Samsung NX3000 Review
By Yvonne

Samsung's entry-level NX3000 mirrorless camera has excellent image quality, well-implemented WiFi features and is slow to focus.

Samsung NX3000 Review

Samsung NX3000

Let's get to the bottom

Samsung's entry-level NX3000 mirrorless camera has excellent image quality, well-implemented WiFi features and is slow to focus.

The pros

  • Compact.
  • Sharp kit lens.
  • Raw shooting support.
  • APS-C Image Sensor
  • Tilting rear display.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi functionality.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Software included.


  • It can be difficult to concentrate.
  • There is no flash built in.
  • EVF Support is not available.
  • Not included: Dedicated battery charger

Although the Samsung NX3000 is the entry-level mirrorless camera, it offers excellent image quality. It costs $529.99 and includes a 16-50mm lens. The 20-megapixel sensor can capture images at the same resolution and quality as the NX30 (Amazon: $1,299.93). However, the contrast autofocus is slow to focus. The Sony Alpha 6000, $549.99 at Dell Technologies, is our Editors Choice for this category. It also has Wi-Fi and an integrated EVF. This device focuses nearly instantly.

Design and Features

NX3000 has an APS-C camera sensor. It is similar to most D-SLRs but much smaller. The dimensions of the NX3000 are 2.6x4.6x1.5 inches. It weighs in at 8.1 ounces with no lens. The body is attractive with its silver bottom and top plate and leatherette in brown, black or white. Although the body doesn't look as big as the Sony Alpha 5000 ($309.95 Amazon), (Opens in a new browser) (2.53 by 4.3x1.4 inches, 9.5 ounces) the Sony camera can fit a pop up flash inside its body. Samsung has an optional external flash that slides in the NX3000 hot shoe.

Samsung NX3000 : Sample Image

The NX3000, unlike the NX2000, is not touch-screen. Instead, it uses an older control system. Top plate contains the Wi-Fi, Power, Shutter Release, and Mode dial. Rear contains a Record button to record movies and a control dial that includes four directional buttons, an OK button and center OK, as well as the Fn button and standard menu, playback and delete controls. The amount of information on the LCD can be adjusted by pressing up on the dial. Right adjusts autofocus mode. Left adjusts drive mode. You can toggle between four settings visible at the bottom of your display, which are shutter speed, aperture and exposure value compensation. The active setting can be adjusted by spinning the dial.

The Fn menu allows you to adjust the settings. You can quickly access a variety of settings via the overlay menu: shutter speed and aperture; ISO and exposure compensation; ISO and white balance; color output and metering patterns; autofocus mode and focal area; face detection and drive modes. This menu is available on many cameras, including the identical Panasonic GF6 Amazon for $1499.98. The Q.Menu can be found on the Amazon site. However the idea remains the same.

Although the rear display hinges, it is designed so that it can only flip forward and up; no down tilt. The Self-Shot mode is activated by flipping the screen forward. There are three focus options for selfies—standard Face Detection, Wink Shot, and Smile Shot. Standard mode displays a 3-second countdown after pressing the shutter button. This allows you to pose. Wink shot snaps a picture shortly after closing one eye. I was impressed with how it performed, though not always. The NX3000 didn't like my smile, no matter how wide I smiled or how many of my teeth were visible, and it wouldn’t even take a picture if I was happy. Although I don't think it's a problem, I am curious if my face isn't in the right place.

It has a resolution of 460k dots. The NX300, which costs $895.00 at Amazon, has sharper OLED displays (768kot). However, it's less sharp than the NX300. The NX3000 does not have touch input support like the NX300 or other premium mirrorless cameras such as the slim Panasonic GM1.

Samsung is a leader in Wi-Fi capabilities for cameras. The NX3000 does have some great features but it doesn't offer as many options as other models we tested. Raw image transfer is not supported. Most phones can't read Raw camera formats, but Sony cameras like the Alpha 7 will convert a Raw file to JPG on the fly for transfer.

