Samsung HMX-W300 Waterproof Camcorder Review
Low Light Performance
Low Light Sensitivity
For the most part, the HMX-W300 performed just like its predecessor, the HMX-W200 in our low light tests. However, we did notice some slight differences in low light sensitivity. The HMX-W300 required a bit more light to produce a usable image than the W200, which is something of a surprise. Still, the W300 needed just 7 lux of light to capture our test chart properly (that's only two lux more than the W200 required). This is by no means a bad score for Samsung, it's just surprising that the new camcorder took a step backwards in this test. More on how we test low light sensitivity.
Part of the reason the W300, and most ultracompact camcorders in general, do a good job in our sensitivity test is due to the use of special low light modes on the camcorder. Normally we'd turn off any low light modes for this test, as they negatively impact image quality by using slow shutters or boosting gain to unsuitable levels. But with low-end models like the W300 this isn't possible, as the low light modes kick in automatically.
Low Light Noise
Samsung may have made the W300 a bit worse in low light sensitivity, but, in doing so, it seems the company improved the camcorder's noise levels and color accuracy in low light. The HMX-W300 averaged just 0.7% noise in our low light test, a number that is lower than that which we measured on last year's HMX-W200 from Samsung. More on how we test low light noise.
Low Light Color
Color results in low light were also stronger on the W300 than what we saw on its predecessor. The new camcorder registered a color error in low light of 3.55, which is an exceptionally accurate score for a camcorder in the sub-$200 price range. Not only is it better than last year's model, but it is also better than the W300's color accuracy in our bright light test. This is likely tied to the camcorder's ability to handle the color temperature of our low-light LEDs better than our bright-light tungsten bulbs. Either way, the Samsung W300 showed more accurate colors than the competition, beating some camcorders by a wide margin—and the camcorder showed a strong saturation level of 96% in low light as well. More on how we test low light color.