Samsung NX300 review – Build and handling
The exterior of the NX300 looks much the same as its predecessor, apart from a handful of welcome improvements. Made around a similar design to the NX210, the shape and size of the new model is virtually the same, which means the NX300 is not the smallest CSC around but it is compact nonetheless. The NX300 is marginally deeper, mostly due to its new tiltable LCD screen, although the added depth is a worthy trade-off for the tilt function that enables clearer viewing of the screen from high and low angles.
Externally, the main change to the body is the leather-effect textured front panel, and I much prefer this new look. The camera is available in black, white or brown versions, with each having a brushed metal top-plate. The NX300 is the most stylish NX camera to date, with the white version having a modern appeal while the black and brown versions echo the look of old, but in a modern curvy form. The curved grip looks great, but more importantly it is comfortable to hold firmly, especially with the redesigned thumb grip on the camera’s rear.
There have been a few tweaks to the button layout, but those familiar with the NX210 will feel right at home with the new model. Instead of a control wheel on the rear, the NX300 has a four-way D-pad. There is less need for a control wheel on the new model given that the rear screen is a touch type and can be used for scrolling through menus and to view images – more on the screen later. A new direct-link button on the top-plate initialises auto-share, which automatically uploads images to a smart device immediately after they are shot.
Some of the NX lenses are quite big and weighty relative to the size of the camera. This is particularly true of the 85mm f/1.4, which is better suited to the larger NX20. However, the three pancake lenses complement the size of the camera well, and the 18-55mm kit lens is well balanced with the camera.
The start-up time of the NX300 is fast and it shoots well inside 2secs. Shutter lag when using the shutter button is negligible, too, although there is a slight lag when using the touchscreen. The fastest shutter speed of 1/6000sec is 1⁄2 stop quicker than most of the competition, while the bulb mode has a maximum exposure time of 4mins.
Battery life can only be described as poor, especially when any of the Wi-Fi functions are activated. During one morning out in sub-zero temperatures, the battery was dead within two hours after around 175 photos had been captured. Under CIPA testing standards, measured life is up to 320 shots, though, which is a fraction less than the NX300’s competitors.