I am just back from a longer vacation with my current Samsung NX photo equipment. I used my cameras and lenses intensively and the relatively new Samsung NX30 got some more attention than the last weeks. After some work with the camera I found some additional problems and got used to some useful functionality, that I wasn’t aware of before. With this article I want to give you an impression on my findings in the categories Body, Firmware and Power supply. My first impressions can be found in the Samsung NX30 Hands On / Review. I am going to update my conclusion from the previous article with my latest impressions.

Hardware / Body

Display

The touch screen really comes in handy for focussing. I rarely use the display for touching except for changing the focus area. It just saves much time and gives me more flexibility for spontaneous shots. I don’t want to miss this anymore. Nevertheless I got quite confused sometimes with the different Touch AF modes (Touch AF, AF point, One touch shot). You need to be aware of the special behaviour which is triggered by touching the screen in the different modes. I went nuts trying to change the aperture after touching the screen to move the AF area. Having Touch AF activated it locks the focus (same behaviour as pressing the shutter button half) and this also locks the exposure settings. This makes sense, but I wasn’t aware of this and thought Samsung had implemented another bug here. Changing this setting to AF point will only move the AF area, but it won’t do automatic focus anymore so I stayed with Touch AF. In case I want to change the setting I just press the shutter button half and this enables me to change the exposure settings again.

Another good thing is the swivelling screen on the NX30 (and NX20). I am using this quite often in odd angles as I am often standing on stones in a creek or shooting macros above the ground. The freedom to set the display to whatever angle you need is just good to have. I can’t understand that they removed this flexibility with the NX1, which got only a tilting screen.

One of those photos which profited from the swivelling screen. With a tiltable screen I would have ended up with wet feet and more boring angle of view.
One of those photos which profited from the swivelling screen. Without the swivelling screen I would have ended up with wet feet and a more boring angle of view.

EVF

The tiltable viewfinder helps with macros and to get a lower angle of view (in bright sunlight). This might also help to held the camera more steady in odd shooting positions. Actually the detection whether to use the EVF or the normal display is not very accurate for persons wearing glasses. The glasses extend the distance from the body to the eyes and there might be issues when the light is reaching the sensor due to the increased distance. Additionally you might not see the entire EVF display which is quite annoying in case you have important things in the edge of the image. I hope this has improved with the new EVF implemented in the NX1.

The EVF helps to frame a shot properly in bright sunlight.
The EVF helps to frame a shot properly in bright sunlight.

Buttons

On/Off switch

The on/off switch is really easy to move. In the beginning I liked this, because it was quite hard to move on the NX20. I am using a backpack for my camera and due to the lack of resistance against pressure I found my camera in powered state in my bag sometimes. This wastes some energy, but the power save function helps to reduce the power consumption.

Button placement

  • The red button for move recording is placed better. It is not pressed by mistake any longer.
  • I found myself often pressing the AEL button instead of the Exposure compensation button. I don’t know why, because the order is the same as on the NX20. Due to this, I started to use iFn more. 😉
  • I don’t know why there must be a WiFi button on top of the hand grip. I don’t use it and it is often pressed by mistake.

Optical preview button

Not a big deal, but due to the larger hand grip it is harder to press the Optical Preview Button.

Drive settings dial

In the beginning I found it quite irritating that Samsung gave the drive setting an own dial, but on my last journey to the UK I used this dial heavily for landscape photography. Actually I changed quite often between the four modes: I used BKT for Auto Exposure Bracketing/HDR, Timer for long exposures,  Continuous shooting for moving animals  and the default mode for anything else.

Flying bird
For fast moving subjects and unexpected motives it is handy to have a drive settings dial to change the setting to continuous shooting just in time.

Software / Firmware

The firmware has improved since the the first version, but they haven’t fixed all the (reported) bugs so far, there is more space for improvements, Samsung!

