The Samsung NX300 camera is smaller than you realise until you first open the box. Measuring 122mm x 63.7mm 40.7mm (excluding the projection part) it's hard to believe at first that this little camera is capable of DSLR functions. But as they say, dynamite comes in small packages. Out of the box I was able to use the NX300 quickly and easily.
The Samsung NX300 is a mirrorless camera, meaning less weight and smaller compact size. Another great advantage is that vibrations are reduced helping to keep photos sharper.
A mirror in an SLR can cause vibrations when it flips up and down, sometimes resulting in blurred photos. DSLR's provide a feature where the mirror locks up before taking a photo and reduces the vibrations but you need to use a tripod or keep the camera stable. This is where mirrorless cameras like the Samsung NX300 gain an advantage.
For my project I'm not going to go heavily into the technical detail but instead I'm going to go through the features to give you an idea of what the NX300 is capable of. I will also post sites where you can get technical specifications and tests.
Samsung has opted to style the NX300 in a Vintage fashion similar to the older film cameras. The body is encased in a luxurious leather like (not real leather, thumbs up there) and silver metal casing. I have the brown body although it does come in white and black. I love the brown as it sticks to the more Vintage look and feel.
Weight wise the NX300 camera and lens is solid but easy to support with only one hand while taking photos (better to use both hands but in some situations the weight will count favourably). Buttons are located on the right hand side but left hand users can use the touch screen to adjust settings without an issue. I'm not a big user of touch screens on cameras but found myself moving between the buttons and touch feature as if it was something I did everyday. It certainly did reduce the time it would take to scroll the menus to find a certain function.
Even though the live view screen does switch off after a few seconds (customizable), it does drain the battery a bit quickly. Having a spare battery or two is a must.
The Samsung NX300 comes bundled with an external flash (SEF8A), which as I mentioned before is not much bigger than the camera's battery. The flash attaches to the hot shoe where tilting it up activates the flash and tilting it down deactivates it. The size (seen on the camera in the photos above) makes it barely noticeable on the camera but the output is strong enough to illuminate the subject/object very nicely.
While going through the features of the camera (I'm using the manual as a guideline) I will add examples of photos taken with the flash and compare to my Canon 650D.
The camera came with the 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 OIS kit lens (you can also get the 2D/3D 45mm f1.8 at about R2000 more). OIS stands for Optical Image Stabilization, which compensates for the NX300 not having built in stabilization (many entry level DSLR's also don't have this function). It helps to reduce camera shake for less blurred photos.
The 18-55mm lens also has iFunction (button is found on the lens) allowing the photographer to change settings on the camera by turning a ring on the lens. At the moment I only have the 18-55mm to work with but so far the lens is proving to be somewhat better than my Canon 18-55mm IS II lens.
The 2D/3D lens allows the photographer to capture 3D images including 3D videos. That ups the creativity that the Samsung NX300 is offering and so far seems to be fairly priced for the feature. The video shows how the lens works when changing from 2D to 3D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8g1cEwYuxs
The NX300 is also compatible with Samsung's range of NX lenses and accessories.
One thing missing from the camera is a EVF, Electronic View Finder, usually found at the top of SLR cameras and used instead of the live view screen. I am used to the EVF on an SLR so it did take some adjusting as I tended to put the camera up to my eye automatically. If the Samsung NX300 is your first SLR then the missing EVF won't bother you but if you are used to taking photos with the EVF it might be a slight irritation.
I use both point and shoot and DSLR cameras where I work between live view screens and EVF so the missing EVF didn't bother me too much. There are a few advantages of having EVF for example, it can be easier to view the scene in bright daylight than using a live view screen. The Samsung NX300 has an articulated (moveable screen) screen if the sun light is making it difficult to see.
The Samsung NX300 is feature PACKED! You can literally let your imagination and creativity run wild and still retain control over how the camera takes photos. It has 247 focus points (105 of which are enhanced) vs my other DSLR's 9 focus points; shutter speed of 1/6000th of second vs my DSLR's 1/4000th of a second. My Canon SLR 650D isn't exactly old but it does look a little slow in comparison. Tests will show.
The shutter button is extremely responsive and so fast I can't keep count of how many photos it takes. Nice touch is that the camera saves multiple frames (when pressing and holding the shutter down) in files. This makes it easier to view the selection of shots you took at once.
The screen is big for the size of the camera and is very clear. Taking photos and video is an absolute pleasure and having the ability to select where I want the focus to be means I have full control over my photos.
IN THE BOX
Camera body, 18-55mm lens, battery, external flash, body and lens caps, strap, USB cable and power plug, Samsung software and Lightroom 4, quick guide manuals, warranty papers.
An external battery charger is not included and, personally, is something I believe should have been added. You charge the battery in camera meaning that while charging the camera can't be used. An external charger would allow you to charge the one battery while using your camera with another battery. Accessories are still being released so I'm hoping to find an external charger available soon.
ABOUT THE SOFTWARE
Lightroom 4 - software manufacturers are still playing catch up in providing support for new camera RAW formats. Adobe has provided an update to Lightroom 4 that includes support for the Samsung NX300's format as well as other new cameras. The program will tell you that there is a new update available and whether you want to install it or not. NOTE: the download is 788MB in size. JPEG works fine if RAW isn't your thing.
Lightroom 4 is a favourite with photographers and a fantastic bonus for Samsung NX300 users.
Samsung Software - i-Launcher which includes Multimedia Viewer, Firmware Upgrader and PC Auto Backup. You do need to have a memory card in the camera when using i-Launcher.
User manual included on the CD - more indepth than the quick guides the User Manual also provides a quick intro into photography for beginners explaining aperture, shutter speed and more.
NOTE: New firmware has been released. You can update your camera by connecting to the computer via the USB cable and selecting the Firmware Upgrader in i-Launcher (download may take about 30min with a 3G connection). Make sure your camera's battery is fully charged!
Samsung has created a mobile app for the NX cameras that allow you to use your tablet and smartphone as an external viewfinder. You can also take a photo from the camera using your mobile device. It's still something I'm playing around with and haven't yet found out if you can use your mobile device to manually select focus points.
Here is the link to the specifications as provided by Samsung: http://www.samsung.com/africa_en/consumer/cameras-camcorders/compact-system-camera/nx-cameras/EV-NX300ZDSVZA-spec
Ok, so that's to start with. I'm busy taking photos on Auto (even though I don't like using Auto) and will post results soon.
Indepth reviews, technical info and tests (sites I use to research new tech):
There are numerous reviews and sites with plenty of information, but the best way to find out about the Samsung NX300 is to try one out at a camera store or at one of Samsung's Smart Care Centres http://www.gadget.co.za/pebble.asp?relid=6281.
An A-Z guide of Photography Slang - http://www.digitalcameraworld.com/2012/06/15/the-essential-a-z-of-photography-slang-terms/