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Gear Reviews

Samsung NX1: The Best APS-C Sensor On The Market? | Camera Store TV

By Anthony Thurston on December 2nd 2014

There has been lots of talk about the 4K, the 15fps, and the auto focus on the new flagship Samsung NX1, but the real crown jewel of the new camera has got to be its 28mp backside illuminated APS-C sensor.

nx1-cstv-review

The Camera Store TV Reviews The Samsung NX1

The Camera Store TV just released their in-depth review and field test with the NX1, and beyond some issues with the AF accuracy in low-light, they were impressed in almost every way. They even go as far as to say that the new Samsung flagship NX1 has “probably the best APS-C sized sensor on the market,” and that it “competes with some full frame cameras.”

[REWIND: How Does The NX1 Stack Up To Your DSLR?]

Those are some pretty high marks from a team that doesn’t hold back about things they don’t like. I will tell you what guys (and ladies), I am more excited to give this camera a try every time I read about it. The specs alone make it worthy of a try, and now that these other reviews are starting to roll in, it is pretty clear that this is a body people need to be looking at if they are purchasing an interchangeable lens camera.

We have now shared two really well done real world reviews of the NX1, so now I am curious if you are more interested in this camera now, after watching the reviews, or if you had more interest before, when it was just a list of impressive specs? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Those of you interested can find the NX1 at B&H, and you can get your hands on it for just $1499 in the body only. If you want the kit with the 16-50mm lens that is featured in the video above, you can get that for just $2799. There is also a second kit, with a smaller F/3.5-5.6 16-50mm lens available for $1699.

[via The Camera Store TV on YouTube]

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    I can’t wait and see how the Nikon 9300 with a 1.3 crop factor will offer in terms of image quality and put all these other sensors back!

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  2. Matthew Saville

    They’re probably throwing Canon a real bone here when they say “competes with some full-frame cameras”… The fact is, 100% of Canon’s sensors, from beginner APS-C to flagship FF, have completely stopped improving their dynamic range for the past 10 years. They literally hit a wall and still haven’t been able to come within spitting distance of not just Nikon’s latest DSLRs with almost 15 stops of DR, but they haven’t even come close to beating the ancient Fuji sensor technology from 2004 that had, um, 13 stops of DR. Canon is still releasing DSLRs with 11.8 and 11.9 stops of DR.

    Just about the only thing that a small handful of the newest Canon full-frame flagships can do better than this sensor is at high ISOs, since they’re full-frame Canon sensors and that’s all Canon has left to brag about. Well, it’s not 2004 anymore, Canon, you need to get off your high (ISO) horse, and smell the fact that even a crop-sensor, P&S style camera is beating you in almost every respect.

    If you’re not a pixel-peeper, that’s great! I’m very happy to remind you that you can pick pretty much any camera made in the last 5 years, and be perfectly happy. However that’s not going to stop some of us from continuing to pixel peep. Some people measurebate for no good reason, but I personally am very keen on pushing the limits of what is possible with photography, and I prefer to use cameras with insane DR, great high ISO performance, and various other bells and whistles that make my life easier, even though I could “make do” without them.

    Canon and Nikon, consider this another shot across your bow. You have 2-3 years before I start putting you in the Kodak boat.

    =Matt=

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    • Holger Foysi

      It’s true, Canon isn’t as good at lower ISO (<400) in DR. But otherwise they are mostly on par. Look at this review I found today about the new 7Dii. Amazing performance at higher ISO: http://www.clarkvision.com/reviews/evaluation-canon-7dii/

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    • adam sanford

      Matt, I was not aware that this *Samsung* story turned into another chance to pillory Canon’s sensors.

      You, of all people — a strong, insightful commenter on this website — can do better than this. Leave sensor bashing to the masses and give us all an interesting perspective on *this* story. I actually want to hear that from you, because it will probably be great.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Adam, I just think that it’s strange to see people still tip-toe-ing around Canon’s sensors as if it’s politically incorrect to call a spade a spade. I know it sounds like I’m beating a dead horse, but oppositely, others are just glossing over it as if Canon still has the same industry-wide lead that they did 8-10 years ago…

      I will say this however. I thought for some reason that the NX1 was some sort of $700 P&S style mirrorless camera that had all these crazy features, I didn’t realize it was $1500 and as beefy as it is. So as it stands, this camera is to be expected from a $1500 mirrorless camera. In other words, if Canon made a $1500 mirrorless camera with the 7D mk2 sensor, I bet it would really kick butt in every respect other than base ISO dynamic range.

