samsung-nx1

Samsung NX1 vs. Full Frame CMOS: Challenge Accepted

January 19th 2015 10:15 AM

In 1983, a clandestine effort was initiated by a well-established multi-national company with no budget restrictions or time constraints. It was to be a product that would represent the best of the company’s energies and skills, and redefine an entire market. That company was Toyota, and the product was the Lexus LS 400. The car was a tremendous success and eliminated the dominance of American and European luxury flagship sedans for over a decade. To this day, the Lexus LS remains the gold standard for reliability and in-cabin quietness and the current LS is actually quieter than a Tesla Model S on the highway!

Three years ago, Samsung embarked on a project with similarly lofty goals. This time, they wanted to build the world’s best interchangeable lens camera. It would be a system that would convince existing DSLR owners to jump to the Samsung platform and be a camera that demonstrated what the combined resources of Samsung could do. The product is the NX1.

Did Samsung succeed? In one word: yes.

[REWIND: SAMSUNG DEMONSTRATES IMPRESSIVE CAPABILITIES OF NEW NX1 IN NEW INTERVIEW]

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The Contenders

I’m not going to take it easy on Samsung. I’m going to compare the Samsung NX1 with the 16-50/2-2.8 S “kit” lens against the Sony A7R with the Zeiss FE 35/2.8 and FE 55/1.8 primes and the Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the 24-70/2.8L II. I chose the 5D Mark II over the Mark III because it has better quality in good light at ISO 1600 or lower. (The easiest comparison is to look at the RAW images between ISO 100-1600 here and look at the why the cameras capture Mickey Mouse’s pants or the clarity of the Seychelles Islands on the globe). For low light comparisons, where the 5D Mark III shines over the 5D Mark II, I’ve already got an Sony A7R for comparison.

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Sensor Analysis

Samsung has already beat Sony when it comes to home appliances, televisions, tablets and smartphones, and with the NX1 they could easily challenge Sony as a supplier of APS-C sensors to third parties if they wanted to pursue that route.

When it comes to manufacturing semiconductors, the “process generation” refers to how small the transistors are. The smaller the transistor, the less power it needs to do the same thing. That’s how our modern laptops with 14nm FinFET CPUs from Intel can have hours upon hours of battery life. The smaller the transistor though, the more precise your manufacturing has to be and the more leakage that can occur (which generates heat). When it comes to CMOS camera sensors, process technology matters just as much as it does with regular computer processors and heat equals noise.

Right now, Canon sensors including the EOS-1Dx are manufactured on a 500nm process. That’s the kind of process technology from the AMD 486DX4 era and Pentiums in the early 1990s. The Nikon D4 sensor uses a 250 nm process. That moves us up to the Pentium II or AMD K6 era. The Sony A7R/A7S sensors as well as the D800 sensor are built on an 180nm aluminum platform. Pentium III or Athlon XP.

What Samsung has done with the NX1 is go to 65nm with copper interconnect, the process technology used in the Core 2 Duo (Conroe). That alone is enough to help decrease noise. Where Samsung went even further was to make the sensor a backside illuminated one which puts the circuitry behind the light detecting photocathode layer.

chartRead noise is excellent with spectacular results in the green channel at high ISOs although the sensitivity, or gain, isn’t quite as good. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – the green Bayer Color Filters on the NX1 may simply be more narrow giving more precise colors (I’ll get to this later).

Sensor Analysis – Studio

To make this comparison, I took at Canon EF 70-200/2.8L IS II and placed it on a tripod at 200mm f/2.8. I then simply attached the lens to each camera, verifying focus each time with maximum-zoom LiveView. Fotasy mount adapters were used.

ISO100_1to1

The high-resolution of the NX1 and A7R reveal a bit of motion blur at ISO 100 and 1/40s despite my setup being a Gitzo 6X CF tripod with a Markins M10 ballhead. Jumping up to ISO 800 gives us the shutter speeds needed to eliminate motion blur. In every case, it’s pretty clear that the NX1 is able to beat the 5D Mark II.

