Samsung redefines NX3000 with sleeker design, lower price

/ Updated: May 8, 2014 8:43 AM PDT

Samsung NX3000

Samsung introduced the NX Mini a short time ago, targeting people who want something better than a phone camera that's optimized as a connected device, but want something stylish that's not too large or, with a base price of $400 USD, not too expensive.

Now the company is replacing its NX2000 entry-level ILC with the NX3000: a camera targeted at people who want something better than a phone camera -- and better than the Mini -- that's optimized as a connected device, but want something stylish and, at $529 USD for the kit with a 16-50mm (24-75mm equivalent) power zoom lens, moderately expensive. However, the NX Mini, when equipped with its 9-27mm (24.3-72.9mm equivalent) zoom lens rather than the 9mm fixed (24.3mm equivalent) runs $500, which is essentially the same price as the NX3000's kit. But the NX3000's only failing is to be slightly larger and a bigger battery drainer than the Mini, and in all other ways has superior specs -- such as a larger sensor and established lens mount. Although to be fair, the NX3000 doesn't come in green or pink. Happy shopping.

Don't get me wrong: it's really nice to see a lot of interchangeable-lens camera (ILC) activity at around $500 USD, since that means street prices tend to run from $450 to $499. I think high prices have been holding back ILCs from becoming more mainstream than they could be -- after all, with a power-zoom kit lens it's basically just a point-and-shoot with an APS-C-size sensor, so it generally delivers better photo quality and should be a more attractive buy.

On the outside, the NX3000 bears a lot more of a resemblance to its more expensive sibling, the NX300, than the NX2000 did, a change for the better. It now sports the silver plus black, white, or brown two-tone design, replaces the touchscreen operation with buttons and dials, and gains a tilting LCD that flips completely up for -- what else -- shooting selfies. One of the compromises to make its $529 price, though, is a relatively low-resolution display that's not uncommon in this class of cameras.

On the inside, it's almost the same camera as its predecessor, with a few tweaks. It now has a full-resolution continuous-shooting mode, though I didn't get an answer on how many frames it which can sustain the 5fps burst for at least 10 frames. It retains the same sensor and contrast autofocus system, though, so don't expect NX300 hybrid-autofocus-like speeds. It supports Samsung's extensive set of Wi-Fi connectivity options, though.

The kit lens is a new offering from Samsung; it was announced at this year's Consumer Electronics Show but still seems to be in preorder. But don't confuse it with the much nicer 16-50mm f2-2.8 lens that was announced at the same time and costs $1,200.

While the NX3000 looks pretty comparable to the Sony A5000, it's more expensive; the tilting LCD and the Adobe Lightroom 5 bundle with the Samsung are the only significant differentiation in the absence of information about performance and photo quality. And while I'm the world's biggest proponent of se raw instead of JPEG, many folks haven't yet seen the light, so LR5 might not be the biggest draw.

The NX3000 is slated to ship in June. Here's how it compares:

Samsung NX2000 Samsung NX3000 Samsung NX Mini Sony Alpha A5000
(ILCE-5000)
Sensor (effective resolution) 20.3MP CMOS 20.3MP CMOS 20.5MP BSI CMOS
n/a
20.1MP Exmor HD CMOS
Sensor size 23.5mm x 15.7mm 23.5mm x 15.7mm 13.2mm x 8.8mm 23.2mm x 15.4mm
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 1.5x 2.7x 1.5x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 - ISO 25600 ISO 100 (expanded) / ISO 160 - ISO 12800 / ISO 25600 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 16000
Continuous shooting n/a
(30fps at reduced resolution)
n/a
5fps
(30fps at reduced resolution)
n/a
6fps
(30fps at reduced resolution)
n/a
2.5fps
(4fps with fixed focus and exposure)
Viewfinder None None None None
Hot shoe Yes Yes None None
Autofocus 21-area contrast AF 21-area contrast AF 21-area contrast AF 25-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a 0 - 20 EV
Shutter speed 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb to 4 minutes; 1/180 x-sync 30 - 1/16,000 sec (electronic shutter); bulb to 4 min; 1/200 x-sync 30-1/4000 sec.; bulb; 1/160 sec x-sync
Metering 221 segment 221 segment 221 area 1200 zone
Metering range 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 18 EV 0 - 20 EV
Flash Included optional Included optional Yes Yes
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical
Best video 1080/30p
H.264 MPEG-4
1080/30p/25p
H.264 MPEG-4
1080/30p
H.264 MPEG-4
AVCHD
1080/60i/30p @ 24Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input Stereo Mono Stereo
LCD size 3.7-inch/9.4cm
Fixed touchscreen
1.2m dots
3-inch/7.5cm
Tilting
460,000 dots
3-inch/7.5cm
Tilting
460,800 dots
3-inch/7.5cm
Fixed
460,800 dots
Wireless connection Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC Wi-Fi, NFC
Battery life (CIPA rating) 340 shots 370 shots 645 shots 420 shots
Dimensions (WHD) 4.7 x 2.5 x 1.4in
119 x 64.5 x 35.7mm
4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5in
117.4 x 65.9 x 39.0mm
4.3 x 2.4 x 0.9in
110.4 x 61.9 x 22.5mm
4.5 x 2.5 x 1.5in
109.6 x 62.8 x 35.7mm
Body operating weight 10.6oz
300g
10oz (est)
283g (est)
6.9oz (est)
158g (est)
9.5oz (est)
269g (est)
Body only n/a n/a n/a n/a
Primary kit $349.99 USD (with 20-50mm lens) $529.99 USD (with 16-50mm PZ lens) $399.99 USD (with 9mm lens) $449.99 USD (with 16-50mm PZ lens)
Alternative kit n/a n/a $499.99 USD (with 9-27mm lens) n/a
Ship date June 2013 June 2014 April 2014 March 2014

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 2.5 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 20.3 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.7 x 23.5mm