Samsung NX30 vs NX20 vs NX300 – Differences Comparison

January 3, 2014

Samsung NX30, NX20 and NX300 side by side

In this article I will compare the Samsung NX30 vs NX20 and NX300. The NX30 was announced on January 30 2013, 623 days after the NX20 was announced. The NX30 brings  many new improvements that should help Samsung to consolidate its positioning in the mirrorless camera’s market.

Market Overview

I have kind of mixed opinion about Samsung NX mirrorless cameras, and I have to admit that I found it hard to convince myself to buy a NX camera when I compared them to the Micro Four Thirds, Sony Alpha NEX or Fujifilm X-series cameras. Having said that, I think that Samsung did a great job with the NX300 and it certainly moving in the right direction.  Rumors are pointing for a full frame NX camera (KXF1) this year and although this might happen and need to be done, Samsung did announced two new lenses for its NX system, including a premium 16-50mm F2.-2.8 S ED OIS lens for those who want to invest in better optics and enjoy a fast normal zoom lens.

Samsung certainly shows the world its domination in the mobile device industry, and this certainly can help Samsung build a stronger reputation in the digital camera business as well. The NX300 and NX20 gained very high ratings in many popular camera review websites, and the expectations are high for the NX30 as well.

The NX30 is Samsung flagship ILC camera, and its estimated price is around $1100 with the Kit lens. The NX30 is certainly more innovative and more feature reach than many other ILC cameras on the market right now. I predict that the NX30 would become a very popular compact system camera that can give a good fight to Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic.

I am sure that you are eager to know more about the NX30 and see how it compares against the NX20 and NX300 models.

Samsung NX30 Introduction

The Samsung NX30 flagship camera was designed from the ground up to improve in every way, including image quality, advanced photographic and camera features and connectivity. Those three parameters are crucial for a camera to sell well and be competitive in this fierce and already saturated market. The NX30 will suffer strong competition from Sony, which already announced its Alpha A7 and A7R full frame mirrorless cameras — and as I mentioned,  Samsung don’t have a NX FF camera yet.

Samsung NX30 and NX30 side by side

Samsung NX30 and NX30 side by side (via

At the heart of the NX30 are a 20.3 MP sensor inherited from the NX300, alongside a more powerful and advanced DRIMeIV image processor and a powerful DSP imaging engine.  Samsung redesigned the NX30 and gave it a more DSLR-like design. It is bigger and heavier than the NX20 and has a much larger grip. This allowed Samsung to add a second shooting mode dial and spread the top buttons more evenly and in a more ergonomic way.

One of the most innovative features in this camera is a Tiltable Electronic Viewfinder with 2359K-dot resolution. This might sound familiar, and in deed, the Panasonic Lumix GX7 also has a tiltable viewfinder as well. The GX7 can be tilted up 90 degrees, the NX30 EVF can be tilted up 80 degrees. The main difference in the EVF mechanism is that with the NX30 you have to pull the EVF out about an inch and then tilt it up, whether with the GX7 you just tilt up the EVf without pulling.  This pulls the articulating arm that allows you to tilt it up.

Tilting EVF NX30 vs GX7

Tilting EVF Mechanism - NX30 vs GX7

I guess that Samsung had to come up with its own implementation, as I guess Fujifilm has a patent on its tiltable mechanism – no sure about it though.  The tilting mechanism helps in many situations, including when mounting the camera on a tripod or in macro.

At the back of the camera you get a 3-inch 1.04 million dot Super AMOLED touch display which according to Samsung it’s 70% brighter than the NX20 display and provide crisp and vivid visuals.  The rear display uses S-Stripe array which is different from the conventional AMOLED Pentile array, this allows to boost the lifetime of the blue organic material. This also helps to improve the image quality when the projected image is rotated.

The monitor can be fully articulated (180 degrees from side to side and 270 degrees upwards and downwards). You just don’t get such flexibility in any other camera for composing your shots. The viewfinder plays a significant role in many people’s buying decision, and it’s great to see that Samsung put a great deal of attention in the EVF and the rear display as well.

The Samsung SMART CAMERA NX30 also equipped with a super advanced AF system called NX AF System II, a Hybrid AF system that utilizes both contrast-detect AF and phase-detect AF for fast and precise autofocus. The sensor utilizes both cross type sensors in the middle, Horizontal type sensor and vertical type sensors to allow the camera to support fast subject tracking.  The 105 point phase detection points are at the center of the frame but cover a wide area, supported by 237 contrast detect AF points that boost the AF speed. Together they work in synergy to provide the AF performance enthusiast are looking for in a flagship mirrorless camera.

