Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms

Samsung NX1 Review

Read our full review of the new Samsung NX1, with a 28.2 megapixel APS-C sensor, 4K video and 15fps continuous shooting.

| Samsung NX1 in Mirrorless Cameras


Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (1)

Samsung's new top of the range Samsung NX1, features a 28 megapixel APS-C BSI (Backside Illuminated) CMOS sensor, 15fps continuous shooting, phase-detection focus, 4K video recording, as well as a high resolution electronic viewfinder, and a tilting 3inch AMOLED touch-screen. The Samsung NX1 is also weather-sealed and is introduced with a new weather-sealed 50-150mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens. The Samsung NX1 has an RRP of £1299, and sits above the NX30.

Samsung NX1 Features

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (3)

The Samsung NX1 is released into the growing market segment of premium mirrorless cameras, such as the Panasonic Lumix GH4, Olympus OM-D E-M1, Fujifilm X-T1, and Sony Alpha A7 series. Designed to offer high image quality, high build quality, as well as other premium features, such as high speed shooting, the cameras often feature weather sealing, and have become even more tempting as a more compact option instead of a traditional Digital SLR.

The NX1 features an all new Samsung developed 28.2 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with backside illumination (BSI), for improved low-light performance, as well as no anti-aliasing filter for the sharpest results possible, and is the World's first BSI APS-C CMOS sensor. Samsung say that the sensor has increased resolution, without adding additional noise compared to a 20 megapixel sensor, such as that found in previous Samsung cameras.

The sensor features 205 phase-detection AF points, with 153 cross-type sensors, and in combination with contrast detection focus, the AF points cover 94-98% of the sensor (horizontally and vertically respectively). The camera can focus in low-light down to -4EV, and there is also a built in AF assist beam that works up to 50 feet away from the camera. The AF System III is said to focus as quickly as 0.055s.

The camera features a quad core processor, and can shoot at 15fps in both JPEG and RAW. When shooting single RAW shots, they are 14-bit images, and this is 12-bit when shooting in continuous mode. The ISO range is ISO100 to ISO25600, and this expands to ISO51200.

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (4)

On the back is a 3inch tilting touch-screen, FVGA with 1037k dots, and AMOLED technology, and the screen will tilt upwards 90 degrees, and down 45 degrees. The touch-screen can be used to set separate focus and exposure positions. There is a large OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), with 2.36million dots and XGA resolution. The viewfinder is a 0.39inch unit with 0.7x magnification. On top is an LCD display with illumination.

4K video recording is possible, and the camera records CINE 4K at 4096 x 2160 at 24p, as well as UHD at 3820x2160 at 30p. FullHD video recording is at 60fps. The camera uses the new H.265 H-EVC video codec which is at 40Mbps, yet is said to deliver the same image quality as 100Mbps. The HDMI socket also provides clean 4K output.

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (10)

Key Features

  • 28.2 megapixel APS-C BSI CMOS sensor
  • Samsung NX lens mount
  • 3inch AMOLED tilting touch-screen, 1037k dots
  • 205 phase-detection focus points, Focus peaking, Zebra display
  • EVF (OLED) with eye-sensor, XGA, 2.36m dots
  • ISO100 - ISO25600, expands to ISO51200
  • UHD 3840x2160 (30fps Only), 4K 4096x2160 (24fps Only), Full HD 1920x1080 60p
  • 15fps continuous shooting (40 RAW shots)
  • Dust and splash resistance
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Microphone / Headphone socket
  • USB3.0 socket
  • Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built-in Flash (Guide Number 11 at IOS100)
  • 500 shot battery life
  • 550g weight (body only)
  • 138.5x102.3x65.8mm

Samsung NX1 Handling

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (14) (Custom)

The camera feels good in the hand with a large sculpted handgrip covered in textured rubber that extends from the front round to the back where a good sized thumb grip can be found. There is also rubber on the left of the camera for additional purchase when holding the camera with two hands. The camera is large for a mirrorless camera, and similar in size to a Digital SLR such as the Canon EOS 700D. When used with original Samsung NX lenses, this can make the camera seem disproportionately large in comparison. When used with the (larger) Samsung S lenses, such as the new 50-150mm f/2.8 lens then the size of the NX1 body matches quite well, although the optional battery grip will also help.

