ISO Accuracy

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). Note that these tests are based on the sRGB JPEG output of the cameras, in accordance with ISO 12232:2006, the standard used by camera manufacturers. In our tests we found that measured ISOs from the NX30 match the marked ISOs within 1/6 stop accuracy, meaning ISO 100 indicated = ISO 100 measured.

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

Note: this page features our interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

ISO range noise comparison

The Samsung NX30's default noise reduction setting, NR Normal, does a good job at low ISOs striking a balance between noise suppression and retaining fine detail. Up to ISO 800 it looks very close to its entry-level DSLR and mirrorless competitors. At ISO 6400 it begins to apply much heavier noise suppression, and the jump up to ISO 12800 takes a big toll on fine detail. All the camera's other noise reduction settings show similar results below ISO 3200, so the effects of NR High or NR Low will mostly be seen at ISO 6400 and above.

ACR Raw noise (ACR 8.4 noise reduction set to zero)

In terms of Raw noise, the NX30 closely matched the Nikon D5300 - which isn't surprising, since Adobe has told us it matches noise levels as part of its profiling process. Unlike the NX200, the NX30 doesn't apply aggressive noise reduction to the Raw files as you increase the noise reduction setting on the camera. However, at the very highest setting (ISO 25,600) the noise pattern appears to be smoothed, relative to its rivals, suggesting a tiny bit of noise reduction is still being applied.