Samsung NX1

      Photo Review 9

      In summary

      Design-wise and in terms of functionality, the NX1 is targeted at serious photo enthusiasts, particularly those who share images and movie clips online. It will also suit photographers who are seriously involved in movie-making, partly because it offers more recording options than an equivalent DSLR but, more importantly, because the EVF can be used to compose shots in movie mode (something no DSLR provides thus far).

      Although the camera’s ergonomics are similar to those of equivalent DSLRs, its lighter weight makes it easier to carry and operate over extended periods of time. Its NX AF System III can also achieve smooth autofocusing adjustments in movie mode and match the speed and accuracy of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS technology.

      The two Premium ‘S’ class lenses together cover focal lengths from 16mm to 150mm (equivalent to 24.6mm to 231mm in 35mm format), which encompasses most popular subject types. Three more lenses will be added during 2015: a 16-80mm f/4 OIS zoom, a 24mm f/1.4 S ED prime and an11-24mm f/2.8 S ED OIS. (Note that two of these have the ‘S’ designation and qualify as ‘fast’ lenses.)

      When it comes to connectivity, the NX1 offers more options than any other camera in its category and significantly outdoes the capabilities of equivalent DSLRs.

      Samsung has also shown it listens to photographers’ requests in the comprehensive list of improvements provided   through January’s firmware update.  


      Full review

      Samsung’s 28-megapixel NX1 compact system camera, which was arguably the most interesting product announced at Photokina in September, has been released as ‘a genuine alternative to DSLRs’. The first of its type with Back Side Illumination (BSI) structure and a micro lens array, the sensor in the NX1 (see below) combines with a new DRIMe V image processor to provide functionality that will suit a wide range of enterprising photographers and video shooters.


       Angled view of the Samsung NX1 with the 16-50mm 2.8 S ED OIS lens. (Source: Samsung.)

      The NX1 is Samsung’s most ‘professional’ camera to date and, although it doesn’t provide all the functionality and robustness of the top models from Canon and Nikon, it is robustly built and includes many features that professional photographers would appreciate. Like most competitors, it has a weatherproof body and its shutter is rated for 150,000 cycles.

      The perennial issue of lens availability is being addressed by Samsung, with 16 NX-mount lenses to date, including fast primes and two fast, professional-standard zooms. But it will take time for Samsung to match the lens ranges of the long-established manufacturers (although they are certainly trying).

      Who’s it For?
      Design-wise and in terms of functionality, the NX1 is targeted at serious photo enthusiasts, particularly those who share images and movie clips online. It will also suit photographers who are seriously involved in movie-making, partly because it offers more recording options than an equivalent DSLR but, more importantly, because the EVF can be used to compose shots in movie mode (something no DSLR provides thus far).

      Although the camera’s ergonomics are similar to those of equivalent DSLRs, its lighter weight makes it easier to carry and operate over extended periods of time. Its NX AF System III can also achieve smooth autofocusing adjustments in movie mode and match the speed and accuracy of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS technology.

      The two Premium ‘S’ class lenses together cover focal lengths from 16mm to 150mm (equivalent to 24.6mm to 231mm in 35mm format), which encompasses most popular subject types. Three more lenses will be added during 2015: a 16-80mm f/4 OIS zoom, a 24mm f/1.4 S ED prime and an 11-24mm f/2.8 S ED OIS. (Note that two of these have the ‘S’ designation and qualify as ‘fast’ lenses.)

      Build and Ergonomics
      Physically, the NX1 has all the qualities of a high-end enthusiast’s camera, including a magnesium alloy body that feels solid and comfortable in the hands, thanks in part to an ergonomically-designed grip. Samsung claims the body is sealed against ‘dust and minor splashes’, a claim we can verify as we used the camera and both lenses in light rain without incident at the media launch for the camera.

      Interestingly, the NX1 body with battery and card installed weighs approximately 640 grams, which is less than equivalent DSLRs from Canon and Nikon. The Canon EOS 7D Mark II, which was released in September 2014, has a body weight of 910 grams with battery and card, while the Nikon D300s weighs approximately 950 grams. Even Sony’s  A77 II is heavier at 732 grams.  


      Front view of the NX1 with no lens fitted. (Source: Samsung.)

      The NX1’s hand grip is nicely moulded to fit the user’s middle finger and make the camera body more stable and comfortable to hold. Aside from the lens mount, the other main features on the front panel are the lens release button and the depth-of-field preview button, the latter near the lower edge of the panel between the grip and lens mount.

      Above it, near the top of the panel an LED is inset into the camera body where it doubles as an AF-assist and self-timer lamp. The flash pop-up button is located on the opposite side of the flash housing, just in front of the drive dial assembly. A microphone hole sits just behind it.  


