GadgetsLab: Samsung NX3000

Samsung NX3000Integration. This is what smart technology is here for. It lets us have devices with features that were previously only accessible through many different machines. The Samsung NX3000 is a machine all its own: retro-looking yet modern in every way.

Design: 4.5/5

Out of the box, you can tell that the NX3000 is one beautiful camera. It has got a vibe that’s perfect for old souls, fashionable youngsters, and forward-looking early adopters. The NX3000’s parades a plastic body that is styled with a faux-leather texture, and topped with a silver-colored metal plate. Its body, though plastic, feels solid in the hand, with just the right amount of heft to make it feel dense but not heavy. Styled like a rangefinder, its design strikes the perfect balance between something that represents contemporary chic, vintage, and a premium feel.

Also, if you’re one who goes around carrying a camera in your bag for catching quick snaps, I’ll go ahead and tell you the NX3000 with its flash and kit lens attached gives it extra bulk.

Samsung has done away with touchscreen displays and has opted to integrate the traditional control system with the camera—something I think purists and advanced users will appreciate.

Working your way around the camera feels like a DSLR with a dash of point-and-shoot. The camera sports a pretty standard button layout, the top plate has the Wi-Fi button, Power button, shutter-release, mode dial, and a hot shoe to mount the flash that comes free with the package. The majority of its rear is occupied by the 3-inch flip-up display. At the bottom plate is where you’ll find the battery door and micro-SD slot and tripod mount. On both sides are protuberant eyelets for the neck strap which is also included in the box, and a micro-USB (both for charging and transferring data) and micro HDMI ports on the one side. Up front is a self-timer indicator light, sensor, metal NX lens mount, and a lens release button.

Hardware: 4/5

The Samsung NX3000’s svelte frame is fitted with a 23.5mmx15.7mm APS-C CMOS sensor that features a resolution of 20.3MP, just about the same as its predecessor. This sensor makes for detailed images, even in dimly-lit areas up to par with DSLRs. The package wouldn’t be complete without the bundled 16-50mm OIS Power Zoom Lens, that comes integrated with an iFunction and zoom control buttons.

The non-touch screen, though may sound disappointing for some, doesn’t really lessen the functionality of the camera. It delivers a fast refresh rate and good viewing angles for image and video playback. It’s decent enough for viewing photos and navigating controls.

Inside, a DRIMe IV image signal processor–which is also used for most NX cameras–is responsible for the NX3000 good speed and accurate image capture.

User Experience: 4/5

Samsung’s NX line of cameras is famed for its many smart technologies and impressive image output, the NX3000 is not an exception. If you are a beginner, it shouldn’t be that hard for you to navigate your way around this camera. Though you might be taken aback by the lens that you have to mount on the NX3000’s frame, it is user-friendly enough for your grandma to use—that is with your assistance, of course. Attaching the lens to the NX mount is easy as screwing a bottle cap on.

For those fond of documenting their faces every day, the NX3000’s flip-up LCD allows you to tilt all the way up so the display faces the same direction as the lens. When flipped up, the camera automatically switches to self-shot mode. This feature automatically processes (beautifies) the shot so you don’t have to. Also possible in this mode is a wink-enabled 3-second countdown, for creating picture-perfect selfies.

The LCD, being the marquee asset of the NX3000, apart from its wireless capabilities, displays the settings which you can adjust using the corresponding physical button or dial. The NX3000 ships with the standard modes a camera should have. A quick, firm turn of the top dial cycles through modes. One worth mentioning is the smart camera mode. Rotating to this mode launches a slew of capture-ready options ranging from beauty face, best face, continuous shot, kids shot, landscape, macro, food, indoors, action, rich tones, silhouette, and others so you can produce creative and particular shots that you can’t possibly achieve with the automatic, manual, and program modes.

You can also quickly access certain settings by pressing the function button or simply using the control dial (on the rear) to navigate the on-screen menu. The former launches virtual controls for adjusting shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO, white balance, color output, the autofocus mode and focus area, among others. The latter also functions similarly as to a d-pad allowing you to toggle across four settings, e.g. shutter speed, aperture exposure value compensation, and ISO. Spinning this dial is also your ticket to viewing photos.

Low-light photo sample
Low-light photo sample

Shooting subjects during daylight and well-lit areas produces vibrant images that blend well with dark tones, creating appealing shots with just the right amount of punch and contrast to not bother with retouching. Videos are recorded in 1080p HD glory. Though I wasn’t able to shoot much, you’ll be able to see the output in our November issue BTS video. Toting the camera around during my event coverages was pleasant, specifically in a job that requires you to go elbow to elbow with tall men to be able to take a decent shot. In this regard, the 16-50mm Power Zoom lens was highly reliable. Even when max-zoomed in, you still get finely-detailed with only a tad bit of smudge and noise.

Not to nit-pick, it is given that images come out good, but in my opinion Samsung could do better with rendering the colors. Shooting indoors, under white light, produces images with a tinge of bluish hue. However, with certain modifications and a little bit of tinkering, you’ll get the punch of color you want.

Another quibble I had with the NX3000 is when focusing on subjects (and one when I thought the display was touch-enabled. LOL). It’ll take a few seconds to lock onto your chosen subject. This is probably where the lack of point selection a touchscreen can only give becomes an issue. But if you are patient, it shouldn’t be much of a bother. 

Value: 3.5/5

The camera ships with Wi-Fi and NFC capabilities, which make it ideal for people in need of constant connectivity. Pairing with an NFC or Wi-Fi enabled device is easy, and the Samsung Smart camera app functions efficiently to save your images at once and share it online, on-the-go. Samsung offers this mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with an attractive package at an advantage of a reasonable price. What’s more, the camera comes bundled with a full-version the editing software, Adobe Lightroom 5, all the more reason to go and purchase this premium snapper.

Bottomline:

I know a good camera when I see one. The Samsung NX3000 is an absolute winner.

Specifications

  • Image Sensor: 20.3-megapixel CMOS sensor
  • Lens: 16-50mm Power Zoom Lens
  • Display: 3-inch Flip-up display
  • Dimensions: 117.4×65.9x39mm
  • Weight: 230g (without battery)
  • Battery: 2330mAh
  • Memory: microSD
  • Connectivity: NFC/Wi-Fi/HDMI

What’s Hot:

  • Flip-up LCD
  • Solid build
  • User-friendly UI
  • Wi-Fi and NFC capable

What’s Not:

  • Beautifies shots a little too much
  • Not the sharpest LCD you’ll find in a camera

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