The NX1 and A7R seem like true peers. Pay close attention to the golden circle just to the right of the text “94V-0037.” At ISO 100 and 800, the A7R and NX1 look nearly identical.

ISO800_1to1 copy
Jumping up to ISO 3200, you can actually give the edge to the NX1 over the A7R. At this point, the A7R is starting to lose some of the color in that golden trace – it looks green rather than gold. Pause for a moment and realize what that means – an APS-C sensor with tiny pixels is beating a 35mm “flagship” sensor at high ISO under low-light conditions.

ISO3200_1to1

By ISO 6400 the A7R and NX1 are pretty close again and by ISO 25600, the A7R comes out ahead.

ISO6400_1to1 ISO25600_1to1
Sensor Analysis – Astrophotography

I did a rough-and-dirty comparison between the A7R and NX1 with long-exposure astrophotography. Under these scenarios, the images are a better reflection of how the sensors truly perform as light collecting devices. While these images of Comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) were taken on two different nights and different exposures, this rough test did reveal and confirm some of my earlier thoughts.

These shots were taken with a Leica 180/3.4 APO-Telyt-R at ISO1600 under heavy light pollution in San Francisco. Polar alignment was restricted to a compass and inclinometer – no drift align was used. The Samsung had 25.5 minutes of integration while the Sony had 31.5 minutes of integration. Curves were adjusted in a way to give the best image possible, but wasn’t standardized between the two.

comet

The Sony’s sensitivity in the green channel is better than Samsung’s at high ISO. We can see this in the color of the comet. It’s possible that with an additional 10 minutes of integration the Samsung would see more of the green color, but this really highlights the concept that different cameras see color differentially (which is not correctable in post-processing).

Sony’s lossy compressed RAW format generates posterization artifacts that are not present on the Samsung’s format.

The gaps in the Samsung’s star trails reflect capture errors where the tracking was not perfect. (Those images were not included in the processing)

Lens Analysis – Preliminary

Samsung reportedly has more than 100 people working on lens R&D and develops their aspherical lens elements for their high-end “S” line of lenses in house. The S-series is designed by a separate team and has a separate management structure from the rest of the NX line.

Although a “fair” comparison would be to look at the Samsung 16-50/2-2.8S against the Canon EF-S 17-55/2.8 IS, I want to put Samsung’s S lens against the flagships. The best fast standard zoom on the market is the Canon 24-70/2.8L II and the sharpest lens in my kit is the Sony Zeiss FE 55/1.8.

50-55mm_comparison_f28

In the center, at F/2.8, the Samsung and Sony completely outclass the 24-70/2.8L II. In fact, I’d give the award to Samsung due to the very slight purple fringing that can be seen around the text.

50-55mm_comparison_f56
At f/5.6, everyone sharpens up. The A7R/FE55 combo has a higher true focal length and the prime lens clearly has superior detail to the Samsung zoom lens. That said, at 50mm equivalent, the Samsung NX1+16-50/2-2.8 combo beats the 5D Mark II + 24-70/2.8L II combo. For years, the workhorse in the wedding photography industry would have been the classic “Mark I” version of the 24-70/2.8L with the 5D Mark II. An impressive showing by Samsung nonetheless.

My 35mm test was flawed in that the NX1 ended up being 30mm, but it’s fair to say that the NX1 held its own. Paradoxically, it is a little bit blurrier at f/5.6 vs. at f/2.8.

35mm_comparison_f28 35mm_comparison_f56

At 70mm, I just compared to the 5D Mark II + 24-70/2.8L II against the NX1 + 16-50/2-2.8S. It’s here that the $1150 Samsung lens with image stabilization vs. the $2000 Canon lens makes sense.

70mm_f28 70mm_f56

At 70mm, the Canon is exceptionally sharp wide open, even to the edge. Admittedly in the center, the Samsung does a nice job also with the body/lens combo edging out Canon. The edges of the frame are nowhere as good though, especially when considering the fact that the “edge of the frame” is much narrower on the Samsung APS-C vs. Canon’s 35mm sensor. For portraits, this may actually be advantageous, but I personally like sharpness across the frame.

