We really liked the NX30 on its Australian debut in April, but there's no denying that here at Gizmodo we like slightly more powerful and more professional cameras. With a new lens line-up and some genuinely impressive technology hidden away inside, Samsung's new NX1 is squarely aimed at "advanced photographers".
Samsung NX1: 28 Megapixels, Backlit CMOS Sensor
The truly innovative thing about the Samsung NX1 is its sensor. I know that camera companies say that each and every sensor is amazing and groundbreaking, but the NX1's 24x16mm APS-C 'crop' image sensor really is different. It's the same large size as most Canon and Nikon and other competitor mid-range and semi-professional DSLR cameras' sensors, but is the first in the world to use the BSI-CMOS process — basically putting all the miniscule and extraneous electronics of the sensor behind the photosensitive cells, making it significantly more reactive to light. Samsung says the 28-megapixel NX1 sensor is superior in image noise to an equally sized 20-megapixel non-BSI one — so it won't be terrible at taking low-light snaps.
The DRIMe V image processor inside the NX1 is a quad-core CPU distantly related to the powerful Exynos chips inside the Korean electronics giant's international smartphones and tablets. It's no slouch, and it's that image processor's comparatively massive power and bandwidth that enables the NX1 to fire off bursts of photos at 15 frames per second all while tracking focusing (with a best-case-scenario focus speed of 0.005 seconds) in between captures. Simultaneous phase and contrast detection means the NX1 should be versatile across both bright and low lighting.
A significant step up from the previous entry-level to mid-range NX30, the NX1 is slightly larger and more suited to comfortable ergonomics and long-term use over minimal packaging and portability. The body is cast from a magnesium alloy and is weather resistant, it has all the usual dials and buttons and is the first NX camera to include a top LCD readout, and has all the bells and whistles — like 802.11ac Wi-Fi — that you'd expect.
New S-Series NX Lenses: 16-50mm F/2-2.8, 50-150mm F/2.8
There are two new lenses being introduced alongside the pro-focused NX1; where the previous NX lens line-up was definitely newbie-friendly with only a few standout lenses like the 30mm F/2 pancake and 85mm F/1.4 portrait prime, the reinvigorated S lens range is more in line with Canon's L: premium lenses, with a premium price, aimed at professionals and designed to complement the high-end quality of the pixel-dense 28-megapixel NX1.
First in the new line-up is a 16-50mm standard zoom, with a only-just variable aperture that starts at F/2 and narrows down to a still-impressive F/2.8 at the tighter 50mm zoom end. There's also a fixed-aperture 50-150mm F/2.8 telephoto zoom. Both these lenses hit the scene with the field of view coverage of Nikon and Canon's full-frame 24-70mm and 70-200mm professional zooms, so any long-time photographic expert should be able to hit the ground running with little to no effort required.
Those lenses come in addition to the existing NX lens line-up, all of which suit the NX1 as well:
NX 10mm lens F3.5 Fisheye $549 NX 16mm F2.4 Wide Pancake Lens $399 NX 20mm lens F2.8 $350 NX 30mm lens F2.0 Pancake Lens $440 NX 60mm lens F2.8 Macro O.I.S $729 NX 85mm lens F1.4 ED $1199 NX 12-24mm F4-5.6 $599
NX1 And Lens Pricing And Availability
The NX1 is out in Australia right now, with an RRP of $1899 for the body on its own. You'll need a lens or two to go with it, so prepare to open your wallet for the $1499 16-50mm or $1999 50-150mm. Those lenses are out in the wild now too, so if you have the cash to burn you can pick yourself up a pretty comprehensive pro-level kit. By the way, there's a great vertical body grip available for the NX1 for $329.