Review Samsung NX30

Samsung NX30, Samsung camera test, Test Samsung NX30
Samsung NX30, Samsung camera test, Test Samsung NX30

The Samsung NX30 is a mirrorless ‘midrange’ camera with interchangeable lens and an APS-C format 20 megapixel sensor. It looks like an SLR, but it isn’t: it has an electronic viewfinder and an LCD screen, and they are both tiltable. The hybrid auto focus is very fast. There is a great deal of attention paid to connectivity: built-in WiFi, NFC and remote control via the smartphone. It is primarily a very handy camera. Read further about why…

Samsung NX30, Samsung camera test, Test Samsung NX30

Samsung NX30 versus NX20 versus NX300

Samsung NX 30 review: Samsung NX 30 sample image

The Samsung NX30 is the successor of the Samsung NX20, but it is otherwise in fact an entirely new camera. The Samsung NX30 is larger than the “20”. The Samsung NX30 has, just like the Samsung NX300, a 20 megapixel sensor. A unique property is the electronic viewfinder (EVF) that you can pull out and turn upwards, so that it nearly becomes a top-view viewfinder. Only the Panasonic GX7 has a similar capability. In addition, there is a folding and rotating OLED screen on the back, which is the OLED screen of the NX30. The auto focus makes use of phase detection pixels on the sensor, but of a contrast detection system as well. In particular, the expanded WiFi capabilities distinguish the new model from the NX20.

Build and design

The camera sits very well in the hand thanks to a sturdy “power bulge” on the front right.

There is a good support for the thumb on the Samsung NX30. That is still a point of criticism with many other cameras. There is a mini-USB, a mini-HDMI and a microphone connection. The LCD screen is a touchscreen. The NX30 is not particularly small; it is about as big as a simple SLR, but it is a bit lighter. That is of course the result of the lack of a mirror housing. There is generous use made of plastic, although the mount is made of light metal. Everything looks nicely finished. Battery and memory card (SD) sit in the bottom. You can easily just leave the battery pack in place, because you can only charge it up via the body; there is no separate battery pack charger. The camera is not economical with power, we did not get much more than 200 shots out of one charge, and we barely did any filming. Precisely because you have to charge the battery pack in the camera, there is fortunately also an external charger for sale as an accessory; we think that’s a point of note.

Operation Samsung NX30

The NX30 is, given the extensive wireless options (more about those later), is primarily a handy camera. It does not weigh too much, and it is—certainly when you also purchase one of Samsung’s flat “pancake” lenses—also reasonably compact. The operation goes through the four-way switch and the rotating disc. It takes some getting used to; we prefer two rotating discs. There is a setting disc with a handy lever on top for the “drive” modes: single, continuous, self-timer and bracket.

klein SAM2929
In the continuous mode, the NX30 is very fast; in JPEG large/fine, it captures 25 images in 3 seconds, which comes to 8.4 images per second. In RAW, it is equally fast, but the buffer fills up more quickly (after 12 shots). If you are working in the bracket series, then the camera makes the bracket series itself; you only have to press the release button once. The menus are not too long. You can use the touchscreen for them. What you need is simple to find. There are few unnecessary “features” that you will never apply. All in all, you can quickly get to work with this body.

Screen and viewfinder

The NX30 has an electronic viewfinder. What’s great is that you can slide it out (so that left-eyed photographers don’t have their noses up against the screen when using the viewfinder), but then you can also rotate it upwards in steps up to 90 degrees. You thus get a sort of top-view viewfinder, which is handy for macro work. Unfortunately, this EVF cannot yet compete with an optical viewfinder: the image is a bit darker, refresh is slow and shaky, and after each shot, there is a “black out.”


For action shots, we found the EVF really quite poor to work with. The viewfinder only engages when you hold it in front of your eye. For outdoor shots, too much stray light quickly comes in, and the EVF switches itself off. With the EVF, the camera could remain very light, so that you can let it hang around your neck all day without it bothering you.

The great 3-inch AMOLED screen on the back can fold and rotate, also to the front (handy for selfies).

Resolution and image quality Samsung NX30

groot SAM3302

Thanks to a benevolent importer, we had no less than seven different lenses, which we will discuss in detail in later test reports, available for the NX30 review. The fact that Samsung is aiming for the professional segment with the NX30 presented at the Photokina seems to us to be a guarantee for the steady supply of even more quality lenses. klein SAM3018
The sensor produces 20.3 megapixel images (5472 pixels on the longer side). For an APS-C sensor, this pixel count is very high, the reason why we have looked with special attention at the performance at high ISOs. Of course, the camera can photograph in JPEG (three qualities) and in RAW (extension .SRW). Samsung has abandoned its “private” RAW converter (derived from Silkypix) and now includes Photoshop Lightroom 5.6 for free. That is an improvement on its own; such a package costs around 150 euros separately.

