Samsung's NX series of cameras has been around since 2010. In that year, the NX10 came out and it thrilled us with its compact size and full list of features. It was one of the first interchangeable lens cameras to challenge the Micro Four Thirds options from Panasonic and Olympus by offering a bigger APS-C sized sensor, as well as a built-in flash, and an electronic viewfinder. With the NX1, Samsung has elevated the NX series to a level that now targets professional users, in addition to the rest of us.
The usual Samsung hallmarks are there: it's a camera that's packed with features, and it makes use of the best technology that the company has to offer in the digital imaging space. That means it makes use of Samsung's most up to date backside illuminated CMOS sensor, which has 28 megapixels, and it also has one of Samsung's most powerful processors, which allows the camera to capture up to 15 frames per second.
With this large sensor and fast frame rate, Samsung is pitching the NX1 directly at the big guns of the digital SLR market, in addition to the high-end models that are available in the interchangeable lens camera (or compact system camera) market.
The high-end performance is encased in a metal body that has about 57 O-rings to keep out the weather, and it offers the dedicated controls for your fingertips that are needed to change the shutter, aperture, ISO, and other settings on-the-go.
Some of the button placement takes a while to get used to, in particular the location of the ISO and white balance, which are located on the drive dial at the top left of the camera, but the overall layout of the controls is clear and easy to get used to.
The rear has a 3in AMOLED screen and an electronic viewfinder, and you can frame your shots using either when you have it set up to auto-switch between them.
Like other top-end digital SLRs, Samsung has included an old-school settings window at the top-right of the camera, which you can glance at to see your exposure settings, and there is a button that illuminates it for night viewing. It's not altogether necessary, it seems, as the rear screen can give you all the info that you need. Furthermore, changes to the ISO, white balance, focus and metering modes will switch on the rear screen rather than letting you change everything from the settings window on its own.
Because of the heavy reliance on the rear screen, battery life was an immediate concern for us. However, the NX1 performed strongly in this area, allowing us to take well over 1700 JPEGs and a few minutes of Full HD video during the course of a full day of shooting, with slightly under 30 per cent remaining at the end of the day.
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