Mirrorless (SLR-like) cameras are the one bright spot in the contracting digital-camera market, and today Samsung has unveiled the 20-megapixel NX300: It has built-in Wi-Fi and (with a special lens, sold separately) can shoot 3D still photos and video.
Samsung has been taking pains to make wireless painless and simple. The NX300 can back up, transfer, and share photos wirelessly. And when you download Samsung's Smart Camera app onto an Android device, you can transfer photos and video wirelessly between the device and your NX300. The app also lets you use your phone or tablet as a remote viewfinder—and control select functions on the NX300 remotely. (The iOS version of the app will be out in about a month, Samsung said.)
The camera also includes these other step-up features:
- A 3.3-inch AMOLED touch screen that can swivel and has tap-to-focus and tap-to-shoot features.
- A variety of nicely designed dials, buttons, and controls, for those who don't like using menu systems.
- The ability to shoot 3D still photos and video (using a special Samsung 3D lens).
- The ability to charge the camera via its micro USB port.
- The AF system includes both phase and contrast detection, allowing for accurate and fast auto-focusing.
- The ability to shoot 8.6 frames per second in Burst mode.
- Smart tech features such as Creative mode, which selects the appropriate scene mode for you.
The NX300 does lack a few features: For one, there's no built-in viewfinder. (You can't buy a viewfinder accessory, either). It also has no on-board flash, though Samsung includes a small Speedlight add-on flash with the NX300 that you can attach to its hot-shoe.
Samsung has also introduced a unique prime (non-zoom) 45mm f/1.8 lens that lets you shoot both 2D and 3D still photos and video. A switch on the lens lets you choose between shooting 2D and 3D: When you set the lens to 3D mode, two tiny LCDs within the lens drop down and flicker on and off at a rate of 60 frames per second. This lets you capture true 3D video at 30 frames per second. The lens is 3D-compatible only with the NX300, but it will work in 2D mode with all NX-series cameras.
The NX300 will cost $750 and come with a 20mm-50mm kit lens. It will also ship with the latest version of Adobe Lightroom photo-organizing and -editing software. Both the NX300 and the 2D/3D lens (sold separately from the NX300 for $500) will be available in March of 2013.