Hot off the heels of launching a landmark Android camera, Samsung is unveiling a new flagship for its line of NX mirrorless cameras compact alternatives to DSLRs that also have interchangeable lenses. Besides upgraded specs, the NX300 brings a couple of novel features: Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to shoot 3D with a special lens.
The NX300 has a big APS-CMOS sensor capable of capturing images up to 20.3 megapixels. To help in low light, the ISO rating can go as high as 25,600, and a new hybrid autofocus system is said to lock onto targets faster. Shutter speed can be as quick as 1/6,000 of a second, and with continuous shooting engaged, you can snap nine pics in every one of those seconds.
Things get interesting when you turn on the dual-band Wi-Fi connection. It can sniff out hotspots, of course, but its main purpose is to connect to a phone or tablet. With your mobile device running the Samsung Smart Camera app, you can relay photos directly and automatically. The app can also act as a remote viewfinder, letting you snap pics without touching the camera (or even being near it).
When equipped with the new Samsung 45mm/f1.8 lens (sold separately for $599.99), you can shoot video or snap still pics in 3D. The lens uses a special technology (similar to ISee3D's) that can capture 3D images from a single lens, which covers up one side of the frame (while still using the entire image sensor), both the left and right ,in rapid succession. Images captured with the frame half-covered are slightly offset, creating the 3D effect.
With the lens, you can switch to regular 2D capture at any time, so it can work with other NX cameras as well. There's also no compromise on resolution it shoots video at a pristine 1080p regardless of the total dimensions.
I got a little hands-on time with the NX300, and the autofocus is indeed fast. The camera feels great in the hand, and the retro design is pretty. The controls are a little intimidating it still has the regular arrows and menu buttons in addition to the touch screen, a questionable choice but understandable considering the "prosumer" target audience.
Samsung showed some 3D footage taken with the camera, which was passable, although it's no Avatar. Still, it's nice to have the option.
Without the lens or battery, the camera is just 1.6 inches thick and weighs 9.8 ounces. Samsung plans to release the NX300 in March for the tidy sum of $749.99, paired with a 20-50mm lens. Bonus: You also get a copy of the latest version of Adobe Lightroom.