6.03.2013

I'm playing with a new camera. I've agreed to shoot it all Summer. But not exclusively...

The Austin Children's Museum. Late afternoon. 

I won't beat around the bush and be coy. I'm playing with a new camera that Samsung sent along. It's the NX 300, a mirrorless system with a very nicely designed body and a really nice 20 megapixel sensor. I'm going into this with a totally open mind as I've never owned a Samsung camera or shot with one. I'm not planning on writing one of my long winded reviews on the system but you will see samples on the blog at least on a weekly basis. 

I was sitting in the studio this morning when studio dog growled and rushed barking to the door. She has the little sideways angled gait that dogs sometimes do and the way she half growled and half barked I knew instantly that it was her greeting specifically for the morning Fedex woman. We were right. I accepted a small box while keeping myself between the doorway and my dog.

Half an hour later I was finished reading the (very well done and very understandable) owner's manual and I had the camera charging up one of the two batteries. At this juncture I would just like to stop and congratulate Samsung's public relations team. I've tested cameras for years and never had a single manufacturer send along a second (and fully charged) camera battery. Bravo guys. That's what photographers want in the real world.

The system in my hands consisted of the NX 300 body and the 18-55mm kit lens. The extra battery. And an itsy-bitsy shoe mount flash that gets its power from the camera. This is a camera that doesn't have an EVF. It's all on the back screen. Almost against my religion. But----remember that open mind thing....  I took it outside into the shriveling, glistening, baking Texas sun and I had some difficulty seeing the screen, especially without my reading glasses, so I did what any normal photographer does: I went to the bottom drawer of Craftsman Rolling Tool Chest #3 and I selected one of the many loupes I've bought over the year to check shots on Nikon and Canon cameras that I've owned. What luck! I selected the Hoodman Loupe that has the elastic cords for securing the loupe tight against the screen. It worked well and it also has a generous optical adjustment so that even with my eye right up to the exit ocular the view was pristine and sharp.

It was only 95 degrees in downtown Austin in the late afternoon so I knew it would be the perfect time to take the new camera out for a spin. Early verdict based on looking carefully at about 50 choices out of the 300+ shot is that the new sensor is very, very good. Very neutral colors and a very high sense of both sharpness and resolution. Kinda fun using the loupe. The hipsters didn't know what to think as they held out their phones and small cameras in the classic: "dirty baby diaper hold.." 

Caffe Medici. Late Afternoon.

Apart from my misgivings about the lack of an EVF I'm finding the camera to be fun, fast and facile. More to come, sporadically.

11 comments:

Claire said...

Wow, now what a coincidence. I've been trying to gather reliable info about some NX cams and this is the very last place I would have expected from. Great news. I did get the previous model (NX200) and returned it, appalled, within two hours. The zoom lens was a turd (bordering defective, and the sensor 19th century noisy. Aside from that, I did like many things about the cam, including its straightforward and no nonsense menu approach. So I'm all eyes and ears about your NX300 impressions, bring them on !

Carlo Santin said...

Kirk, you are going to enjoy the NX system. I still shoot the original NX sensor (an NX100, 14mp)and it has quite good image quality even by today's standards. The 18-55mm kit lens isn't bad but it's nothing special. Get your hands on the 30mm f2. It is an absolutely stellar lens. That lens alone makes it worth owning an NX camera. There is also a new 45mm 1.8 which is getting good reviews (available as a 3d lens if that sort of thing gets you excited), and a couple of other pancake lenses, a 16mm 2.4 and a 20mm 2.8. I own the 20 as well and it is very good. There are other lenses but I don't have any experience with them...they get good reviews though. There is a pricey 85mm 1.4 portrait lens that is supposed to be excellent.

I want an NX300 as it is quite an attractive camera with good specs and performance, and the new 20mp sensor seems to be as good as anything else out there...but no evf for the 300 so I might wait and see what Samsung is releasing later in the year, when they are supposedly releasing a couple of new cameras sporting evfs. With smaller cameras I actually don't mind shooting with the rear screen, but in direct sunlight it's sometimes hard to compose.

I find Samsung colors every bit as nice as Olympus, Fuji, or Sony. They do blues very nicely. In the long run you may not be happy with the camera because of the lack of an evf, but I'm willing to bet that would be the only reason you don't keep it. I still enjoy going out with my NX100, it's light weight, good ergonomics and good image quality make for a good deal of fun.

Dave Jenkins said...

Absolutely zero interest in any mirrorless camera without an EVF. I would sure like to see you get your hands on a Fuji X-E1...

Corwin Black said...

X-E1 only if you like using Capture One 7 or you have Mac based PC (cause you need either Aperture or RPP). Sure JPGs are nice, but RAWs from Aperture are better (despite bit of noise and moiré).

Otherwise its nice camera if you are not in hurry..

Corwin Black said...

NX300 - 1/6000 shutter (nice but today we have even 1/8000 in Olympus m4/3s), very nice form factor (prefer over NEX). Great output (base ISO clean, nice colors, sharp). Was slightly buggy camera at start (if it doesnt have latest firmware, I think its really good idea to fix that). 9 FPS nice, but dont find that particulary useful. Good selection of native lens.

Miss EVF a lot.

Curious how you will like it.

j said...

I don't know if you remember, but the NX system came out right around the time of the NEX, I looked into it, but with a longer flange distance than the Leica M, I couldn't use my Leica lenses, which was a big deal for me at the time. I do feel that Samsung has basically copied from the NEX system (it is named NX and came within a couple of months). However, I am sure it is a capable camera and am curious about what you think

meandmycanon said...

I've been waiting for Panasonic or Fuji to "pick you up" so to speak. Never thought of Samsung which sort of says it all right there. They need your exposure and you expertise. Good for you Kirk.

Klaas said...

If I'm not mistaken NX was launched before NEX...

Kirk Tuck said...

I'm one of 25 people in the U.S. who agreed to work with the NX 300 for the next few months to kind of put it through it's paces and see what it can do.

Corwin Black said...

It indeed was, its oldest APS-C mirrorless system.

Its possible to use Leica M lens, only problems is that it does need surgery on camera side (nothing for faint of hearts).

As far as copying goes, its actually opposite. :) And in real life, NEX vs NX are very different systems.

Latitudes Staff said...

I had the first two evf Samsung mirrorless ILCs and liked them, except for the efv itself-too grainy. I'd still be a user if the evf's were better. I loved the ergonomics.