HDR

Samsung implemented a High Dynamic Range (HDR) option for photos taken in JPEG mode. I actually saved this as a custom mode to be able to switch to it faster. Anyway I am not very happy with the HDR photos produced by the camera. Often I can get better pictures by simply pushing the lights and shadows of the RAW files in Lightroom. If you really want to get good HDR photos I would recommend to use the Auto Exposure Bracketing (AE Bracket) the camera supports, which takes three photos with different exposure compensation values. Using PhotoMatix (or other HDR software) you can merge these three photos and normally you can gain better results with this technique.

Below you can see three images to show the difference between the Samsung HDR function and other ways of HDR (alike) development. In my opinion the HDR function of the Samsung NX30 produces the worst photo of the three alternatives.

Playback mode

The editing options for images are quite handy. Anyway converting a huge amount of images from RAW to JPEG (e.g. to show them to a friend on another device) was really time consuming as you had to convert every photo individually. Additionally the camera jumps back to the first image after each conversion. This is a real pain with 1000 photos on the SD card. I would love to get a function for batch conversion of RAW files to JPEG format. Other than that I would like to be able to zoom into the image in the instant preview after taking a photo. I always have to switch to the playback mode to check the sharpness of a photo.

Focus distance meter

Previously Samsung introduced a focus distance meter for the lenses with mechanically coupled focus ring (60mm/85mm). Additionally they introduced another focus distance meter in manual focus mode for the other lenses, but it doesn’t show you a discrete number of meters. It simply gives an approximation, between the minimum focus distance and infinite. Unfortunately it is not very precise. I tried to to use it for astrophotography, but couldn’t get a sharp image using this function. At least it gives you an approximation which can be quite useful for manual focussing.

Legacy lenses and colour problems

When using legacy lenses with an adaptor you can get problems with your NX30, as the photos might get green corners. At least my camera shows this phenomena and some other users also reported this. This is a huge drawback for me as I have some nice legacy lenses I can’t use anymore. See the example below:

Colour shift

Post note: Michael Tadd found a solution for this problem. You can read about the problem and the solution here.

Focus peaking

Focus peaking really helped me to decrease the number of rejected photos due to a lack of sharpness. This is especially handy for macro photography using the Samsung 60mm macro lens lens in conjunction with DMF. It also helps a lot when using adopted legacy lenses, but sadly the use of legacy lenses is currently problematic due to the colour problems mentioned above.

Overexposure Guide

The overexposure guide, often called Zebra, shows temporarily a black area when the camera detects an area which has no structure in it respectively is completely white. This helped me a lot to expose my images better. In post-processing I was able to restore more details from the RAW files. Due to this I changed the way I am shooting photos a little bit. Nowadays, I am underexposing the photos more often (up to -2EV). At ISO 100, 200 and to some degree ISO 400 you can restore much information from the shadows (and highlights) using RAW file format and Lightroom. This helps to gain a better dynamic range on the final image.

In captures like this it helps to have an overexposure guide to retain enough structure for the clouds.
In captures like this it helps to have an overexposure guide to retain enough structure for the clouds.

Interval capture

Samsung introduced a function to take interval captures without a remote control. This is quite handy and is much easier than taking a remote control with you. This also helps as you can recharge the camera while in use. At first I thought this function has been restricted to about 400 shots, although there are 4 digits in the settings dialog. Later I found out that this was due to lack of storage space on my SD card, so this is actually the limiting factor, which makes sense.

For start trails it is helpful to have an integrated function for interval captures or you would need a remote control, like used for this photo.
For start trails it is helpful to have an integrated function for interval captures or you would need a remote control, like used for this photo.

Crashes

Not much to say here. I had several firmware crashes using the current firmware and this needs to be addressed by Samsung if they want to be taken serious as camera manufacturer. It is better than with the first firmware, but there is more space for improvements.

