By Mike Wheeler
Smart camera is a relatively new category that has popped up this year whereby vendors are trying to market shooters as more than just a device to take snaps. Adding more to a camera’s functionality is not a bad idea as the likes of smartphones and tablets start encroaching on the traditional camera marketplace.
As more devices become hybrids, there is pressure to give consumers more bang for their buck. Having a camera with a good sensor, low noise, and the ability to delete red eye is no longer enough for the fickle consumer. Once film was gone, it didn’t take long for compacts or DSLRs to also become a mini camcorder, a storage device and have the functionality to geotag pics so you would be reminded of where the shot was taken.
Fast forward to 2013 and now we’re getting into wifi and the ability to push your content to an email address, or your social networking accounts such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
Case in point – Samsung’s NX300. The shooter comes in two parts, the body and the lens. We really like the design of the body – its right-hand side has a nice grip, and the facia is a retro-looking brown leather/vinyl, that just looks cool. The rest of the unit is made up of brushed silver metal and a reasonably large 3.3-inch LCD at the rear.
From an aesthetic point of view, the lens that comes with the camera– the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS – looked like the ugly stepsister, but certainly added functionality by allowing you to adjust the ISO, shutter speed, zoom, white balance, and aperture by tapping a button on the side, which in turn shows in the information within the LCD.
And what about the pictures and video? Pictures we took were crisp and sharp, with the auto focus making sure we didn’t make any mistakes when zooming in and out of shots. With full HD 1080p 1920x1080 and 720p 1280x720 resolutions available it’s of no surprise that taking video ticks all the right boxes, too
Overall, the NX300 stacks up quite nicely. This is suitable for those who like a few more options when taking snaps. We’re not too sure where this one sits – probably not enough specs for the serious amateur, far too many for the luddite who has no idea about utilising the full range of features and just wants holiday snaps. It’s biggest selling point is that it looks fantastic, does what the vendor says it can, and if you are thinking about taking up photography this camera would be a good starting point.
Pros: Good price, wifi capability, can push pics to email and social networking sites; very stylish, takes good shots and video
Cons: Aside from the smart aspects, overkill on other options like aperture, ISO etc
4.6 Shacks Out of 5