Samsung NX1 – Sensor and Image Quality
The Samsung NX1 has an incredible number of features, but the biggest deal of the camera is its sensor. It’s a 28.2-megapixel APS-C sensor with a back-side illuminated design.
It’s significantly higher-resolution than the 20.2-megapixel Canon 7D MKII, an obvious DSLR competitor, and while this might usually be considered overkill outside of the full-frame size, it works hand-in-hand with the sensor’s BSI nature. BSI illuminated sensors offer better low-light performance than standard FSI ones, making this a really quite exciting prospect.
Does it deliver the goods? Absolutely, the Samsung NX1 is among the very best in the APS-C class.
The Samsung NX1 resolves more detail than any APS-C camera we’ve tested. Dynamic range is great, too, with 12.6EV at ISO 100 offering similar performance to the Canon 7D MKII.
Dynamic range drops to very low levels at the highest ISO settings, but at lower sensitivities the NX1 can produce some stunning images.
To try to test its supposed low-light abilities we tried the Samsung NX1 out with some night cityscape photos, shooting handheld at around 1/25 shutter speed. We found the results to be great, but that at the lower ISOs the camera tends to introduce a little too much smoothing to images in order to maintain the appearance of low noise.
This has improved in leaps and bounds since earlier Samsung CSCs, but there’s still a little more than we’d like in some situations. We found our ISO 1600 night shots had a more realistic look than some of the lower ISO ones.
Up until about ISO 6400 detail is excellent, giving you a good degree of low-light flexibility for an APS-C model. The native ISO range is 100-25,600, with an extended 51,200 mode also on offer. However, we found the 51,200 shots unusable for anything but the most lightweight of needs.
Dynamic range and low-light performance predictably aren’t quite on the level of a full-frame camera, with the Sony A7 offering a tempting alternative at the price. But the BSI sensor design does appear to have some significant benefits.
Colour performance is good, with saturations riding high but not to the extent that rendition is flat-out unnatural. There are a few different colour modes on offer in the Samsung NX1’s Settings menu too, giving you a degree of control.
Samsung NX1 – Video
The Samsung NX1 offers the sort of video skills that should make it a popular alternative to CSC and DSLR heavyweights like the Panasonic GH4 and Canon 5D MKIII.
It shoots in resolutions up to DCI True 4K (4096×2160) at 24p, offering flat-out more detail than any 1080p DSLR video shooters. Using the H.265 codec makes the Samsung NX1’s footage easy to work with. Samsung has sensibly added an external mic input and there’s a hotshoe up to top to make mounting a mic easy.
You’ll naturally want to pair the NX1 with an OIS lens to get the best results, but the right one the NX1 can produce some truly stunning footage.
Should I buy the Samsung NX1?
The Samsung NX1 is a seriously impressive camera whose BSI sensor and amazing wealth of features set the bar for APS-C cameras.
Our labs results show the BSI design doesn’t quite close the gap between the Samsung NX1 and full-frame DSLRs such as the award-winning Nikon D750, but in its class it’s a true powerhouse.
This is partnered with excellent video capabilities and superb performance in both autofocus and shooting speed. As such, for many this is a better choice than the Canon 7D MKII.
The Samsung NX1 is a wonderfully advanced APS-C camera that offers superb performance and great image quality.
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Score in detail
Image Quality 9
Build Quality 9