placement of the video record button.
We would frequently slide a finger
down from the shutter button hoping to
trigger video recording but would hit the
exposure compensation button instead.
Reversing the position of those would feel more natural.
Patiño brought the camera to a corporate portrait session and
performed some in-studio tests with us. We also tested the NX1’s video
features in tandem with Ashley Haglund, a filmmaker and owner of the
production company Generic Brand Human ( www.genericbrandhuman.
com), where the NX1 was used in a video shoot of a seminar, recording
4K and 1080p footage alongside a pair of Canon 5D Mark IIIs. In both
scenarios, the NX1 was able mostly to hold its own.
The NX1 performed well in low-light still shooting. Patiño
produced useable images at ISO 6400. We would use ISO 12,800
sparingly, and found noise throughout images when we reached the
max ISO of 25600.
“It produces a nice, mellow image,” Patiño says, adding that he was
very pleased with the skin tones and the details he was able to capture
with the 28-megapixel sensor while shooting portraits.
However, looking at a 100-percent crop of one of his subject’s blue
jacket, we noticed some serious chromatic aberration down the edge
of his arm. We set up a new session with a new model and a different
colored shirt and found the same results. Scanning through our other
images, it wasn’t a persistent issue and running the RAW files through
Adobe Camera RAW with “Remove Chromatic Aberration” selected
did significantly alleviate the issue. Nonetheless, having to combat
chromatic aberration on a regular basis definitely gave Patiño pause.
We did not have an opportunity to test Samsung’s new 16-50mm S
lens, which you can purchase bundled with the NX1, but with the 50-
100mm S lens it was definitely apparent.
Both Haglund and Patiño told us that the HD video quality on
the NX1 proved excellent, especially in low light where the backside
illuminated CMOS sensor showed its merit. Haglund was also able
to use the footage she shot with the NX1 right alongside Canon EOS
5D Mark III clips. It’s not quite ready to sideline higher-end video
cameras, however. It outputs an 8-bit 4:2:0 file vs. the 10-bit 4:2: 2
file you produce on the GH4. There’s no flat or color-gradeable video
profile, either, so your postprocessing options are limited. You can,
however, adjust ISO during video recording and we found the camera
held up well to ISO 1600.
Thanks to its HEVC compression, Haglund stored 120 minutes
of 4K footage to a 64GB SDXC card, and as we mentioned earlier,
even Class 6 cards were able to record 4K video. Things hit the
skids after we imported these video files onto our Mac. Since
HEVC compression is so new, few video programs support it yet.
Samsung bundles a converter that transcodes the files to H.264, but
the process was slow and laborious. We turned to DVDFab to view
the HEVC files on our Mac and a pair of transcoders (HandBrake
and Wondershare) to convert these files to H.264 and ProRes,
respectively. They proved faster than Samsung’s utility, but that’s
not saying much.
There’s no question that HEVC will eventually replace AVC
(H.264) as the compression codec of choice for camera vendors for
saving video to a memory card. But with the NX1, you’ll be paying the
price of the early adopter, waiting for the rest of the imaging ecosystem to catch up.
Shooting with the NX1 is very intuitive. Samsung knows how to build
a great user interface and it shows on this camera, with a menu and
touch screen integration that is second to none.
The NX1 is also crazy fast, capable of continuous shooting at 15
fps for up to 70 frames (RAW, JPEG or RAW+JPEG), besting both
Canon’s top shelf EOS-1D X and Nikon’s D4 in the speed department,
at less than half of either’s asking price. Tracking AF also did a nice job
keeping moving subjects (in our case a plunging basketball) in focus.
We were also impressed with touch focusing, which we used when
recording a school concert to thread between heads in the foreground
to focus on singing subjects in the background. Despite the array of
AF sensors, the NX1 did hunt for focus a fair amount in both still and
video modes in low light, but when shooting video in bright light,
focusing was very consistent.
The NX1’s battery is CIPA-rated for 500 shots. Unfortunately, if
you opt for a body-only package, the NX1 will ship with a USB charger
that recharges the battery in the camera. We’ve seen external charger
options online and Samsung will bundle a battery grip and external
ABOVE: Sporting a weatherproof
body, the NX1 offers a tilting
3-inch AMOLED display that’s
viewable even in harsh sun.