      The top panel of  the NX1 with no lens fitted. (Source: Samsung.)

      The top panel is kitted out in standard ‘pro-sumer’ fashion with a proper lockable mode dial, LCD status panel, pop-up flash and multi-purpose dial carrying the drive, ISO, AF mode, metering and white balance controls. The shutter button is located at the front of the grip, with a surrounding power switch lever. Beside it is the video recording button with the standard red dot identifier.

      The EV adjustment button sits just behind the movie button. When it’s held down you can adjust the exposure compensation with the rear command dial. The front command dial, whose function depends upon the mode setting, is just behind the shutter button assembly, with a second command dial at the top of the rear panel, just below the LCD status panel.

      The mode dial carries the standard P, A, S and M shooting modes, along with two user-programmable Custom modes for saving frequently-used combinations of settings. The P mode includes program shift, with adjustments to shutter speed and aperture settings controlled by the two command dials.

      The mandatory (for consumer cameras) auto shooting modes include an Auto setting with scene recognition for 19 pre-determined scene types. In the Smart mode, users can access a selection of presets that meet the requirements for recording specific scenes, conditions, or effects. Included among them are a Panorama mode, a multi-exposure setting, fireworks and light-trace settings and a new Samsung Auto Shot mode, which is outlined in the Features section, below.

      The pop-up GN 11 (11 metres at ISO  100) flash sits atop the EVF housing and is raised by pressing a button on the left hand side of it. A hot-shoe on its top allows use of external flashguns but you’ll need an ‘intelligent’ one that communicates via the contacts as no PC  Sync socket is provided. The flash coverage angle encompasses a 28mm lens and flash exposure compensation can be adjusted +/-3 EV in 1/3  EV  steps.

      Synch speed is 1/250 second and Auto FP High-Speed  Sync is available for faster for shutter speeds with the optional Samsung SEF580A flashgun. Flash modes include Smart Flash, Auto, Auto+red-eye reduction, fill-in, fill-in+red-eye reduction, first curtain, second curtain and off. The built-in flash can also serve as a wireless commander to trigger external ‘slave’ flashes using four channels to control three groups.

      The EVF is an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display with a resolution of 2,360,000 dots (1024 x 768) and a fast cycle time of 0.005 seconds that virtually eliminates lag. Covering the entire sensor area, it has a 21mm eyepoint, offers 1.04x magnification and provides between -4.0 and +2.0 m-1  of dioptre adjustment. An eye sensor automatically switches between the EVF and monitor, although this function can be set for manually switching. A generous rubber eyecup provides comfortable viewing, even for users who wear glasses.

      Left of the monitor is a drive dial with settings for the self-timer and different frame rates offered for the continuous shooting. An array of buttons atop this dial provides quick access to the ISO, AF mode, metering mode and white balance sub-menus.


       The rear panel of  the NX1. (Source: Samsung.)

      The 3-inch Super AMOLED touch-sensitive monitor that dominates the rear panel has a resolution of 1.04 million dots and can be tilted down by about 45 degrees for over-the-head shooting or up to sit perpendicular to the camera body enabling shooting with the camera at waist level. Despite the presence of a Self-Portrait AF mode, the monitor doesn’t tilt enough for ‘selfies’. Instead, this mode causes the camera to beep faster when the photographer’s face is in focus and located at the center of the composition.


       The illustration above shows the range of adjustments for the NX1’s monitor. (Source: Samsung.)

      The tilting monitor forces most controls to the right hand side of the camera, where you’ll find a fairly conventional arrow pad with a surrounding ‘Custom’ dial wheel, which is used for scrolling through various functions as they are displayed on the monitor screen or frame-by-frame playback in review mode. Buttons for selecting the Menu, Playback, Delete, AF start and a programmable Function surround the arrow pad. EVF/monitor switch and Wi-Fi buttons are located above the monitor.

      A single SD card slot is located in the right hand side panel, alongside an embedded Wi-Fi antenna and NFC tag. The left side panel has four input ports for connecting a 3.5 stereo headset plug, an external microphone and an HDMI cable as well as a USB port that is used for charging the camera battery and also connecting an optional shutter release cable.

      The BP1900 slips into a chamber in the base plate. It’s CIPA rated for approximately 500 shots/charge, which is excellent for a mirrorless camera. There’s also a connector for the optional ED-VGNX01 vertical battery grip, which can accept a spear battery to double effective shooting life. The metal-lined tripod socket is located in line with the optical axis of any lens fitted.

