Samsung NX300 review – Noise, resolution and sensitivity

Image: Even at ISO 100, there is some luminance noise in shadow areas, but it is uniform so detail still looks crisp 

With the same 20.3-million-pixel resolution as its predecessor, the NX300 resolves an impressive level of detail in good light. In both raw and JPEG format at ISO 100, the camera reaches the 32 marker when using the 85mm f/1.4 lens, which is up there with the best models in its class. The 18-55mm kit lens resolves slightly less detail, up to the 30 marker. A direct comparison of a raw and a JPEG file shows, unsurprisingly, that detail is a little softer in JPEGs.

With a new processor and an increase in sensitivity range by 1 stop up to ISO 25,600, the NX300 resolves detail better in low light than its predecessor, which was relatively poor against its competition. At ISO 12,800, the new model reaches up to the 24 marker. The reason that resolved detail is better in low light is that the NX300 has better control over noise at these settings.

Image: An overall dark exposure was needed here to keep the highlight detail. Brightening the exposure +3EV reveals limited detail in shadow areas that can be prone to chroma noise

Luminance noise is present at all ISO sensitivities in midtone and shadow areas, but is less obvious in highlight areas. Images taken at ISO 100 are still clean, though, and markedly more than those at ISO 800, where noise begins to turn less uniform. However, images all the way up to ISO 6400 are usable.

Chroma noise is often present in shadow areas in particular. This is seen mostly in red pixels, but also in some green and blue stray pixels. The effect of chroma noise can be seen more clearly if a dark exposure is brightened, but it can be dealt with easily using the supplied Adobe Lightroom.

These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the 85mm f/1.4 lens set to f/5.6 . We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.

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