      The problem is that, like I said earlier, Canon and Nikon are running out of time if they want to catch up to Sony and Samsung and Panasonic. Many people have already jumped ship, but I’m still giving Canon 2-3 years to start turning things around, and Nikon 3-4 years since they’re currently on top with DSLRs. For now, they’ll remain in the top spot simply because they have so much experience making great cameras. These electronics companies have basically started from cameras that felt and looked like just another universal TV remote, or a CD player, and they’ve had to fight tooth and nail to figure out how to design a proper camera that can feel comfortable in your hand for hours at a time, while being amazingly functional and customizable. It’s no easy feat, and everyone who has “jumped ship” to Sony’s A7 series for example have all mentioned that, operationally, it’s a noticeable compromise / annoyance, and the only advantages are those newfangled bells and whistles that many people still don’t care about.

      Rest assured, I do have faith that both Canon and Nikon aren’t going to be as head-in-the-sand as Kodak. They’ll pull it off. They’ll do mirrorless in the next year or two, and when they do it will be big. Sony may take over the market, but whichever of the two (canon / nikon) does get bumped out, will still maintain a respectable, Pentax-like place in the market and in people’s hearts.

      But I’m not going to stop complaining about the certain things that matter most to me. :-)

      =Matt=

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    • adam sanford

      Appreciated, Matt. (I still think it’s off-topic, but hey, it’s a free internet.)

      Getting back to the NX1 and your last post, here’s what I’m missing: everyone knows Canon and Nikon are behind in Mirrorless. Sony, Fuji, Olympus, etc. continue to advance with a much higher commitment level to this product segment.

      Secondly, many (if not most) folks on this site believe Mirrorless is either taking over right now or will eventually take over once the technology advances a bit further (battery life, responsiveness, AF, etc.)

      But what I am lacking is hard data that says that it is or isn’t happening right now. These sites are dominated by photography enthusiasts that seem to sprint from a DXO review directly to the B&H pre-order button or writers that report out their heartfelt experience of losing the mirror, making the transition, etc. But what percentage of the entire photography market does Mirrorless represent? Are Soccer Moms or Tourist Dads ditching their Rebels for an m43 rig? Are pros leaving their flagship FF bodies behind for a7 rigs?

      I’m not a climate change / evolution denier on this topic so much as a guy that needs data. Are Canon and Nikon really losing their shirt to Mirrorless products, or do they remain simply a exciting curiosity for the photography community? Are only bleeding edge tech enthusiasts making the conversion plunge, or is it more than that?

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    • Gareth Roughley

      I agree adam, id really like to know how much of a ground swell mirrorless is really making. My wife has an olympus OMD-em5 but its just a personal camera for the diaper bag and nothing more, and still doesnt get the mileage out other ff dslr’s get. It seems like mirrorless is in the same place as digital was in the late 90’s, early 2000s so there is still some time for big changes.

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    • Scottie Nguyen

      Well, Adam to answer your question, it’s pretty simple. Pro who have 27 lenses are heavily invested in Canon and Nikon already and will be slower to or more hesistant to change because of their investments. That is obvious. For newbies and soccor moms who don’t have but one or zero lenses, and if they are going to start looking at cameras, mirroless is appealing. More bang for you bucks and they have a smaller budget. The newbie enthusiast will lean toward the new technology cause they can give a hoot about lenses they don’t have. For now, Canon and Nikon have 2 years before mirrorless cameras are refined to the point that it will rival SLR. For sure the FPS is there and surpassed DSLR already. Fine tuning that I am referring to are things like autofocusing system, time-lapsing stuff, buffering, maybe better sensors with dynamic range that will hit 14 eV. If that happens in 2 years and Canon and Nikon doesn’t keep up, oh boy. Well more Canon because we all know Nikon gave up and started using Sony sensors. Maybe Canon should just be like like NIkon, just humble themself like Nikon and admit that Sony makes the best sensor and just start using their sensors and concentrate on making better mirrorless and cameras.

