*Note: Since I wrote this SamsungCameraUSA’s twitter account reached out to me and sent me a gift. It was their 10mm Fisheye lens which has quickly become a favorite of mine.
Churned through a few cameras since dipping a toe in to digital interchangeable lens cameras 2 years ago (Olympus E-PL5, traded for an E-P5, then a Nikon D3300 along side a Samsung NX300). All were able to capture images to my satisfaction. All had their advantages. Had fun with them all, but for me the NX300 stood above the others in the end. Which I did not expect, honestly. Features for money was the initial draw, but those features brought quite the pleasant shooting experience. Not only did the NX300 win standard feature set bingo it brought unique features like expanded on board filters, robust built in WiFi and NFC functionality (No $50 WiFi dongle side wart required. Nikon, I am looking in your direction), articulating and responsive touch screen, etc.and those are what sealed the deal.
I knew my end goal was 2 cameras. One jacket pocket small and one with a built in grip and viewfinder. Preferably the 2 could share lenses. Olympus was undone by being worth the price, but more than I was willing to spend. Having traded my way to a second hand ( for $600) E-P5 going for near $999 new, I just could not bring myself to plunk down another $799 more (body only) than what I paid for the E-P5 used to get the grip and a built in EVF of the OM-D E-M1. For those who have it to spend it is undoubtedly worth it. It was just my personal preference to look elsewhere. Then with Nikon I could have gone 2 ways, purchase up or purchase down. Buy down in size for a portable since I had a grip and EVF? Problem is that I could not warm up to the Nikon 1 V series. I had made my peace with the M43 2x crop factor, but I could not see myself spending that much on a system with an even smaller sensor that would not be lens compatible with the Nikon I already had. Buy up because the D3300 was so reasonably priced and the lenses would be compatible? Then that would mean three cameras since neither would fit in pocket. Plus the cameras I started looking at (rhymes with full frame) started getting very expensive very quickly. Again, worth it for those who have it. But more than I was willing to spend. Being undecided regarding next steps I soldiered on with my blended camera family.
Then this happened. One day when tooling around I casually snapped this pic with my NX300:
Perfect shot? No. But the question it raised is why do I need anything more than this? And for me the simple answer was, I do not. Plus I loved things like the simplicity of NFC smartphone or tablet pairing, excellent remote viewfinder features, and one button upload to my laptop when I get home for instance. With the NX30 kit added I would have 2 bodies and 3 lenses (NX300 came w/ the 45mm and I had picked up the 30mm) for the price of some camera bodies alone. Samsung NX30 it is.
I rarely if ever shoot video, but here is a quick video I took at Duke Gardens to see how it would do hand held panning moving objects of different distances and different exposures. I believe I was using the 45mm f1.8 that came with my NX300, which focuses very quietly by the way. The 30mm f2.0 I purchased to make the NX300 pocketable is very compact and sharp, but it’s external focusing, while quick, is a tad too noisy in quiet environments.
When I looked I was pleased to find that the NX30/18-55mm kit had been recently reduced in price (from $999 down to $799). I immediately sold my remaining gear and bought an NX30 without hesitation. From B&H with free 2 day shipping to boot.
- Side note: At Photokina Samsung announced a 28MP, 4K video in body, weather proof, backlit sensor, 15 fps, NX1 (estimated $1,400) and a constant aperture f2.8 stabilized 50-150mm (estimated $1,300) so I am glad to see they are investing in the system.
It was not my plan to go all Samsung, but here I am. Enough rambling. Specs are abundant on the web so I will not go into details (here are the ones from dreview). Updated Week 1 gallery with the NX30 can be found on Flicker, with some example shots included below.