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Samsung NX3000 review – incredible value at £200

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £200
inc VAT

With high image quality, lots of features and a slim design, the Samsung NX3000 is a cracking deal


Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 23.5×15.7mm (APS-C), Focal length multiplier: 1.5x, Viewfinder: No, LCD screen: 3in (460,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 3.1x (24-75mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/5.2-8.4, Lens mount: Samsung NX, Weight: 386g, Size (HxWxD): 67x126x78mm


The Samsung NX3000 continues to impress us, this great camera packs a big DSLR-sized APS-C sensor into a compact body, but more impressive is how much prices have dropped since its launch. It’s now down to an incrediblly low £200 from Argos, which is an insane price for a camera that takes photos this good, if you’re in the market for a new camera, buy this one now before it all sells out.


The NX3000 demonstrates how sometimes it’s gradual refinement rather than radical design that delivers something special. There’s nothing particularly remarkable about this compact system camera (CSC)’s design or features, but by retaining past strengths and learning from the best of the rest, Samsung has delivered a superb all-rounder at an extremely competitive price.

The most significant development is the introduction of a new kit lens. The Samsung 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom is a typical kit lens in terms of optical specifications, but it’s smaller and lighter than Samsung’s previous kit lenses. Unlike the 20-50mm that accompanied previous lower-priced NX cameras, it doesn’t skimp on optical stabilisation. The zoom function is motorised so it doesn’t have the same direct response as a mechanical lens ring control. It isn’t as responsive as the similar Sony 16-50mm lens either, but we didn’t find it to be a hindrance.

Samsung NX3000 top

There’s only one lens ring, but the two zoom buttons on the lens barrel take over when the ring is assigned to other duties (more of which below). These zoom buttons are particularly welcome for performing smooth zooms while shooting video. The motorised zoom also means it’s possible to zoom in and out using an Android or iOS device in remote viewfinder mode.

The camera itself looks unusually stylish for an entry-level model, with a chunky metal-effect top plate (which we thought was aluminium until our mistake was pointed out to us) and leather-effect plastic below. The leather neck strap is a step up from the norm, too. There’s a small detachable flash unit rather than an integrated flash. Attaching it upsets the clean, slim design, but you can always leave it at home. The upside is that the hotshoe can also be used for a more powerful flashgun or a wireless flash trigger.

The slim handgrip doesn’t offer much to hold onto, but flipping up the screen a little and tucking a thumb under the hinge made it feel much more secure. An articulated screen is a feature you only really appreciate once you’ve got used to it, but from then on it becomes hard to live without. This one only flips upwards and not down or to the side, but it’s still a huge improvement on a fixed screen, making it easy to shoot at elbow or waist height. The screen also flips right over for self-portraits, whereupon a Wink Shot mode kicks in, capturing a photo three seconds after a detected face gives the camera a knowing wink. Other options include a Smile Shot mode (which dispenses with the three-second delay) and a Beauty Face mode that applies some digital airbrushing to smooth out skin textures.

Samsung NX3000 selfie

Our favourite shooting mode is reserved for times when you’re happy to point the camera away from yourself. Best Face mode helps to avoid blinks and grimaces in group portraits by taking five frames and letting you choose the best shot for each face. The camera then stiches a composite shot together, which each person looking their best.


Physical controls have always been a big strength of NX cameras, and this one is no exception. It’s great to have a mode dial for quick access to exposure modes, scene presets and so on. Exposure adjustment is handled elegantly, with a button cycling through the shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation and ISO speed controls and the rear wheel adjusting the selected function. The iFn button on the side of the lens reassigns the lens ring to the various exposure-related functions and white balance. It’s an unorthodox approach, but quick to use once we’d got used to it.

There are buttons on the camera for drive mode, autofocus area and focus mode, plus an Fn button that reveals 12 controls as a grid across the screen. The Fn menu is navigated with the four-way pad and settings adjusted with the wheel, but the camera is a little slow to respond here. It’s more responsive if you press OK to show only the selected control before adjusting it.

Samsung NX3000 back

Our biggest frustration with this camera is that settings can’t be adjusted while the camera is saving photos to memory card. It’s barely noticeable when shooting JPEGs one at a time, but more of an issue when shooting RAW or after capturing a burst of frames. It took nine seconds to regain control of the camera after a burst of RAW frames. It doesn’t help that the NX3000 uses microSD cards, which aren’t available at the fastest speeds offered by larger SD cards. It’s slow to switch on, too, taking at least four seconds between hitting the power button and capturing a photo. Autofocus was responsive in most cases but sometimes struggled to lock onto subjects in subdued lighting. General shooting performance was up to scratch, though. It took 0.8 seconds between shots in normal use, 1.4 seconds for RAW and 4.2 seconds with the flash at full power. Continuous mode is at 5fps – a superb pace for an entry-level CSC – and lasted for 13 JPEGs or five RAW frames before slowing.


