1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

My handling impressions of the NX1 after 3 weeks of use

Discussion in 'Samsung NX Forum' started by Brian style, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. Brian style

    Brian style SC Regular

    127
    Jan 3, 2014
    (Only handling, I won't put IQ stuff in this post)

    It is a good feeling camera, and a good looking one as well. It will EASILY be mistaken for a DSLR. The fact Samsung uses a large flange distance for a mirrorless camera affects that as well. Even with that, the lighter weight vs. a midrange DSLR is immediately noticeable. :)

    Despite the size, it isn't a heavy camera on its own. Without a lens, or with something light weight like the 45 1.8, it feels comfortably light compared to a mid-tier DSLR. Add the 16-50S and the weight becomes substantial. You know you're holding some pretty serious equipment once that S lens goes on. The grip is surely appreciated with such a meaty lens! :)

    The menus should be familiar to anyone who's used an NX30/300/etc. There is a lot of stuff in there and with some fiddling you figure it all out pretty easily. Samsung's "help guide display" does help (that's the pop up that explains the menu option you might be scrolling on). It comes in handy as you fool around in the menus and then you can turn it off when you're comfortable with everything. Nice feature Samsung puts on their cameras and useful if you've never used a Samsung before. :)

    I wasn't a big fan of the finish, had a bit too much "sheen" to it, but mine appears to have "dulled" a bit, which I prefer looking more matte. Of course, this could just be psychological :)

    The mode dial feels rugged with a nice knurled grip. The multi-function dial with AF, WB, etc feels solid but I have noticed it isn't one solid dial like the mode dial. It has a tiny bit of "give" if you purposely push it to see it move. Not something I'm concerned about and not entirely unexpected since it does rotate under the af/wb/metering/ISO top plate. It isn't meant to be "pushed" the way I did when just checking but it isn't an issue. Nitpickers might fuss about it :)

    The mode dial locking button is great. Want a dial that locks, you have it. Don't want a dial that locks, you have it. A simple button that gives users options! :)

    The ISO/AF/metering/WB buttons are slender but work fine. Being on the top left of the camera means one-handed operation isn't really an option out of the box, but you can remap most if not all of those to the customizable function buttons that you can reach with your right thumb. :)

    The OLED back screen is really nice and I appreciate the zebras you can activate (displays blown out highlights). The zebras work in the EVF as well. :)

    The EVF is 100% coverage and sharp, but DOES look like an EVF. Like you're looking at a tv screen...which of course, you are ;) It seems to be cooler, temperature wise, but refreshes very quickly and although I haven't really tried, I haven't noticed any lag. I am LOVING WYSIWYG. You know what the exposure will be before you ever push the shutter button (have to turn that on out of the box though). Did you forget to change your settings when you went from indoors to outdoors? Won't matter anymore, because you'll immediately know before you can even blow the shot! :)

    The shutter is QUIET! It is pretty awesome. If you aren't near the camera, you probably won't hear it. Only problem it could present is if you are working with a model used to hearing the shutter as a cue to change the pose...but that's pretty much a nit pick and I'll take a shutter being too quiet over one being too loud everyday of the week!! :)

    AF works perfectly fine in good light, as I expected it would. As the light gets lower it gets slower, as I expected it would. In lower-very low light you might as well switch to MF and use the focus peaking/zoom in if you don't want to use the bright green AF assist light. Apparently the NX1 is rated to focus to -4EV but that must be with assist light, there is NO way it is finding focus in -4EV conditions. My 6d is rated to -3EV at the center point and I believe it. The NX1 is no where near there, especially if you want it to lock pretty fast.... or at all. :(