The camera feels very well built with a weather-sealed, magnesium alloy, body, although S weather sealed lenses are required for the full benefits, with two currently available, the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S, and the 50-150mm f/2.8 S shown here.

The camera gives side access to the memory card, which will be useful when using the camera on a tripod or with the optional weather-sealed battery grip. The mode dial has a locking button on top to stop you accidentally turning the dial, as well as two custom modes. The addition of the LCD screen on the top is a new addition to the Samsung NX series, and the screen can be illuminated by pressing the light button just below it. On the left is a drive mode dial, with four buttons on top, letting you set AF, ISO, Metering and WB. 

You can use the touch-screen to set the focus point into the far corners of the screen, and the screen has a good resolution with very good viewing angles. With Touch AF set in the menu, you can first set the focus point using the touch screen, then drag a second box to set the desired exposure point. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a high resolution and is large, with an eye-detection sensor to automatically switch between the screen and EVF. There is a large soft rubberised surround which is comfortable to use, and the viewfinder refreshes quickly. 

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (11)

Menus – The Fn (Function) button brings up a control panel on the rear screen where you can quickly change some of the most commonly used settings. This means you don't need to go into the menus very often, although the menus are clearly laid out with easy to read text, as well as built-in pop-up explanations of options. There is an option to set a minimum slowest shutter speed.

Wi-Fi features - There are a number of different options using the Samsung Camera Manager app, which can be installed from the Google Play story or the Apple iOS store. NFC can be used with a compatible smartphone to setup the Wi-Fi connection more quickly. The main options available include:

  • MobileLink (Smart Camera app for Android and iOS) - used to select and transfer photos from the camera to the phone.
  • Remote Viewfinder (Smart Camera app for Android and iOS) - can be used for remote shots, and the display is shown on both the camera and the smartphone. The screen on the smartphone updates quickly and there are a number of options and settings available. 
  • Quick Transfer - quickly share photos from your Smartphone.
Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung Camera Manager
Samsung Camera Manager
Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung Camera Gallery
Samsung Camera Gallery
Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung Remote Viewfinder
Samsung Remote Viewfinder
Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung Remote Viewfinder Settings
Samsung Remote Viewfinder Settings


Battery life - Battery life is rated at 500 shots according to Samsung / CIPA test results, which is very good for a mirrorless class of camera.

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (13)
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.125secs (18-55mm)
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.35secs (18-55mm) 0.15-0.2secs (50mm)
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.6secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.5secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.8secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
14.77fps (65 shots, Super Fine)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 1fps
Continuous Shooting - RAW 15.37fps (20 shots)

Shutter response is very quick, with fast focus speeds at the wide-angle end of the lenses tested. This is slightly slower at the telephoto end of the 18-55mm kit lens. Switch on time is very good, as it shot to shot time, and the camera is capable of shooting at just under 15fps when shooting JPEG images, and just over 15fps when shooting raw, even with continuous AF active. An example of AF Tracking continuous shooting can be found later in the review.

Samsung NX1 Review: Samsung NX1 (6)

Samsung NX1 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung NX1 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Photos show good levels of detail, with good colour reproduction, and reliable exposure, and to get the best out of the camera a high quality lens is recommended. Portraits with flash generally show low levels of red-eye, although this will depend on the lens used with the camera. Dynamic range is good, and can be improved using the Smart Range+, or HDR options, and there is a built in overexposure guide that will show blown highlights on the screen before you take the photo.

