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Gear Reviews

Samsung NX1 | Initial Thoughts and Impressions

By Anthony Thurston on December 23rd 2014

It took long enough, but I finally got my hands on Samsung’s new flagship camera: the NX1. I have had it in my possession for roughly a week now, and I am ready to share my initial thoughts on this exciting mirrorless camera.

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My Initial Impressions on the Samsung NX1

Let me start off by saying that so far my experience with the NX1 has been a good one. I have not had any issues to speak of, though I have experienced the poor low-light AF performance that others have mentioned. In general though, the camera has performed well and has met my expectations in every way.

Size/Weight

This is not your average light-weight mirrorless camera. This thing feels more like a DSLR. I actually like that, but I know many of you choose mirrorless for its size/weight savings so I figured it was worth bringing up.

When comparing the weight of the NX1 (with the 16-50mm F/2-2.8) to that of my Fuji X-T1 (with the kit 18-55mm F/2.8-4), the NX1 feels like a brick. It is not as heavy as a DSLR, but not as light as most expect mirrorless rigs to be, so it’s sort of in a weird place.

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Controls/Useability

As a recent Fuji convert from Canon, and earlier in life, a Canon convert from Nikon, I have had plenty of experience with learning new menu systems and figuring new cameras out. That said, the NX1 is unlike any camera that I have ever used before. That is not to say this is a bad thing, but the camera has definitely taken some getting used to here in my first week.

Once I got used to where things were and how to navigate around the camera/menu system, the camera was a breeze to work with. But those first few hours were troublesome. I mean I could take a picture easy enough, but customizing the camera and finding where certain settings are hidden was the part that took getting used to.

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What I Like

  • The EVF: This is by far the best EVF I have ever used. Not only does it look beautiful, but it performs wonderfully.
  • The Tilty-Flippy Touch Screen LCD: Most images on the backs of cameras look good, but the images on the back of the NX1 scream at you. It is like looking at a 4K TV for the first time; the images just look so detailed and beautiful.
  • Daylight AF: This thing focuses faster than any other camera I have ever used in good light. Sometimes, it feels like the camera is focused before I have a chance to process the fact that I pressed the AF button.
  • The Weather Sealing: I took this camera out on Saturday in what I like to call an Oregon Monsoon. Roads were being closed because rain was causing creeks to overflow and flood streets. I took this out on a photo walk to the local refuge in that rain, and it held up after 3-4 hours in a torrential downpour. Color me impressed.
  • The 15FPS: This thing sounds like a freaking machine gun. Honestly, I thought that the 7D Mark II sounded insane, and this has it beat by a whole 5 frames per second. But beware, if you shoot with continuous high enabled, it is almost impossible to take just one shot.

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What I Am Not Sure about So Far

  • The Touch Screen: While I love how the images look on the back of the camera, I am also on the fence about the touch aspect of the LCD. As fun and awesome as it is to be able to touch what I want to focus on, it’s also super easy to touch things by accident and mess up settings.
  • The 4-way Dial: It is a little thin. I think that I would like something a little thicker – easier to grip.

Overall Initial Impressions

If there is one thing that I feel confident about from the 7 days I have had with this camera so far, it is that Samsung has really stepped up their game in the camera market. The jury is still out on this camera overall, but it is heads and shoulders better than any previous Samsung offering that I have used.

Combine this stellar camera with the incredible new pro level glass that they are releasing, and we have the beginnings of what could become a powerful system in today’s camera market.

Stay tuned for my full review in a few weeks. To finish things off, here are a few sample shots from the wet photo walk I mentioned earlier…

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1/20th, F/2.8, ISO 800 – Samsung NX1 @ 50mm w/ 16-55mm F/2-2.8

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1/20th, F/2.8, ISO 800 – Samsung NX1 @ 55mm w/ 16-55mm F/2-2.8

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1/50th, F/2.8, ISO 800 – Samsung NX1 @ 55mm w/ 16-55mm F/2-2.8

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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  2. Rafael Steffen

    This camera has a really good package for prosumers, but when it comes to buying flahs acessories for it, then there is a lack of market compatibility with other products.

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  3. Ken Yee

    And another question is whether you’d choose this over a GH4 for video…lack of speedbooster, adapters, etc. would be my main issue…

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  4. Kishore Sawh

    Nice Tony. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it though – how does Samsung really plan on competing with Sony, or Fuji?

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    • Anthony Thurston

      How did Sony/Fuji really plan on competing with Canon/Nikon/DSLRs back when they started doing what they are doing? I get what you are saying, but my point is that this isn’t some garbage camera, lots of potential here.

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  5. Eric S

    I really wish they would have just latched on to an already existing format, instead of sticking with one that doesn’t have much support. I just want my fancy cake, and to eat it too, and then to continue to have other people’s cakes. Why is that so hard?!

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  6. Greg Urbano

    I guess the all important question as always is “Would you buy this camera for your next upgrade or replace one of your existing cameras with this one?”

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