Samsung NX3000 Review

Samsung NX3000 Review: Samsung announces NX3000 entry-level system camera – Now with folding screen and selfie function

Samsung released the NX3000, a new entry-level mirrorless system camera that offers several new features and changes over the previous NX2000 model. For example, the screen can now be folded up to 180 degrees, which not only simplifies shots close to the ground, but above all the self-portraits called “selfies”. However, the screen shrinks from 3.7 to 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) diagonally, the resolution decreases even more significantly from 1.137 million to 460,800 pixels, and the touch function is no longer necessary.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • 180° upward-folding display for self-portraits and shots close to the ground
  • Consistently good image results up to ISO 1.600
  • WiFi function with auto-backup, remote control via smartphone and baby monitor
  • Semi-automatic, manual mode and manual focusing for experienced photographers
  • Overall upscale equipment with panorama mode, bracketing functions, tracking AF, etc.

Cons

  • Display only resolves 460,800 pixels
  • No touch function
  • Images cannot be uploaded directly to social networks, but only via a mobile device

The Samsung NX3000 is a well-equipped, mirrorless system camera for beginners. [Photo: Samsung]

The compact mirrorless system camera Samsung NX3000 follows the NX2000. It has many good qualities of its predecessor, but is at the same time a completely different camera. While Samsung still relied on a 3.7-inch high-resolution touchscreen with the NX2000, the manufacturer is now returning to the good old controls such as buttons and dials and saving on the touch function. To do this, the screen folds up 180 degrees, which makes the camera ideal for self-portraits. Its 20-megapixel sensor in APS-C format raises hopes for very good image quality. I will show whether this is true and whether the new operating concept works thanks to the testing software we use and our own usage and user experience.

The three-inch (7.5 cm) screen of the Samsung NX3000 can be folded up 180 degrees, which makes it easier to take pictures close to the ground and selfies. [Photo: Samsung]

With the NX2000, Samsung still relied on the large touch screen, the camera only offered the most essential controls. The NX3000, on the other hand, has no touchscreen, but offers classic controls to navigate through the menus or to set important recording parameters directly at the touch of a button. A program selector wheel for quick change of the operating mode is also installed again. Anyone who likes to take self-portraits – or “selfies” as they are called now – is not only supported by the 180-degree folding screen, but also by the release function that reacts to a wink of the eye.

The Samsung NX3000, equipped with a 20 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, is not only available in black but also in white. [Photo: Samsung]

The 20 megapixel CMOS sensor in APS-C size is intended to ensure high image quality. This allows a sensitivity setting from ISO 100 to 25,600, while videos are recorded in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at around two megapixels. Built-in WLAN and NFC ensure easy connection with the smartphone and data transfer without complicated settings, what Samsung calls “Tag & Go”. You only need to hold an NFC-capable smartphone up to the camera and a WLAN connection is automatically established. Using Photo Beam, the photos can then be transferred without further settings, so that they can be placed on social networks from the smartphone, for example.

In addition, the camera can be controlled remotely from the smartphone using the corresponding app. The new 16-50mm zoom lens with electric zoom motor is helpful here, so that the focal length or zoom can also be adjusted on the smartphone. This is the first time that the lens, which was released in 2014, was be delivered with a camera as a set lens. Since June 2014, the Samsung NX3000 is available in a set with the 16-50mm at a price of just under 500 EUR in black, white and brown. By the way, the package includes a full version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.

 

As a third color, Samsung offers the NX3000 in brown. The Samsung NX3000’s 180 degree flip-up screen makes the camera a selfie queen [Photo: Samsung]

In contrast to the NX2000, the Samsung NX3000 has classic controls again, but the touchscreen has shrunk. [Photo: Samsung]

The program dial of the Samsung NX3000 allows quick access to the different shooting modes, the hot shoe allows you to attach various accessories. [Photo: Samsung]

Ergonomics and Workmanship

As soon as you hold the NX3000 in your hand, you know one of its advantages. Measuring 117 x 66 x 39 millimetres and weighing 280 grams, it is very small and light. The kit lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS with 110 grams adapts perfectly. A discreetly pronounced handle and the rough leather-look surface provide support when taking photographs. For the thumb, Samsung uses the bulge of the WiFi antenna on the back and so you have a comfortable support here too. Right next to it is the video button for quick filming. The pressure point is selected so that the key is not pressed by mistake. The operation is done classically via various buttons and a rotary wheel on the back. The Fn button provides quick access to the most important settings such as exposure compensation or AF mode. The “Delete” button can be assigned individually for the recording mode. Since the lens’ i-function button also provides quick access to white balance, exposure compensation and ISO, the camera can be operated quickly and safely after a short time. The handling would be even easier if Samsung hadn’t saved the touch function. The NX300M model – a better equipped sister model – offers this advantage, as some settings are easier to make with finger wiping or a simple touch of the screen.

