Samsung NX30 Review

February 24, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | |

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this review were taken using the 20.3 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 8Mb.

The Samsung NX30 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. The 20.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS megapixel sensor used in the NX30 produces noise-free JPEG images at ISO 100-800, with ISO 1600 also looking very good. ISO 3200 only shows a little noise, while the fastest settings of ISO 6400-25600 are quite a lot noisier and suffer from softening of fine detail and a loss of saturation. The NX30 does apply quite a lot of noise reduction to the JPEGs, as demonstrated by the RAW files which have more noise at the comparable ISO settings.

The images were a little soft straight out of the NX30 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting for JPEG files. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 30 seconds and bulb mode of 4 minutes allowing you to capture plenty of light.

Colours were vibrant without being over-saturated in the default Standard Picture Wizard mode, and you can always choose Vivid if you want even more punch or one of the other presets to change the mood of your JPEG images, with three customisable settings also available. The Panorama shooting mode, Dynamic Range mode and extensive range of Smart Filters are welcome additions.

Noise

There are 9 ISO settings available on the Samsung NX30. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting, with JPEG on the left and RAW on the right.

JPEG RAW

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

iso100.jpg iso100raw.jpg
   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

iso200.jpg iso200raw.jpg
   

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

iso400.jpg iso400raw.jpg
   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

iso800.jpg iso800raw.jpg
   

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

iso1600.jpg iso1600raw.jpg
   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

iso3200.jpg iso3200raw.jpg
   

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

ISO 6400 (100% Crop)

iso6400.jpg iso6400raw.jpg
   

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

ISO 12800 (100% Crop)

iso12800.jpg iso12800raw.jpg
   

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

ISO 25600 (100% Crop)

iso25600.jpg iso25600raw.jpg

File Quality

The Samsung NX30 has 3 different JPEG image quality settings available, with SuperFine being the highest quality option, and you can also shoot in the RAW format. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

20M SuperFine (6.81Mb) (100% Crop) 20M Fine (4.41Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_superfine.jpg quality_fine.jpg
   
20M Normal (2.45Mb) (100% Crop) 20M RAW (23.0Mb) (100% Crop)
quality_normal.jpg quality_raw.jpg

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

sharpen1.jpg sharpen1a.jpg
   
sharpen2.jpg sharpen2a.jpg

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung NX30 are Smart Flash, Auto, Auto + Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in + Red-eye reduction, 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain, and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Fill-in - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Off - Telephoto (82mm)

Fill-in - Telephoto (82mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Fill-in or the Fill-in + Red-eye reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Fill-in

Fill-in (100% Crop)
flash_on.jpg flash_on1.jpg
   

Fill-in + Red-eye reduction

Fill-in + Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)

flash_redeye.jpg flash_redeye1.jpg

Night

The Samsung NX30's maximum shutter speed is 30 seconds and there's also a Bulb setting of up to 4 minutes, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 100. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 30 second setting the actual exposure takes 60 seconds.

Night

Night (100% Crop)

night1.jpg night1a.jpg

Picture Wizard

Samsung's various Picture Wizard options are similar to Olympus' Picture Modes, Nikon's Picture Styles and Canon's Picture Controls, offering preset combinations of different sharpness, contrast, saturation and colour tone settings, all of which can be changed. The nine available Picture Controls are shown below in the following series, which demonstrates the differences. There are also three additional Custom styles so that you can create your own looks.

Standard

Vivid

picture_wizard_01.jpg picture_wizard_02.jpg
   

Portrait

Landscape

picture_wizard_03.jpg picture_wizard_04.jpg
   

Forest

Retro

picture_wizard_05.jpg picture_wizard_06.jpg
   

Cool

Calm

picture_wizard_07.jpg picture_wizard_08.jpg
   

Classic

 
picture_wizard_09.jpg  

Smart Filters

The Samsung NX30 offers 13 creative filter effects that can be applied to both JPEG stills and movies.

Vignetting

Miniature

smart_effects_01.jpg smart_effects_02.jpg
   

Colored Pencil

Watercolor

smart_effects_03.jpg smart_effects_04.jpg
   

Wash Drawing

Oil Sketch

smart_effects_05.jpg picture_wizard_06.jpg
   

Ink Sketch

Acryl

smart_effects_07.jpg smart_effects_08.jpg
   

Negative

Red

smart_effects_09.jpg smart_effects_10.jpg
   

Green

Blue

smart_effects_11.jpg smart_effects_12.jpg
   

Yellow

 
smart_effects_13.jpg  

Dynamic Range

The Smart Range+ feature noticeably increases the visible detail in both shadow and highlight areas, although it does tend to wash-out the stronger colours in the process. The new HDR option successfully combines three shots taken at different exposures into a single photo with greatly expanded dynamic range.

Off

Smart Range+

dynamic_range_01.jpg dynamic_range_02.jpg
   

HDR

 
dynamic_range_03.jpg  

Panorama

The Panorama mode allows you to take vertical or horizontal panorama photos simply by pressing the shutter release button once and then moving the camera in the direction of the on-screen guides. Multiple shots are then combined into a single panorama photo.

Horizontal Panorama
panorama1.jpg