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    • adam sanford

      The data is limited from a quick google search. I do see plots of mirrorless vs. DSLR sales like this, FWIW:

      http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/soemthing-is-changing-dslr-sales-going-down-mirrorless-sales-going-slighty-up/

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    • Scottie Nguyen

      I think in 2 years, the mirrorless will equal the DSLR in sales especially if they make really good FF mirrorless.

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    • Dave Lyons

      Scottie..
      Just fyi.. the highest rated sensor on http://www.senscore.org is the Nikon d4s which uses a NIKON sensor… I don’t think they “gave up” to go to sony but overall in the end I’m sure it’s a lot cheaper to just buy and tweak a sony sensor then to do it themselves and why even try yourself (***cough cough Canon***) when sony is already making the best ones?

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    • Dave Lyons

      as far as I know Canons better high iso is due to them destructively blending pixels together to smooth the noise out… Which sounds fine until you realize doing such a thing decreases sharpness that you can’t get back where Nikon and the others let the noise be natural and let you remove what you want and control the noise removal vs details lost portion yourself.

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    • Dave Haynie

      The last numbers I looked at have Canon and Nikon at about 75% of the interchangeable lens market, with negligible mirrorless sales. After 2013, Olympus has the largest market share in Japan (the largest mirrorless market) at 29%, with Sony at 27% and Panasonic at 14%. Sony’s claiming to have about 50% of the world market just recently… guess we’ll see when those year-end-add-it-up reports come out. Samsung also claims to have about 20% of the world market…. at some point, I suspect we get to more than 100% if we just listen to marketing people. Last numbers I had (early 2014) had mirrorless at about 30% of the interchangeable lens camera sales in Japan (and likely similar numbers elsewhere in Asia), more like 10% in the USA and Europe.

      The good news is that, while the low-end camera market is vanishing, higher end sales are starting to increase (unit sales are still dropping, but revenues are increasing). Which probably explains all the action in the marketplace: lots of higher end P&S and mirrorless, not so many Instamatics. And the fact is, pretty much everyone other than Pentax has stopped trying to directly compete with Nikon and Canon, and has gone mirrorless.

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  3. Raoni Franco

    Oh my God!! Just now that I was almost deciding in which system to invest!! This seems preety good!! What are the advantages of this camera over the 7d II?? And the Sony?? And the Olympus? And the Fuji? Maybe if it has 11% less noise in the shadows I can think about switching from my 27 lenses kit ?? Will I be able to make better images of my cat??

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    • adam sanford

      Skip this camera, then. You need a 50 MP medium format rig to shoot a cat.

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    • Matthew Saville

      If you’re taking pictures of your cat, I think you should sell all 27 of your lenses, and get an iPhone. 27 lenses worth of $$$ could buy you a nice vacation, and a years’ supply of cat food!

      ;-)
      =Matt=

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    • Raoni Franco

      One-year-of-cat-food!!! That´s awesome!! WOW!! Selling my kit right now!! Now, seriously guys, what brand of cat food do you think is the best? The green one?? Maybe the purple one, with more vegetables in it? Or the white with more calcium? I should probably get the rainbow colored one……….

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    • Dave Haynie

      Shhhh… you guys have to know that cats rule the internet, and sites like this are just tolerated. I shoot the dog on my Olympus, either Fujifilm X P&S, or even my phone. But I have to get the 6D and an L lens for the cats…. otherwise, I get mysterious internet pro #^(&$ )*# ,=*)# #&)*&$(_JLDJ_*(

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  4. Greg Silver

    I would say the Samsung NX1 does have the best APS-C sensor from what I’ve seen. But I wouldn’t necessarily say they have the best lenses nor the camera have necessarily the best feature set either.

    I thought I seen somewhere that the NX1 doesn’t have the option for back button autofocus. That’s somewhat significant to those who use that feature regularly for sports/wildlife photos. However, I think that could be fixed with a simple firmware update.