Samsung NX1 Lens test images

Lens Performance - The 50-150mm f/2.8 lens is capable of giving sharp results when shooting wide-open at f/2.8 aperture, whether shooting at the wide or telephoto ends of the lens. The lens also produces pleasing bokeh (background blur), giving good separation of the subject from the background. Distortion appears quite low, and there is a built in option in the camera to automatically correct distortion. Purple fringing was generally low, unless shooting images with high levels of contrast such as trees against a bright sky. Optical image stabilisation is built into the lens, and is very effective at keeping shots steady even when using the lens hand-held. We will be reviewing the Samsung S 50-150mm f/2.8 OIS lens as soon as possible. 

Samsung NX1 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - For the lowest noise and best detail possible we would recommend using ISO100 to ISO800, as images have low levels of noise and good levels of detail. For lower light situations ISO1600 to ISO3200 still provides good results, although noise increases and detail is reduced. At ISO6400 noise levels become strong and fine detail is lost, although results may still be useful if resized and used on the web. ISO12800 and above is best avoided as noise is high, with the loss of detail. 

At all ISO settings from ISO3200, ISO6400, ISO12800, and ISO25600 where noise typically begins to be an issue, the camera shows better noise performance results than the 20 megapixel Samsung NX30.

Samsung NX1 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs very well, with the AWB Tungsten and Tungsten presets giving a warm result in case you want to capture the mood of the scene. AWB performs well under fluorescent lighting with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta colour cast. 

Samsung NX1 Outdoor images

Continuous AF Tracking was used in these photos to track the silver Toyota, travelling at around 30mph, and the camera is capable of keeping focus on the car until the car is nearly out of the frame.

Samsung NX1 Digital filters

Digital Filters - Picture Effects let you alter the colour of photos, as well as choose from a number of presets. Smart Wizard gives a number of digital effects, as long as you are not shooting raw images. There are also a number of different creative shooting options available in the Smart / Scene mode, including Rich-tone HDR, Panorama, Multi-exposure, and Samsung Auto Shot to name a few. Samsung Auto Shot is designed to take photos at exactly the right time when hitting a ball with a baseball bat for example The camera features an automatic panoramic mode, where you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera from one side to the other. Results are reasonable, and well stitched together, although the resolution is low.

Video - Video options include 4K 4096x2160, at 24fps, as well as UHD 4K 3840x2160 at 25fps, as well as FullHD 1920x1080 at 50/25/24fps. Videos are encoded as MP4 files, using H.265 / HEVC video compression (which is currently not supported by YouTube), unless you are recording at 640x480, when MJPEG is used. There are three compression options: Normal, HQ and Pro, with each encoded using H.265, with the bitrate used varying. Optical image stabilisation in the 50-150mm lens does an excellent job of keeping handheld video steady. There are fade options as well as mic level adjustment. It would be nice to have alternative video compression options for backwards compatibility. As YouTube does not currently support H.265 files, you can download original video files recorded as FullHD, 50fps (Zip file, 53.3MB), 4K 4096x2160 24fps (Zip file, 68.3MB), and 4K 3840x2160 at 25fps (Zip file, 66.8MB).

Value For Money

The Samsung NX1 is available for £1299 body only, which includes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 in the box, making it very good value for money, as one of the fastest shooting cameras currently available. Alternatives to consider include the following cameras:

Olympus OM-D E-M1, 10fps, 16mp Micro Four Thirds, £949 body only
Panasonic Lumix GH4, 12fps, 16mp Micro Four Thirds, £1199 body only
Sony Alpha A7, 5fps, 24mp Full-Frame, £1099 body only
Sony Alpha A7R, 4fps, 36mp Full-Frame, £1499 body only
Fujifilm X-T1, 8fps with continuous AF, 16mp APS-C, £949 body only
Sony Alpha A6000, 11fps with continuous AF, 24mp APS-C, £499 body only
Nikon 1 V3 , 20fps with continuous AF, 18mp 1inch, £629 body only, 