To wirelessly transfer JPG files and videos to your smartphone, the NX3000 can be used with the Samsung Smart Camera App (free on Android and iOS). Remote control is also possible with the app. The app is limited to Auto mode only. However, you can change the resolution of your image, flash output, drive mode and drive mode. Touch focus can be achieved with your smartphone's screen.

Group Share allows users to share photos to several Android phones, as well as Home Monitor+ which lets you use the NX3000 to serve as a security camera. Samsung Link streams media to DLNA-enabled devices and auto backup copies videos and photos to a computer. It is not possible to upload images to Facebook or other social networks. This function is available on many Samsung cameras.

Performance and conclusions

The NX3000 start and shoots in 2.2 seconds, which is on the slow side. It requires about 0.2-second to focus in bright light and about 0.9-second in dim conditions. Its burst rate is 4.8 frames per second, but it quickly slows down, capturing 13 JPG, 5 Raw, or 5 Raw+JPG images before slowing down. The burst rate slows to to just under 1fps when continuous autofocus is enabled. The Sony Alpha 6000 runs circles around the NX3000 in terms of speed. It starts and shoots in about 1.9 seconds, focuses in as little as 0.02-second, and can shoot at 11.1fps with continuous focus enabled.

Imatest was used to test the sharpness and quality of the Samsung 16-50mm Power Zoom EDOIS lens. The lens performs well at all focal lengths tested, and has sharpness exceeding 1,800 lines per image height. This includes the borders of the frame. There is some distortion at the wide angle, but it's only visible when shooting Raw—JPG files are corrected in-camera. The NX3000 can be purchased with the NX356 ED II 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 ED II. This will save you some cash. The kit costs $479.99 but is well worth the $50 extra for sharp images and optical stability.

Imatest can also check photos for noise. The camera reduces noise to less than 1.5 percent when shooting JPG files with the default noise reduction setting enabled. ISO 6400 is also an option. Noise reduction can reduce image detail. A close examination of images on the calibrated NEC MultiSyncPA271W ($999.00 at Amazon).

In the camera menu you can choose to set your default noise reduction settings as Normal. However, it is possible to change this setting to Hi, Low or Off. Raw images can be captured by the NX3000, although they require processing in software. However, Raw retains more information and does not apply noise reduction. Raw images have a little more detail than normal JPGs at ISO 6400.

However, even shooting Raw you will notice a drop in quality at ISO 12800 or the highest ISO 25600 settings. As a raw converter, Samsung also includes Adobe Lightroom 5. This is the industry standard photo workflow software. The Sony Alpha 6000 does a better job at high ISO—it controls JPG noise through ISO 12800 and its Raw images at that sensitivity show more detail than those from the NX3000.

The video can be recorded in MP4 format at 1080p30 resolution. Video footage looks sharp and has accurate colors. The NX3000 is good at refocusing the camera as scenes change. The rolling shutter effect causes the bottom to move faster than the top when the scene is being paned quickly, but this is normal. A micro USB and micro HDMI ports are available to attach to HDTVs. The AC adapter plugs in to the micro USB port and charges the battery on-camera. You can purchase an external charger that comes with the battery for $59.99. MicroSD cards are supported by the NX3000.

Although the Samsung NX3000 is an excellent entry-level camera for beginners, it has its flaws. It comes with an excellent, sharp, compact and optically stabilized lens. The ISO 3200 setting produces stunning images. It's not the best choice for fast-moving scenes, because the focus is slow and the burst speed slows down when the camera is focused before every exposure. This is one of the most affordable mirrorless cameras on the market.

If you decide to buy it, you should consider the option with the 16-50mm power zoom lens. The Sony Alpha 6000 is our Editors Choice for this category. It's faster and has an EVF built in, but it costs about $800 when you add a lens. The Panasonic GF6 or Samsung NX300 are options for those who want to upgrade to a better model. The NX3000, however, is an excellent option if you don't want to catch fast-moving action and your budget is tight.

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