    I still think the NX1 is an awesome camera.

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    • adam sanford

      I still question Samsung going after the reach/sports crowd in the first place. Sports/wildlife/birding shooters *strongly* prefer an optical viewfinder and really high-end AF systems for maximum control and responsiveness, and as such, they are likely to be the last type of shooter to abandon SLRs.

      I didn’t know about back-button AF, Greg. Some folks swear by BBAF and would miss it, and not just in wildlife work.

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    • Holger Foysi

      I read on a forum that it’s possible via menu settings. But thing is, we don’t know about the commitment of Samsung to be serious yet. It’s the first pro-camera body. For me, Samsung is getting too big. Would I want a company with that influence, power and product diversity to take over this market, too? I don’t know, although I’m tempted by this camera.

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    • Stan Rogers

      It certainly does have back button AF — and AE, on separate buttons, so you don’t have to choose/program (although you can if you want to; there are a couple of extra Fn buttons lying around if you need to have your thumb in a different place). And they have a stellar set of lenses covering the wedding/event/studio niches, with a 300/2.8 already in the pipeline (though weather sealing is missing from all but the new “S” series released along with this body, if that’s important to you). There’s room to go longer and wider, of course, and there’s no third-party mount support, so I can’t say that lens selection won’t be an issue for anybody, but they’re better-positioned than any other new “serious” camera usually is. The EVF may be an issue — I’ve never been a believer before, but I’m beginning to be persuaded that the current generation just might have the edge over an OVF with APS-C and smaller sensors; it really is more a matter of prejudice than reality at this point, and I’m aware of my prejudice. (Small reflex finders, even the best of them, are dim. A Four Thirds SLR, for instance, ranks right up there with the Pentax Auto 110 and the Minolta 110 Zoom. APS-C is just at the lower limit of usefulness for an optical reflex finder IMHO.)

      I’m not a fanboi. Not yet, anyway — the camera hasn’t been out long enough for anyone to have become one, I can count the minutes I’ve spent with the body without taking off my shoes, and I don’t have the budget to go there right now. But it’s really hard for anyone to say at this point that Samsung hasn’t jumped in with both feet here. Now it’s mostly a matter of getting people to not mind so much that the brand name on their camera, fridge, TV, microwave and air conditioner all match, and that’s not going to be easy.

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  5. adam sanford

    Every time I see the drool-worthy specs of this, I hear the Abba song “Take a Chance on Me” in my head.

    On paper, it’s a powerhouse. But anyone above the age of 15 knows that you’re buying into an ecosystem with a camera purchase, and Samsung’s ecosystem — it’s size, health, and future — is questionable at best. They need to demonstrate a commitment to the platform with lots of lenses, solid initial quality, regular firmware updates and a steady stream of good reviews.

    Until then, the reach-obsessed and action oriented shooters will naturally turn to the 7D2 or the D7something00.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      I more or less agree with you. I am not super invested in any one system though, so personally, I am much more likely to ‘take a chance’ on a system like this. Honestly, this and the 50-150mm combined with the 300mm F/2.8 that they will be announcing at CES and I would be happy/content with my kit. haha

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    • Scottie Nguyen

      Well, real live testing by these guys are saying that it is close to what it is on paper and in that price range, there’s nothing that stacks up in terms of performance. Man that 15 fps sounded super fast !!! Very nicely done for Samsung’s first serious camera. I wonder if that autofocus issued can be fixed via firmware. Since it is an algorithm based for the autofocusing, maybe it can be fixed via firmware ?

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    • Holger Foysi

      @NGUYEN: The AF issue was with the 85/1.4 mainly, which is slower than the newer lenses. Youtube videos show, that it strongly depends on AF area size, which can be easily changed. Doing so increases AF performance. 15fps indeed looks incredible, but doesn’t help, if accuracy isn’t met. I saw a site getting only 4/15 shots in perfect focus using the 50-150/2.8 lens. Could be improved, certainly. But will it give you the consistency and keeper rate of about >90% of a 7Dii or D4/D4s etc.? If they manage to do this, it could really be a great camera.

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