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Samsung NX1 : The Professional Compact System Camera of the Year

User Rating: 5 / 5

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Samsung has been pretty inventive in the digital camera world. It was the first to offer an really extensive Wi-Fi system (which continues to this day), Android-based cameras (though Nikon launched a model at about the same time), and arguably the first dedicated 'selfie cams' with its DualView models.

The company has yet again come up with something new, this time in the enthusiast mirrorless space. For the first time ever, Samsung has managed to create an APS-C-sized, 28MP CMOS sensor that's backside illuminated. BSI sensors move all the circuitry behind the light-capturing part of the sensor which allows it to capture more light, improving low light performance and reducing noise. Until now, the largest sensor with backside illumination was 1"-type (around 1/3rd the size of APS-C).

The NX1 sits in a crowded field of excellent cameras - both DSLR and mirrorless - such as the Nikon D7200, Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Panasonic DMC-GH4 and Fujifilm X-T1. Each of these models has its own appeal, whether it be the excellent video specification of the Panasonic, the compactness of the Fujifilm or the all-round capability of the Nikon. While they share similar price tags and build quality and aim for broadly the same audience, the NX1 has quite a few tricks up its sleeve beyond its clever sensor, to try to break into that respectable club.

Samsung NX1

Samsung NX1 – Design and Handling :

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The Samsung NX1 is a compact system camera, but one that looks rather DSLR-ish. It’s big and chunky, with a shape designed more for ease of handling than compactness.

This isn’t so much a negative point as something you need to consider before buying. The NX1 is a similar size to the Nikon D7100, an all-out DSLR.

Its exact measurements are 138.5 x 102.3 x 65.8mm, and it weighs 550g without a lens. It is not all that light, and you need to consider the weight of the lens on top. Samsung’s premium S-class lenses are particularly heavy, and would be an obvious fit for a high-end camera like this. The 16-50mm S ED f/2-2.8 lens weighs a whopping 622g, making the full package well over a kilo.
It may be an imposing prospect, but we otherwise like the Samsung NX1 design. It offers a sure grip, and a very clean approach to layout.

It’s clean, with definite lines and no extraneous hardware buttons to confuse. As with most cameras, the action centres around a mode dial with the standard P/A/S/M modes, making it easy to use for less experienced photographers.

The one niggle we have is that some of the function buttons on the back are just far too small, making some operations feel more fiddly than is really necessary. It’s not as if the Samsung NX1 lacks room for some slightly larger buttons.

Manual control is good, though, with rotary dials for your thumb and forefinger sitting to each side of the shutter button. Another sign this is a real high-end camera is the secondary, monochrome display on the top plate, a great way to quickly check your settings and battery level.

Samsung NX1

 

Samsung NX1 -  key features : 

  • 28.2 megapixel APS-C BSI-CMOS sensor
  • Hybrid AF system with 205 phase-detect points covering 90% of the frame
  • 15 fps burst shooting with continuous autofocus
  • 4K (DCI 4K & UHD) video recording using H.265 codec
  • Can output 4:2:2 8-bit 4K video over HDMI
  • Stripe pattern AF illuminator with 15m range
  • Weather-resistant magnesium alloy body
  • Context-sensitive adaptive noise reduction
  • 3" tilting Super AMOLED touchscreen display
  • 2.36M dot OLED EVF with 5ms lag
  • LCD info display on top of camera
  • Built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • USB 3.0 interface
  • Optional battery grip

 

Highs :

  • One of the best APS-C cameras reviewed yet

  • Captures 4K videos directly to media card

  • Fast response, speedy focusing

WARRANTY

Samsung provides a one-year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials.

Review: Samsung NX1, Best Mirrorless Camera?

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PERFORMANCE AND USE

Our test rig was made up of the NX1 body and the constant aperture f/2.8 50-150mm glass. We shot everything from landscapes to anything that’s fast moving (so we could test the 15-fps burst mode). Before getting into the details, we’ll state upfront: The NX1 is possibly the finest APS-C camera we have ever tested, and we’ve handled the best of them over the years, including the new Canon EOS 7D Mark II that costs lots more ($1,799 body only), as well as many 24MP cameras from Nikon and Sony. As we said, to get better image quality you have to go full-frame like the Sony A7 or the Nikon D750 ($2,299 body only), one of our favorite cameras of 2014.

 

Samsung NX1

 


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