Power supply

Samsung has some problems to get their accessories in the stores. It took month to deliver their batteries and other stuff into the stores. But sometimes you need a spare battery. Patona offers a good battery for the Samsung NX30, which is cheaper and nearly as good as the original battery provided by Samsung. I also bought a power pack to charge my mobile phone and the NX30. Actually Samsung allows to charge the camera via USB while in use, which is very handy. This helped me to stay outside with the camera for some days without recharging.

Night shot
Without a spare battery I couldn’t have taken this photo as we were outdoor and took hundreds of photos this day.

Conclusion

I got used to the camera and overall I am happy with the new hard- and software. There are some major and minor glitches in the firmware Samsung hopefully addresses in one of the next firmware updates. The camera body itself is a step forward. I can repeat my conclusion from the Hands On / Review with some minor adjustments:

Generally Samsung is heading into the right direction. The NX30 has introduced several improvements, but some features are way too restricted (e.g. bulb mode) or not well thought out (e.g. JPEG transfer only in WiFi mode, new batteries). The ergonomics are on a high level and especially the new hand grip is a major improvement. The new hardware is now up to date, but the sensor has not improved since the NX20, but the new 28 MP BSI sensor used in the NX1 shows that Samsung can do more. The EVF is a double-edged sword as there are pros (e.g. tiltable, higher resolution) and cons (e.g. smaller size). The display is useful as it can be used as touchscreen. Introducing a new type of batteries is an annoying step back, although you can recharge it while in use using a power pack. The firmware/software has some new fancy features implemented (e.g. new settings, WiFi enhancements), but it still has minor and major bugs after some firmware updates. The new options for flashing and filming, especially audio recording using the microphone port, are more than welcome for serious photographers. After the first review I sent the camera back to Samsung, but after some time I had to replace the NX20 due to a minor problems and got a good price for the NX30. Apart from the major firmware bug with the legacy lenses I am overall happy with the camera.

The Samsung NX30 is a good "prosumer" camera with a very good image quality.
The Samsung NX30 is a good “prosumer” camera with a very good image quality.
  1. Tjobbe

    Thanks Matt for the field report on the NX30

    let me comment on few things

    a) tilt vs swivel screen. The NX1 is getting a Battery Grip hence you need to get the SD card out of the current battery compartment and with the size and the added in-/outputs it had to placed at the left side leaving not enough space for the hinge. Its an either/or design….

    b) there is another option for creating an HDR like image by using SmartMode “Rich Color”. At least on my Galaxy NX those images look better compared to the setup enabled HDR option.

    c) although I notice the green cast on my NX30 as well with non Samsung NX lenses (that as well includes the Samyangs/Walimex unfortunately), the defect is not at looking that bad on my (although still being an issue)

    Cheers, Tjobbe

    1. Matt Everglade

      Hey tjobbe!

      a) That makes sense. Nevertheless I like the swivel screen much more. 😉
      b) I’ll try that. Maybe it’s an alternative for HDR photos you don’t want to process at home.
      c) Hope this will be fixed soon or I will be highly disappointed by Samsung. That’s not sales-promotional at all.

    2. michael tadd

      fit legacy lenses with camera on, or while camera is on and legacy lens fitted, push in lens release button and rotate lens a few degrees, you will hear a shutter or curtain click back, refit lens all will be ok, i think this could be cured in software update. fitting legacy lens with camera on is an easy work around, but annoying if you forget, i have had a few good pics with green edges before i realised, harder to correct than you might think, overall i am very happy with nx30, a good update from nx20, particularly focus speed and much faster processing

      1. Matt Everglade

        The click is the shutter/curtain which is moved if the e-shutter option is enabled, you won’t hear it if you disable the e-shutter option with a native NX lens mounted to the camera. Sadly I can’t get this working as you described it. Maybe I am doing something wrong?

