NX1first impressions or, why did I buy a dead camera?

as i wrote about near the end of last year, i was selling my a7s and getting an nx1 to “replace” it. truth is, the nx1 is primarily a personal camera for me to use with my family, though i’m sure occasionally i’ll do some work with it professionally.

while initially very impressed with sharp, saturated and clean image, i’m quickly noticing the image limitations the camera has when it comes to video.

the problem is that image is not very malleable. unlike the a7s which, even though 8-bit, could be pushed and pulled to kingdom-come, the nx1 image can not do that without falling apart. that really isn’t a problem for home movies or set work where you can control all the lighting, but it’s something i’m going to have to get used to and learn to work with.

my next post i’ll reveal what i finally feel the best ‘professional’ settings are for shooting 4k on this camera, but for now, i’ll briefly review a camera that’s over a year old whose company (after initially having amazing support) abandoned it entirely, along with the entire nx ecosystem (nx500, lenses, etc). super relevant, i’m sure.

it honestly was almost a little disappointing after coming from the super compact sony a7s to a mirrorless that feels about the same size and weight of a 7d. conversely, it feels great and solid by itself, and the image stabilizer with compatible lenses seems really top-notch.

provo, ut pond at sunset
provo, ut pond at sunset

the autofocus is about as good as everyone has claimed. i had a few frustrating moments with it during photo sessions, but that might be user error.

thankfully, the 16-50S lens looks really sharp and renders colors quite nicely. at 16mm the edges distort as you’d expect, though honestly, i was hoping for a little better.

as for video: it’s a mixed bag right now. the internal ‘normal gamma’ 4k video looks fantastic. smooth, little if any banding, rich colors, and tack sharp! hooking it up to an external recorder if you want to record to another codec besides h265 is a bit of a hassle because what you’re able to control on the camera, for some inexplicable reason, gets reduced to only iso, aperture, and shutter speed. thats it! you can’t change any other of your settings once you hook the hdmi up to something else. that should really be fixed, but it probably wont be for a variety of reasons, paramount being samsung stopping production on their nx line.

video in ‘normal gamma’ is so impressive that you can do a 300% crop and it might be even sharper than a red epic dragon (300% crop vs 300% crop). now, i’m not saying that makes it as good as a dragon, no, not by a long shot. the footage from the samsung can’t do much else beyond exactly how you capture it; but in that particular regard… its sharpness… it’s very impressive. that’s with sharpness turned all the way down, mind you.

i’ve mentioned ‘normal gamma’ twice now. that’s important because when i try and shoot flat (like the featured image) banding quickly becomes an issue on gradients. this is a tough thing for me. if i could guarantee that every scene would be like the one with the model at the pond at sunset, i’d probably keep it super flat… but light falling off along the wall in any interior just becomes garbage. it’s really unfortunate.

placerville, ca christmas eve sunset 2015

so, a year and a half after its release, is it worth it?

i spent under $2K on a body, ‘s’ lens, 64gb memory card, and have a total of 4 batteries and 2 chargers. that price is unbelievable for the quality you’re getting. prices have gone up on some sites like amazon since samsung seems to have told retailers they’re stopping production, so i’m glad i got it when i did. however elsewhere, the nx1 and lenses seem to be on a fire-sale. if you can live knowing the lens you’re buying wont be transferable to another system when you upgrade, then i think its a great buy. i mean really, a body that records 4k internally and a quality lens for less than the price of an a7s brand new? deal.

you might think i’m crazy for buying a system i know is dead, but after my experience with the a7s, i no longer think about the body i’m buying as having a resale value. i get it because i want it and it’ll do what i need it to do now, not in the next 5 years.

Here is the NX1 kit that I bought and shoot with.

3 Replies to “NX1first impressions or, why did I buy a dead camera?”

  1. I am in the same boat. I bought the NX1 knowing it was not going to last, but the features and price were just too good to pass up. I really wanted the a7sII (still do), but I don’t think the still images are nearly as capable (and I want a dual use camera). The new Canon 1DX MkII looks interesting now with it’s enhanced 4K and HD abilities. Expensive compared to the NX1 (and just about every other dslr) but It looks like you basically get a full frame sensor version of the aps-c C300 (or even full frame 500) without some of the pro video connectivity or built-in ND and log profiles – but you get Full Frame and dual pixel auto focus which I love on my C100 for the price of a C100! I just wonder if the Sony A7RII is a better full frame sensor… But I have canon lenses so that kind of pushes me back to canon. For Samsung I have had to relearn manual lenses and I’m using old Nikon FX glass with adapters… Sometimes the Canon eos lenses as well, but not having aperture control is a real bummer there.

    Can you recommend a good Matte Box or Cage for NX1?

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