

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NX300 and 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

I took this next flower photo on the deck in direct sunlight which made for some fast shutter speeds and easy hand holding.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 100, Raw Qaulity – 100% Crop

 
Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1200sec, ISO 200, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1200sec, ISO 200, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1200sec, ISO 200, Raw Qaulity

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro lens @ f/2.8, 1/1200sec, ISO 200, Raw Qaulity – 100% Crop

 

Samsung NX300 – Jpeg Sample Images

I took some jpegs to see how the Samsung NX300 in camera processing engine compares to Sony, Fuji and other manufactures. So far the images are much better as far as lens flaws, but the noise reduction is a little over done in my opinion. The saturation is significantly less than the current Sony Jpeg files, and the colors are a bit cooler.

Exposure wise the Samsung NX300 tends to not protect the highlights near as much as Sony. This results in overall brighter images, but often tends to flatten out the color a little bit. Sony files in comparison are often 1/3 of a stop darker according to the histogram in Lightroom 5.

How about some motorcycle eye candy? This first image was taken at 20mm and the close-up of the Harley logo was taken at 50mm while standing much closer to the machine.

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/320sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality – 100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/7.1, 1/160sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/7.1, 1/160sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

 

Check out this old school BWM my friend at work is enjoying.

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/250sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop – Top Right

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/160sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crops

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/5.6, 1/200sec, ISO 100, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop – Top Left

 

Colors and Auto White Balance?

The auto white balance ont he Samsung NX300 tends to shift the colors a little towards green I notice in comparison to the Sony Nex-6. The scene recognition algorithms do not appear to be as good as the other cameras I’ve reviewed as the colors are not as accurate in weird lighting situations. obviously all cameras suffer from this in one area or another, but the Samsung NX series is a very new camera system that will be refined and improved with each new model and or firmware update. I’m excited to see what Samsung does in particular, because they have the largest re-search and development budget of all the major camera manufactures by far.

With that being said, check out the Z scene from my deck that offers a lot in regards to testing a lens and camera sensor out ;) I took the scene at both 20mm and 50mm from the same spot with auto WB and average metering.

@ 20mm

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop

@ 50mm

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crops – Click Photos!
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, 1/80sec, ISO 200, Jpeg Fine Quality

100% Crop

 

Lab Test Photos and Lens Performance

So how does the Samsung NX300 and NX lenses perform in the Lab?

I adjusted the Lab a bit this week to make it more precise, less cluttered, and more detailed. The Lab will continue to evolve as I refine it and figure out the best way to test the cameras and lenses in a unique, but efective manner. In any event, check out the Samsung NX300 Lab Test Photos using the Samsung 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens first, then the higher quality 60mm f/2.8 macro lens.

I used Adobe Lightroom 5 to handle the Raw files and exported them as jpegs, ~1000px, 65% quality. No adjustments were made to the raw files in lightroom other than the crops and white balance slightly using the center target white for reference. I used Custom WB on the Samsung NX300 and it got the WB very close on camera, but the longer shutter speeds and higher apertures introduced some ambient color that creeped in. No big deal really, but I want you to be aware of exactly what I’m doing encase your curious or wonder why the color seems to shift when you take longer exposures or do something similar to what I’m doing here.

20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 II kit lens

 

Raw Quality @ 20mm

Here is “Lab” scene full image for reference @ 20mm, Raw Quality.

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, ISO 100, Raw Quality – Lab Test

100% Crops @ 20mm - Click Photos!
Center Area Bottom Left
f/3.5
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/3.5, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/5.6
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/5.6, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/8
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/8, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/8, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/11
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/11, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/11, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/22
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/22, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 20mm, f/22, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

 

Full Lab Scene @ 35mm, f/4.5

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/4.5, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 35mm, f/4.5, ISO 100, Raw Quality – Lab Test

 

Full Lab Scene @ 50mm, f/4.5

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100, Raw Quality – Lab Test

100% Crops @ 50mm – Click Photos!
f/5.6
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/8
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/8, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/16
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/16, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/16, ISO 100,  Raw Quality - Lab Test

100% Crop

f/22
Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/22, ISO 100 - Lab Test

100% Crop

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/22, ISO 100 - Lab Test

100% Crop

 

Bokeh Test @ ~minimum focus distance

Be sure to Click on the Photos for the ~1000PX version!

