Samsung NX300.

Does this retro-styled camera from Samsung push att the right buttons for beginners?

Among a steady wave of releases, the Samsung NX300 stands out for its DSLR quality and sheer usability. It comes with most of the features you could want from a compact system camera (CSC) — touch screen, large sensor and wireless connectivity — making it a superb option for anyone upgrading from a point-and-shoot.

It’s easy to switch shooting modes via the dial on top. The usual Auto, Program, and Manual modes are all present, joined by a new Lens Priority mode. This makes it easy for beginners to control how much of the frame is in focus. Just press the iFn button on the lens and use the slider to determine how sharp or defocused the image will be. You can achieve this by using the camera’s touch screen, which can be used like a smartphone to swipe through shots in playback and capture images. This slice of 21st Century tech extends to the camera’s built-in Wi-Fi that comes with features such as remote shooting, emailing and social sharing.

The NX300’s motto is ‘shoot fast, share faster’ for a reason, with Samsung claiming the 1/6000sec shutter speed is the fastest in its class. It takes 8.6 frames per second in burst mode and captures the entire sequence of action with a series of sharp shots, making it suited to shots of your kids, pets or a sporting event.

It can be tricky to see the images on the screen in sunny conditions, but on the computer the scenes were just how we remembered them. This is thanks to the 20.3MP sensor, delivering DSLR quality in a compact sized body. There’s a broad range of ISO settings, producing sharp shots with little noise until the far end of the sensitivity scale.

Incidentally, the design is completely on trend, with its retro-inspired chassis that’s curved and textured in all the right places. Put simply, the NX300 looks a million dollars, but it costs quite a bit too, and we would liked to have seen a built-in flash, viewfinder and articulated screen for this price. If you’re after a compact model that delivers, however, it’s worth every penny.

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