Wi-Fi features have long been another key strength of Samsung NX cameras. These are commonplace now, but Samsung still sets the standard with comprehensive control over settings in its remote viewfinder mode, plus lots of options to transfer photos during or after capture.

^ Samsung’s app controls are excellent, with lots of settings you can control remotely

We’re delighted to see that, even in this entry-level model, there’s a bundled copy of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 included. We’d recommend this software to anyone who’s remotely serious about photography, and it boosts the value of this camera to the tune of £100.

Samsung NX3000 – Image and video quality

Videos are recorded at 1080p resolution for up to 20 minutes per clip. There’s a choice of automatic or manual exposure for videos, although manual settings can’t be adjusted while recording. Our video tests revealed razor-sharp details, although repeating textures exhibited swirling patterns of moiré interference. Autofocus was generally responsive but hard to control without a touchscreen. Serious videographers won’t approve but this is an excellent camera for casual video recording. The microphone quality was particularly good, with a detailed, full-bodied tone.

Photo quality should satisfy more demanding users. Unlike many CSC brands, Samsung NX cameras use the same APS-C sensor size as consumer SLR cameras. That means they should have no problem competing with SLRs – and the best CSCs – for image quality. That’s been true of previous NX cameras’ ability to capture details, but they have lagged a little behind the leaders for noise levels at fast ISO speeds. That’s no longer the case, the NX3000 narrowly outperformed the Sony A5000 for noise levels, and was a match for the pricier Sony A6000.

^ There’s a slight graininess to skin tones in this ISO 800 shot, but it’s easily good enough for critical use. (1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 69mm equivalent)

^ ISO 3200 and fabric textures look a bit vague but shaded skin tones remain excellent. (1/50s, f/5, ISO 3200, 53mm equivalent)

^ We’d describe this ISO 6400 shot as snapshot quality, but it’s great to be able to raise the shutter speed in low light to freeze motion and still produce shots worth keeping. (1/125s, f/4, ISO 6400, +2 EV, 24mm equivalent)

We saw a slight fall-off in focus towards the edges of frames in some shots. Older NX kit lenses performed better but we’d happily live with this one’s optical performance for the sake of its compact design. If you’re planning to make A3 prints of landscapes where it’s crucial that the whole scene is in sharp focus, you might want to invest in another lens sooner rather than later. For most other purposes, it’s a great first lens.

^ Focus is pixel-sharp in the centre but a little vague towards the edges, but we doubt most people wouldn’t notice at typical viewing sizes. (1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 100, 24mm equivalent)

^ The large sensor delivers a shallow depth of field for portraits, even at a relatively small f/5.6 aperture. Skin and hair textures are packed with subtle detail. (1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 24mm equivalent)

^ Colours are bright and smooth and details are precise in this shot. (1/125s, f/5, ISO 100, 30mm equivalent)

Samsung NX3000 – Conclusion

We wish the NX3000 was quicker to switch on and more responsive after capturing a burst of frames. Otherwise, there’s barely anything to criticise. Its image quality, controls, features and design are all exceptional for the price, and that’s before you factor in the bundled copy of Lightroom. This is a camera that’s within casual users’ budget, but has the potential to turn them into keen photographers.

Sensor resolution20 megapixels
Sensor size23.5×15.7mm (APS-C)
Focal length multiplier1.5x
Optical stabilisationIn kit lens
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (460,800 dots)
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (SRW)
Maximum photo resolution5,472×3,648
Photo aspect ratios3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (AVC) at up to 15Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 25/30fps, 720p at 25/30fps, VGA at 25/30fps, QVGA at 25/30fps,
Slow motion video modesVGA at 120fps (1/4x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)20m 0s
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/4,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 25600
Exposure compensationEV +/-3
White balanceAuto, 7 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, DOF bracket, HDR, panorama
Kit lens
Kit lens model nameSamsung 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 Power Zoom
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)3.1x (24-75mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-5.6
35mm-equivalent aperturef/5.2-8.4
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus (wide)24cm
Closest macro focus (tele)28cm
Lens mountSamsung NX
Card slotMicroSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, micro HDMI
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
HotshoeSamsung TTL
Body materialPlastic
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Size (HxWxD)67x126x78mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£279
Part codeEV-NX3000BOHGB

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