4K Video

Absolutely stunning. The Samsung samples the entire 28 megapixel frame before downsampling to 4K giving you much higher detail. Downsampling in this manner gives a more Foveon-like picture with additional color information per pixel. Both the Sony A7S and Panasonic GH4 use a 1:1 crop. When looking at my videos compared to the test-clips from Samsung/LG/Sony that get shown for 4K TVs, the Samsung is sharper.

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These frame grabs were taken from videos show in Samsung’s DCI-4K mode (4096×2160) rather than the UHD 3840×2160 mode. The Samsung is actually sharper in the UHD mode…

In the current firmware, there is a bug that affects recording. You can see the “flicker” (or exposure drift) in my video around 34 seconds where the scene brightens/darkens. In analyzing the still frames, we can detect a glitch where a 16-bit TIFF will show the black level shifting from a range of 0-65535 (41668 avg signal +/- 17964) and then to 257-65535 (41069.349 +/- 17951.604). These shifts last for about 2 frames or so. This change in the floor only appears to affect the RED channel although there is a shift. It’s not entirely predictable when this happens – it’s rare for me, but others see it all the time.

Subjective Experience

03-performance-4-starsWhen it comes to the final output, the Samsung NX1 definitely lives up to the hype. It is a crop-sensor camera that holds its own against high-end full-frame stalwarts from Canon and Sony. The electronic viewfinder is superior to the one in the A7R both in terms of fluidity and sharpness, especially in good light, as well as color accuracy. Reds tend to skew toward orange on the EVF on the Sony. Colors and skin tones have a Canon-like warmth to them as opposed to the slightly bilious tint that Sony’s Bayer filter and sensor imparts that is impossible to completely eliminate in post-production. In a way, it’s perfectly OK to be lazy with the Samsung NX1 and let it do its own thing in full auto mode.

When it comes to video, the NX1 has no parallel in its price class. Unlike the Panasonic GH4 which reads a 1:1 crop of the sensor for 4K, the Samsung reads the entire sensor and then downsamples it to 4K giving you a Foveon-like feel to it. Professionals have compared the output to that of Red’s Dragon sensor, with all of the advantages of having a fully self-contained and portable run-and-gun type setup. Samsung’s NX1 has already found its way to being used on Project Runway in the US and reportedly on an upcoming Korean drama on KBS (Korea’s public/national broadcast station).

Flash technology is an area where Canon and Nikon have had some of the most mature technology. The 600EX-RT and SB-910 are some of the best flashes for any platform. Sony’s HVL-F60M has some cool tricks up its sleeve like the built in LED light for video work, but the CRI seems off, and for a flagship flash, even the A7R with a 4 fps / 20 frame buffer is enough to cause the HVL-F60M to overheat and go into protect mode.

The Samsung ED-SEF580A flash is manufactured in Germany and is likely manufactured by Metz, a seasoned flash manufacturer. Since the flash wasn’t designed specifically for the NX1, however, there are a few silly ergonomic faults. When the flash is mounted to the body, you cannot open the battery door enough to replace the batteries. While the world has moved toward quick-release flash hot shoes, the Samsung is still a traditional screw-on locking mechanism. Though Samsung sells the flash for $500, it appears to be virtually identical to the Metz 58 AF-2 without secondary flash (which is $100-170 less).

Thankfully, overheating doesn’t seem to be a problem, but the flash is a little overpriced in my opinion. The ergonomic quirks carry over to the built-in pop up flash as well. When paired with the 16-50/2-2.8S, the lens, even without the hood, is prominent enough to generate a shadow on the bottom of the frame for close shots.

Autofocus in good light is fast. It definitely can track at 15 fps. In low light, the NX1 still hunts and while it’s a step up from the Canon 5D Mark II and A7R, it’s not at the level of a 5D Mark III/1Dx. The AF assist beam helps, but I seem to have better success with even a 5D Mark II + external flash as AF assist.

