The compact interchangeable lens camera market is heating up, and Samsung is providing another reason to try its system out, introducing a camera to Australians that features retrolicious looks with modernised innards.
Coming to Australia within the next few weeks, Samsung’s NX300 is the next camera to feature an DSLR-sized sensor in a body that’s not-so-DSLR sized.
While it won’t compete with the technology found inside massive cameras like the Nikon D4, this camera is poised to take on smaller lens-based cameras with similarly-sized sensors and below, such as Sony’s NEX range, DSLRs from Nikon and Canon, and the Micro Four-Thirds cameras from Panasonic and Olympus.
First shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the NX300 will bring with it an all new 20.3 megapixel sensor that incorporates some neat technology, such as hybrid auto focus that uses 105 points of phase detection and 247 points of contrast across the sensor, low-light sensitivity up to ISO 25600, and image processing designed to improve speed while adding support for built-in 3D processing when used with specific lenses.
One of those we’ve seen before (coincidentally, at CES), but will be launching alongside the camera, with the 45mm f/1.8 prime supporting both 2D and 3D images at the flick of a switch, with an internal element that makes it possible to shoot 3D inside the lens at a lower aperture than normally seen in 3D lenses.
“This is Samsung’s statement that we’re very serious about this segment,” said Arno Lenior, Marketing Director for Samsung Australia. “We have an amazing amount of technology packed into this product.”
Some of that tech will include high speed shooting capability with 8.6 frames per second shooting in RAW, with up to 10fps possible if you push the image size down, and a maximum shutter speed of 1/6000 of a second, just ever slightly lower than the 1/8000 offered by the likes of the Nikon D4, D800, and the upcoming Olympus E-P5.
The rear screen sits at a big 3.31 inches and offers a similar AMOLED display to what’s seen in Samsung’s smartphones, with touch support working alongside a physical button interface to the right. Dial controls are also here, making it easy to use manual controls, as well as select the various modes of the camera.
Also included is the next generation of Samsung’s Smart Camera system, now in version 2.0, making it possible to share photos directly from the camera without a computer nearby.
To make this happen, you’ll probably want a mobile phone, and the Smart Camera App, you’ll be able to connect over WiFi to send images online. Near-Field Communication support is also there, so if you have an NFC-capable smartphone with Android 4.0 and above, you’ll be able to hold it next to the Samsung NX300 and pair the two devices up for easy sharing.
One interesting feature isn’t what is inside the camera, but what is being thrown in the box with the camera, and that’s a copy of Adobe’s Lightroom 4, one of the more popular photo cataloguing and editing applications out there.
“It’s not just about the functionality or the speed benefits, but it’s also about the usability afterwards,” said Craig Gillespie, Head of Digital Imaging at Samsung Australia. “At this level, the camera is capable of taking pictures in the RAW format, [and] that’s where this software is going to be a key differentiator.”