Most helpful positive review
93 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Samsung NX has Matured
on April 15, 2014
Update (6/23/14): Shot my first mirrorless only wedding using only the NX30, 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S, and 85mm f/1.4 and SEF580 flash. Went great. Focus was better than I could have hoped, performance was great, no lockups and I will no longer use my SLR since I was able to rely solely on the NX30 (obviously have backup equipment for professional use). The optional available micro USB external charger is awesome since I could charge my spare batteries using a USB battery pack in my camera bag. No worries running out of battery with only 2 packs at the wedding.
Fast and accurate focus
Great selection of lenses
Viewfinder with glasses could be better
I highly recommend this mirrorless camera. I have a Sony A7R, Fuji X-M1, NEX 3N, and have used many more. This Samsung NX30 is my go to camera. I love the grip and feel of the camera, the responsive controls, fast AF, and great selection of lenses. My complaint is that the viewfinder looks a bit small through my glasses (I am near sighted) and if pointed towards the sun the eye sensor sometimes doesn't work with my glasses on.
When you buy an interchangeable lens camera you need to consider what other lenses, flashes, or other system devices are available. Does it do what you need it to do? I am exclusively a RAW shooter, so JPEG quality is not important to me (the NX30 is generally fine for JPG, but probably geared towards consumers). The Samsung NX has an excellent set of lenses available. For Zooms they have a 12-24mm, 16-50mm f/2-2.8, 16-50mm power zoom compact, 20-50mm compact, 18-55mm, 18-200mm, 50-200mm. For primes, which is what I shoot most of the time, they have: 10mm f/3.5 fisheye, 16mm f/2.4, 20mm f/2.8, 30mm f/2, 45mm f/1.8 (2d or 2d/3d), 60mm f/2.8 macro, and 85mm f/1.4. These primes are all very good. The 45mm is probably the fastest focusing, and large aperture, making it a great general purpose telephoto. All practical purposes it fills the same function as a 50mm, don't worry about the slightly different focal length. The 85mm f/1.4 is amazing quality, but is more specialized. It is a great head and shoulders portrait lens or general purpose telephoto. The 30mm f/2 is a must have if you like prime lenses. Large aperture and very compact. Sharp across the frame at f/4 or f/5.6 and sharp in the center from f/2. Samsung is adding flash support, they have a SEF-580A which is a top end flash, and Metz makes a 44 AF-1 for Samsung (don't get Pentax/Samsung, those are for the older Samsung GX cameras). The system is now pretty strong for most users.
The focus is very dependent on lens, as with any system. All the lenses except the 60mm and 85mm are focus by wire and the 60 and 85mm use ultrasonic motors and have direct manual focus as well. This makes them slower than most of the focus by wire motors which have smaller lens elements that can focus quicker. The 45mm, 10mm, 16mm, 12-24mm, 18-200mm focus very quick. The 30mm is pretty average, and the 20-50mm pretty slow.
What is quick? The 45mm f/1.8 focuses as fast or faster than most high end DSLR cameras in moderate to good light. In low light, the CDAF takes over and will be slower than an SLR, but the NX30 does pretty well for a mirrorless camera.
Continuous AF with Continuous shooting (low speed drive mode) works very well, but is basically take shot, refocus, take shot, refocus, and doesn't do a great job tracking, but I find you might get 2 fps or so with a subject running towards the camera. The faster lenses are going to help here.
Touch to focus/shoot. You can set the touch screen to take a shot immediately after focusing. This will generally be excellent for your active kids. You touch on the kids face and the camera will focus and take the shot almost instantly after focus is achieved making for a nice sharp shot.
Overall I think AF is better than average for mirrorless cameras.
The extendable viewfinder is unique and in interesting feature for those that shoot with the camera lower to the ground. I find I use the articulated screen more, but it is a nice feature to have anyway.
The WiFi features are very good. I mostly use direct upload to facebook and the new remote viewfinder is excellent, allowing you nearly full control over the camera from your smart phone; with minimal lag and decent frame rates (nowhere near 30 fps), yes, you can touch to focus and also use RAW. I think it is the best WiFi implementation to date. Having the touch screen really makes entering passwords nice, etc.
Touch screen is more responsive than earlier models and very high quality. It is multi-touch so you can pinch to zoom, etc.
USB Charging. Only camera I know of that you can charge USB and use it at the same time. No need for AC battery adapter. Only drawback here is USB port is in middle of the grip, so I bought a compact right angle USB cable to plug in so I can still hold the camera and charge at the same time using USB battery pack.
i-Fn. Two modes, normal where you press i-Fn on lens and change aperture, ISO, or other configurable parameters using lens ring (or touch screen by swiping finger) or the other mode lets you press i-Fn and override one of the other buttons. I set metering mode to force the EVF on when you press i-Fn first since I sometimes have trouble with the eye sensor.
Grip. This is my favorite part, it feels dreamy in my fairly large hands. Most mirrorless cameras are too small and fail miserably here. The grip is large and very comfortable to hold, along with the very light weight of the camera it makes it easy to hold for extended periods.
Controls. Some are a bit small, but overall they work well and plenty of direct controls.
Build Quality. Composite shell, but very sturdy. Doesn't feel any more fragile than other enthusiast models, but it is much lighter. Sometimes people think of weight as quality, which is not a good correlation. My A7R has more metal in the body, but is not really better built than the Samsung.
RAW image quality is comparable to other good APS-C sensors. Samsung has come a long way since their original 14.6 MP sensor. I would say this is better than Canon but not quite as good as Sony, but more than good enough to be competitive. JPEG quality is too personal to judge, some will like it and some won't. I think it is fine, but not great. Maybe too harsh with the noise reduction.
Huge improvement over earlier models. Camera no longer becomes unresponsive. Performance is superb, new shots can be added to buffer when it is emptying. Maybe 8 or 9 RAW frame buffer. Performance after buffer is still a bit slow, the camera doesn't write files out quick enough even with fast memory card, but the large buffer generally means this isn't an issue.
Typical mirrorless, depends more on how long you have camera turned on over how many shots you take. Probably 300 +/- typical use.
Buy the NX30 and be sure to get either the 30mm f/2 or 45mm f/1.8 lens. These will provide excellent image quality with a great experience. I would look at other lenses depending on your usage profile, but these two lenses really help set apart the system. The 45mm with its fast focus and shallow depth of field and the 30mm with its compact size and superb image quality. The kit 18-55mm is also a fine lens, better than average for a kit lens (if you get a good copy, I say this about all kit lenses) so don't disregard it, but it also isn't what makes the system special.