Review Samsung NX1 video in practice

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We previously published a Samsung NX1 review, dedicated to the performance as a photo camera, whereby the NX1, compared with the competition—including cameras with a full-frame sensor—scored higher with an exceptionally high resolution and a high dynamic range. At the same time, the Samsung NX1 is a compact system camera that, together with the Panasonic GH4 and the Sony A7s, is among the most advanced—and most affordable—video cameras. It is a camera that not only distinguishes itself in video image quality, but in the many user options as well. For many SLR and compact system cameras—to the great frustration of semi-professional videographers—the options for adjusting the camera settings while recording are limited.

Quiet Escape by Ed David is a beautiful illustration of the movie quality and creative freedom that color-grading of NX1 video recordings offers. See NoFilmschool for "making of" info.

For an amateur film-maker, who just wants to let the camera do all the work, then, for example, automatic adjustment of the ISO while filming is indispensable. For beautiful, flowing movements, you fix the shutter speed to 1/50 of a second. And if you want to play with the focal depth, then you set it to a steady f/2.8. In order to then get a well-exposed shot, the ISO should be able to be varied during recording, so that under changing light conditions, you still get well-exposed recordings.

KortvsLangShutter-time determines: video or action photo. Films are made with a recording speed of 24 images per second and a shutter time of 1/50 of a second. For a YouTube of Vimeo video with a film-like character, you choose 25 images per second and a shutter time of 1/50 of a second. Fast-moving subjects, like the water droplets in the example above, will be blurry on the individual video images (above left). The advantage of this long shutter time is that the video produces beautifully smooth motion. If you want to pull a still from a video to make a print, then you want to freeze that motion, and you need a much shorter shutter time. If you choose a faster shutter time, like 1/500 of a second (above right), then the individual raindrops will be sharper, but the video will be noisier, jumpy.

Why do many videographers use an ND filter? Many videographers like to play with focal depth. For beautiful, smooth images, fix the shutter time to 1/50. With sunny weather, sometimes f/22 and 1/50 at 100 ISO is not sufficient to prevent an over-exposed shot. By using a neutral gray filter, it becomes possible to make a well-exposed video at f/2.8, 1/50 and 100 ISO. 

Video: Why a Samsung NX1?

  • Samsung and Panasonic are so far the only manufacturers that produce versatile, affordable system cameras, with which you can film in 4K/Ultra HD without a supplemental external recorder.
  • "Photographing with video" (see below) is only possible with 4K video, with which you make 8-megapixel shots. Full HD produces images of 2 megapixels, which is insufficient to make a good print in A4 format.
  • The user options for video with a Samsung NX1 are aligned with the wishes of both amateur videographers and—since the firmware 1.2 update (see below)—professional videographers.
  • Are you an amateur videographer and who wants the same image quality as the Samsung NX1, at a lower price in a more compact body? Order the Samsung NX500.
  • The H265 codec from Samsung is, technically seen, "state of the art" at the moment and delivers much smaller video files than the current H264 codec.

Samsung NX1 firmware 1.21

With the firmware 1.2 update, the Samsung NX1 is a perfect video camera for both amateurs and professionals.

Previously, firmware was only intended for the repairing of—usually—small flaws in the function of a camera. If you wanted to have more functions, then you had to buy a newer camera. Today, firmware is much more than that. Ever-more camera manufacturers are listening to the users' experiences from consumers and professionals. Requests, improvements and functional expansions of a camera become possible with free updates of the camera firmware. Samsung picks up the feedback from the customers and delivers fast and comprehensive firmware updates. The image quality of the Samsung NX1 video is highly valued, but in comparison with the Panasonic GH4, experienced videographers were missing various features, that with firmware 1.2 (for this test, we used version 1.21) are also available on the Samsung NX1. Supplemental users' requests, features for video that you don't find on the Panasonic GH4, were honored:

  • C Gamma and D Gamma. In particular, D gamma helps to prevent bleached-out highlights and closed up blacks in recording situations with high contrast.
  • Master black level and Luma level control. Just like the master pedestal setting on the Panasonic GH4, you can use this setting to prevent closed up shadows and highlights ("broadcast safe standards"), or to align the camera with another camera if you are using multiple cameras.
  • AFspeed choice. With video, it's great that the AF shifts slowly from one point to another, instead of lightning-fast.
  • 23.98 & 24p is now also available in UHD 4K (for the professional).
  • The highest bitrate of 1080p is expanded with the "Pro" bitrate (80 Mbit/s in 4K and 40 Mbit/s in Full HD). O=Not slow-motion recordings, shot with 1080/120 bps (0.25x slow-mo mode) get a higher image quality this way.
  • ISO and sound level adjustable while recording.
  • Display markers in video mode, next to a grid and a marker for the center of the image, lines for image ratios like 2.35:1 or 4:3 can also be shown in the frame.
  • Timecode over HDMI: especially for 4K recordings with the Atomos Shogun.
  • Auto focus lock during video recording. AF-ON button can switch between AF and MF during filming.
  • Improved functionality for the selection of 4K stills on the camera.

High resolution and image quality

My video experience until now is that I'm impressed by the image quality of the Nikon D810 and the Panasonic GH4 in comparison with cameras of other brands. The Samsung NX1 has now added itself to that list, whereby I prefer a workflow in which I make 4K recordings that I subsequently convert into Full HD. Most readers do not yet have a screen on which they can view 4K screen-filling video. If you have a 4K screen, then you should certainly view the video here, which is made by Samsung.

Go Pro: Choose the "Pro" video quality for 80 Mbit/s (Ultra HD) or 40 Mbit/s (Full HD)

If you want to see how the image quality of the Samsung compares with video cameras with a full-frame sensor, then check out Samsung NX1 vs Canon C300 (& Canon 1Dc) on EOSHD. It might not seem fair to compare a compact system camera "with a small sensor" costing one and a half thousand euros with specialized video cameras that cost a multiple of that amount, but the conclusion thus even more remarkable.

Dynamic range

Reigeroriginal

Recipe for successful action photos: shoot with a fast shutter speed—if needed, for minutes long—25 images per second to capture action at unpredictable moments. Choose the photo of the decisive moment after the bird has flown.

The Samsung NX1 has a "Trap Shot" option (since firmware 2.2) in which you place a marker in frame, after which the camera makes a photo as soon as the marker is passed. It might still seem a useless gadget, but I believe that these kinds of new options are going to change the way we photograph in the future. Once you're convinced, then you won't take anymore photos of action, because the chance is too great that, at 10 shots per second, you'll miss the perfect moment is simply too great. With this blue heron, I want the exact moment that he spreads his wings. I therefore chose a 4K recording, after which I chose a still of the right moment to edit as a photo. The illustration above—with an SLR it would have been hopeless, since at 25 frames per second there was only 1 shot where the heron had his wings beautifully spread—is the unedited image from the video. Precisely exposed in order to prevent over-exposure, and the Samsung NX1 also has sufficient dynamic range to simultaneously ensure that there are no shadows that change into black spots without any rendering.. The usable dynamic range, that is to say, the number of stops with a good signal-to-noise ratio in order to produce a beautiful photo, of the Samsung NX1 as a video camera is large. Very large. Even extreme post-editing in Photoshop (shadows set to 80% with Shadow/Highlight 80%) changes the silhouette of the blue heron back into a bird with feathers, without noise becoming visible.

Color reproduction

VideoStill700Samsung NX1 + Samsung 50-150 mm f/2.8 200 ISO 4K video still
Click (2x) on the illustration above for the 4K still as an 8-megapixel photo.

In the video mode, the Samsung NX1 delivers perfect colors, in particular in sunny weather. The illustration above is an individual image from a 4K recording, where no editing at all (aside from compression for the internet) has been done. Perfectly exposed and a fantastic color reproduction, as far as I'm concerned.
In order to retain as much dynamic range as possible and to prevent over-exposure, there has been a Gamma DR mode available since firmware 1.2, and with this, I made the shot shown here. It delivers perfect base material for the application of color-grading. On Vimeo, you can download the original 4K video to play with.