      Sensor and Image Processing
       The NX1 comes with a Samsung developed and manufactured 28-megapixel (effective) backside illuminated (BSI) sensor that is the largest of its type to be used in any camera thus far. It’s roughly the same size as the sensors in the enthusiast and semi-professional DSLR cameras from Canon and Nikon but technologically more sophisticated.

      By positioning all the electronics behind the light-sensitive photodiodes, BSI sensors can maximise the amount of light each photodiode can capture, thereby  improving low-light performance.  Originally used in smart-phones, this technology was introduced into cameras by Sony, with the first consumer back-illuminated sensor, the  ‘Exmor R’ CMOS chip appearing in Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-WX1 and DSC-TX1 digicams in August 2009. The NX1’s 23.5 x 15.7 mm is the largest of its type to date.

      BSI sensors also support faster readout speeds than conventional sensors, enabling cameras to offer higher continuous shooting rates plus faster response times ““provided the image processor can keep up. They also offer better low light performance, although at the expense of a slightly reduced highlight range, compared with front-illuminated CMOS chips. Improvements to the microlens design provide increase the angle of light to the photodiode by roughly 70%  compared with the sensor in the NX30.

      Samsung has sensibly kept the ISO range of the NX1 within a workable ISO 100-25600 limit, with extension to ISO 51200 available through the ISO Customising setting in the menu. The  Auto ISO range spans from ISO 200   to ISO 25600 for stills, with an upper limit of ISO 6400 for movies and when using the continuous high mode.

      The sensor is partnered with Samsung’s latest DRIMe V processor, which is a quad-core CPU chip the company claims as its ‘fastest, most powerful computing engine’ yet to be used in a camera. The chip uses copper metallisation to increase conductivity (copper is 40% more conductive than aluminium), which makes it faster while reducing power consumption.  

      Embedded in the sensor are 205 embedded phase-detection  points, 153 of them cross-type, which form the basis of the NX AF System III. They cover 90% of the frame and provide almost edge-to-edge coverage when shooting stills and video clips. This system enables the NX1 to offer continuous shooting speeds of up to 15 frames/second combined with tracking AF with a maximum focusing speed of 0.005 seconds between frames. An AF-Assist beam projects a high-frequency grid pattern of   variable weighted lines, which help the camera to focus on a subject even it lacks detail. It claims to be effective up to 15 metres.

      Like most cameras, the NX1 supports both JPEG and raw file capture and can record RAW+JPEG pairs with all three JPEG compression levels. Typical image sizes are shown in the table below.

      Image size








      6480 x 4320



      6480 x 4320





      4560 x 3040





      3264 x 2176





      2112 x 1408





      6480 x 3648





      4608 x 2592





      3328 x 1872





      2048 x 1152





      4320 x 4320





      3088 x 3088





      2160 x 2160





      1408 x 1408




       One of the most discussed features of the NX1 has been its movie capabilities, which include the ability to record movies at Cinema 4K resolution (4096 x 2160) with a frame rate of 24p, as well as Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) movies at 30p. This is in addition to supporting Full HD, HD  and VGA  resolutions. The table below outlines the resolutions and frame rates available, along with typical recording times on 8GB memory cards.


      Approximate recording time on 8GB card

      Pro quality


       Normal quality

      4096 x 2160 (24p/NTSC, PAL)

      14 min. 38 sec.

      29 min. 10 sec.

      36 min. 30 sec.

      3840 x 2160 (30p/NTSC, 25p/PAL)

      13 min.  8 sec.

      26 min.  12 sec.

      32 min. 44 sec.

      3840 x 2160 (24p/NTSC, PAL)

      15 min.

      29 min. 54 sec.

      37 min. 24 sec.

      3840 x 2160 (23.98p/NTSC)

      15 min

      29 min. 54 sec.

      37 min. 24 sec.

      1920 x 1080 (60p/NTSC, 50p/PAL)

      26 min. 14 sec.

      60 min. 54 sec.

      76 min. 14 sec.

      1920 x 1080 (30p/NTSC, 25p/PAL)

      58 min.

      114 min. 4 sec.

      142 min. 54 sec.

      1920 x 1080 (24p/NTSC, PAL)

      66 min. 10 sec.

      129 min. 54 sec.

      162 min. 46 sec.

      1920 x 1080 (23.98p/NTSC)

      66 min. 10 sec.

      129 min. 54 sec.

      162 min. 46 sec.

      1280 x 720 (60p/NTSC, 50p/PAL)

      129 min. 54 sec.

      162 min. 46 sec.

      1280 x 720 (30p/NTSC, 25p/PAL)

      222 min. 24 sec.

      279 min 8 sec.

      640 x 480 (60p/NTSC, 50p/PAL)

      368 min. 16 sec.

      463 min.

      640 x 480 (30p/NTSC, 25p/PAL)

      603 min 24 sec.

