Exclusive: Hands on with Samsung’s NX30 camera

One thing that we do like is the inclusion of a viewfinder, with an electronic viewfinder built into the NX30 body to make it more usable in situations demanding of one.

The viewfinder here also comes with a neat trick. Not just one though, with two tricks available to the photographer.

The first one is that it extends out of the camera, so you don’t have to press the body against your face, and leave greasy marks on the screen.

The second is even more useful. When the viewfinder is pulled out all the way, it can be pushed closed to 90 degrees up, turning it into a top down viewfinder, too.

An electronic viewfinder with top-down access is normally something you have to pay extra for in a mirrorless camera, so having it built into the body will be a win for some people.

Also on the winning side is a new wireless feature called “Tap N Go,” which takes advantage of WiFi and NFC to let compatible devices literally tap the side of the camera when you’re viewing an image, and have it transfer right away to the smartphone for easy sharing.

It’s not a full size image that transfers, but a slightly cut down version, because you’ll be sharing it online, but this helps to make it easy for on-to-go sharing with your mates. Videos can also be quickly shared, so you don’t have to wait until you get home to that laptop get that video on YouTube, provided your phone has some data and reception.

The left edge of the camera (which is on the right in this photo) is where you touch your smartphone to start the NFC Tap N Go.

The technology is compatible with any Android phone or tablet supporting NFC (Near-Field Communication), because it needs the Samsung Mobile Camera app to make it work to begin with. Once you have it and NFC is switched on, it’s simply a matter of tapping the phone to the side of the camera while you’re viewing an image to make the picture do a little spinning animation and then initiate an immediate transfer to the smartphone.

In our preproduction model, this worked around 70 percent of the time, so when the camera goes full release, it should be perfected, and what a great concept it is, too, making it virtually painless to get pictures online quickly, basically filling in the gap for where we’d normally expect Android on one of Samsung’s cameras.

To the company’s credit, it does make an Android-based mirrorless interchangeable, the Galaxy NX, but somewhere between limited local availability and what we’ve heard is poor battery life, there’s still work to be done in this area, so Tap N Go is a good workaround for the time being.

Phones can also be used as a remote viewfinder thanks to the wireless technology, or just shared to let you transfer images from the camera, with selections being made on either the smartphone or the camera, no WiFi SD card needed.

Goodbye external battery charger.

Oh, and as far as battery life goes, we managed around 300 shots on a full battery while using the Tap N Go feature for around 50 images. That’s not bad, and suggests to us that 400 shots per battery charge cycle is possible, too, provided you don’t care about sharing on the go.

It’s nice to see that you won’t need a battery charger carried with you on trip with the NX30, either, with Samsung integrating the charger directly with the body, so you just plug the camera in using the same microUSB plug most phones take. Easy.

More interchangeable lens cameras need this feature, and we shouldn’t have to have external chargers on most cameras anymore.

Overall, it’s not a bad camera by a long shot, and we’re keen to give it a good flogging for low-light shooting when the review cameras come in, something we missed in our test.

Some things do need some work, though it’s a pre-production model, so we’re willing to give some of the software bugs the benefit of the doubt before this camera hits full release. We would like to see 4K shooting capability on the video side of things, though, something that would be nice given Panasonic’s GH4 is shipping with it, and Samsung makes more 4K Ultra HD screens than anyone else out there.

GadgetGuy did check with Samsung’s global head of digital imaging on this, but no firm response was given as to if or when the NX30 would receive this technology, let alone of the NX30 was capable of supporting it. Here’s hoping.

For now, expect to see the camera available in the next couple of months in Australia, with an expected price between $1100 and $1400.

High resolution images can be found on the next page (page 3) of this article.

Leigh D. Stark travelled to Bali, Indonesia as a guest of Samsung Australia.