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung NX1 Verdict

The Samsung NX1 is currently the highest resolution APS-C camera available offering a 28.2 megapixel sensor, and in order to give good noise performance, the camera is the World's first to feature a backlit APS-C CMOS sensor, instead of a standard CMOS sensor. The camera is also capable of shooting at an extremely impressive 15fps at full resolution with continuous AF active. The quickest nearest competitors that offer a similar speed, shoot at a lower resolution of 18 megapixels (Nikon 1 V3) or 16 megapixels (Panasonic Lumix GH4, Nikon D4s). The camera shoots high quality 4K video, although additional options regarding movie compression would be good, as not everyone will appreciate H.265 HEVC video compression, however this does help keep movie file sizes smaller than normal. The NX1 is the first Samsung NX camera to feature a weather-sealed body, and at the moment there are only two weather sealed lenses available including the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 and 50-150mm f/2.8 lens. Although more are coming, with a 300mm f/2.8 telephoto lens shown recently at Photokina 2014. For those that prefer larger cameras, or have found compact system cameras too small, then the Samsung NX1 will be a welcome addition, and for those looking for a high speed camera with a high resolution, then this is one of the highest specification cameras available. 

Samsung NX1 Pros

28 megapixel BSI CMOS sensor
3inch AMOLED touch-screen
High resolution electronic viewfinder
15fps continuous shooting with C-AF
Top LCD display
4K video recording
H.265 / HEVC video compression
Improved noise performance over the NX30
Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
Wi-Fi / NFC / Bluetooth built in
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 included

Samsung NX1 Cons

Size - larger than most mirrorless cameras
Would be nice to have alternative video compression options


Samsung NX1 Review:

The Samsung NX1 delivers an exceptional level of performance both in specification and high resolution images.


Samsung NX1 Specifications

Image Sensor
Pixels28.2Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6480
Pixels (H)4320
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.7mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution1036k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 51200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
Viewfinder Resolution2360k
MagnificationNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting15fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 4K
Video FPS24p, 30p, 60p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium-Ion BP1900 (1860mAh)
Battery Life (CIPA rating)500shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Samsung NX1

GreenAgapanthusMy Dog GeorgeAllanRedend Point, Studland Bay, DorsetPink Morning on Bury HillSwamp near Sutton, West Sussex

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bradgerrard Avatar
15 Sep 2014 1:17PM
What will the lens fitting be on this camera please?
joshwa Avatar
joshwa Plus
13 927 1 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2014 1:27PM
Samsung NX lens mount.
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
15 Sep 2014 5:10PM
OMG !!!!.....seen tempting hints about this corker over the last week or so !!

Love the look & specification, with great control layout, nice & chunky with a well
proportioned grip for my big hands; & Hi-Res EVF.....OOOOOOoooooo !!!!

Based on the superb results I'm getting from my NX20, then the NX1 IQ should be
amazing ??

Review soon please !!......'cos I want one !!!!!!!!!.GrinGrin
gwynn56 Avatar
gwynn56 Plus
11 88 England
15 Sep 2014 9:51PM
wonder what the shutter speeds are
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
16 Sep 2014 12:29AM

Is this a replacement for the NX30?

Why Samsung has not come with a different name like NX40 ?