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100 - Bokeh Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100 – Bokeh Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100 - Bokeh Test

Samsung NX300 w/ 20-50mm II kit lens @ 50mm, f/5.6, ISO 100 – Bokeh Test – 100% Crop

 

60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens Lab Test Photos – Jpeg Fine

Here is the full “Lab” scene @ f/8 for reference. I glued the coins on that you see above a few days after I took these pics, sry about that oversight.

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/8

100% Crops – Click Photos!
Bokeh Area w/ mcbeth color chart Center Area
f/2.8 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8
f/4 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/4 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/4
f/5.6 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/5.6 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/5.6
f/8 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/8 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/8
f/11 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/11 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/11
f/16 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/16 Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/16
 

f/2.8 vs f/16

Using the circuit board card it was easy to compare the just how shallow the depth of field is when at such high magnification and/ or very close to the subject you’re focusing on. I love macro lenses and wish Sony had an E-Mount lens like this Samsung 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. It also doubles as a killer portrait lens ;)

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/16

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/16

 

f/8 vs f/2.8 on the twine at 1:1 magnification

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/8

 

Here is the penny at 1:1 magnification more fur fun than anything else. The lights in the background render gigantic balls also which looks pretty awesome in my opinion. I was at a slight angle to the penny, so in the 100% crop you can see the narrow band of sharpness running thru the coin vertically. In order to get the entire coin sharp I would need to use atleast f/8 or perhaps even f/11.

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens - Lab Test @ f/2.8

Samsung NX300 w/ 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens – Lab Test @ f/2.8 – 100% Crop

 

High ISO Testing – Raw vs Jpeg

ISO Tests – Click Images!!
ISO Raw Quality
Jpeg Fine
100 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 100 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 100
200 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 200 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 200
400 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 400 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 400
800 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 800 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 800
1600 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 1600 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 1600
3200 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 3200 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 3200
6400 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 6400 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 6400
12800 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 12800 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 12800
25600 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Raw Quality - ISO 25600 Samsung NX300 - ISO Test - Jpeg Fine - ISO 25600
 

Samsung NX300 Performance

Auto focus:

The Samsung NX300 has a Hybrid AF capable sensor and it’s basically the same as the Sony Nex-6 and Nex-5r as far as I can tell. It does not have quite the same accuracy as the Sony Nex cameras though in my opinion. Perhaps a firmware update or a lens update would help with this.

With that being said, the AF does perform excellent overall and I must admit, the touch to focus is an awesome feature that I did not utilize on the Nex-5r or Nex-5n. A few readers were a bit disappointed at my lack of interested in the touchscreen technology, but I have come around. Using the Samsung touchscreen to tell the camera where to focus is really a nice feature and can save a lot of time compared to the Sony Nex-6 flexible spot for example. You can change the size of the af point coverage also which is a great advanced feature I was not expecting. You can focus on a small finger tip size area, or adjust the focus area to a larger ~ 1″ square. The OK button in the center enables the AF point size adjustment mode. You can use the zoom wheel to adjust it smaller or larger.

Image Quality:

Very good image quality overall, but not as good as Sony or Fuji in my opinion based on the Raw and Jpeg quality sample photos and lab test photos. Colors are very vibrant overall and the sharpening is not overdone on the Jpeg files. The Noise reduction can be overdone though depending on the scene in jpeg mode.  The Auto WB is pretty good overall, but not as good as the Sony, Fuji or Canon in my opinion. I have no doubt this will be improved with a new jpeg engine or firmware update. Noise control is pretty good, but a little higher than expected at ISO 200. The increased resolution might explain for this in comparison to my Sony Nex-6.

Video Quality:

I took a little video with the NX300 and it worked pretty good, although the focus was not as smooth in the transitions as the Sony cameras. The color and video quality looked pretty much the same as my Nex-6 from what I can tell. If you want to see some sample video I can upload some random footage, but I honestly didn’t think it was different enough than the Sony cameras to warrant the effort on my part. It’s about the same quality looking thru my eyes and using iMovie as I do for all my Sony camera video samples.

