I’m a fan of different kinds of technology from laptops to smartphones and tablets to smartwatches. But one technology category holds a special fondness to me and that is cameras and camera accessories. Without a doubt I am a tech geek through and through, but I also have an extreme love of the arts and aesthetically pleasing works. From architecture to paintings and photographs I gravitate towards the creative. I don’t consider myself a professional photographer, but I am a hobbyist who loves taking pictures and this is the Samsung NX30 review.
- 20.3 megapixel CMOS sensor with support for on-chip phase detection AF
- Hybrid AF system has 105 phase-detect points and 247 contrast-detect points
- DRIMeIV image processor
- Tilting, XGA electronic viewfinder pulls away from the camera and tilts upward by 80 degrees
- Improved fully-articulating 3-inch Super AMOLED display
- 9 fps burst mode
- 1080/60p video recording with ‘dual IS’, mic input, and audio level adjustment
- Uncompressed HDMI output at 30 fps
- Wi-Fi with NFC
- ‘Smart Camera 3.0’ features include improved remote shooting
Design & Feel
When you first take the NX30 out of the box it’s almost as if you’re holding nothing, it is that light even with the lens mounted on the body. It is literally effortless to hold the camera in your hand, having used the camera now for around seven weeks I never once felt that it was heavy nor did I have any sort of hand fatigue during long runs with it. Now it’s a little unfair to compare it to my old Canon 20D but the NX30 is definitely lighter, and even lighter than my Nikon D3100. The design isn’t all too radical, it looks like most any other DSLR in terms of design aesthetic. One of the more slicker design features is the pull out viewfinder. You can pull it out and tilt it up allowing you to take different angle shots using the viewfinder without straining yourself.
Of course there is the touch screen display on back you can utilize as well, which also flips out and spins around to better frame your subject without having to twist your body into weird positions. I found that I used the viewfinder more than the touchscreen but everyone will be different in that respect. The touchscreen does offer an alternative way to make adjustments to your camera settings but again, I found myself using the manual knobs for adjusting ISO, aperture, and various other settings. One design choice that bothered me was the location of the record button. It is placed just on the back right of the body, and I found my thumb accidently pressing this more often than not which was a little bit annoying.
The NX30 probably comes with more features than you’ll ever actually use, so is the case with much technology these days, so we’ll run down just a few things. First it sports a 20.3-million-pixel APS-C sensor, a 3″ Super AMOLED touch display that is movable (180° side/side 270° up/down), 1080p video along with Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC. There is also a free Samsung Camera app that can be used for both Android and iOS. The 20.3 MP sensor is top notch and combined with the 18-55mm OIS Samsung lens that comes with the kit offers up some great clarity, color and depth. While there are other cameras with higher pixel counts it’s important to note that the quality of the lens is paramount. If you have a cheap lens and high pixel count, you’re probably going not going to get great pics.
The 3″ Super AMOLED adjustable display is also very nice and you can tap to focus on it as well. For those of you who have a hard time framing your subject matter through the viewfinder, you’ll find the display a joy to use. The NX30 also shoots 1080p video and you can adjust the frame rate from 60p to 30p. You can also shoot in lower resolutions like 720p if that suits you better. The NX30 is also able to connect to Wi-Fi and NFC which makes transferring photos to and from other devices a breeze. I especially like the ability to pair my One Plus One Android phone via NFC and transfer photos from the NX30 to the OPO. You can also upload the pics straight to Facebook or cloud storage services like Dropbox.
One of the cooler features for the “need it now” person is the inclusion of editing software in the camera with some preset filters and other tricks. While it’s not a full fledged photo editing software solution, it is probably good enough for those who want to quickly edit a photo and upload it for friends and family to see. All of your standard DSLR functions are on the NX30, aperture priority, shutter priority, program mode, and manual mode. I tend to spend most of my time in aperture priority choosing a lot of well lit subject matter in hopes of getting a nice blurred background. Oh, of course there is the auto mode as well, for those who want the camera to do all the work for them. For the pros, semi-pros, and hobbyists, the other settings will be familiar if you’ve used a DSLR before.
The list of features goes on with light metering and spot metering. Most all of your adjustments can be made via the touchscreen if you like but most can still be handled with the knobs too. Of course the NX30 will shoot in both JPEG and RAW formats, for you more hardcore shooters who prefer maximum control over your post production photos. I mentioned it before but it’s worth mentioning again, the pullout viewfinder was a winner for me. I prefer using the viewfinder over the touchscreen and being able to pull it out and bend it was very useful for me. Overall the NX30 packs tons of features into a solid piece of hardware that competes with the same class Nikon’s and Canon’s.
Image quality on the NX30 is respectable and on par with the competition. It is important to note that image quality is also going to be dependent on the operator of the equipment. If the person operating the camera doesn’t know how to make the proper adjustment to the settings, they’ll likely end up with not so great pictures. But if you know what you’re doing then the Samsung NX30 should produce some great moments for you.
The Samsung NX30 is normally priced at $999 but you can find it on Amazon, B&H Photo and other places for cheaper than that, link to Amazon is below. At $999 I wouldn’t say that picking up an NX30 is worth it, but at a more reasonable Amazon price of around $699 it is very worth it. For the point and shoot auto mode user, the NX30 will produce some great shots in auto mode. For the more experienced user of settings and modes, you can get pretty comfortable with the NX30 real fast. I love the design of the camera and the light weight feel it has, although I wasn’t too cracked up about the placement of the video record button as I hit that thing way too many times by accident.
The included 18-55mm OIS lens is a nice addition, good optics are a must for great pictures. Overall I would recommend the Samsung NX30 so long as you can find it in the $699 range. If you’re paying the $999 price I’d start looking elsewhere but for the most part it seems you can find the NX30 for $699 or less.
*We were sent a review unit of the Samsung NX-30 for the purposes of this review.