Or is this a different offer in the mirror-less category?
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
16 Sep 2014 7:50PM
Dammit !!!....I can't stop looking at this !! at first sight ??????.GrinGrin
ChrisV Avatar
ChrisV 16 2.3k 26 United Kingdom
17 Sep 2014 1:44PM
I've always overlooked Samsung cameras before, but this seems set to be one that's difficult to ignore. On paper it looks like a monster of a camera. Was quite surprised to read they're only second to Sony for shipment of mirrorless - this is an offering that will help to strenghten the brand if it lives up to its promise. A bit too late for me to consider switching allegiance alas.
mikesavage Avatar
mikesavage 21 299 2 England
22 Sep 2014 6:39PM
I don't think this is a replacement for the NX30, more like Samsung's flagship mirrorless camera. No doubt it'll be an impressive performer, but the price & limited system accessories will put most people off.
dannyr Avatar
dannyr 14 49 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2014 1:58PM
One of the huge selling point was the BSI sensor but how much of a difference has it made?
The high ISO's look very good, but to my untrained eye they don't seem any different to other top range cameras.
Niknut Avatar
Niknut Plus
13 3.7k 82 United Kingdom
28 Nov 2014 3:54PM
Mmmmmm....yummy !!.....fair bit bigger & heavier than my NX20, but has great ergonomics
with impressive IQ !!.......but I don't think the test images are much of an improvement over
the NX20/30 cameras, & having handled a NX30 recently I'm rather inclined to go down that photographic requirements don't need WiFi, 15fps, or Hi-def Video, which the
NX1 excels not for me !!.....ah-well, daydreams over for now !!!!.Grin
helltormentor Avatar
29 Nov 2014 9:48PM
I think the NX1 launch price was a mistake. If it was anything close to the Sony A77II, for instance, It would be a definite buy for me but if I am going to spend 1700 euros on the camera, I prefer to get a D750, A7II or 7DMKII. Samsung is very new to the world of digital camera so it shouldn't expect to make big profits right from the beginning. Samsung should have encouraged prosumers to buy this camera by offering them a tempting price. At this price, I prefer to go with Canon or Nikon that I know will stay in this business forever.
Nikolay_Osokin Avatar
3 Dec 2014 12:16PM
I am sorry, but video on this page has 25fps (i.e. 50i, but not 50p). It looks pretty well, but in full HD not too sharp.
About 28 megapixels... I would prefer that some of producers made as twice as smaller, but with lo noice and high light sensitivity.
riffmachine Avatar
4 Dec 2014 6:44PM
Great review! Just one question about the Samsung NX1. Will a future firmware update enable smooth, cinematic focus changes while shooting video?

I recently purchased a Samsung NX1 and the 16-50mm f/2-2.8 lens to test. I believe the NX1 is a better camera than anything available from Canon. I am testing it with an eye to buying 3 bodies and several lenses. There is currently only one small problem preventing me from moving forward. I shoot TV commercials and stills for ad agencies. While shooting video with the NX1 camera in auto focus mode I touch the screen on the face of the person speaking. When that person is done and another person starts to speak I touch their face. Everything works great except that the focus changes so quickly that it is jarring to watch. Unusable unfortunately.

My suggestion is to have Samsung's digital imaging software engineers test the Canon 70d along side the NX1. I know the Samsung NX1 has the processing power to do anything the Canon 70D can do. The 70D easily creates usable video by slowly (relative to the NX1) and smoothly changing the focus position without any hunting as it achieves final focus. The effect is similar in experience to watching a feature film.

As far as the image quality, resolution, size, weight, wireless connectivity, feature set and handling of the NX1, it seems just about perfect to me. My numerous tests show the Samsung NX1 using h.265 codec captures noticeably better quality video than the 70D All-I codec with less than 1/9 the file size! I can convert the Samsung h.265 1080p to ProRes 422 almost as quickly as the conversion from Canon's All-I to ProRes 422. The still photos are sharper and in my opinion superior to the Canon 1D, 5D Mk II, and 70D cameras. At least up to iso 800 which is all I've tested so far. When I say sharper I mean NX1 photos seem twice as sharp as the 70D. In pursuit of sharpness I have very carefully calibrated back focus for four L series lenses on my 70D.

After using follow-focus rigs for years I will never go back to that. Touch screen combined with auto following facial recognition for video focus allows a very high percentage of good takes. Lens change - no problem!

I love the Samsung NX1camera. I really, really want it to work for my use. It breaks my heart to think of returning it to B&H Photo. Unfortunately I can't use it for delivering pro video with the way I want to do focus. Please tell me that some future firmware update will enable smooth, cinematic focus changes while shooting video!

btw- Continuous autofocus is pretty darn good. I only falls apart if there is significant distance between the focus points selected by touch during video shooting.
pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
21 Jan 2015 3:00AM
I would not fear Samsung going out of the photography business for some time, They can take the punch from not being on the top of the list of photo consumers as they have such an array of other electronic products.What has surprised me, and if Samsung listens I would like it added, is the inclusion of 1:1 aspect ratio for producing square frames straight out of the camera . A panorama mode is welcome also welcome.

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