      765 min. 12 sec.

      640 x 480, MJPEG (25p/PAL)

      81 min. 12 sec.

      98 min. 44 sec.

      640 x 480, MJPEG (30p/NTSC)

      68 min. 58 sec.

      84 min. 12 sec.

      Samsung says a non-UHS Class 10 card can be used for recording 4K or Full HD  video because of the more efficient compression, although they recommend a 30MB/s or faster SDXC card. The maximum recording time is 29 minutes and 59 seconds per movie file, regardless of resolution setting.

      Most shooting modes (including P, A, S and M) can be used for video recordings. The NX1 uses the new HEVC/H.265 (High Efficiency Video Coding) codec, which can capture more detail while only consuming half the memory space of the conventional H.264 codec. This codec has been developed to produce video that looks impressive when streamed to a 4K TV set; it’s not ideal for footage that will be edited, partly because of its relatively high compression but also because the format is not yet widely supported by high-end video editing software.

      The NX1 also lacks an intra-frame (ALL-I)  mode and its 8-bit 4:2:0 output isn’t quite as good as the 10-bit 4:2:2 output from the Panasonic GH4, which does support the ALL-I codec. But video clips recorded in the two 4K modes ““ and also Full HD and HD clips ““ look quite impressive when streamed to a regular HD TV set.

      Samsung’s Fast/Slow Movie function enables users to select from six recording speeds (including normal speed). Options range from x0.25 for a 1/4 normal speed slow-motion effect when playing back to x20 for speeded-up viewing in playback. Slow-motion recording is only available for Full HD, HD  and VGA  resolutions.

      Users can also set the AF   responsiveness and the delay time for the focus to adjust automatically when the subject changes position or a new subject enters the frame while recording a movie clip.   Fast AF shift speeds work well for capturing action, while slow shifts impart a more leisurely pace.

      Other in-camera adjustments include a fader with in, out and in-out settings, a wind cut filter and a mic. level control for adjusting the volume of the recorded soundtrack. The Smart Range+ setting automatically adjusts exposures to record highlight details.

      Firmware Update
       The new firmware update (v. 1.20) at the end of January added some significant improvements to the camera’s video capabilities, which are summarised in the following list:

      1. C Gamma and DR Gamma curves added for movie shooting
       2. Video master black level control in 31 steps
       3. Video luminance level limiting [0-255], [16-235], [16-255]
       4. Video AF responsiveness control in 5 steps (dictates camera’s readiness to change AF subject)
       5. Video AF speed control for more cinematic refocusing (3 settings)
       6. Wider range of display options, including gridline, centre, aspect ratio and action-safe area markers
       7. Audio levels adjustable during movie capture
       8. General improvement in the image quality of FHD video
       9. ‘Pro’ movie quality setting added for 1080 capture
       10. AF / Manual Focus and SAF / CAF toggling in movie mode
       11. Autofocus lock option in movie mode
       12. 23.98p and 24p frame rates for 3840 x 2160 and 1920 x 1080 video
       13. ISO adjustable during movie capture
       14. Output time code (free run) over HDMI (but only with external recorders)
       15. Selecting and grabbing frames from video

      Notes: Time Coding is not supported for internal recording. The two new gamma modes are designed to produce a more cinematic look. C Gamma mode is a preset logarithmic colour setting that delivers higher overall contrast. D Gamma is a preset logarithmic colour setting for capturing a wider tonal range to increase the dynamic range.

      The new firmware allows users to select from five different speeds to control how quickly the camera will refocus and begin tracking a new subject if something comes in between the camera and the original subject being tracked. In playback mode, stills can be captured from a specific video frame in both forward and backward directions.

      January’s firmware update also introduced some improvements to the overall functionality and performance of the NX1. The list below summarises the remaining improvements, some of which apply only to still image capture while others affect both still and video recording.

      1. Command dials direction of operation can be reversed
      2. Depth of Field Preview and Delete buttons are customisable and additional functions are available on custom buttons.
      3. Wi-Fi and [REC] buttons functions can be swapped
      4. AF On and AEL buttons functions can be swapped
      5. Added ISO or Exposure Compensation to command dial (customisable per PASM mode)
      6. AE and Exposure Compensation improved in M mode, with the ability to control Exposure Compensation in M mode, an EV scale showing ambient exposure is now available in manual mode when a flash is attached and Movie AE is more stable in M mode
      7. A new Trap Shot feature fires the shutter when a subject crosses a specified guideline
      8. It is now possible to switch off the NR in Bulb mode
      9. When setting ISO Auto, the chosen ISO value is displayed in real time
      10 Users can select from four AF area sizes when using CAF + Multi AF and also position the sensitive area where they would like to begin tracking a subject from. If the subject moves out of the selected area, AF continues tracking.
      11. Change the flash control value from 0.5EV to 0.3EV
      12. Exposure/Focus Separation on/off option
      13. Smartphone App can operate as remote release using Bluetooth when the Samsung Camera Manager App has been updated through the Google Play Store
      14. The camera will check for and install firmware updates over Wi-Fi
      15. The Menu has been re-arranged for improved usability
      16. The camera can now pair with multiple smart devices (only for Android OS Smartphone)
      17. In-camera selecting and grabbing specific frames from video is now available
      18. Added new option: ‘Save Selection AF Position’