    Face detection works pretty well but can get fooled by subjects not facing the camera (a child laughing and moving their head to the side for example). AF also struggles with backlighting. Of course, even a DSLR can struggle here too, but the NX1 definitely struggles more.
    Bottom Line: The AF on the NX1 can get the job done for portraits/candids/still life for paid work. I stand by my assertion that Samsung should have used 2 processors and used one strictly for AF like the Canon 7d does. It could have made the NX1 a serious AF contender to DSLRs. It is not, and even with face det AF on, it still misses from time to time. It CAN get the job done but is still well within mirrorless territory for speed&accuracy. I had some luck capturing a child on a swing but it wasn't as easy, reliable, or as accurate as even my 6d (which is not an AF speed champ). Side-side tracking works well but to-from tracking is less reliable. I think the EM5 I rented was faster focusing than the NX1. The EM5 was almost instant every time, the NX1 is fast but feels like it struggles during the session. :/

    Pretty much everyone will rattle off hundreds of shots as they play with the 15 fps. It is damn cool to listen too! You can change it though, to 15, 12, 10, or 8 fps in high speed burst mode :) I switched mine to 8. I just don't need more than 8 fps for most things although 15fps will come in handy for some users. :)

    Why Samsung didn't put a dedicated wall charger in the package for a serious level camera I STILL can't understand. Especially at the price point! You say it is a pro camera, well a pro will have more than one battery, and you want me to have to stay plugged in to charge the battery when I could be shooting?? :(

    The top LCD uses bars to display battery power, and the back OLED displays percentage. I WISH the top displayed percentage as well. 62% and 44% both display as 2 bars on the top LCD. :(

    Having 3 dials is definitely "pro" but the customization is limited. The two command dials can only be set to control aperture or shutter. They have a lot of choices for customization with the iFunction button on lenses and the function buttons, dials, and wheel on the body. But until they release firmware to improve this... :/

    Overall functioning is a light year ahead of my NX300. It works faster in every way. Menus, scrolling, activation of selections,... Even the image processing is very fast! I can rattle off a lot of shots and it clears quickly. I have to burst off a whole lot of RAWs before forcing the camera to take time to clear. :)

    There are 2 modes for IS in the camera menus. One for when the camera is on a tripod to stabilize from pushing the shutter button, one for normal hand held use. I was concerned my 16-50S was soft as butter until I found that in the menus and switched to hand held IS from tripod IS (out of the box). Don't think I've ever been so happy to see my freckles and skin blotches in sharp 28mp glory LOL. Cool feature to put in but not sure why tripod IS was turned on by default. :)

    Overall I'm enjoying learning the cameras quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. I can't seem to put it down, especially with the 45mm or even the 30mm on it. The 16-50S is a fat little bugger so less enjoyable to play with because of the weight, but it gets pulled out for pay.

    I would have loved to see Eye detecting AF, a 2nd processor for that EM1/GH4 single point practically instant AF speed, and a camera mode on the dial knob (the video preview mode thing is just plain silly and not well thought out).
     
    • Like Like x 8
  2. Brian style

    Brian style SC Regular

    127
    Jan 3, 2014
    Update:
    Just installed the firmware update on the NX1. Some menu items have been updated/added. You can basically map the camera to make it all one hand functional (a complaint some have about having a dial on the top left). :)

    The display adds more icons/information, but it isn't as welcome IMO. It really clutters up the display screen even more. The last option (I think there are 4 options for display screen information) is still the bare bones display without the one essential thing I'd like to see: battery %. % displays in all the other choices but if all you want is exposure scale, mode, Ap, Sh, and ISO settings you won't get battery %. :(

    You DO lose all of your settings when you do the FW update though so take a picture of all of the screens with your phone or write them down if you want to have a physical record of your settings. That is disappointing having to redo all of your settings. This means OIS mode 1 (tripod IS) is on as the default setting, so switch it or be forced to wonder why you're not getting sharp images handheld :(

    Low light AF is NOTICEABLY better. It appears that they now make it so that the camera will increase the brightness for a split second in order to help the AF see what it is doing. It may have done that before (I can't remember), but it does it much better now. I notice that the AF assist lamp doesn't come on in situations it used to before. Compared to my 6d with 85 1.8 (admittedly a very fast focusing low light combination) , the NX1+16-50S can now hold it's own. I would still give the edge to the 6d, but going from a landslide to an edge is a massive improvement. I think the NX1 should be able to handle work at a wedding reception without the use of the AF lamp now. :)

    I haven't had a chance to see how tracking AF has been affected by the FW update or if face detection locks/tracks better/faster so we'll see.
     
