Let’s give Samsung credit for unveiling the most pleasant surprise of photokina. It managed to create a backside illuminated (i.e. BSI) APS-C format 28-mega pixel CMOS sensor for its new mirrorless NX1.
Before the NX1, the biggest BSI sensor was only an inch, which is about a third of the size of the APS-C sensor found here.
Why is this a big deal? Well, BSI sensors’ electronic elements are in the back of the light-catching cells. This means the sensor can capture more light which significantly lowers image noise that occurs in poor lighting conditions.
High End Specs
Samsung also deserves credit for cramming in specs more often associated with full-frame and professional DSLRs. Apart from the aforementioned 28-megapixel BSI CMOS, there’s the hybrid autofocus system (a combination of contrasting and phase systems) with 205 detection pixels covering 90 percent of the shot, a rapid shutter that takes 15 photographs per second, the ability to record 4K videos in DCI 4K and UHD via H.265 codec. HDMI output for broadcasting 4K video, and a weather-proof magnesium alloy body.
In addition, the camera comes equipped with a 3-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, which can be set aside from the rear side of the camera and reverted upwards or downwards. It also features and information LCD at the top of the camera, Bluetooth, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and a USB 3.0 hub. If that’s not enough, Samsung is offering an optional additional battery grip.
As far as the processor goes, the Samsung NX1 comes with a quad-core DRIMe chip created on the Exynos chipset architecture, similar to those found in Samsung’s flagship smartphones. It’s mostly credited for the impressive rapid shutter specification, the option of recording 4K videos in two formats, as well as the fact that the camera has a virtually nonexistent EVF lag.
All that adds up to one indisputable fact: the Samsung NX1is incredibly fast. It can focus on objects with exceptional speed, swiftly taking image after image (even with individual shutter presses), and immaculately keeping dynamic objects focused while recording videos or when the shutter is pressed halfway.
In terms of design, the controls and options are intuitive. Samsung arranged it all to provide users with easy access to the manual settings. The rear display imaging is also praiseworthy and exceptional. In fact, it’s almost surreal, with highly vivacious and saturated colors. Samsung reps stressed that photo output would match the display, and that the color vivacity of nighttime photos would be especially thrilling.
It’s not all perfect, however. When held in hand, the device feels a bit unnatural. It looks stunning and elegant, but that seems to come at the coast of ergonomics. It’s almost impossible to use it with just one hand and using it with both hands for an extended period of time causes wrist strain, regardless of the lens size. Mirrorless cameras owe a large part of their success to the fact that they are compact and lighter than DSLRs, but this isn’t the case with the NX1 model.
The Samsung NX1 body will cost $1499, while the ‘premium kit’ will cost $2,799 and will include the 16-50mm F2-2.8 lens, the battery grip, an additional battery and an external charger. It goes on sale in October.