      Samsung has also released a new Samsung Remote Studio app for tethered shooting from a Windows PC. It can be downloaded from i-Launcher. The company will also release a SDK (software development kit) for Windows to allow independent developers to make remote access and control software for the camera. The new firmware also includes some minor bug fixes.

       The NX1 is arguably the ‘best connected’ enthusiast’s camera currently available. Not only does it have a sophisticated Wi-Fi system, it also comes with Bluetooth 3.0 and NFC connectivity. Wireless networking connectivity uses both IEEE 802.11b/g/n and the faster 802.11ac networks with bandwidths of 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which are enough to stream 4K video wirelessly to a Samsung UHD TV.
       NFC supports ‘Tag & Go’ pairing with compatible devices for fast and easy linking of the camera with a smart-phone or tablet. Bluetooth 3.0 can provide a continuous, low-power link to in-range mobile devices and can be used for configuring and authenticating the Wi-Fi setup, initiating Wi-Fi transfers and automatically geotagging images with location data from a connected smart-phone.


       The main screen for Samsung Camera Manager.

      Samsung’s ‘MobileLink’ can be used to send multiple JPEG images to up to four smart devices at a time, when Samsung Camera Manager is installed. ‘Photo Beam’ performs a similar function via NFC when two compatible devices are brought into contact, while ‘AutoShare’ sends each shot taken to the interfaced device. Users can set the size of the images to be transferred.


       The Remote Viewfinder showing the shooting mode selection options.

      The ‘Remote Viewfinder’ feature enables the users to control the camera from a smart device, with adjustments to aperture and shutter speed and various other controls, which vary, depending on the device and its operating system. The Bluetooth Shutter function in Samsung Camera Manager can also be used to trigger the NX1’s shutter remotely from distances up to seven metres.


       The Bluetooth Shutter screen.

      In playback mode, Wi-Fi can be used to post images to social networks or connect via an access point (AP) to devices connected to a WLAN. This enables selected images to be emailed, transferred to a computer or printed on a Wi-Fi capable printer.


      Posting an image to Facebook.


       Viewing thumbnails in the Samsung Camera Manager Gallery.

      The NX1 also provides four wired interfaces: a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB 3.0 port for battery charging and wired file transfers in addition to support for a wired remote. There’s also a Micro (Type-D) HDMI port for video out, which supports clean 4K and 1080p  streaming.

      Other Features
      Firmware 1.20 added a handy Trap Shot feature to the Samsung Auto Shot setting in the Smart mode sub-menu, which brings the options available to three (Baseball and Jump Shot were the only options originally). This setting enables users to position a guide line in the frame at the point where they want a sharp image of a moving subject. When a moving object passes this line, it triggers the shutter automatically to take a picture.

      Other functions in this sub-menu include Beauty Face, Landscape, Action Freeze, Rich Tones, Panorama, Waterfall, Multi-Exposure, Silhouette, Sunset, Night, Fireworks and Light Trace. All settings are restricted to JPEG capture.

      Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/8000 second with adjustments in 1/3 EV steps. A Bulb setting is available for long exposures but only in the M shooting mode and, since it requires the shutter to be held open, a remote trigger will be required. There appears to be no limit to the length of exposures in this mode.

      Exposure metering is handled by a 221 Block Segment TTL system, with the standard multi, centre-weighted and spot  patterns available. Impressively, the camera offers an exposure bracketing range of +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps, which contracts to +/- 3EV for movies. Other bracketing options include white balance, Picture Wizard settings and depth of field.

      There are four AF Area modes: Selection AF with a selectable focus area, Multi AF, Face Detection and Self-Portrait. Single, Continuous and Manual AF modes also available, along with an AF Release Priority function that can be set to capture a shot only when focus is achieved or capture a shot as quickly as possible. Direct Manual Focus (DMF) supports fine-tuning of focus by rotating the focus ring. Manual focus assist functions include five and eight times enlargement plus a focus peaking function with four sensitivity levels and a choice of three highlight colours (white, red and green).

