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Samsung NX1 review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £1299
inc VAT

Fast, feature-packed and massively capable, the Samsung NX1 is an unbridled success


Sensor resolution: 28 megapixels, Sensor size: 23.5×15.7mm (APS-C), Focal length multiplier: 1.5x, Viewfinder: Electronic (2,360,000 dots), LCD screen: 3in (1,036,000 dots), Lens mount: Samsung NX, Weight: 550g, Size (HxWxD): 103x145x82mm

Wex Photographic


Shooting performance is simply outstanding. 15fps continuous shooting is the fastest sustained performance we’ve ever seen. The fact that the NX1 delivers it with continuous autofocus is an incredible achievement. We measured 13.4fps with a 1/100s shutter speed, slowing to 2.3fps after 60 JPEGs. Shooting with a 1/500s shutter, it managed 15.2fps. RAW capture lasted for 20 frames before slowing to 2fps.

15 photos per second doesn’t give much time to update autofocus between shots, but tracking accuracy was excellent in our tests. Shooting a moving subject at f/2.8 with a 150mm focal length for an extremely narrow depth of field, the majority of frames were sharp. There are lots of autofocus modes to choose from including a flexible spot mode with a variable area size, plus subject tracking. The touchscreen makes it quick to move the spot position, although it’s also possible via the OK button and dials when shooting with the viewfinder. Invoking subject tracking is only possible via the touchscreen, which could be frustrating.

The camera performed reasonably well in normal use, too. It took one second to switch on and capture a photo. Autofocus was usually extremely responsive, but on a few occasions it was flummoxed by a scene and was unable to focus at all, despite repeated attempts. This was infrequent enough for us not to be too concerned. Shot-to-shot times in the Single drive mode were 0.6 seconds when using the viewfinder and 0.7 seconds when shooting with the screen. Full power flash shots were just 1.8 seconds apart.

Video quality

4K recording suggests that the NX1 is a serious video camera. There’s Cinema 4K (4096×2160) at 24fps, plus UHD (3840×2160) at a choice of 24, 25 and 30fps frame rates. Selecting 1080p adds 50 and 60fps capture, plus 100fps and 120fps with slow motion playback. Recordings are up to 30 minutes, but seemingly only to SDXC cards. We got card error messages after a few minutes of recording to SDHC cards, even though the card was easily fast enough.

Videos are encoded in HEVC format, which it’s claimed is twice as efficient as the widely used AVC codec. This keeps file sizes down, but it’s currently at the expense of compatibility. None of the Windows editing software we tried could handle these files, and barely any playback software could either. Salvation came from a bundled copy of CyberLink Power Media Player 12, and there’s also a Samsung utility that converts footage to AVC format. These applications are only available by connecting the camera to a PC via USB and installing another utility directly from the camera, whereupon the other software can be downloaded. We doubt many NX1 owners will find these without help. HEVC is undoubtedly the future, it’s the format Netflix uses to stream its 4K video, it’s just a shame that the NX1 doesn’t simply have an AVC option to be getting on with.

When we finally gained access to the 4K footage, we saw blisteringly sharp details, even outperforming the fantastic Panasonic GH4. 1080p footage wasn’t quite as impressive, with digital sharpening giving a slightly pixelated appearance and increased susceptibility to moiré interference. The GH4 also took the lead for colour handling in videos, with its Cinelike colour profiles providing a flat contrast with lots of highlight and shadow information, making for an ideal starting place for colour grading. The Samsung NX1 has various colour controls specifically for video but we weren’t able to achieve the same extended dynamic range here.

^ We thought the Panasonic GH4’s 4K output was good, but the NX1 looks breathtakingly sharp.

^ We’re not quite as sold on the 1080p output, which looks a little over-sharpened, resulting in some pixellation on diagonal lines such as the circular robot dials.

There’s an impressive supporting cast of video features, such as the full complement of priority and manual exposure control modes. We were able to set the shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation and still leave the camera to adjust the overall exposure level using automatic ISO speed. The touchscreen and phase-detect points help to deliver responsive, highly controllable autofocus. The iOS and Android apps can act as a remote monitor, complete with touchscreen autofocus control. There was still a bit of focus hunting at times so manual focus is the safest option. Focus peaking helped here, highlighting sharply focused areas of the frame. The camera can stream a clean, uncompressed 4K output with timecode over HDMI. We’d have preferred a more substantial HDMI socket, though; the Micro HDMI design is a little fragile simply because it’s so small.

Overall, the GH4 remains our top choice for video production with its more widely compatible AVC codec and superior colour management. The NX1 comes a very close second, though.

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Sensor resolution28 megapixels
Sensor size23.5×15.7mm (APS-C)
Focal length multiplier1.5x
Optical stabilisationAvailable in lenses
ViewfinderElectronic (2,360,000 dots)
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage0.69x, 100%
LCD screen3in (1,036,000 dots)
ArticulatedYes, tilting
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG, RAW (SRW)
Maximum photo resolution6,480×4,320
Photo aspect ratios3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatMP4 (HEVC at up to 80Mbit/s)
Video resolutionsCinema 4K (4096×2160) at 24fps, 4K (3840×2160) at 24 drop/24/25/30fps, 1080p at 24 drop/24/25/30/50/60fps, 720p at 25/30/50/60fps, VGa at 25/30/50/60fps
Slow motion video modes1080p at 100/120fps (1/4x), 1080p at 50/60fps (1/2x)
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)
Exposure modesProgram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed range30 to 1/8,000 seconds
ISO speed range100 to 51200
Exposure compensationEV +/-5
White balanceAuto, 8 presets with fine tuning, manual, Kelvin
Auto-focus modesMulti, flexible spot, face detect, tracking. 205 phase-detect points (153 cross type)
Metering modesMulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, AE bracket, WB bracket, Picture Wizard bracket, depth-of-field bracket, interval, HDR, panorama
Lens mountSamsung NX
Card slotSDXC
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB 3, micro HDMI, 3.5mm microphone, 3.5mm headphone
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth
HotshoeSamsung TTL
Body materialMagnesium alloy
AccessoriesUSB cable, neck strap
Size (HxWxD)103x145x82mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price including VAT£1,299

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