The Samsung NX3000’s sensor is quite large with 23.5 x 15.7 millimeters (APS-C format). It has a resolution of 20.3 megapixels. [Photo: Samsung]

The desired program is selected using the mode dial on the top panel. In addition to the PASM programs, there is an intelligent automatic system, the scene programs, a panorama program and the WiFi mode, which allows you to control all settings related to this topic. The mobile button on the top of the screen allows you to quickly reach the desired connection. Instead of a fold-out flash, the NX3000 has only one accessory shoe. But Samsung kindly supplies the matching small attachable flash at the same time. The NX3000’s main feature is probably its three-inch monitor. And this doesn’t mean the resolution, which Samsung has incomprehensibly reduced to 460,800 pixels. No, the NX3000 is a selfie camera. If you fold the screen up 180 degrees, you can perfectly photograph yourself, supported by smile and blink shutter release and a three second shutter release delay, which is indicated like a countdown by showing the numbers 3, 2, 1. The folding screen also facilitates shots close to the ground. The low weight and the quite reasonable price are due to the use of plastic. The workmanship of the case is nevertheless of very high quality and nothing creaks or cracks. The closures for the battery and connection flap close well, but the cheap material is noticeable here. The tripod thread is exemplarily located on the optical axis. Mounted on a tripod, but the battery cover cannot be opened. The NX3000 holds microSD cards.

The Samsung NX3000 comes with the kit lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS. The focal length is motorized by two buttons on the lens. [Photo: Samsung]

Equipment And Features

The NX3000 is an entry-level DSLM. It offers various automatic and scene modes, including a very easy-to-use panorama program, bracketing functions, creative filters and scene modes for party shots or glow-in-the-dark at night. Those who are a little more confident can use the aperture and time preselection and professionals can set both values manually and also focus manually. Thanks to the optional adjustable MF-help, which offers different magnification levels, this works excellently. If you activate DMF (direct manual focus), you manually readjust a focus that was automatically set by the camera. For those who like it completely automatic, tracking AF, selection AF and multi AF are available. With the selection AF, the rotary wheel on the back of the camera makes it easy to define the area and change its size.

The kit lens of the NX3000 has the Samsung-typical iFn button, which speeds up access to white balance, exposure compensation and ISO range. [Photo: Samsung]

Although the kit lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS is not particularly fast – Samsung also offers a version with the same zoom and starting apertures between F2 and F2.8 – it is nevertheless suitable for shots with blurred effects such as a blurred background in portrait shots. In addition, the focal length can be adjusted motorized via the two buttons on the side of the lens. The speed of the zoom can be set in the menu in three steps.

The Samsung NX3000 is compact and lightweight. The lens is also suitably constructed for the camera and weighs only 110 grams. [Photo: Samsung]

A low speed zoom is suitable for video recording. In quiet environments, however, the zoom noise is audible. Instead of wind noise filters or similar sound options, the NX3000 offers to switch off the sound completely during movie recordings. For the video format, you can choose between Full-HD with 25 or 30 frames per second, HD, VGA and a web resolution for Internet and e-mail. A nice thing is the fader, which you can set for fade in, fade out and fade in and fade out together. There are three speeds for fast motion and one for slow motion. Manual focus can also be used during movie recording. The NX3000 also offers a number of options for continuous shooting. In general, the camera distinguishes between single image, continuous image and burst mode. If you choose continuous shooting, the NX3000 reaches a speed of five frames per second – but only for about 13 frames. After that, a picture is taken at most every one to two seconds. The burst signal, which cannot be used for raw recording, takes either ten, 15 or 30 photos per second at a resolution of five megapixels. After 30 pictures is always the end. This is great for moving subjects, for example at sporting events, but you often lose the subject towards the end of the series, because the live view can’t keep up with the speed and you’ll drag the camera along with you on a whim.

The folding function of the NX3000 display also supports the photographer when shooting close to the ground. [Photo: Samsung]

As with most Samsung models, the WiFi function leaves nothing to be desired and the setup and operation are very quick and easy. When entering passwords, however, one would still like to have a touch display here. Without password the connection via NFC works. With the appropriate app on the smartphone or tablet, the NX3000 including zoom can be remote controlled. Automatic sending – even to several smartphones – can be set up. Once the i-Launcher program is installed on the PC, an automatic backup will also work on this computer. But the NX3000 can do even more. With a Samsung user account, the camera can be used as a baby monitor with Home Monitor+. The camera films the child, pet, etc. You can watch the live video on your smartphone. If the filmed location is too dark, the AF lamp can be turned on to illuminate. Uploading directly to social networks or sending e-mails from the camera is something Samsung has saved on with the NX3000.