09-features-5-stars

The NX1 has a 5-core custom processor running Tizen, a Linux-based operating system. Samsung is already planning to add plenty of features with the 1.20 firmware upgrade and have already committed to providing an SDK for developers to create their own apps. Instead of discounting the camera over time, they are trying to maintain the price of the camera, but continue to update it through software in a way that Red Digital or Tesla has done for their products.

While you have some silly features such as a selfie-mode where an audible beep lets you know when your face is in the center of the frame and in focus including an optional JPEG blemish-removal/skin smoothing algorithm, there are highly useful tools like dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi which lets you use a tablet or phone as a viewfinder (like Sony), but also upgrade the firmware over the Internet or email an image directly from the camera. What’s great is that the email service is handled by Samsung, so you don’t have to worry about configuring your camera for a specific SMTP server.

With 4K on-board HEVC, 15 fps, USB 3.0, and an AMOLED touchscreen and EVF, it’s hard not to give the camera 5 stars here.

13-design-4-stars

Ergonomically, the NX1 is great. It’s not too small like the A7R and instead feels like a lightweight DSLR. The controls are reasonably laid out and idiosyncrasies such as having the Wi-Fi button right where you might want video record button are being addressed with firmware updates.

As a Canon user, the zoom ring goes the wrong way… Samsung makes up for this by rethinking the focus-by-wire nature of the NX lenses through the “iFunction tool.” Since you’re often not manual focusing anyway, you can use the iFunction button to treat the focus ring as another selection tool for the camera. You can therefore convert your MF ring to be an aperture ring, an ISO ring, or a number of other capabilities.

The NX1 loses half a star for the problems with the flash. It’s disappointing that I can’t change the batteries on my external flash without un-mounting it and equally disappointing that the pop-up flash doesn’t clear the bundled lens.

The other area where the NX1 loses another half star is the battery charger. The standard NX1 only charges through the USB cable and the NX1 Pro Kit includes a “charger” which connects to a USB cable charger. The NX1 isn’t an smartphone or tablet, so Samsung shouldn’t be adopting the same type of charger. If anything, the Pro Kit should have included dual battery chargers like the classic Canon D30 or 1D did.

19-quality-5-stars

The NX1 feels sturdy, but lightweight. The shutter release doesn’t have a mid-click détente, but allows you to squeeze the shutter gently. Weather sealing on the NX1 is not rated in the way the 1D series of cameras are rated, but there are O-rings around all openings and the lenses themselves have O-rings just like Canon’s L line up. (Which isn’t the case w/Sony’s premium E-mount lenses).

23-value-4-stars

If you’re recording 4K video, the value is 6 stars. There simply isn’t a parallel to the setup, especially once the 1.20 firmware that was demo’d at this year’s CES is released. The NX1 is competitively priced, and the S-line of lenses is somewhat competitively priced. Even though the upgrade pathway is unlikely to include a “35mm full frame” sensor, few of us complain that our 35mm equipment is unable to upgrade to a 645 medium format size.
There will always be inherent physics that limits the quality of APS-C. As good as the NX1 may be against the Sony A7R, if Samsung applied the technology in the NX1 toward a full-frame sensor with larger pixels, the picture quality from that hypothetical sensor would be even better.

Likewise, although I’ve shown that the NX1 is highly competitive against a flagship $2000 Canon zoom lens, it’s still not as good as the flagships. Therefore, the NX1 isn’t a camera for ISO 102,400. It isn’t a camera with CPS/NPS support for getting a loaner 400/2.8 or a system with a breadth of specialty lens options that you might find on other systems.
And yeah, I still can’t get over the flash idiosyncrasies – Samsung really needs to price that closer to the $200 range instead of the $500 range.

32-overall-score-4-stars

It’s a game changer, but I’ll be the first to admit that the NX1 isn’t good enough to get owners of the 5D/1D or D4/D800 lineage to jump to a different brand. Still, Samsung has gone from a company that happens to make digital cameras to a company with a product that should be on your wish list and a roadmap to watch. This is their first try at a high-end ILC and they truly have something to be proud of.

