Skip to main content

Hands-on preview of Samsung’s 3D-capable NX300 Smart Camera

Check out our review of the Samsung NX300 mirrorless camera.

Update: The retail price for the 45mm 3D lens has been updated to $500.

Samsung wanted to get a jump ahead of the avalanche of CES digicam announcements next week, so enter the new NX300 Smart Camera. Part of the company’s NX series of Compact System Cameras, the 20.3MP NX300 will replace last year’s NX210; it’s scheduled to ship in March and will cost $750 with an 20-50mm kit lens. The two-tone, faux-leather silver-and-black bodied mirrorless, interchangeable lens camera has a nice retro vibe; it’s also available in a white/silver combo.

Samsung has embraced Wi-Fi connectivity more than most camera manufacturers and its Galaxy Camera is considered by some analysts as the new digicam benchmark. The NX300 has dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity (2.4G/5G), which Samsung claims significantly improves the flow of images between the camera, PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Samsung execs we spoke to emphasized their aim is to improve the overall Wi-Fi experience since incorporating Wi-Fi into a camera isn’t a big deal – making it easy to use and functional is something else. They’ve also added a Direct Link hot-key to assign wireless apps, as well as smartphone compatibility through the Samsung SMART CAMERA app (Android and iOS): AutoShare to automatically send images to a designated smartphone; Mobile Link for copying/pasting photos and movies from camera to phone and vice versa; and Remote Viewfinder for remote operation of the camera via the smartphone. There’s also an Auto Backup feature for automatic wireless backups to a PC or Mac.

As part of Samsung’s goal to make its cameras easy to use, they have loaded the NX300 with the auto Smart Mode. A notable feature here is i-Depth, which allows you to preview depth of field through the display.

As always, we’ll reserve judgment until we get a production unit but a real plus is the camera’s tilting 3.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen (40-degree down, 90-degree up), making it easier to tap through menus and enter passwords and also to compose shots in various angles. The NX210 by comparison had a slightly smaller, non-capacitive screen.

Let us not forget this is a camera and taking good pictures and videos is the critical issue. We used the most recent generation of NX models and were quite happy with the results. The NX300 – with its 20.3MP APS-C sensor – should be even better as it now features a new hybrid autofocus that combines phase detect (105 points) and contrast detect (247 points) AF for speedier, more accurate results (Samsung says it could be the “fastest focusing camera” available in market). This is a feature you’ll see a lot more of in the coming days. Video quality has also been improved to 1920 x 1080 at 60p. The sensor also allows for a ISO range of 100 to 25600.

As a bonus, Samsung is bundling a copy of the latest version of Adobe Lightroom with the camera.

Also new for the NX300 is 3D still and movie capture, thanks to Samsung’s new DRIMe IV image processor. It takes special glass to handle 3D capture and it just so happens Samsung also announced a new NX 45mm (F1.8) 3D lens that takes those stills and videos. When in 3D mode, two Liquid Crystal Modules flip down in the lens, both shuttering left and right to capture at different depths in quick succession to create the 3D effect. The lens also handles 2D with a flip of a switch on the lens barrel; it’s compatible with other Samsung CSC cams, but only the NX300 can utilize the 3D functionality for now. The 3D lens is also due in March for $500.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

We had a chance to try out the NX300 with a variety of lenses, including the NX 45mm 3D lens, for some initial impressions. Samsung said the body has been slimmed down with an optimized right grip, and it’s noticeable. The camera is well-built and feels solid and comfortable in the hands, although it’s definitely a two-handed operation when used with a larger, heavier lens attached. The touchscreen is fairly responsive (as we’d expect from a company that makes the most-popular Android smartphones). One of the cameras we tried seemed to have an autofocusing issue, but Samsung alerted us that these were engineering samples and weren’t perfect. Still, image quality looked pleasant from our quick preview, but we will reserve judgement.

Stay tuned for dozens of new cameras and camcorders that will be unveiled in just a few days. We can almost guarantee you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

David Elrich
David has covered the consumer electronics industry since the "ancient" days of the Walkman. He is a "consumer’s"…
How to transfer photos from an iPhone to a computer
The Apple iPhone 15 Plus's gallery app.

As the old saying goes, the best camera is the one you always have with you. If you're like most iPhone users, that means you've likely amassed a sizeable collection of photos on your device. However, while Apple's Photos app is a great way to manage and view your photo library, it's never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket. After all, suffering a lost or broken iPhone is painful enough without also losing all your precious digital memories in the process.

Even if you're backing up your iPhone to iCloud or your computer, it's a good idea to keep your photos backed up separately. After all, opening a folder or a photo management app is a much easier way to get at your photos than trying to extract them from an iCloud or iTunes/Finder backup, which requires either restoring them to another iPhone or relying on special software tools.

Read more
This Canon mirrorless camera deal cuts the price by $85
A Canon EOS R100 mirrorless camera on a white background.

For one of the best camera deals, check out the discount on the Canon EOS R100 mirrorless camera over at Walmart right now. Usually you’d have to pay $499 for the camera, but right now you can buy it for just $414, meaning you’re saving $85 off the regular price. The perfect time to treat yourself to a superior photography experience for less, here’s what you need to know before you commit to a purchase.

Why you should buy the Canon EOS R100 Mirrorless Camera
Ideal for anyone checking out the best mirrorless cameras but wanting to keep costs down, there’s a lot to love about the Canon EOS R100 Mirrorless Camera. It’s the smallest and lightest EOS R series camera while packing in plenty of features. It has excellent still-image capabilities with its 24.1 Megapixel APS-C size CMOS image sensor and DIGIC 8 processor. It also has Dual Pixel CMOS AF with the ability to detect human faces and focus on their eyes. Its sensor is significantly larger in size than many smartphones and can capture images with natural bokeh. It’s also able to take high-sensitivity and low-noise images which capture the atmosphere, even if you’re taking photos in low-light conditions.

Read more
Can a $500 Pixel phone beat a $1,000 iPhone in a camera test? I found out
iPhone 15 Pro (left) and Google Pixel 8a camera modules.

Right before Google I/O 2024, Google showed off the latest Pixel device, the Google Pixel 8a. This is the latest offering from the Pixel A-series, which is a more budget-friendly Pixel for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the flagship Pixel 8 or 8 Pro.

The Pixel 8a features a new design with more rounded corners and a matte-finish back. It packs Google’s latest silicon, the Tensor G3, but the camera hardware remains unchanged from its predecessor, the Pixel 7a.

Read more