Photokina 2014 – Samsung NX1 – First Impression

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13 Responses

  1. Donosor says:

    Nice article. I was at Photokina as well, but my experience was quite different. I found the af-c terrible. It was constantly hunting (I’m used to my gh4, which seems so much faster and precise). Besides the 15fps burst was usable for barely 1 second before lockup and the buffer clear was painfully slow. Most pictures taken in the burst (lady on the swing) were completely out of focus.

    It seems to me that Samsung is really behind competitors (at least Panasonic, Olympus, Sony and Fuji) and tries to push on raw specifications to impress the gear heads….

    I doubt this camera will sell at the requested price and I’m quite sure it will get several bad reviews.

    • Don’t forget that your GH4 has larger DOF at comparable FOV and f-stop and thus focusing is easier and can be perceived as sharper. I don’t know your settings (on GH4) but on Photokina lot of people (including myself) changed the settings of NX1 all the time, so you could have something set wrong (long shutter speeds), too high ISO, eye or face foucs that wasn’t able to lock-on. I spent over 1 hour trying to find best setťings (not knowing the camera UI), until I got almost all shots in focus on one of the moving models. (I used 16-50/2,8 and lens can affect resulting focus too).
      GH4 is nowhere near in specification to NX1, and with a smaller sensor it is comparable probably only in price, but we should wait for official reviews to see if Samsung specification is close to reality.
      Don’t forget that you were trying cameras with no final firmware and with probably slow SD cards.
      On contrary, I believe in rather positive reviews of NX1, from independant reviewers (not too many those days…)
      Thanks for the comment,

  2. Donosor says:

    Thanks for your reply. Actually nx1 was the main reason for me to go at photokina. I wanted a camera with larger sensor and decent lenses to complement my m4\3 setup.

    After trying myself, I asked a guy at the booth to set the camera for the best possible AF experience. He told me that my settings were already the best. So I was very, very disappointed.

    As you say, the fw is beta, but I can’t believe that a miracle could be made. The camera retrofocused constantly when in tracking AF, even when the model was moving slowly.

    If that’s the performance of top end and exoensive aps-c mirrorless, I’ll keep my lower specced, smaller sensor camera!

    • I can only reffer to what I experienced myself. I spent lot of time discussing AF with Samsung representatives (senior technician) and Sony representatives (technical guru as they called the guy), and none of them was able to answer some basic questions. That’s why I took my time to find best settings. After doing so, I was able to obtain repeatadly over 10 shots in burst, all very sharp, of the swinging model. That movement however was paralel to the focus plane and that makes it easier for any camera to track the subject, unlike when the subject moves toward (or from) focus plane.
      But you have great camera already and if you don’t hit the limits at narrow DOF or low light IQ, I don’t see many reasons to switch. If you do, I can already recommand Sony A6000 (No 4K video though), but would suggest to wait for production release of NX1 and first official reviews. I will do my best to get one sample for testing asap. but I am still small fish in the ocean 🙁

  3. Donosor says:

    Oh that’s the explanation then. I used the camera pointed towards the lady, so she was swinging back and forth towards the camera. That’s a typical situation in sport and action photography and the nx1 simply could NOT handle that.

    • I see. For that type of movement, those hybrid systems are even harder to set, and it takes lot of effort to distinguish between user error, miss-focus due to the structure of the background/lighting conditions, and interaction of the different settings.
      One of the issues is the real size of detection area, don’t trust much those squares…
      To successfully freeze swinging lady, speed of about 1/640s and faster will be needed for critical sharpness. (especially with so dense sensor)
      There was hardly that much light (at low ISO), and some auto settings would calculate your lens FL (e.g. 50mm) and set appropriate minimum shutter speed, which isn’t adequate for the situation. Thus you might have lower shutter speeds, if you used camera as it was given to you.
      I really can’t comment on overall AF speed or accuracy, until I get testing unit for few days, but my advise is to wait a bit with conclusion. You might be right though, but it also might happen that camera wasn’t set properly, or that early firmware (they change it within few days on Photokina btw) wasn’t fully functional yet.


  4. Donosor says:

    Yes, I had set it in s mode, with a very fast shutter (I don’t remember if 1/640 or even higher). It did NOT help. I assure you that there wasn’t a way to have better pics, unless there was some hidden setting for developers about AF sensitivity (for example there wasn’t a setting to specifically engage pdaf over cdaf, so I assumed it was an automated selection).

  5. Donosor says:

    That’s what I’ll do as well, since I’m not ready to dismiss a camera based on a beta fw, but please keep in mind to make a test with a subject running towards you, since the one you made (subject swinging in front, on the same plane) does not stress AF in any way.

  6. Nice review, really detailed and balanced. Have you had a chance to get your hands on the camera yet?

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