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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

Photo quality

The NX1 had no trouble outperforming the GH4 in our photo tests. Details from its 28-megapixel sensor were sharp and smooth. Even when attaching a basic kit lens borrowed from an NX300, it managed to resolve sharper details in our studio scene than the 24-megapixel Nikon D7100 and D610 – and that was with much pricier lenses attached. The NX1 was far ahead of rival CSCs such as the Panasonic GH4 and Fujifilm X-T1 for details, and on a par with the full-frame Sony a7.

The sensor is back-illuminated, which means the circuitry is on the rear of the sensor so it doesn’t obstruct incoming light. It’s the biggest sensor to date to use this technology, and should help to reduce noise levels. It’s a welcome move considering the massive 28-megapixel resolution – a new record for an APS-C sensor size.

In practice, noise levels were broadly on a par with the current generation of APS-C SLRs. It outperformed the Panasonic GH4 (which uses a smaller sensor) but didn’t match the Fujifilm X-T1 or Sony a7. Fine details such as hair and foliage began to lose their definition in JPEGs as the ISO speed went up. By ISO 3200 fine details looked smudged and shadows were grainy, but the camera continued to produce passable snaps up to ISO 6400.

^ The camera’s JPEG engine has plucked a huge amount of fine detail from these wispy fine textures. (1/400s, f/4, ISO 100, 104mm equivalent)

^ The fine lines of this brickwork are pin sharp without any sign of blocky aliasing artefacts. (1/250s, f/3.5, ISO 100, 77mm equivalent)

^ Skin textures are detailed and natural, and colour rendition is excellent. (1/200s, f/3.2, ISO 100, 77mm equivalent)

^ Even Samsung’s budget 18-55mm zoom lens delivers the goods in front of the NX1’s 28-megapixel sensor. (1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 100, 27mm equivalent)

^ Telephoto photography in overcast weather has pushed the ISO speed up, but there’s plenty of detail and not much noise at ISO 800. (1/160s, f/4.5, ISO 800, 231mm equivalent)

^ Skin tones are a demanding test for noise levels, but the results at ISO 1000 remain excellent. (1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 1000, 112mm equivalent)

^ Fine details are heavily smudged at ISO 4000 and skin tones look blotchy, but this shot is still usable at modest sizes. (1/80s, f/2.8, ISO 4000, 77mm equivalent)

A new champion?

We really admire Samsung for biding its time and refining its camera technology before releasing the NX1. A couple of years ago the NX range had some strengths and some weaknesses, but today even its budget models are reliably excellent. It’s this consistency of high-quality design that underpins the NX1. Everything from its ergonomics and performance to its image and video quality impresses, and it’s stuffed to the gills with superb features. It’s not as gorgeous looking as the Fujifilm X-T1, and falls behind for image quality in low light. Meanwhile, the Panasonic GH4 narrowly clings onto its crown as the best camera for video. However, if you need one camera for both tasks, the NX1 is our top recommendation. 

If none of these quite suit your needs then check out our regularly updated Best Cameras, including top picks and a buying guide.

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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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