Among the other features offered by the NX30 are 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed, 9fps burst,  NFC + Wi-Fi wireless connectivity (remote control the camera from the phone, wireless transfer, social media sharing ,etc.),  improved Hybrid UI optimized for touch operations, 60p Full HD video recording, 3.5mm microphone input with uncompressed HDMI 4:2:0 1080/30p output.

Samsung also introduced a feature called “Tap & Go” which allows users to easily tap and share photos on the go. Photo Beam feature makes it easier to transfer images or videos to a smartphone or tablet device by taking advantage of the NFC technology. Just touch the two devices together  and use MobileLink to select the images or videos to be transferred.  You also have the option to set the NX30 to automatically send captured images to your mobile device, without any additional configuration. The Remote Viewfinder Pro function turns your phone or tablet into a remote viewfinder, allowing you to zoom, change camera settings and snap the photo from a remote location. Group Share feature allows you to share images with up to four devices that are near the camera.

The NX30 comes with Dropbox app built-in (region dependent), which gives you the options to upload your photos directly to Dropbox. In some regions you also get the option to upload images directly to your Flickr account.

It’s easy to get excited when you go over the new NX30 features, and you can see that Samsung put a lot of effort to make this new mirrorless camera very attractive in the mirrorless camera landscape.

If you are reading these lines, you are probably haven’t decided yet which camera to pick up yet. You do have the NX20 and NX300 which sells for much less. The question that you need to ask yourself is whether the NX30 worth the extra price that you paid for it. Not everyone needs the greatest and latest.

NX30 vs NX20 vs NX300

The NX30 looks is an amazing camera, packed with lots of new advanced features. The NX20 is already outdated compare to the NX30 and other newly announced cameras. However, you can now buy it for a lower price. The NX300 have the same sensor as the NX30, but have its own unique appeal as an entry-level mode, both in terms of price, features and unique external design.

In this section we’ll take a look at the differences between the Samsung Smart Camera NX30, NX20 and NX300.  The specs / feature comparison table below will give you a good understanding of the differences between those three mirrorless cameras.

AnnouncedJanuary 2, 2014April 19, 2012January 3, 2013
Sensor20.3 MP
(23.5 x 15.7 mm)
20.3 MP
(23.5 x 15.7 mm)
20.3 MP
(23.5 x 15.7 mm)
Max. Image Resolution5472 x 3648 pixels5472 x 3648 pixels5472 x 3648 pixels
Image ProcessorDRIMeIVN/ADRIMeIV
Both NX30 and NX300 use a new generation sensor with faster and move advanced image processor. The specs doesn't state which processor the NX20 employs, but in the press release Samsung said that the NX30 uses a more advanced image processor.

Both the NX300 and NX30 use the same image processor.
ISO100 - 25600100 - 12800100 - 25600
Both the NX30 and the NX300 offer 1 stop higher maximum ISO speed.
AF SystemHybrid AF

Contrast detect (247 points)
Phase detect (105 points)
Contrast AF (15 points)Hybrid AF

Contrast detect (247 points)
Phase detect (105 points)
Both NX30 and NX300 enjoy a much more advanced AF system, which provide faster and more precise AF performance for both stills and videos, and especially more advanced for subject tracking -- as it offers both phase-detection and much more AF points to track moving subject across the frame.
Fully articulated
Super AMOLED (S-Stripe)
Fully articulated
AMOLED (Pentile)
Not Touchscreen
AMOLED (Pentile)
The NX300 has the largest display of the three, but the NX30 features a fully articulated one, higher resolution and Super AMOLED S-Stripe type panel.

The NX20 does offer fully articulated display, but inferior in terms of resolution compare to the NX30, and also uses the Pentile type AMOLED panel and doesn't employ a touch enabled screen, so no touch user interface.
Tiltable (80 degrees)

+ contact sensor

+ contact sensor
Not available
The NX300 lacks a viewfinder. For some of you this might be a deal breaker. The NX30 certainly improved upon the NX20 here, offering much higher resolution and an innovative tiltable mechanism which helps in various shooting situations (e.g. when mounted on tripod, macro, etc.)
Shutter Speed30 - 1/8000 sec30 - 1/8000 sec30 - 1/6000 sec
Both the NX20 and NX30 offers 1/8000 sec shutter speed, which Samsung implemented in its flagship model.