Noise

Up to 1600 ISO, you make beautiful noise-free video recordings with the Samsung NX1. With the help of Neat video software, you can suppress the noise in such a way that you win 1 to 2 stops of sensitivity, before the noise becomes disruptive. But Neat video places heavy demands on the power of your processor, so that I would really only apply that method in emergencies.
For my own video work, 1600 ISO would be more than sufficient, but videographers who enjoy filming in low light are naturally also curious about the performance at 6400 ISO.
Above, there is a video recording where you can compare the signal-to-noise performance of the Samsung NX1 at 1600 ISO with recordings made at 6400 ISO in Full HD and with 6400 ISO recordings in 4K, which I subsequently converted in Adobe Premiere Pro into Full-HD. I found it remarkable to see how the signal-to-noise ratio improved by converting a 4K shot into a Full HD shot. It's an extra reason to only want to film in 4K from now on.

Samsung NX1 with Atomos Shogun

Professional videographers like to make use of an external recorder and/or a larger external screen. We tested the sum by making 4K recordings with the Samsung NX1 and an Atomos Shogun. I did find some points for improvement in the communication between the two devices. When I first linked the Atomos Shogun to the Samsung NX1, the option for a clean HDMI signal out was not available (grayed out) in the camera menu. I disconnected the Shogun from the camera, and then these options were available. First choose the camera-out options, and then link the Shogun to the camera. You're a bit baffled by it the first time, but you get used to it. 

With the use of an external recorder/monitor, the Samsung NX1 can also run a timecode. This is really a feature for the professional. Many professionals use the time setting in order to distinguish images made simultaneously with different cameras from each other: camera 1 starts counting at 01:00:00 and camera 2 starts at 02:00:00. Thanks to the firmware 1.2, this is now also possible with the Samsung NX1.

With use of the Atomos Shogun, you first of all have the (temporary) advantage that the Atomos recorder stores the videos in the H264 codec, so that you do not have to apply any transcoding from H265 to H264. That H264 files are much larger than the H265 files that you get when you store the video recordings in the camera is no problem for the Atomos Shogun, which makes use of HDD. An additional advantage of the use of an external recorder in combination with the Samsung NX1 is that the Atomos stores video recordings in 4:2:2 (8 bit), while the recordings on an SD card in the camera will be stored in 4:2:0. (The difference between 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 is explained in our Atomos Shogun review). Just as with the Panasonic GH4, I thought the 4:2:0 image quality of the Samsung NX1 to be so high that I would rather leave behind the extra load of an external recorder and just save the recordings in the camera on the SD card. 

Conclusion Samsung NX1 video practical review

Pros

  • High image quality, high resolution, beautiful colors, fantastic dynamic range, little noise
  • Professional video operating options
  • User-friendly and versatile for amateur and professional

Cons

  • Samsung is running ahead of the pack (incl. Adobe) with the H265 codec

Too long, didn't read (TL/DR)? Samsung NX1, aside from the rolling shutter, delivers higher image quality in both 1080p and 4K than the Canon C300 Andrew Reid, EosHD.com

Faithful readers of CameraStuffReview know that I am no professional videographer. Therefore, I'm still cautious in publishing measurement results of video recordings, and I selected a quote from Andrew Reid for the conclusion. First, build up a database and gain more practical experience. Even so, the first outlines are clearly starting to form, whereby I'm very enthusiastic about the options and price-to-quality ratio of the Panasonic GH4 and the Samsung NX1. The first seems obvious, since this camera is a kind of benchmark for many periodicals when it comes to video with system cameras or SLR cameras. Last year, the Panasonic GH4, in particular due to the unmatched options with video, won a GoodStuff Award from us as the best professional system camera in 2014. Firmware update 1.2 of the Samsung NX1 has turned the tide: if I had to choose right now, then the Samsung NX1 would beat the Panasonic GH4. And with that, all the other cameras that we have reviewed.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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Comments (1)

  1. garry

:lol:

 

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