      Interval recording is also supported with the ability to adjust the shooting interval, the number of shots, and shooting start time. The NX1 also provides an in-camera HDR  mode that captures two frames with differing exposures and combines them. An upper ISO   limit of 6400 applies in this mode.

      Playback and Software
       Playback functions are pretty standard withsingle-frame, thumbnail (index) and category (date or type) options. Continuous shots must be extracted from the file ‘bundles’ they are saved in but can be played back frame-by-frame or as an animated sequence. The regular delete, protect and lick functions can be applied to individual files or selected groups of shots.

      Displayed images can be magnified by either turning the command dial or with a pinch-and-spread gesture on the touch screen. Slideshow playback is also supported with adjustable intervals and transition effects and image sorting is available in newest or oldest order.

      Raw files can be converted into JPEG format and saved separately. Movie clips can be played back with adjustments to brightness and audio volume available, along with a limited range of basic editing functions. Individual frames can be captured from movies in playback mode.

      The NX1 also provides some in-camera editing adjustments for still images, including an auto adjustment, as well as controls for tweaking brightness, contrast, saturation, colour temperature, RGB values, exposure and hue. Smart Filter effects that can be applied in playback mode include vignetting, miniature and watercolour plus selective red, green, blue or yellow colour effects.

      The NX1 is supplied with a disk containing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 for Windows and Mac OS. When you install it, you’re prompted to update to the latest version (v.5.7 when we reviewed the NX1), which is admirable.

      The remainder of the NX1’s software must be downloaded from Samsung’s website, staring with i-Launcher. Once it’s installed you can download the user manual for the camera as well as Samsung Movie Converter, Samsung DNG Converter (for converting raw files), PC Auto Backup and Power Media Player. Both PC   and Mac versions of these applications are available.

      When we reviewed the NX1, raw files from it were supported by Adobe Camera Raw in both Photoshop and Lightroom so buyers of the camera should have no issues with sub-standard bundled converters. i-Launcher also makes it easy to keep the camera’s firmware up-to-date by checking each time the camera is connected to your computer.

       We reviewed the NX1 with two zoom lenses, the NX 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS lens and the NX S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS lens, each of which is reviewed separately. JPEG images used for this review were captured with the SuperFine setting, while SRW.RAW files were converted into 16-bit TIFFs using Adobe Camera Raw 5.7.

      The 28.2-megapixel  sensor delivered high-quality JPEGs with plenty of detail, although slight out-of-camera softness, which was easily corrected by unsharp masking in Lightroom. Colours recorded in the default Standard Picture Wizard mode were lively, without appearing over-saturated, although Imatest showed slight boosts to saturation in reds and purples plus a few, relatively minor, colour shifts. Converted raw files showed reduced saturation plus a few small colour shifts, all easily corrected in a capable editor.

      With the NX 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS lens, Imatest showed the review camera to be capable of exceeding expectations for the 28.2-megapixel  sensor with both JPEGs and converted raw files. Resolution remained relatively high between ISO 100 and ISO 1600, after which it tailed off gradually before a significant drop at ISO 25600, particularly for JPEGs. The graph below shows the results of our tests.


       Shots taken at high ISO settings were consistently clean and virtually noise-free up to ISO 6400. Softening became apparent in shots taken at ISO 12800 and increased with rising sensitivity. Interestingly, colour noise was relatively low throughout the sensitivity range and luminance noise remained inoffensive. By ISO 51200, both available light and flash shots appeared both soft and granulated, although they would be usable at small output sizes.

      The built-in flash performed well and produced consistent exposure levels across the ISDO range, with a slight tendency to over-exposure at the two highest sensitivity settings.

      The auto white balance setting produced close-to-neutral colours in flash exposures and under fluorescent lighting but, as expected, failed to eliminate the orange cast that characterises incandescent illumination. The flash, tungsten and fluorescent pre-sets slightly over-corrected but manual measurement produced neutral colours under all three types of lighting. Plenty of in-camera adjustments are available to fine-tune colour balance.

      Video quality was generally excellent with plenty of fine detail being captured in the two 4K recording modes, which produced superb movie clips. The FHD and HD settings were also above average and the camera handled both exposure and focusing much better than most of the DSLRs we have reviewed.    

      Although clips recorded in bright outdoor lighting tended to have slightly higher contrast and saturation than still images, resulting in a slight loss of highlight detail at times. However, we found no evidence of seriously blown-out highlights or blocked-up shadows, a common fault in video clips from many current cameras.

      Soundtracks were clearly recorded with better stereo ‘presence’ than we expected from the small built-in microphones. The wind-cut filter was more effective than many cameras we’ve reviewed but unable to handle high wind strengths.

