Jon Devo tries out Samsung’s new smart camera, featuring the world’s first APS-C-sized, 28.2-million-pixel backside illuminated sensor and a host of other exciting specs
Samsung NX1 Review – Build and Handling
I genuinely like the look and feel of this camera, with Samsung taking a mostly clean, no-nonsense approach to its design. The NX1 makes a solid first impression in the hand, with its perfectly ergonomic grip providing a firm holding experience and well-placed control buttons that are easy to operate while shooting. The exposure mode dial has the usual PASM settings, an auto mode, a smart mode and two custom options.
The rest of the camera looks streamlined and designed for simplicity. There are, however, some decent customisation
options with the controls we do have that make it possible to configure just about every regularly used feature to the buttons at your fingertips. Plus, there’s the ability to quickly make settings adjustments using the quick menu and touchscreen.
In short, Samsung has made every attempt to make this camera work for as many conceivable personal preferences as possible, and it’s done so without completely covering the camera in buttons. My only issue with the controls is the minuscule size of the four secondary control buttons on the left shoulder. Samsung could, and should, have adopted Nikon’s approach, providing larger, more accessible four-way buttons that cover the top of the shoulder dial, rather than the stylised thin slithers that they are. Otherwise, this is an easy camera to configure and shoot with, and is suitable for both experienced photographers and newcomers alike.
For a compact system camera, though, the NX1 isn’t particularly compact. Measuring 138.5 x 102.3 x 65.8mm and weighing 635g, it’s comparable in size to the Nikon D7100 DSLR, which also has a magnesium-alloy frame, although it does weigh an extra 130g. However, the high-quality build of Samsung’s Premium S lenses will add to the heft of using the NX1. The 16-50mm f/2-2.8 Premium S lens will, for example, increase the weight of the camera by 622g. I don’t want any of this to sound like a complaint – I just think it’s important to highlight that the NX1, although classified as a compact system camera, is relatively heavy and DSLR-like in size.
The NX1’s electronic viewfinder is one of the best we’ve seen, with a 2.36-million-dot XGA OLED display and an almost imperceptible lag of 0.005sec. Given the lack of delay, and its ability to show advanced shooting information and assistance such as manual focus peaking with up to 5x magnification, I dare say this EVF is better than more traditional optical units typically found in DSLRs.
Using the NX1’s 3in, 1.04-million-dot FVGA Super AMOLED touchscreen display is also a pleasure, with colours and detail rendered superbly while composing frames. Using the screen to adjust settings is quick and responsive, with everything laid out in an attractive and uncluttered user interface. It’s also possible to focus and shoot by touching the screen. Both are highly useful capabilities, particularly when using the LCD’s tilting function.