Samsung goes retro with its new affordable NX3000 mirrorless camera

Samsung has added a new entry-level compact system camera (CSC) to its NX lineup. The NX3000, which will retail for around $530, has a new retro body design that mirrors the higher-end NX300, but its specs are more in line with the NX2000 that it’s replacing.

While its two-tone, metal and textured body may look like NX300’s, the NX3000 is more of a minor step-up from the NX2000 when it comes to specs, but has a more premium quality in its looks. It uses the same 20.3-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and DRIMe IV image processor as both the NX300 and NX2000, but it retains the lesser contrast-detect autofocusing system of the NX2000 (the NX300 uses a hybrid autofocusing that employs phase-detect and contrast-detect autofocusing). It also has the same sensitivity range (ISO 100-25,600) and shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second. The NX3000 continues to use MicroSD for storage and offer near-field communication (NFC) for quick Wi-Fi pairing. There’s a hot shoe and built-in flash, and movie recording remains at Full HD 1080 at 30p.

Besides a new look, there are some changes. The camera will include a new 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS Lens with Samsung’s iFunction button (when pressed, it takes you to a menu that lets you adjust various camera settings). With a power zoom lens, you can enable the zoom when you control the camera remotely with a smartphone. The 2330mAh battery is actually used in Samsung’s smartphones, which demonstrates another example of Samsung sharing parts and technologies between its two sectors; Samsung says it also makes batteries more readily available, wherever Samsung smartphones are sold. Instead of a large 3.7-inch capacitive touchscreen that covers the entire back, like in the NX2000, the NX3000 returns to 3-inch non-touch display and physical camera buttons. Samsung said this change is to keep the price down, as capacitive touchscreens are pricey components. While having a large touchscreen has its benefits, we also like having physical dials and buttons to adjust camera settings because it’s often faster than drilling through onscreen menus. The display does flip up 180 degrees for self-portraits (turns on automatically when flipped up), and includes Samsung’s Wink Shot technology. Both these LCD features are in the new NX Mini, which we recently reviewed.

Samsung NX3000 mirrorless camera

Samsung has one of the better, if not the best, Wi-Fi implementations of any camera maker. The NX3000 brings the Wi-Fi experience to its latest Smart 3.0 platform, allowing you to share images with smartphones, upload images to the Web directly or in an email, and operate the camera remotely via the companion smartphone app for iOS and Android.

The camera will come in black, brown, and white. A bonus included with the camera is a copy of Adobe Photoshop LIghtroom 5. The NX3000 will sell for $529 with the 16-50mm OIS Power Zoom and SEF-8 Flash, but a second version with a non-powered 20-50mm and SEF-8 Flash will be available for $479.

Compared to the outgoing NX2000, there isn’t a lot that’s changed in this newer model (while still available, the NX2000 is heading into the end of its lifecycle, so check that out before it’s phased out completely). In our review of the NX2000, we thought the image quality was excellent under good light, but we found the autofocusing to be on the slow side. Because the NX3000 is nearly identical in specs, we may see these same issues. We didn’t mind having a large touchscreen on the NX2000 and found it relatively easy to use, but we did wish that it had been tiltable. Now that Samsung had brought that feature, we wonder if we’ll miss the large touchscreen. Is the NX3000 a stronger camera, or an NX2000 with new clothes? Regardless, we’re looking forward to testing this new camera on its own and see how it performs.

Availability hasn’t been announced (possibly in June), but we will update this space once we get that info.

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