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First Look: Samsung NX300 and 45mm 2D/3D Lens

Hands-on with Samsung's mirrorless wonder

by Evan Orensten in Tech on 03 January 2013

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We got a first look at the just-announced Samsung NX300 today, a high-end consumer camera that, when paired with Samsung's new 45mm f1.8 2D/3D lens, becomes the company's first 3D-capable mirrorless "smart" camera. Building on the success of the NX series, the NX300 incorporates Wi-Fi connectivity for instant sharing and uploads, along with a host of other features like a remote viewfinder through their new Smart Camera App for Android devices (the iOS app is expected to launch in February 2013).

While the NX300 represents some impressive developments in its own right, the real surprise was the 45mm 2D/3D lens. Imagine shooting 3D, 2D, still and video all from a single, highly automated lens. In the same way most users are used to toggling between manual and autofocus, this hybrid lens shifts between 3D and 2D shooting modes with the flip of a switch. While 1080p HD 3D video may not yet be on the must-have list for today's casual photographer, Samsung seems to be making a big statement about the future of 3D image capturing in the consumer market.

With an unassuming retro design, the NX300 sports across-the-board improvements including a 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, an expanded ISO range (100-25,600) and a new Hybrid Auto Focus system with 130 AF points and the option to choose between phase and contrast AF detection. The camera supports an impressive 1/6000 shutter speed and can shoot 8 frames per second. The beefy DRIMe IV imaging engine that stands behind improved color capturing and an expanded ISO range is also the piece of tech that enables 1080p HD video in both 2D and 3D—unfortunately, that means previous NX series models won't be able to handle using the lens in 3D mode, but it will work fine in 2D.

The software on our demo camera was not final release, but from what I saw the user interface was easy to use. I liked the option of using the 3.31-inch, 90º tilt, capacitive touch AMOLED display to navigate as well as having the option to use the traditional button interface. Another handy feature is the camera's built-in software update notification. While it won't download the update automatically, it will let you know when new software is available.

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The NX300 is set to hit the market in March 2013 in black and white with a price tag of $750 (which includes an Ultra Compact 20-50mm zoom lens in matching color); the 3D-capable 45mm lens will sell separately for $499, though it won't surprise us to see a 3D kit at some point. We're looking forward to field testing the NX300 once its software is finalized, particularly its image quality, connectivity and UI.

Images by Evan Orensten

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