Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Samsung NX300: Sharp shooter

Written by Pranay Parab | Posted: September 19, 2013 7:26 pm

From home appliances to smartphones and even smart watches,Samsung has launched products in almost all segments of consumer technology. While its smartphones may hog the limelight these days,Samsung has steadily been improving its cameras too. Earlier this year,it launched the Android-based Galaxy Camera. The operating system gave it some advantages,such as access to cloud storage and photo apps (Dropbox,Instagram,Flickr,etc),but the picture quality was a big let-down. Now,we have the NX300,which is a Wi-Fi camera that has interchangeable lenses.

With NX300,Samsung has opted for a retro look. This device reminds of the legendary Pentax and Minolta cameras. The body has a leather finish,which is excellent for grip. At the back,the camera has a touchscreen display and small plastic buttons. Thanks to the touchscreen,using the buttons is not compulsory,which is good because they are a little too small for regular use. The design is an eye-pleasing change,in both looks and function. The NX300 body does not have flash,but Samsung has included an external flash in the box. Just attach the flash to the camera,switch on flash in settings and it works flawlessly.

The NX300 body weighs around 300 grams,but feels heavy once the lens is attached. DSLR users will have no trouble with the weight,but those upgrading from sleek point-and-shoot cameras will feel the weight in their backpacks. The build quality is excellent,so the camera’s girth can be forgiven.

Once you start taking pictures,the camera’s quality will instantly please you. The 20.3-megapixel sensor is very good,and so is the programme auto mode. Pictures are vivid,and the colour reproduction is accurate. In low-light,the pictures looked good,but not above ISO3200. For better low-light performance,users should look at DSLR or competing products.

The auto-focus (AF) system is quick,which means the camera mostly locks on to the subject very fast. In case you are taking macro pictures with the kit lens (18-55 mm),make sure that you are at least 6 cm away from the subject. Once that is done,the AF system will quickly focus on the object,blurring the background. Also,you can make the most of its touchscreen to focus on a particular object. Just tap any part of the screen and the camera will focus on it.

This camera comes with Wi-Fi and NFC features,which let you wirelessly upload and share pictures. This feature works best if you have a Samsung Galaxy phone. Apart from that,for first-time users,this camera has several easy shooting modes,such as landscape,portrait,etc. Most users will not use these,but they work as advertised.

Samsung has made a good attempt to capture a share of the camera market. But R46,500 is a little too much when you consider that the lens ecosystem is not as robust as that offered by competitors. This camera doesn’t have a viewfinder either,so the price tag doesn’t seem justified. Go for this if you want a portable secondary camera (primary being a DSLR) with a good touchscreen and fast AF.

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