        1. michael tadd

          hi matt, just checked, fitted standard 18/55 pointed at white ceiling e shutter on, all good. turned camera off, fitted samyang 14mm pointed at ceiling , green edges, while cam still on released lens a few degrees, heard click all ok.
          Cam on replace from 18/55 to samyang 14mm all ok,

          1. Matt Everglade

            I got this working and made some deeper investigation on this. I’ll write a short blog post about it.

      2. Andrew

        It can be corrected very easily with flat field correction on Rawtherapee (I believe adobe also has this option now). Just take a picture of a white object (I photograph the sky through 5 sheets of white paper) and use that raw file as you flat field correction. Works great if you forget to set the camera properly.

  2. Jay

    Hi !

    I was considering upgrading my NX1000 to an NX30 as the price is going down after NX1 release, but if there is this issue with legacy lenses, I will just refrain from getting an NX30 and consider something else.
    Would you have more info about that ? Maybe photos ?
    I’d like to carry on using the NX system because I own a few NX lenses plus all the adapters and I like the menus and functions but if there is such an issue, I won’t upgrade, for sure.
    It turns out that Samsung are still trying to put manual focus lens users aside.
    Pity that the NX mount is still not opened to third party lens manufacturers. Really bad. Because of that, I am afraid that the NX1 – despite its incredible sepcs – will not be a hit.

    Cheers
    Jay

    1. Matt Everglade

      Hi Jay,

      I hope that Samsung will fix this issue. Keep an eye on the firmware updates. I’ll do more testing soon and I’ll ask Samsung again what the current state is. If there is anything new I’ll post an update here.

      1. Jay

        Hello !

        Thank you very much indeed !

        I’ll have to be patient and hope that there are still NX30s available (seems lots of shops are draining their shelves with the release of the NX1 and the prices are getting very much more interesting now).

        Cheers
        Jay

  3. Norbert (duc996)

    Hallo Matt,

    habe erst heute dies hier gefunden, jedoch gerade die übersetzte Fassung begeistert gelesen.

    Warum eigentlich all´deine “Sachen” englisch?!?
    Mein Schulenglisch liegt 36 Jahre zurück ;).

    Egal, liest sich richtig gut und auch wenn ich wahrlich nicht in einer Liga spiele wie du und Tjobbe, so unterstreiche ich trotzdem jetzt mal deine Aussagen bezüglich des Monitors!
    Dieser ist in seiner Funktionalität ein Highlight hinsichtlich “komischen als auch kuriosen” Standsituationen.
    Denke du weißt schon, wie ich dies meine.
    Auch den ausziehbaren Sucher finde ich immer noch gut, klar, all´zu oft benötigt man ihn nicht, aber wenn …, so ist er richtig praktisch.
    Muss ihn übrigens ohne Brille fasst auf ganz “öffnen” im +-Bereich.
    Ansonsten bestätige ich deine Meinung hinsichtlich Patona-Akku. Habe auf deinen Hinweis im NX-Forum einen erworben, benutze aber gleichzeitig eine 10000 mA Powerbank von Ebay.
    Nichts ist schlimmer als kein Strom, so man ihn braucht …- aber noch nie eingetreten :).

    Danke für deinen Beitrag nochmals!

    Ciao Norbert

    P.S.:

    Habe ich endlich mal ein Bild, was in deiner Liga spielt, so sende ich es dir. Bin da grad auf Sichtung meiner geschätzten 6000+ Bilder vom nördlichen Gardasee …
    Obwohl, ganz so verzweifelt bin ich da nicht, muss nur noch lernen mit Lightroom 5 zu spielen …
    Ansonsten tröste ich mich immer noch mit Tjobbes Hinweis, dass man ja die ersten 10000 Bilder weg werfen kann …

    Aber deine Bilder mit H2O … ! Genial!!!