  3. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Good to hear about the low light AF improvements resulting from the firmware update. I have heard this from a number of other sources as well.

    The unanswered question that I still have about the NX1 is whether the images and especially the colours are still reminiscent of the 20mp sensor?
     
  4. Brian style

    Brian style SC Regular

    127
    Jan 3, 2014
    To be honest, I'm not seeing it yet. My NX300 images have an organic feel to them that's hard to describe but very pleasing to my eye. The NX1 seems more "Sony like" where they are pure detail but no "soul". It is purely subjective so take my opinion with a grain of salt not to mention LR is not playing well with Samsung RAW files yet according to reviews I've read from some users. Apparently using Samsung's imaging software does a better job but I don't have it loaded, so I'll have to give that a shot to see if there is a difference.

    You can't pick 20mp in resolution settings, you go from 28mp all the way down to 13.9mp as the next lowest resolution. I'm not sure why they couldn't do @20mp in 3:2. You can get 18.7mp in 1:1 format so its a little odd.

    Samsung is rumored to be working on an NX1 variant with fewer than 20mp but better ISO noise by one or two stops. Personally I think 20mp hit a real sweet spot, but they got sucked into the MP arms race. :(
     
  5. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    That reminds me of the first thought that ran through my head after I processed my first batch of NX300 images I took through Lightroom: "Oh my God, did I just buy a Sony NEX!!!" :biggrin:

    I discovered that the reasons for this were twofold. Firstly, I was simply applying the preset that I had created for my NX200 but there was enough of a difference between the raw images from the two cameras that I had to back off some of the settings to avoid making the NX300 images appear too cartoony. Secondly, I was processing the raw files directly through Lightroom when it seems that Adobe software creates some issues when importing the native Samsung raw files (SRW). I had been converting all my NX200 SRW files to DNG first because of the large raw file size from that camera and so had never noticed an issue, but with the NX300 I was getting all these colour fringing aberrations with the SRW files that disappeared when I started converting them to DNGs before importing.

    I have read on the DPReview forums that both Lightroom and Camera Raw create the same issues with the NX1 SRW files and converting them to DNGs again fixes things.
     
  6. Brian style

    Brian style SC Regular

    127
    Jan 3, 2014
    Update:
    My guess is that Samsung is planning to put out a serious flash system at some point. In the menu of the NX1 here are the flash options: "external flash", "internal wireless flash", "external wireless flash".
    If you go into Internal Wireless Flash you will see these settings: "Use wireless flash" (on/off), "Channel" (channels 1-4), and "Group Flash Mode" (Groups A, B, and C with choices for A-TTL or manual for each group).

    I'm not a Nikon CLS user and never go into the flash menus of my Canons, but it would appear that Samsung has built in the groundwork for a pretty robust flash system. Unfortunately I imagine they'll put out TTL flashes that are extremely expensive which would prohibit/put off many buyers. I have had so much luck with Yongnuo (both manual and TTL flashes) that I've never felt a need or desire to touch a Canon flash, but Samsung might not get much 3rd party support. Metz supports TTL flashes for Samsung I believe, but after that, it gets really scarce for thinking flashes. I'm not really interested in a $400+ speedlight...from ANY maker. My YN500ex's are my TTL workhorses and I love the price and size. Obviously all of my manual Yongnuo flashes and any manual triggers work fine on the NX system.

    Still, it bodes well for what Samsung might be planning to offer.
     