Just as the original Nikon D1 and Canon D30 were game changers in their era against the film world, the NX1 is a game changer for the camera industry as well. Samsung has shown that they can develop a sensor that competes against the very best in the industry and put it in a body that can compete against some pretty hefty competition when only minor idiosyncrasies being the limiting factor. Though the lenses have room for improvement, they’re not horrible, and with 15 fps and 4K video you’ll be able to capture images and videos that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

With the 16-50/2-2.8 and 50-150/2.8, you’ve pretty much have a combo that will let you focus on your photography and videography and cover 95% of focal lengths you may want. If Samsung wants photographers to commit to APS-C who have otherwise shot full frame in the past, I’d like really like to see an 8-16mm zoom from Samsung in the S line with the quality matching the 16-35/4L on Canon.

Where I think Samsung has a great opportunity are the Canon and Nikon owners thinking about getting a Sony A7II/A7R/A7S as a secondary camera. The Sony line is great for someone looking for a lightweight camera with the opportunity to use vintage glass, some of which is superior to modern equivalents due to the not-harmful-for-consumers-but-harmful-to-the-environment-and-employees-involved-in-manufacturing leaded glass elements and Thoriated glass. Samsung’s opportunity is with 4K video.

In the end, all of us should be thrilled with the release of the NX1 because there is nothing better for the consumer than competition. The Samsung NX1 delivers a true threat to Canon, Nikon and Sony in a way that Micro 4/3rds and Fuji have not been.

About the Guest Contributor

Alan Dang is a photography enthusiast with 16 years of experience as a freelance technology analyst. He’s been a friend to the SLR Lounge team for years.

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Comments [15]

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  1. Javier Pazó Suárez

    Just my two cents:

    1.- The Metz branded flash can do wireless TTL on NX1? It was limited to the branded NX Flashes in the past even if the flash was the same.
    2.- The NX Mini is a perfect partner for the NX1, but it has a 2.7x crop size and it can use all the NX lenses in fully AF and auto features.

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  2. Holger Foysi

    Interesting opinion, with lots of efforts. In my view there are some things I don’t understand or disagree with, which are, of course, personal opinions, only.
    -At ISO 3200 and 6400 the Sony has the edge in my opinion. However it is made difficult to compare as the FOV is different. To see the full potential of FF cameras, you need to stop down to the same aperture to get the 2.25 times more light on the sensor (at the expense of shallower DOF). Did you change the aperture or was it the same?
    -Doesn’t the Canon have an AA-filter on the sensor? This is important in my opinion to judge sharpness and lens performance.
    -The Canon ISO100/2.8 shot is sharper in the center as is the f5.6 shot. How is this possible? Peak performance is at this aperture.
    -Your first pic at 1/40 shouldn’t give any motion blur. I can only imagine some kind of shutter shock here (the Nikons I use are set to mirror up mode and EFCS to avoid this). I am wondering why the Samsung seems affected, too? From the Sony it is know to show that in this range of shutter speeds.

    Generally the Samsung is a nice camera and for APSC users provides a nice system, showing where mirrorless is heading to. Let’s see what new lenses Samsung brings out, especially in the telephoto realm. For wildlife guys wanting a D400 or 7Dii this is exactly the limiting factor to switch in my opinion. The most used focal length by me and many photographers I know for portraits is 200mm at f2.8 (70-200/2.8). The DOF at that focal length is not possible with current APSC lenses in general, which is why APSC is not of large interest to some, or myself. I still prefer the better DOF control of FF, something I would miss at wedding when using the 2.8 zooms (I can’t imagine taking photos at weddings with my 2.8 zooms being limited to f4.1 at most). P.S. I shoot mostly Nikon, so don’t want to defend Canon at al.