    1. Matt Everglade

      Hey Norbert,

      danke für deinen Kommentar, aber das ist etwas zu viel der Ehre. 😉 Bei meinen Bildern profitiere ich ganz stark auch von der Umgebung, dem Licht, …, aber natürlich auch etwas von der erworbenen Erfahrung der letzten Jahre. Bin gespannt auf deine Bilder, zeige gerne mal einige. 🙂 Ich sollte wohl bald mal meinen Nachbearbeitungsartikel fertigstellen.

      Die 10.000-Bilder-Wegwerf-Regel teile ich übrigens nicht so ganz. Ich entwickle mich zwar auch weiter, aber kann nicht behaupten, meine ersten Bilder seien alle für den Papierkorb gewesen. Da war auch schon schönes dabei, nur mit der Zeit wird die “Treffer”-Quote für “gute” Bilder deutlich besser. 😉 Also, lass dich nicht entmutigen!

      Englisch ist es geworden, um ein größeres Publikum ansprechen zu können (und ich muss mein geschriebenes Englisch sowieso üben).

      Grüße, Matt

  4. Matt Dalton

    Great info thankyou! This will be a very useful resource. I do have a slightly annoying problem with my NX30. I lost the plastic cover that goes over the hinge for the LCD touch display. I do still have one half of the plastic cover. It doesn’t affect operation. Samsung suggested a repair agent which I went to. But they no longer service Samsung cameras. I’m sure I could pop it back on myself if I could find a replacement. But I have had no luck searching online. Guess I may just have to live with it.

    1. Matt Dalton

      Answering my own question. For anyone that may have same issue.

      ASSY-HINGE COVER_NX30;CSC,NX30 Part number is AD97-24198A

      Source it from a Samsung stockist of spare parts. Repair agents for them will be able to order. Big shout out to Sydney Appliance Service for locating and being so very helpful: http://www.sydneyappliance.com.au

      1. Matt Everglade

        Thank you for providing us with these internal information. 🙂
        Greetings to Australia!

  5. James Bromar

    Thank you for a fabulous review of NX30. Your pictures are awesome. I’ve spent a great deal of time, years and years actually, looking at camera reviews and the test photographs of all the different cameras and, to me, none were as sharp and as clear the Sony R1 pictures that I saw on my monitor. They just did not equal the R1 shots in my humble opinion until now. Seriously, I am amazed the clarity and sharpness of all your NX30 pictures. They exceed the R1 quality of clarity and I am real picky on clarity. My R1 has been a great camera for me buy now I need to update for many reasons, the small LCD display and weight are a few of them.
    I see that the NX30 prices have dropped dramatically and I can get one with the 16-50 f3.5-5.6 lens at a very reasonable price. (Your lens review about 18-55 was quite clear on its quality.)
    Now the question that needs to be asked is it the camera and lens that make the great photograph or the photographer. With your pictures it is obviously the photographer.
    I am an amateur and I am thinking that the NX 30 with the 16-50 f3.5-5.6 would be excellent to start with for a jpeg shooter.
    Thanks again for all the incredible information. Your reviews are in a league of their own.
    Sincerely, James Bromar

    1. Matt Everglade

      Thank you for your feedback, it’s highly appreciated.
      The images shown here are sharpened, which might show then a bit differently than getting them straight out of camera. Nevertheless the NX line has good sensors and lenses to let you take outstanding photos.
      Which lens review do you mean? I have not tested the 18-55mm and the 16-50mm PZ yet.
      I think the NX30 with the 16-50mm PZ will be a good start, yes. We will have to wait to know whether it’s really future proof though.

  6. Chris

    Hi Matt,

    Great website here, thanks for putting it all together. I’ve been shooting with an NX 2000 for a couple years now and am looking to upgrade to the NX30 since you can get one for write cheap these days. I read in the manual that you can choose which display is used but I was wondering if the LCD turns off when folded inwards and not visible? That would seem like a good way to conserve battery without having to go into the menus to change the setting and I’m hoping it works that way.

    1. Matt Everglade

      Hi Chris, yes, the LCD turns off when folded inwards.

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