      Our timing tests were carried out with a 16GB SanDisk Ultra SDHC Class 10 card, which was supplied with the camera and has a data transfer speed of 30MB/second. The review camera took less than one second to power up. We measured an average capture lag of 0.2 seconds, which was eliminated by pre-focusing. Shot-to-shot times averaged 0.7 seconds.

      On average, it took 1.7 seconds to process each Large/SuperFine JPEG file and 3.3 seconds for each SRW.RAW file. RAW+JPEG pairs were processed within 5.4 seconds.

      The high-speed continuous shooting mode recorded 90 Large/SuperFine JPEGs at a rate of 10 frames/second before slowing. It took 12.3 seconds to process a burst of 10 frames with these settings.

      Swapping to raw file capture, the camera was able to record 22 frames at 10 fps before capture slowed. It took roughly 90 seconds to process this burst. The buffer memory filled with 20 RAW+JPEG pairs, which took approximately 110 seconds to process.

      Samsung is a relative newcomer to the enthusiasts’ camera market and appears to be struggling to gain traction at a time when camera sales have slowed or, in some cases, declined. However, in the NX1 the company has created a camera that is technologically superior to equivalent DSLRs from the long-time market leaders, Canon and Nikon.

      It is just as well made as its competitors ““ if not slightly better. It’s also lighter and more convenient to use for shooting video as well as being much quieter and steadier to shoot with (because there’s no mirror flapping). When it comes to connectivity, the NX1 offers more options than any other camera in its category and significantly outdoes the capabilities of equivalent DSLRs.

      Samsung has also shown it listens to photographers’ requests in the comprehensive list of improvements provided   through January’s firmware update. All these factors argue in favour of the NX1 over its rivals.

      But, as respected trade newsletter  Photo Imaging News has commented: ‘It’s difficult to establish a strong foothold when going up against the big boys. Solid features sometimes get overlooked when the wannabe professional photographers see Canon and  Nikon cameras hanging around the necks of seriousness.’ Samsung’s problem is to cultivate the same ‘street cred’ as its established competitors, a goal that’s not impossible, given the positions currently held by rival electronics manufacturers, Panasonic and Sony, both of which have released very attractive (and successful) cameras recently.

      In a mature and declining market, you need more than an excellent product to cut through the marketing hype of the major brands. How Samsung will address this is anyone’s guess, although the company can take some comfort from the endeavours of Sony and Panasonic, both of whom have successfully established their brands in the camera market. We look forward to further developments in the NX1 line.  



