Home Icon
samsung-nx-300-ces-2013-03

Samsung’s low light 3D lens is so many kinds of awesome

By Leigh D. Stark | 6:03 pm 17/01/2013

One of the coolest things we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show year was a lens. Sure, there was a hot oven and some big new TVs, but Samsung has a new 3D lens to go with its new NX300 camera, and it is as clever as it is cool.

I’ll come out and say it before we start: I don’t really get 3D photography.

Sure, 3D movies can be very cool to watch, provided you’re viewing on a decent set, but we haven’t seen many people at home really get that whole depth thing right when they’re capturing home movies.

There are so many times when we’d just prefer to stick on a pair of single channel glasses and bypass the 3D picture, viewing something in good ‘ol trusted two dimensions.

So 3D photos haven’t ever really grabbed us. Maybe it’s because we’re so used to seeing 2D images that it has become the tried and true norm for us.

Theoretically, movies sound like a better premise for 3D because the camera is changing, shifting around a view point and adding – sometimes – a story into the equation, making it possible for a 3D scene to be more than just stuck in one position, where it would be for a three dimensional photo.

But regardless of what grabs us or not, the technology used in Samsung’s new low-light 3D lens is quite clever.

Designed for the new range of mirror-less NX cameras, starting with the retro-trimmed NX300, the NX 45mm f/1.8 lens is a 3D capable addition to a camera that can shoot in standard 2D mode or in the slightly more depth-friendly 3D mode.

Up until this point, we haven’t seen many digital interchangeable lens cameras with 3D lenses. Off the top of our heads, there’s a Panasonic Micro Four-Thirds lens that has two lenses inside itself and a minimum aperture of f/12, which is a lot of light required to take an image, when you think about it.

But with Samsung’s new lens taking an aperture of f/1.8, that’s a lens that can work in situations without a lot of light, and since we generally use f/1.4 lenses on our own cameras, it’s something we completely get.

A lower aperture on a lens doesn’t just mean more usefulness in low light, but more depth control, and the ability to take portrait shots with creamy backgrounds that drop to a softer focus.

Throwing both of these technologies in the one certainly had us intrigued, so we asked to see how it worked.

While we’re not sure if the American Samsung reps were keen to see our Aussie Samsung guy take off that lens to show us how it worked, if there had been a camera on us, you’d have seen this reporters eyes light up.

A lens with an extra lens inside of it, technically, dividing this lens into two and making it possible for the camera to receive two pictures – a left and a right – at the exact same time.

It’s a 3D lens, and yet you can flick a switch and make it into a 2D lens, both of these levels of dimensionality benefitting from the low light usefulness that an aperture of f/1.8 can achieve.

When the lens is sitting on a camera that’s plugged into a TV, you can see the 3D effect instantaneously. Our demo unit was aimed straight at us, and provided we were wearing our 3D glasses, we could see ourselves in 3D, like a mirror that wasn’t flat.

Thus we found out that here in this new lens, Samsung had worked out a way to not only make it possible to shoot true 3D in photography, but also in movies, because the NX300 it’s launching alongside also, of course, captures videos.

In fact, the NX300 seems like a decently spec’d shooter, including a 20.3 megapixel CMOS sensor the same size as what’s normally found in most enthusiast DSLR cameras (APS), low-light sensitivity ranging from ISO 100 to 25600, and Full HD 1080p video capture that works across either 2D or 3D with this lens.

The only issue we have with the new 45mm lens is that it’s not yet compatible with other cameras in the NX range, although Samsung wouldn’t rule out this as a possibility later down the track.

Leigh D. Stark traveled to CES as a guest of LG Electronics Australia.

Latest reviews

  • Review: Marshall Monitor headphones

    If you’ve ever played in a rock band in your teens, or even if you do now, you know the “Marshall” name. It’s a brand that practically screams rock,…
  • Thinking thin: Apple’s iPad Air 2 reviewed

    A new year means a new iPad, and here we are with another model ready for consumers to take home. Is the latest iteration Apple's best, and does it…
  • Aldi's $279 Bauhn Sphere smartphone reviewed

    Remember when you had to go to a phone store to buy a phone? No more, with phones available everywhere, and Aldi is getting on that with the Sphere,…
  • Review: HP ElitePad 1000 G2

    When you talk about business grade tablets, there aren't a lot of choices, but HP's ElitePad 1000 G2 looks to provide a dose of shiny silver aluminium professionalism to…
  • Apple's iPhone 6 Plus reviewed

    Apple has steered clear of tablet-sized phones for a while now, leaving it to Samsung and other manufacturers, but now Apple is here with a phablet of its own.…
  • Review: LG G Pad 10.1

    LG's G3 really grabbed our attention earlier in the year, so we're expecting good things from a tablet launched around the same time, but is the G Pad 10.1…
  • Review: Plantronics BackBeat Pro headphones

    Headphones that cut out the noise from the outside world generally require you to be tethered to your phone, but not a new pair of cans from Plantronics, as…
  • Review: Moto G (2014, G2)

    Big phones are in, and to go with that trend, Motorola is upgrading one of its entry-level handsets, increasing the screen size of its G series phone to make…
  • Review: Acer Aspire Switch 10

    Acer's 10 inch Windows tablet hasn't been updated since Windows 8 first came out, and that was two years ago, so what has Acer been cooking up, and does…
  • Review: Dyson Cool (AM06)

    Here come the warmer months and that reason to get the old trusty fan out. But before you do, you might want to consider a healthy update of the…

“How do you stop yourself from being caught out by these scam artists?”

Read More

Tell us…

Which smartwatch are you interested in buying?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

“There’s certainly no doubt that you can find a bargain, but like always, you get what you pay for.”

Read More