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    • Alan Dang

      1. I left the lens identical. Wide open f/2.8. The rationale behind that was listed above. (doing this allows you to see benefits/cons of small pixels and the reality of a crop sensor). You can pixel bin in post or you can crop to get additional reach.

      http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/pixel.size.and.iso/
      is a really good but technical discussion.

      2. Yes, Canon has AA filter. The A7R and NX1 have no AA filter.

      3. This is likely focal shift. We rarely take two pictures under exact controlled conditions to compare. The Canon 50/1.2L is notorious for this.
      http://www.aravind.ca/Reviews?Canon50_f12/focus_shift

      4. It shouldn’t, I agree. But it does. I did NOT enable ML or EFCS. While it works for controlled studio work, it doesn’t work in real-world shooting with fast moving subjects. I felt that it was more fair to put the camera in the mode that it was most likely to be used. The tripod was a Gitzo Series 2, 3 segment 6x Carbon Fiber tripod with a Markins M10 ball head. By most measures, that’s a pretty good setup. The QR plates were Markins on the 5D2, a dedicated L-plate on the A7R, and a generic plate on the NX1.

      – I agree. To flesh out the NX1, I would want to see a “S” quality super wide angle zoom, a 400/5.6 and the 300/2.8. If they had that, it’d be a great setup for many people.

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    • Holger Foysi

      Thank you for answering! I like clarkvision, too, by the way.

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  3. _DSC0857.JPG
    Phil Bautista

    “Three years ago, Samsung embarked on a project with similarly lofty goals. This time, they wanted to build the world’s best interchangeable lens camera. It would be a system that would convince existing DSLR owners to jump to the Samsung platform and be a camera that demonstrated what the combined resources of Samsung could do. The product is the NX1.

    Did Samsung succeed? In one word: yes.”

    At the risk of sounding like a troll, I find it audacious that you would claim Samsung succeeded. While they may have come out with a good camera, there hasn’t been that much buzz about it. You don’t hear of too many DSLR owners shifting to Samsung. Not even mirrorless camera owners. Most of the DSLR to “Mirrorless” buzz has been generated by Fuji, Sony and M4/3 (Panasonic/Olympus). I’m not hating on Samsung as a corporation. They’ve done a masterful job of grabbing the lead in sales of smartphones and several household appliances as well. But as far as cameras go, when even their sales in “point and shoots” and camcorders can’t upstage the big boys like Canon, Nikon and Sony, I don’t see how the NX1 can be claimed to be a “success.”

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    • Alan Dang

      I used the Lexus LS 400 example to try to qualify that. Lexus didn’t put BMW or Mercedes (or Audi) out of business, but it did beat Jaguar and Cadillac. The LS 400 was impressive in the first round, but it was really the LS 430 and LS 460 that brought Lexus into its own. In fact, the Lexus RX is really what defines the brand.

      Samsung’s point and shoots and camcorders are not very good. The NX1 is the first camera from Samsung that I would even consider. It’s just that the NX1 is very impressive.

      So I think in one word, Yes was fairer than No. But you’re right. One word is not enough. I do think that it has demonstrated what the combined resources of Samsung can do, and with the new firmware (released today), I think you will see some more traction w/the NX1 and I expect the camera to do well on DXOMark. It won’t beat the full frame sensors, but it should beat the APS-C world. Full frame is best for lowlight and wide angle. APS-C is better for telephoto. With 4K video, Samsung is going to be a “5D Mark II” of run-and-gun shooting.

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  4. jeff mia safari.jpg
    jeff kennel

    Thanks for this article Alan.

    Areas important to me as a professional photographer are 1. the viewfinder (can’t stand current EVFs like in the A7s, 2. how it feels in hand (I hate the A7s for photography for example…too small) 3. how quickly and easily you can adjust aperture and shutter speed (again, my A7s is horrible compared to my 1 series Canon or 5d III).

    If you have time maybe you could comment on your impressions. Thanks!

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    • Alan Dang

      1. Viewfinder. Color is more accurate than the A7R and the framerate and “smoothness” is much higher than the A7R in good light. In low light, the color is better but it’s still an EVF. The diopter configuration is a little weird in that there doesn’t seem to be a perfect “0” point. You just set it to what you want.