  7. StillsandVideo

    StillsandVideo New to SC

    1
    Apr 4, 2015
    Brian, thank you for sharing your first impressions of the NX1. Your post is clearly articulated and is very helpful. I hate to admit it, but I'm somewhat of a gear junkie and have been intrigued by the whole mirrorless movement. I'm currently shooting with a Nikon D750, D810, a 5dMkiii and a Hassy for MF but over the past few years, have used professionally a 1dX, D4, D800, D700 Pentax 645z and several others. About a month ago, I purchases a Sony a7ii and although there is a whole lot to like about the camera, it just didn't give me that special feeling that made me want to grab it as my camera of choice for assignments thus I returned it. I continued my research on mirrorless cameras and ended up getting an NX1 a couple of days ago. Although my experience with it has been limited up to this point, I'm finding my experiences with the camera to be similar to your findings that you stated so well. The camera feels great and the ergonomics are near perfect, the menus and touch interface are EASY and intuitive, the quality of the images is good, focus is decent and overall, it's a camera that I can't wait to pick up again and again. With that said and keeping in mind that I've had a very limited experience with it thus far, there are a handful of items that I'd like to see Samsung improve upon (in my opinion):
    • Focus is good but continuous focusing and tracking could always be better (agree with your 2 processor suggestion). Focusing could be a deal breaker if you need to rely on hits professionally. IMO, it's first and foremost, even before IQ, DR, Low Noise, etc. A camera needs to return a high hit rate under all conditions, even low light. That's one of the things that bugged me about the Sony.
    • I love the Fn button but it boggles my mind that Samsung includes the Focus Mode and Focus Area adjustments on the Fn quick menu but doesn't include Touch AF (selection of Touch AF, AFPoint, Tracking AF, One Touch Shot...). Additionally, I couldn't find a way to assign the Touch AF to a button as a custom assignment either - maybe I'm missing something. I'm finding that I often change the Touch AF selection and it's a pain that I have to do it through the Menu system. I hope they will include it in the Fn as part of the next update. It would be really nice to allow us to customize the Fn selections... not sure many pros and semi pros would ever use the Picture Wizard that is taking up space on the Fn menu.
    • Speaking of Touch AF, at times I find the One Touch Shot useful but would love to have the ability to do a one touch burst as Olympus does.
    • Face recognition needs to be beefed up to at least include eye recognition but this is an area where Samsung can learn something from Sony. They have a very advanced face recognition that includes eye recognition, face priority when shooting multiple faces, etc. Sony is way in the lead in this area IMO and Samsung needs to take note.
    • 15 FPS is crazy good but the buffer holds back its ability to use it in a practical way. I often shoot in the boating industry and there are times a burst is most helpful when it could sustain itself at least for several seconds (RAW).
    • I'd like to see better noise performance in high ISO's and low light. There is a rumor that an NX1 limited edition is possibly in the works that will have better dynamic range and low noise performance. I'm all for that if it is true. When it comes to gear to satisfy assignments, I'm always looking for accurate and fast focus, good low light performance with low noise, and great dynamic range.
    • Much of the pro market requires tethering and I'm hopeful that they will expand the PC tethering to include Apple.
    I commend Samsung for a job well done relative to their first attempt to break into the more advanced user market. I'm hopeful that they will continue to listen to their owners, will continue to provide frequent firmware updates, develop their flash system and build pro lenses to include an ultra wide angle and some fast primes for portrait and macro use. When it comes to the pro and semi pro market, the NX1 is a wonderful first attempt from Samsung but the competition keeps heating up. It will be interesting to see what Sony does next and how Samsung will counter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    On the old NX300 the touchscreen AF settings csn be toggled by a soft button on the left hand side of the screen, directly under the soft button to start a wifi connection. Does the NX1 have this button?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2015
  9. Brian style

    Brian style SC Regular

    127
    Jan 3, 2014
    If you mean changing the AF settings from the touchscreen, yes the NX1 does the same. It is part of the "display" that you can change (functions and information displayed on the screen that can be changed). I don't have that stuff displayed because I prefer to have only the basic info displayed and leave as much of the screen open for framing as possible so I had to turn it on to check.
    The wifi button for the NX1 and NX300 are both on the right side of the hotshoe.