 

Samsung NX 20-50mm F/3.5-5.6 ED II Lens Impressions

Pretty sharp overall, but has significant chromatic aberrations visible when shooting in Raw quality. Blue and purple fringing in particular stand out to my eye looking over the 100% Crops I’ve made so far. In jpeg quality the lens performs much better with most of the lens flaws corrected in camera. I was pretty surprised, and impressed at the difference in quality to be honest. Clearly the kit lens is designed to be used in Jpeg mode if you don’t want purple and blue chromatic aberrations in your scene. Note the 100% Crops of the street scenes which were shot in raw quality. The high contrast areas are where you can find the purple and blue fringing.

Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens

Very sharp high quality lens with OIS (image stabilization) that works great. The build quality is what you would expect for the money and is much better than the 20-50mm kit lens on all accounts. The lens form factor is larger than the camera, so it will not sit on a table like it would with a standard kit lens. With my tri-pod quick re-lease plate on the bottom of the camera and the lens hood mounted, it was pretty level when resting on the table as you can see above in the camera body photos. In addition to being larger than is ideal for the camera body, the lens is heavier than you might want for such a compact camera system. The Sony Nex camera system also has large form factor lenses for the E-Mount camera system, but the Nex VG video cameras are a perfect match, so it makes a little more sense to me. With that being said, I would still love a lens like this for my Sony Nex-6, and Sony is missing a quality mid- focal length E-Mount macro lens which is probably why Samsung chose to invest in it. Smart move I think to be different from the competition. So, if your more into Macro photography, Samsung has a better native lens to use than Sony as it relates to the compact ILC mirrorless cameras. I highly recommend the Samsung 60mm f/2.8 Macro ED OIS SSA Lens for anybody with the Samsung NX system if the size and weight are not an issue for you.

 

Conclusions:

Overall the Samsung NX300 is a great compact ILC mirrorless camera system. The image quality is very good, although the colors could be refined a bit more in some areas as it relates to white balance in particular. The image sensor is excellent and the noise control is very good all the way to ISO 6400. Beyond that it gets a bit muddy on the jpegs and the raw files also show serious signs of noise. No more than my Nex-6 though I would say. Battery life could be better, but I spent a lot of time looking at the pictures using the large screen which clearly uses some juice. I would say it’s about the same as my Sony Nex-6 as far as photos per battery cycle.

I would highly recommend this camera system to anybody looking for a perfect matching Samsung camera for your Samsung tablet or phone. I would also recommend this camera system to anybody that wants a native macro lens with image stabilization, auto focus, and a fast f/2.8 aperture. Other lenses in the line-up make sense and cover the basics for most needs, although it lacks many lenses in comparison to the Sony Nex E-Mount system. Samsung does not fool around though, so be reassured that new high quality lenses will be coming out as fast as humanly possible for this quality camera system. I also feel a new model with a built in EVF is going to come out next, and will be an actual Sony Nex-6 alternative if they are smart about it.

As the Samsung NX300 stands now, the Sony Nex-5r is a much better value for the dollar in my opinion, based upon image quality, features, design, lower cost, more lens options, and overall polished product. Plus you have an option for a viewfinder if you want!
The Samsung NX300 is now only $648 US @ BHphoto, which makes it a bit more attractive if your interested, but also means a new and improved model is most likely coming soon ;)

I hope you got what you were looking for out of this Samsung NX300 ILC Mirrorless Camera Review, and please feel free to ask questions or comment below.
Jay

 

Where to Buy Samsung NX300??

You can currently purchase and the Samsung NX300 in a variety of kits going for $748 , $799, $999 US, and more…

  • $748 – NX300 with 20-50mm F/3.5-5.6 ED II Lens @ BHPhoto
  • $799 – NX300 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS Lens @ BHPhoto
  • $999 – NX300 with 45mm f/1.8 2D/3D Lens @ BHPhoto
 

Other Native Lenses Available for the Samsung NX Camera System

Additional high quality lenses offered for the Samsung NX Camera System include the:

 


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Thanks,
Jay

 

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About the Author

Jay
Hello, I'm the owner and operator of SonyAlphaLab.com. Please check out the About page for a full background on myself and the Lab ;) Google+ | Twitter | RSS-feed | Email Updates!!