Auto focus

The NX30 has a hybrid focusing system. That is to say: there are a number of phase-detection pixels on the sensor that primarily ensure fast focusing. In addition, there is the usual contrast-detection auto focus for high accuracy. With most of the tested lenses, the auto focus works quickly and reliably. In our standard test (focusing from 8 to 0.8 meters) with the pancake and zoom lenses, the camera needed 300 milliseconds. With two large, professional lenses (probably not the type that you will soon use on this body), the focusing was, however, extremely slow. It appeared as though the phase-detection pixels were not active.

groot SAM2893

A still life on the counter. Samsung NX30 with 16 mm, a half second at f/8, ISO 800

Dynamic range Samsung NX30

The measurement results for the dynamic range of the Samsung NX30 more or less correspond with the Imatest results that we measured previously for the Samsung NX300. The total dynamic range in a RAW file amounted to 10.8 stops (NX30: 10.9 stops).

klein SAM3301

Color reproduction

In daylight, the Samsung NX30 delivered very neutral color reproduction. The Imatest results for the accuracy of the color reproduction in daylight (picture below on the left) show how close the Samsung NX30 colors come to the reference values. In the practice shots in somber, cloudy weather, a blue haze was visible. The automatic white balance of the Samsung NX30 in artificial light (picture below on the right), like practically all other cameras, gives a clearly orange cast. klein SAM3325
Daglichtkleurmini Kunstlichtkleurmini



The Kröller-Müller museum on a misty autumn day in low light. 1/250 second, f/7.1, ISO 1600. The lens was a Samsung 16 mm “pancake”. No trace of noise, good dynamics.

The NX30 has an ISO range up to 25600. There is an optional noise suppression (multiple levels) that works starting at 3200. The highest ISO settings are of moderate quality; even with noise suppression there is spotty color noise. There are cameras that score more highly. The lower settings can be used very well.

Photo beam, Auto-share, Wifi, NFC, GPS, Mobile link, Group share, PC auto back-up, Facebook / YouTube / Flickr / DropBox / Email, Samsung Link, Home-sync

With the extensive options for sharing photos on the Samsung NX30, you can clearly note that Samsung has experience and an affinity for Social Media. With Samsung Photo Beam, you send a photo that can be seen on the OLED screen of the camera, with the help of NFC, to the smartphone of a friend. The Samsung NX30, thanks to Samsung AutoShare via WiFi and NFC, sends photos to your smartphone or tablet. GPSNFC
You smartphone can also add GPS tags to your photos via AutoShare. You can also use your smartphone as an external viewfinder for the Samsung NX30, or operate the NX30 with your smartphone. With Group Share, you can share your photos with a group of four people on Facebook/ YouTube/ Flickr/ DropBox or e-mail. It’s a bit much for me, but Samsung indicates that the combination of smartphone and Samsung NX30 can even be used as a baby monitor. Select “Baby Monitor”. As soon as the camera registers a noise, a photo will be made and sent to your phone.
{insertgrid=117} {insertgrid=118}

Conclusion Samsung NX30 review

Look in our overview of reviewed cameras for a comparison of this performance with that of other cameras.


  • Nice, handy camera without unnecessary gimmicks
  • Good image quality at lower ISO values (<3200 ISO)
  • Includes Lightroom 5
  • Folding and rotating screen, hinged EVF viewfinder
  • Built-in WiFi options including remote operation


  • EVF viewfinder is less big and bright than the optical viewfinder of an SLR
  • Highest ISO settings are moderate
  • Battery pack capacity is just sufficient

The Samsung NX30 sits nicely in the hand, offers user-friendly connectivity and takes beautiful shots.

We found the NX30 an attractive camera, a good alternative to a midrange SLR like a Nikon D5300 or the (less expensive) Canon 700D. The NX30 is lighter and offers a number of options that not every SLR has. With the extensive options for sharing photos on the Samsung NX30, you can clearly note that Samsung has experience and an affinity for Social Media. An electronic viewfinder offers many advantages in comparison with an optical viewfinder in an SLR, but the viewfinder image of the Samsung NX30 is smaller and less bright. The Samsung NX30 scores highly in terms of frame rate (images per second), but, just like many other compact system cameras, scores low in terms of battery pack capacity. The fact that Lightroom is included free is a significant “plus” for those who are not yet using this program.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here