The NX3000 doesn’t have a built-in flash, but Samsung does supply a plug-in flash that is mounted on the accessory shoe. [Photo: Samsung]

Image quality

The sensor in APS-C format with a high resolution of 20.3 megapixels, which is relatively large for a mirrorless system camera, promises good image quality and low image noise.

When studying the data retrieved with the test software and the test printouts, the slightly aggressive sharpness behaviour of the NX3000 is noticeable. The test curve for the drop in sharpness of the kit lens is already straight and the evaluation of the test chart for determining the texture sharpness shows a slightly oversharpened result up to ISO 800. Up to ISO 1.600 the image is still well sharp, after that the curve drops and loss of detail becomes visible. One might think that such detail processing and re-sharpening could lead to problems with sharpness artifacts. And of course they exist, but not unpleasant or highly visible. A good resolution behavior of the camera seems almost self-evident. Almost 50 line pairs per millimeter are achieved in almost every setting, with F16 and F22 about 40 line pairs due to diffraction. With the open apertures up to F5.6, a loss of resolution between 10 and 20 line pairs towards the edge is visible, after that the measured values for the center and the edge of the image are closer together. The fact that the imaging performance of the lens is also well corrected can be seen by checking the edge dimming, color fringes and distortion. Vignetting is so low that it is negligible on prints up to a format of 20 x 30 centimetres. The same applies to distortion. It is there, but overall it is low enough not to be conspicuous on small and medium sized prints. Colour fringes are rarely a problem. Although the 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS is not a very fast, inexpensive set lens, you have to pay respect to the tiny one. The performance does justice to the high sensor resolution. The quiet, motorized zoom, iFn button, compact dimensions, light weight and imaging performance speak for the kit lens.

 

The Samsung NX3000 stores its images on microSD cards. Its battery provides power for about 370 shots. [Photo: Samsung]

The NX3000 also performs well when checking the signal-to-noise ratio. Only at ISO 6.400 does it fall below the 35 dB limit and the noise signal overlays the image signal. But even at ISO 12,800 and 25,600, the curve remains close to 35 dB. The luminance noise reflects this result. Color noise is not important. If you look at the input dynamics, i.e. the subject contrast that the camera can handle, the NX3000 up to ISO 1,600 manages over ten aperture stops, and up to ISO 6,400 over nine. The effective number of grayscales that the camera can reproduce is very high up to ISO 1,600, with over 224 of 256 grayscales, and even up to ISO 6,400, 160 can still be displayed. This, together with the previous measurement results, confirms that the NX3000 up to ISO 1,600 provides excellent images, is absolutely usable up to ISO 6,400 and can even be used in extreme areas in an emergency. The tonal value transfer is slightly divided, the image result appears crisp and rich in contrast. If you want to do it differently, or would like to do it yourself, you can use the raw format. The color reproduction occasionally shows a slightly stronger saturation of the red tones, but in practice this is rarely disturbing. The white balance is also carried out reliably. The shutter release delay of the camera is somewhat long at 0.13 and 0.14 seconds in wide angle and telephoto. If one adds the autofocus, the NX3000 achieves values of 0.42 seconds at 24 millimeters and 0.36 seconds at 75 millimeters. These are not peak values, but are still reasonably fast.

Conclusion

The Samsung NX3000 is an all-round recommendable entry-level DSLM with good image quality even in higher ISO ranges. The included kit lens does not look like “cheap plastic”, but harmonizes with the sensor and shows a good imaging performance. The equipment of the NX3000 is upscale and allows even experienced photographers to control their image. A display that folds up makes the camera a selfie master and the WiFi function lets you distribute the pictures where you want them. As this is an entry-level model, one has to do without certain equipment details like a touchscreen, another rotating wheel or a display that can also be moved downwards, as the NX3000M has.