      2. I like it a lot. It feels like a lightweight 60D/7D type body. The contour of the grip matches the contour of my hands like a Canon. Zoom goes in the “wrong” direction if you are a Canon person. The A7R is too small with the shutter button being too far posterior. With the Arca-compatible L plate, the A7R is more usable. I still find the NX1 more of an actual camera. The flash is a major weak point in ergonomics but is pretty good.

      3. Good/bad. I am so used to the 5D style layout that it’s not quite as straightforward. There are three dials, all of which are programmable (with different rules for P,A,S,M). There is no “direct select” mode.

      I have a 1D as well.

      The NX1 seems to have some of the both, but not the best. Having quick iso/wb/drive/af controls on the left is very EOS-1 like. The lack of the focus-point-direct selection makes it harder to move the focus point around and you have to trust the autoselect or face detection mode. The AEL is little too far out to the right and there is on EOS-like AF on button.

      The idea of using the manual focus ring as a 4th selection tool is sort of interesting.

      I would say that the Canon is better, but that is going to reflect a bias of shooting with the EOS D30 and later.

      It’s good enough that I’ll be ordering a 50-150/2.8 next month. With the A7R, I have the 35 and 55 FE primes, but I only use it with EF lenses and vintage lenses if that indicates something.

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    • Holger Foysi

      @A. Dang: I wonder why most manufacturers don’t allow for direct focus point selection (XT1 was like that, A7x are like that …. Olympus did it well). I’m so used to this and it’s so important for my type of shooting, that I don’t want to go without it if possible. This annoys my about the A7ii. D4/D4s and many Canons have a joystick, which is great in my opinion. How about back-button AF, can it be set up similarly as with Nikon or Canon (I hear contradicting messages, here)?

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  5. Tido Klaassen

    Great article, I just have one little problem with it. When taking the ISO shots you should have adjusted the target distance according to the camera’s crop factor. Comparing details on images of different scale is pretty futile.

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    • Alan Dang

      There are a number of different ways to test the system.

      One way is to have the same arc-second/pixel scale. This would mean that the A7R at 36 MP would ~1.2x larger than the NX1. The NX1 would be 1.3x wider field of view than the 5D Mark 2.

      Another way is to do a focal length equivalent. I did this when testing the lenses themselves on native platforms. This doesn’t allow 1:1 comparisons, but you’re also testing the lenses as if you were standing in the same spot. This is the most real world.

      Then the last way is what I did. This is to keep the lens position and focus constant. This eliminates differences in depth of field as well as minute differences in chromatic aberration or other aberrations that will vary as focus distance varies. If I was comparing the 5D mark II against a 20D, you would get the condition in example 1 (equal arc-second/pixel scale) with the 5D2 having a wider field of view. If I did this with these other cameras, you’d still have arc-second per pixel differences at which point you’ve now introduced variability with the lenses.

      For online internet debates, it’s nice to have all the tests. For simple questions about sensor quality, the current method works pretty well since your open aperture and focus conditions are the same.

      Some good reading
      http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/nightscapes/
      http://www.clarkvision.com/articles/telephoto.system.performance/

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  6. 180154_934098058115_2291718_n.jpg
    MIchael Andrew

    Well written article. I also just posted my extensive review as the NX-1 goes head to head vs the 7Dii, some of my findings will add to yours. Best wishes! ~MM http://youtu.be/GmlzqAy5Q68

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  7. PYEJIRSA-22b
    Pye

    Fantastic article, looks like another fantastic entry to the market.

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  8. DSC_7852_slr.jpg
    Carlos Morataya

    My monitor, phone, TV, and refrigerator are all Korean. My camera might as well be! Samsung products are fantastic and only get better with time! I hope their endeavor into the DSLR Market is as successful as everything else they have put out!

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    • Alan Dang

      Exactly. Competition is good.

      Look at how cheap UHDTVs are nowadays…

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