Some jobs are better than others and when you're a photo magazine editor, it's better than not being one because you occasionally get a junket. Now, don't tell my wife how hard I was working over in New Zealand last week, but it was a wonderful journey courtesy of Samsung and their new NX1 camera.
While it looks like a DSLR, the NX1 is a mirrorless camera featuring a 28-megapixel sensor. According to Craig Gillespie, Head of Digital Imaging, it’s a sign that Samsung is turning its attention to cameras in a more serious way. Certainly the camera feels solid in the hand and operates pretty intuitively. It has a generous tiltable LCD screen on the back, although you'll be looking through the bright XGA OLED electronic viewfinder most of the time.
While you wouldn't say the NX1 is aimed at professionals, there are a lot of features that will interest professionals and enthusiasts alike. For instance, without the limits of a DSLR design, the camera offers 205 widely positioned phase detection autofocus points and the AF speed is a short as 0.055 seconds (no perceptible shutter lag). And if you're into sport or action, then 15 frames per second in raw or JPEG modes will keep you pretty happy.
One of the aspects all the journalists agreed on was how cool the camera's interconnectivity was going to be, especially if you also use a Samsung smartphone (and by the time you read this, there will probably be an app for the iPhone as well). The camera can send you its photos via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as it shoots or when your phone comes in range, allowing you to view and store your shoot with the phone. You can even control the camera from your phone if you wish. While this feature is available with other cameras and other apps as well, the Samsung experience from camera to mobile device is the smoothest we've seen so far.
Top ISO is 25,600 with an extended ISO up to 51,200. What impressed me was that at ISO 6400, while there was a 'grain' structure present in the image, it was very attractive and regular and I couldn't see any colour noise in the shadows.
For video shooters, the camera offers both 4K and Ultra HD (UHD) using an inbuilt HEVC Codec (H.265) to make storing the large files more efficient.
The NX1 has an RRP of $1899 and there are two lenses which are recommended to match the high resolution sensor, a 16-50mm f2-2.8 ($1499) and a 50-150mm f2.8 ($1999). Both lenses have optical stabilisation and both have a very solid, high quality feel and finish. Image quality is great, resolving fine detail with aplomb, but I did notice a little chromatic aberration on the 16-50mm sample lens. This is easily fixed in Lightroom and if you keep the Remove Chromatic Aberration button click, you'll never notice it.
For more information on the Samsung NX1, visit Samsung's website.