Profile

Profile
Manufacturer Samsung
Model NX3000
Price approx. EUR 450* at market launch
Sensor Resolution 20.3 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 5.472 x 3.648
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens Samsung NX Lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS
Filter thread 43 mm
Viewfinder
Dioptre compensation
LCD monitor 3,0″
Resolution 460.800
rotatable
swiveling yes
as Viewfinder yes
Video output HDMI (PAL/NTSC)
Automatic programming yes
Automatic aperture control yes
Automatic timer yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long time exposure yes
Scene mode programs
Portrait yes
Children/baby yes
Landscape yes
Macro yes
Sports/action yes
More 11 additional scene mode programs available
Exposure metering Multi-field, centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes, as a clip-on flash
Flash connection System hot shoe
Remote release as accessory
Interval recording
Storage medium microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC
Video mode
Format MP4
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 30 frames/s
Sensitivity
automatically ISO 100-25.600 (upper limit adjustable)
extended
manually ISO 100-25,600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Incandescent lamp yes
Miscellaneous Flash, manual color temperature selection
Manually yes
Autofocus
Number of measurement fields 35 for close-ups
,21 normal
AF auxiliary light green
Speed approx. 0,4 s
Languages English
More 31 additional languages are available
Weight
(Ready for operation)
280 g (housing only)
390 g (with lens*)
Zoom
Zoom adjustment motorized on the lens
Single-handed operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 370 pictures according to CIPA
– = “not applicable” or “not available
* with lens NX Lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS

This review of Samsung NX3000 with Samsung NX Lens 16-50 mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom ED OIS was created with DXOMARK Analyzer.

Brief assessment

Pros

  • 180° upward-folding display for self-portraits and shots close to the ground
  • Consistently good image results up to ISO 1.600
  • WiFi function with auto-backup, remote control via smartphone and baby monitor
  • Semi-automatic, manual mode and manual focusing for experienced photographers
  • Overall upscale equipment with panorama mode, bracketing functions, tracking AF, etc.

Cons

  • Display has a resolution of only 460,800 pixels
  • No touch function
  • Images cannot be uploaded directly to social networks, but only via a mobile device

Samsung NX3000 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)21.6 megapixels (physical) and 20.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 4.3 µm
Photo resolution
5.472 x 3.648 pixels (3:2)
5.472 x 3.080 pixels (16:9)
3.888 x 2.592 pixels (3:2)
3.712 x 2.088 pixels (16:9)
3.648 x 3.648 pixels (1:1)
2.976 x 1.984 pixels (3:2)
2.944 x 1.656 pixels (16:9)
2.640 x 2.640 pixels (1:1)
2.000 x 2.000 pixels (1:1)
1.920 x 1.080 pixels (16:9)
1.728 x 1.152 pixels (3:2)
1.024 x 1.024 pixels (1:1)
Image formats JPG, RAW
Color depth
Metadata DCF Standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
Maximum recording time 25 min
Video format
MPG4 (Codec H.264)

Lens

Lens mount
Samsung NX

Focus

Autofocus mode Contrast autofocus with 21 measuring fields
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Tracking AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 460,800 pixels, tiltable by 180° upwards, rotatable by 180

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 221 fields, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (Automatic
) Bulb function
Exposure control Fully Automatic, Program Automatic, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Manual
Exposure bracketing function Exposure bracketing function with a maximum of 3 shots
Exposure Compensation -3.0 to +3.0 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 100 to ISO 3,200 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 (manual)
Scene modes Twilight, documents, fireworks, backlight, children, landscape, macro, night scene, portrait, sunset, and beach/snow
Picture effects Fisheye, miniature effect, calm, classic, cool, custom function (3), retro, vivid, 4 additional picture effects
White balance Auto, Cloudy, Sunny, White balance bracket, Fine tuning, Shadow, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 3 presets, Tungsten light, Kelvin input, Manual
Colour space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting 5.0 fps at highest resolution, burst mode with 30 frames at 30 fps (resolution 1,472 x 976)
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 or 30 s interval, special features: (manually adjustable in steps of 1 s)
Recording functions Live histogram

Flashgun

Flash no built-in flash availableShoe
: Samsung, standard center contact
Flash code Guide number 8 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-in flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, red-eye reduction

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD
Power supply unit Power supply connectionUSB charging function
Playback functions Red eye retouching, image rotation, image protection, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, image index, slide show function
Face recognition Face recognition
Image parameters Contrast, color saturation
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High SpeedWLAN
: available (Type: B, G, N)
AV Connections AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D)
Supported direct printing methods PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous Ultrasonic sensor cleaningMagic frame mode35

AF points in macro modeBacklight correctionFace skin retouchingDynamic range expansionAutoShare function

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 117 x 66 x 39 mm
Weight 280 g (ready for operation)

Miscellaneous

standard accessory BP740-Secondary BatteryBP740-Li-Ion Battery Pack/RechargerUSB Connection CableAV CableBayonet CoverRiserBeltImage editing software

Samsung Master for Windows or higher or higher (System X/or higher)
Image editing software Samsung RAW Converter 3.1 for Windows or higher or higher and for Macintosh (System X/or higher)
Image editing software Adobe Lightroom 5 for Windows or higher or higher and for Macintosh (System X/or higher)

additional accessories BP740-Replacement BatteryChargerRemovable Memory CardHDMI CableSamsung

FlashesSamsung
NX Lenses

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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.