One of the biggest surprises at this year’s Photokina show was the announcement of the first 4K mirorrless camera by Samsung.
The Samsung NX1 has some impressive specs such as Super 35mm sensor with the ability to shoot true DCI 4K video on vastly affordable media such as SD cards with the latest highly advanced H.265 (HEVC) codec. This is yet another significant step by Samsung in the realm of 4K acquisition after implementing H.265 recently in their Galaxy Note series smart phones and 4K TV sets and monitors.
In the next video we can see some of the first 4K footage that has been shot on the NX1.
The camera records 4K in H.265 at 80Mbit/s in Pro mode, 40Mbit/s in HQ mode.
The H.265 codec is super efficient. One minute of 4K file recorded on the NX1 is almost 50% less compared to the same file size compressed in H.264. while retaining the same image quality. Although 4K footage can be recorded to the memory card (SD/SDHC/SDXC/UHS-I/UHS-II) it is also possible to send clean 4K feed to an external recorder via a HDMI connection (think of the Atomos Shogun). Samsung is also working with a third-party provider to ensure that there are compatible rigs and recorders available for the NX1.
According to Andrew Reid from EOSHD.com, who had the chance to test the new NX1 at this year’s Photokina, the Super 35mm sensor appears to deliver a very clean image free of moire and aliasing. This is something we can see in the above video as well, although YouTube compression may add the odd bit of moire/artifacts here and there – see foliage in 1:54 for example, but on a large 4K screen it probably didn’t look like this. So for the pixel-peeper out there – skip to the 1:54 mark.
According to Samsung the sensor of NX1 is able to do a full pixel readout at up to 30fps in 7K and so there’s no crop in 4K video mode. The scaling of the 7K raw output data from the sensor to 4K and Ultra HD is due to the advanced image processor implemented in the camera.
The camera also features a bright OLED viewfinder as well as a 3-inch Super AMOLED tilting display. Besides the physical controls one can also use the touchscreen to make the settings adjustments. Whether you like physical dials or are used to using a touchscreen, the NX1 offers several ways of control.
It is clear that Samsung would be the next big competitor on the market of 4K mirrorless cameras. The NX1 performance and technical specs are impressive as well as the footage it produces. This is something that we would normally expect from a camera capable of shooting 4K, released in 2014.
I’m sure very soon we’ll see more in-depth reviews and comparisons as the camera gets into the hands of more shooters. With a retail price of $1,499 and the set of features implemented in the camera, the Samsung NX1 definitely has attracted the attention of the filmmaking community and us at 4K Shooters in particular as well.
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