Faster shutter speeds are useful when shooting fast moving subjects (e.g. car racing, birds), but also give you more control over the exposure, especially when you need to step down the exposure when using fast prime lenses. However, not everyone will take advantage of that speed, and for many of you 1/6000 sec is more than enough for most situations.
Manual ExposureYesYesYes
Pop Up FlashYesYesNo
The NX300 lacks a pop up flash. I personally never use the pop up flash and prefer shooting with a fast lens instead. However, there are situations when you don't have or don't want to use an external flash, and you shoot with a slow lens, the pop up flash can really help at that situations.
Flash X Sync Speed1/200 sec

*no official data yet
1/180 sec1/180 sec
Burst Speed9 fps8 fps

10, 15, 30 fps (reduced resolution of 5MP))
8.6 fps

10, 15, 30 fps (reduced resolution of 5MP)
Exposure Compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±3 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (3 frames at 1 EV steps)±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYesYesYes

+ Dual IS
3D Captureusing Samsung's 2D/3D lensusing Samsung's 2D/3D lensusing Samsung's 2D/3D lens
Uncompressed Output /
Clean HDMI Output

4:2:0 1080/30p output
Multi-motion Recording?YesYes
The NX30 can capture full HD videos at smooth 60 fps compare to the 30 fps of the NX20 and NX300.

Using 60 fps you can get better results when using slow motion in post processing, as well as smoother video playback. However keep in mind that when you upload your video to some Tube sites like YouTube, the video will be converted to lower frame rate. Nevertheless, it does provide you with more flexibility if you enjoy editing your videos, but it does consume more storage space.
Build-in MicStereoStereoStereo
Mic InputYesNo

You can use Samsung EM10
That connects to the hot-shoe

You can use Samsung EM10
That connects to the hot-shoe
The NX30 is the only one among the three that has a 3.5mm mic input socket. With the others you need to buy the NX camera external microphone to enjoy improved audio quality..
WirelessWi-Fi + NFC
IEEE 802.11n
IEEE 802.11n
Wi-Fi + NFC
IEEE 802.11n
NFC makes it much easier to bind your mobile phone or tablet to your camera by just touching the two devices together.

For extended functionality (remote control, image transfer/share) you'll need to download Samsung SMART CAMERA app for Android or iOS.
Dimensions127 x 96 x 58 mm (5 x 3.78 x 2.28″)122 x 90 x 40 mm (4.8 x 3.54 x 1.57″)122 x 64 x 41 mm (4.8 x 2.52 x 1.61″)
Weight375 g (0.83 lb / 13.23 oz)341 g (0.75 lb / 12.03 oz)331 g (0.73 lb / 11.68 oz)
Battery Life (CIPA)N/A360 shots330 shots


The NX30 is an amazing mirrorless camera, and a well worthy upgrade from the NX20. If you want to upgrade your NX20, the NX30 is obviously the obvious choice here.  It will provide you with more advanced AF system, improved image quality, much more advanced eye-level viewfinder, more built-in software features to play with (Smart Camera 3.0 including improved remote shooting, baby monitor and ‘Group Share’), dual image stabilization for video recording, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC for fast connectivity with your mobile device, slightly faster burst speed, 1080p60 video recording with mic input and uncompressed video output. The NX30 is larger than the NX20, but both can’t fit to your pocket anyway, and I think that the extra mode dial and button layout certainly make up for it.  The rear LCD has been much improved as well, and it look awesome for both image composition and viewing your images on the display as well — and it’s also touch sensitive!

The NX300 still remains a good cheaper alternative for the budget-aware consumers. It offers the same sensor, image processor and advanced AF system, but lacks an EVF, has lower resolution rear monitor and only tiltable compare to the NX30 one,  it lacks 1/8000 sec shutter speed, there is no pop-up flash, no uncompressed video output,  no mic input — but it is smaller and lighter, has a unique retro style with excellent build quality and also comes with Wi-Fi + NFC as well.

If I had to choose one, I would have bought the NX30 due to its excellent EVF and rear monitor features, excellent ergonomics and AF performance — those are my personal favorite features.

Which one your prefer? — please share your opinion in the comment section below. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to LIKE our facebook page to get updates when new articles are published.

click here to view the NX300, NX20 and NX30 side by side.

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  • tecnoworld

    Nice article. One small error: nx300 has 1080/60p video as well.

  • JJ

    Thank you for this fantastic article. It would be great if you could add the NX Mini to this comparison table!

  • Idan

    Thanks JJ. I will consider making a separate comparison dedicated to the NX mini pretty soon. :)