       Image sensor: 23.5 x 15.7 mm BSI CMOS sensor with 30.7 million photosites (28.2 megapixels effective)
       Image processor:  DRIMe V  
       A/D processing: 14-bit (12-bit with continuous shooting)
       Lens mount: Samsung NX  
       Focal length crop factor: 1.5x
       Image formats: Stills ““SRW.RAW, JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3), MPO (for 3D Lens); Movies ““ MP4 (Video: HEVC /H.265, Audio: AAC)
       Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3:2 aspect: 6480 x 4320, 4560 x 3040, 3264 x 2176, 2112 x 1408; 16:9 aspect: 6480 x 3648, 4608 x 2592, 3328 x 1872, 2048 x 1152; 1:1 aspect: 4320 x 4320, 3088 x 3088, 2160 x 2160, 1408 x 1408;   3D Lens Image Size: 16:9 aspect: 3232 x 1824, 1920 x 1080; Movies:   UHD:  3840 x 2160 (30fps only),  4K:  4096 x 2160 (24fps only), Full HD 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720 , 640 x 480 at 50fps, 25fps, 24fps
       Image Stabilisation: Lens Shift (depends on lens)
       Dust removal: Supersonic Drive
       Shutter speed range: 1/8000 sec. to 30 sec.  plus Bulb
       Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps
       Exposure bracketing: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV steps (+/- 3EV for movies)
       Other bracketing options: White balance, Picture Wizard, Depth of field
       Self-timer: Delays of 2 to 30 sec.   in one sec. steps
       Focus system: 205-point Phase Detection AF / 209-point Contrast AF, AF Range: EV -4 to 20; AF-Assist Lamp
       Focus modes: Active AF, Continuous AF, MF, Single AF
       Exposure metering:  TTL 221 Block segment metering with  Multi-segment, Centre-weighted and Spot metering patterns
       Shooting modes: Auto, Aperture Priority, Custom1, Custom2, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority, Smart
       Picture Effects: Calm, Classic, Cool, Custom (1-4), Forest, Landscape, Portrait, Retro, Standard, Vivid
       SMART  Modes: Action Freeze, Beauty Face, Fireworks, Landscape, Light Trace, Multi-Exposure, Night, Panorama (Live), Rich Tone (HDR), Samsung Auto Shutter, Silhouette, Sunset, Waterfall
       Smart Filter: Vignetting, Miniature (H), Miniature (V), Water Colour, Selective Colour (R/G/B/Y 4 Colours)
       Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB
       ISO range: Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600   in 1EV or 1/3EV steps; extension to ISO 51200
       White balance: Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent (W/N/D), K (Manual), Tungsten, Auto+Tungsten
       Flash: Built-in, GN 11 (m/ISO 100); coverage to 28 mm wide-angle (35 mm equivalent)
       Flash modes: 1st Curtain, 2nd Curtain, Auto, Auto+Red-eye reduction, Fill-in, Fill-in+Red-eye reduction, Smart Flash, Off
       Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV (1/2EV step), FEL
       Sequence shooting: Max. 15 shots/sec.
       Buffer capacity: Max. Large/Fine JPEGs, RAW files or   RAW+JPEG pairs
       Storage Media: SD, SDHC, SDXC; UHS-I & UHS-II compatible
       Viewfinder: 2,360,000-dot OLED EVF with Eye Contact Sensor; 21 mm eyepoint, 1.04x magnification (APS-C, 50mm, -1m⁻ ¹); 100% field of view; dioptre adjustment -4.0 to +2.0 dpt
       LCD monitor: 3.0-inch Super AMOLED Tilt Display with Touch panel (tilting Up 90 °, Down 45 °); 1,036,000 dots; Guide display
       Playback functions: Single image, Thumbnails (15/24 images), Slide show, Movie; Auto Adjustment, Brightness, Colour Temperature, Contrast, Crop, Exposure, Face Retouch, Hue, Resize, RGB Adjustment, Rotate, Saturation, Smart Filter; Trim Movie, Still Image Capture from movie
       Interface terminals: USB 3.0, HDMI (NTSC, PAL), 3.5mm Stereo MIC Input, 3.5mm Stereo Output, remote release
       Wi-Fi function: IEEE 802. 11b/g/n/ac; NFC, Bluetooth 3.0 support
       Power supply: BP1900 (1860mAh) rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 500 shots/charge
       Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 138.5 x 102.3 x 65.8 mm (excluding protrusions)
       Weight: Approx. 550 grams (body only); 640 grams with battery and card



       Based on Large/SuperFine JPEG files straight from the camera.


      Based on SRW.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF files with Adobe Camera Raw.









       Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.


       Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.


       Auto white balance with flash lighting.


      30-second exposure at ISO 100, 24mm focal length, f/4.


      20-second exposure at ISO 800, 24mm focal length, f/5.


      10-second exposure at ISO 6400, 24mm focal length, f/9.



      5-second exposure at ISO 12800, 24mm focal length, f/11.


      3-second exposure at ISO 25600, 24mm focal length, f/13.


      2-second exposure at ISO 51200, 24mm focal length, f/16.


      Flash exposure at ISO 200, 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at   f/2.8.


      Flash exposure at ISO 800, 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at   f/2.8.


      Flash exposure at ISO 6400, 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at   f/7.1.


      Flash exposure at ISO 12800, 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at   f/10.


      Flash exposure at ISO 25600, 50mm focal length, 1/80 second at   f/13.


      Flash exposure at ISO 51200, 50mm focal length, 1/100 second at   f/13.


       150mm focal length, ISO 800, 1/160 second at f/2.8.


      50mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/80 second at f/5.


      45mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/80 second at f/4.5.


      Panorama mode; 16mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/2000 second at f/4.


      Panorama mode; 55mm focal length, ISO 200, 1/200 second at f/4.


      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/5.6.


      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/2500 second at f/2.8.


      50mm focal length, ISO 400, 1/13 second at f/5.


      24mm focal length, ISO 3200, 1/8 second at f/9.


      89mm focal length, ISO 6400, 1/160 second at f/2.8.


      16mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/200 second at f/11.


      50mm focal length, ISO 100, 1/400 second at f/6.3.


      Frame grab from MP4 4K 4096 x 2160 video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 4K 3840 x 2160 video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 Full HD 50p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 Full HD 25p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 Full HD 24p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 HD 50p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 HD 25p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 VGA 50p video clip.


       Frame grab from MP4 VGA 25p video clip.


       Frame grab from MJPG VGA 25p video clip.
       Additional image samples can be found with our reviews of the  NX 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS lens  and the  NX S 50-150mm f/2.8 S ED OIS lens.



      RRP: AU$1899; US$1499 (body only)

      • Build: 9.0
      • Ease of use: 8.8
      • Autofocusing: 9.0
      • Still image quality JPEG: 9.0
      • Still image quality RAW: 9.0
      • Video quality: 9.0