Samsung surprised many of us this year at Photokina, when they announced their first 4K mirrorless camera – the Samsung NX1. The new 4K offering from Samsung is yet another alternative to shooters who want to get into the 4K game for a very reasonable price of about $1,500, rivalling the venerable Panasonic GH4, an established workhorse in the 4K mirrorless video realm. The Samsung NX1 is an interesting specimen as it features a Super 35mm size 28.2 MP sensor, while recording in 4K DCI (4096 x 2160) at 24p, as well as UHD up to 30p, and 1080p/60 in the next generation H.265 codec at the healthy 80Mb/s in Pro mode. Andrew Reid from EOSHD recently took his Samsung NX1 to sunny Lisbon to get some really beautiful 4K footage and get to grips with the functionality of the camera.
Lenses used – Canon 135mm F2.0L / Samsung 30mm F2.0 / Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART
Don’t forget to download the original 3840 x 2160 video to get an idea of the quality this camera is capable of. Looks great on the 5K iMac display!!
Music by Future Islands – The Great Fire
Settings he used for this shoot:
- Picture Profile – “Standard” with -10 sharpness, 0 contrast (middle setting)
- Transcoded H.265 with Wondershare,
- Applied contrast -6 in the edit panel for all clips. ProRes 422 LT codec.
- Graded with Film Convert: Red Epic Profile, REDGamma 3, Kodak 5207 Vision3
Not as big of a problem as some might have thought – comparable to rolling shutter on the Canon 1D C in the real world and Sony A7s – which has a full pixel readout on a 12.2MP sensor – more than twice as less pixels as on the NX1. The NX1 with its 28MP APS-C Sensor has a staggering amount of lines to read at 24fps or 30fps. Andrew points out the fact that Canon 1D C and the GH4 have a little bit less pronounced skew is due to the crop in 4K that they do, which saves time as they don’t read out any more pixels than they have to.
On the other hand, the Samsung NX1 has no field of view crop and does a 6.5K readout. In 1080p mode the rolling shutter is even less, again without a crop. He does point out that Full HD suffers from heavy aliasing, due to the pixel-binning required to get the 1080p image from a 28MP sensor. 120fps in 1080p HQ mode renders the best slow-motion that $1500 can buy today. 120fps slow motion territory is where things get expensive – the Sony FS7 is about £6K+ or $9K in USD, and out of the budget for most NX1 type shooters.
Images Quality & H.265 Codec
The H.265 codec, albeit a highly efficient and providing excellent quality-to-size ratio requires quite a lot of computer horsepower, is not very editing friendly as major NLE’s lack support for it (at least for now, chances are this will change in the near future, hopefully) thus requiring additional software for transcoding. The transcoding processes can be problematic due to the inherent gamma curve that some converters can burn onto the image hindering the true performance of the sensor by introducing crushed blacks for example.
The Samsung NX1 has a helluva a sensor producing very filmic and noise-free images at ISO 200. Occasional banding can be dithered by adding small amounts of grain to smooth the colour gradations. Compatibility with the Atomos Shogun 4K is yet to be finalised and the 4K HDMI recorder will definitely be a fantastic addition to the NX1, as it will be able to extract that gorgeous tonality and colour in a solid 4K ProRes HQ codec. Let’s hope this happens soon.
Andrew’s footage really shows the capability of the NX1 much better than the innitial promo footage we saw released around Photokina. I wish the NX1 had some form of Log gamma, but even as in the case of the GH4, which also does not have (yet) a flat Log picture profile – the 4K images from NX1 look fantastic.
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