Samsung NX3000 is a new entry level mirrorless camera utilizing big APS-C sensor with 20 megapixels. Full HD video is also available; you get a swivel LCD, 5 fps continuous drive, RAW file format and free Adobe Lightroom software included. Now, if you follow my blog or Youtube channel from time to time, you probably know I never ranked Samsung cameras very good. It is because they perform excellent in one area and then disappoint in a whole line of others. Keep reading to find out whether NX3000 can change anything in my opinion about this brand or is it the same old story.
SAMSUNG NX3000 GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS
- Announced: 2014.
- Type: mirrorless
- Dimensions: 117 x 66 x 39 mm (4.61 x 2.6 x 1.54″)
- Weight: 350g (with battery and kit lens)
- Sensor: APS-C CMOS, 20 MP (5472 x 3648 pixels)
- ISO range: 100 – 25,600
- Image stabilization: No
- Dust and moisture protection: No
- Flash: hot-shoe (small camera-powered flash included)
- LCD screen: 3″, 460,800 dots
- Memory card: Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC
- Battery: Li-Ion B740
- Video: 1920 x 1080 (30p), 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240
- Connectivity: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, Wi-Fi + NFC
CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING
Samsung NX3000 is completely made from plastic. Even the top plate which looks like aluminum is made from plastic. Nevertheless, it is well assembled. Grip and the thumb rest are covered with some sort of slippery fake-leather looking plastic. It does not provide a secure grip, so my advice is to use wrist strap at all times.
Buttons are small but have perceptible click when pressed. Also, main dial has perceptible “clicks” when rotated. The button marked as “erase-custom” can be assigned but only several options are offered. None of the other controls can be customized which is a shame – Sony A5100 offers five assignable buttons and something like 20-30 options for each of them. Samsung NX3000 has external shooting mode dial – a great detail but probably irrelevant for most typical buyers since they will probably use mostly AUTO mode.
There is a quick menu for the most used features and you recall it with the “Fn” button. Main menu system is just like any other on Samsung cameras; blue and black color scheme with fairly logical layout.
Playback is weird; it has the same bug or should I call it feature like NX mini. When you push right button on multi controller you get to see older images, and left button shows you newer images, this is the opposite of any other camera ever produced and is very confusing. What’s that about?
Kit lens bundled with NX3000 is the collapsible 16-50mm F/3.5-5.6. In 35mm equivalent it covers 24-75mm range – enough for most everyday shooting scenarios. It has built-in image stabilization. Zoom in motorized – not my favorite type since that is another thing that can break down and is never as fast or precise to use as is the mechanical zoom. Zoom is controlled either via zoom ring around the lens or with two buttons on the left side of the lens. When used with buttons, there are three zoom speeds which can be set in main menu system (nice feature for video but cannot be changed on the fly).
Lens build quality is similar to the body; well assembled but made from cheap(ish) plastic. Lens mount looks like metal, but is plastic actually as far as I can see.
Assignable “iFn” button works as a shortcut for quick menu but the range of offered options is quite short: only ISO, EV compensation and WB are can be set in this quick menu. Actually, you can set shutter or aperture also, but only if you select those shooting modes.
Lens performance is close to any other similar collapsible kit lens; it is mostly sharp (some blurring in the corners) and image stabilization works as it should.
Of course, the lens is removable although typical buyer will never change it what is a shame. There is now a nice range of other lenses for this camera, especially primes like 30mm F/2 or 85mm F/1.4 which can render shallow DOF and better image quality than the kit lens.
LCD unit has now standard 3 inches diagonal and 460,000 dots. Some competitors like Sony A5100 have 920,000. Viewing angles are great but you can see the difference in screen resolution compared to those with around 900,000 dots.
LCD is tilt-able and can swivel up to 180°for selfie position. It does not have touch capability what is very unusual both for this type of camera and Samsung as a brand.
SAMSUNG NX3000 SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY
Image quality delivered from APS-C sized 20 megapixel sensor is on a high level. Fine details in images are superb and high ISO is usable up to ISO 3200. ISO ranges from 100 all the way to 25,600. There is an option to limit maximum ISO value and lower shutter speed when Auto ISO is selected.
There is basically no difference in image quality between NX3000 and any other mirrorless or DSLR with the same sized sensor. On default setting, images have muted colors what is great for post processing, but you can fine tune them in camera, using so called “picture wizard”: you get the usual options like vivid, portrait landscape and many others as well as manual settings. These setting apply only for JPEG format; if you know how to post process I recommend
SAMSUNG NX3000 MEMORY AND BATTERY
NX3000 uses Li-ion battery strong enough for around 300 shots. This is usual battery life for most mirrorless cameras, but I couldn’t help but wish for NX mini’s battery life; that one can squeeze around 500 shots out of a single charge.
You need a Micro SD card for this camera… I hate them. They are too small for regular use in digital cameras and easy too loose. Then again – most people will never remove it but will use USB cable or Wi-Fi for photo and video transfer.
Samsung NX3000 has micro USB and micro HDMI connectors.
Auto focus speed is not bad but is nowhere near what I’ve seen in latest mirrorless cameras from Sony, Olympus and Panasonic. It takes around a second to focus – that is compact camera territory. It is even slower in the dark and often misses focus altogether when the light is low.
AF point size can be selected at four different sizes – very important feature that recently became more and more present in many mirrorless cameras but was first introduced by no other than Samsung in the almost forgotten NX10 model back in 2010.
SAMSUNG NX3000 VIDEO RECORDING
Video recording is possible in Full HD resolution at 30p. There’s no stop motion or time-lapse animation like Panasonic has or slow motion like found on Nikon 1 cameras. Videos have generally good quality, detail reproduction is excellent but NX3000 struggles with moiré and image stabilization in 16-50 lens is not that great for video recording, I was never able to get really steady video when handheld.