Hands-on: Samsung NX30 shows off tilt-angle electronic viewfinder

Samsung is one of the unsung compact system camera manufacturers in our view. Its NX series has plenty to offer, with the new NX30 being the most feature-packed model we've yet seen.

Build-wise the DSLR-styled camera does look and feel rather plasticky, which gives the distinct impression of it being a more entry-level model than its specification might otherwise suggest. But that won't be a complaint if Samsung gets the price right - something, for now, that remains a mystery as the Korean manufacturer won't spill the beans on pricing.

The standout feature of this camera is its tilt-angle electronic viewfinder. It functions just like a normal eye-level viewfinder by default, but can be pulled outward from the body and rotated upwards through 90-degrees for waist-level work. Rather cool. Again, however, that plasticky build doesn't make it feel like the sturdiest or most quality protrustion.

In the interests of keeping size down, Samsung has opted for a power zoom kit lens with this new model. It extends when switched on, for a more compact scale when the camera is being stowed. We like the concept, although find the electronic style zoom to be slower than with a traditional twist-zoom lens barrel.

The layout of the camera also differs from its NX20 predecessor. There's more focus on quick-access options, such as the drive mode selector on the top of the camera next to the classic mode dial.

READ: Samsung NX20 review

Under the hood of the camera Samsung is relying on a 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor that may read the same as its NX cousins, but is slightly different because of a new autofocus system. We doubt the inclusion of on-sensor phase-detection pixels will impact image quality much, but there is a chance that it might - something we'll take a look at later down the line.

But that new autofocus system certainly does deliver the goods. The 105 phase detection points and 247 contrast detect points combine for speedy autofocus that even in relatively dim lighting at the Pepcom CES 2014 preview show were snapping subjects quickly into focus. Very nice.

Elsewhere the 3-inch, 1,036k-dot Super AMOLED display looks sharp, even if it was a little cool for previews. Top features such as a 1/8000th sec maximum shutter speed, Wi-Fi sharing, 1080p60 video capture and 9fps full-resolution burst mode round off the highlights.

Fully featured, but just a little plasticky in build. If the NX30's price is right then looks good to us.



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