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Samsung NX1000

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Samsung NX1000 Preview

by Shawn Barnett, , and Dave Etchells
Preview Posted: 04/19/2012

Aimed at the consumer shooter wanting good quality at a lower price point, the Samsung NX1000 takes up the entry-level position in Samsung's impressive new lineup of compact system cameras. Samsung built in the same 20.3-megapixel APS-C sensor found in the NX20 and NX210 cameras, both announced at the same time. In what seems to be a clear theme, perhaps for the rest of the year, the entire Samsung compact system camera lineup includes WiFi connectivity to Android smartphones and several social networking sites. In the Samsung NX1000, accessing WiFi comes at the press of a button called the Smart Link Hot Key.

The NX1000 also shares the rest of the line's top ISO of 12,800, Full HD video recording, auto Panorama and 3D Panorama modes, i-Function 2.0 controls, and the Smart Panel information display.


Equipped with lenses to match the body color, the NX1000 is designed to appeal to the design-conscious consumer, much like the Nikon 1 series of compact system cameras. Though similar to the NX210, the Samsung NX1000 emphasizes simplicity and small size. A small opening lets the AF-assist/Self-timer lamp peer out of the grip.

The Samsung NX1000 debuts a new 20-50mm lens, which like Samsung's other small lenses, retracts inside the zoom barrel to make a smaller package, and must be deployed before shooting. Lens mounts are also now metal on the entire latest generation of the NX series. The top deck reveals stereo microphones to go with the Full HD video recording, a full hot shoe (missing from the Nikon 1 series). A pull to the right fires up the NX1000 via the ring around the shutter button, and the Mode dial includes PASM and several special modes, including WiFi and Smart modes. But the Smart Link button is the simplest way to access the NX1000's WiFi features.

Unlike the NX210 and NX20, the Samsung NX1000 has a 3-inch LCD, rather than an AMOLED. We've yet to see it, but tend to prefer LCDs over AMOLED displays, so it'll be interesting to see which we prefer. There's a nice thumbgrip in just the right place right of the LCD, and the Movie Record button is just right of that. The control cluster is similar to the NX210, but not identical. The EV button appears on the bottom button of the navigation disk, replacing the ISO button, which is accessed via the menu.

We also received last minute news that the NX1000 will ship in pink, as well as white and black. Something for everyone, eh?

The Samsung NX1000 is expected to ship in black and white come June 2012, with pink available in July. Pricing is set at US$699.99 bundled with the 20-50mm kit lens.

The NX1000's 20.3 megapixel, APS-C CMOS image sensor is developed in-house. It's closely related to that seen previously in the NX200, but with some tweaks to circuitry.

The design includes on-chip A/D conversion. ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 12,800 equivalents, in 1 EV or 1/3 EV steps.

Burst shooting performance has increased just slightly from the NX200. Samsung says that the NX1000 can manage eight frames per second, for eight raw or 11 JPEG frames.

You can also opt for a slower 3fps rate, for a JPEG buffer depth of 15 frames. Shutter lag should be somewhere in the region of 65 milliseconds.

The NX1000 accepts Samsung NX-mount lenses, and the company now offers nine different lens models, including four zooms and five primes, three of them pancakes.

Among these is a new version of the 20-50mm lens that's 30% less deep than its predecessor. 2012 model-year kit lenses now feature metal lens mounts; the NX1000 kit includes this 20-50mm optic.

Samsung NX-series camera use in-lens stabilization. Autofocus performance is manufacturer-rated at around 100 milliseconds, the same as was claimed for the NX200. (18-55mm OIS lens shown on NX210 body.)

The NX1000 supports i-Function 2.0, which allows adjustment of even more variables with the lens ring, including Smart Filters and intelli-Zoom, the latter being a digital zoom / crop function.

On the rear panel of the NX1000 is a 3.0-inch TFT LCD panel. Resolution is 921,600 dots, equating to a VGA array with each pixel made up of separate red, green, and blue dots.

Samsung's Smart Panel function, seen previously in the NX200, is retained for the new model, and makes light work of adjusting common exposure variables.

The NX1000 has a 221 segment metering system that operates on data from the main image sensor, and considers the scene as a grid of 17 x 13 distinct areas. Multi, Center-weighted, and Spot metering modes are available, and the working range is 0 to 18 EV (ISO 100, 30mm, f/2.0).

Exposure modes include Program, Aperture- and Shutter-priority, Manual, Smart Auto, Lens Priority, Magic, Scene, Movie, and WiFi. Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds in 1/3 EV steps, plus a bulb mode. The latter has a hard limit of four minutes. +/-3.0 EV of exposure compensation is available, again in 1/3 EV steps.

There are no less than ten Smart Filter modes (Vignetting, Miniature, Fish-Eye, Sketch, De-fog, Halftone Dots, Soft Focus,Old Film1, Old Film2, and Negative), twelve Picture Wizard modes, plus 13 Magic Frame modes which place your image inside a variety of frames such as an advertising billboard or newspaper. There's also a new Selective Color filter which desaturates most of your image, while retaining one of four colors.

You can also create panoramas in-camera with the Live Panorama function.

A handy addition to the NX1000 is its new dual-axis level gauge function, which will make it easier to ensure horizons are true, and verticals parallel.

The NX1000 lacks a built-in flash, but ships bundled with the SEF8A external strobe. This has a guide number of eight meters at ISO 100, and 28mm coverage. X-sync is at 1/180 second or less.

The external strobe mounts in a standard hot shoe on the top deck of the NX1000. The most powerful Samsung strobe currently is the ED-SEF42A, with a guide number of 42 meters.

As well as strobes, the hot shoe also accepts a proprietary, body-powered external stereo microphone.

The Samsung EM10 external mic is particularly interesting for two reasons. It has adjustable levels and a built-in headphone jack for monitoring. Even cooler, unlike most competing solutions, it requires no clumsy external cables: A/D conversion is performed by the mic itself, and data is then transferred to the camera through the hot shoe. Nice!

Another new accessory for the NX1000 is the optional SR2NX02 remote shutter release, which is not backwards-compatible with the NX200. This cabled remote plugs into the NX1000's USB port.

The NX1000's video mode allows high-def movies to be captured at a maximum resolution of 1080p (1,920 x 1,080 pixels, aka Full HD), with a rate of 30 frames per second. The NX1000's movies are recorded in MP4 format using H.264 video compression and AAC audio, in one of two quality levels.  Manual and priority exposure are possible for movie capture. As with the NX200, there are also slow motion modes, and you can apply certain Smart Filter functions in movie mode.

One of the most unusual features of the NX1000, shared with both of its simultaneously-announced siblings, is built-in 802.11 ABGN WiFi Direct connectivity.

The NX1000 can connect to networks, or it can serve as a node itself. Once connected, not surprisingly, you can share content on social networks such as Facebook, Picasa, and YouTube.

You can also send emails with your photos attached, directly from the camera.

Another no-brainer: you can automatically back up your photos to a PC on your local network.

Perhaps the coolest feature for our money, though, is the ability to connect to your phone or tablet, and get a live viewfinder feed on the remote device.

Connectivity options include a Micro USB 2.0 High Speed data jack which supports the previously-mentioned remote release, an HDMI 1.4a high-def video output, and external mic / flash hot shoe connectors. You can also use the NX1000 with the company's WGS84 GPS module. Images tagged using this module can be viewed in Google Maps through the bundled intelli-Studio software package, and location names can be viewed on-screen in English or Korean.

Power comes courtesy of a BP1030 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, rated at 1,030mAh as hinted at by the model name. Battery life is CIPA-rated to 320 shots on a charge.

The Samsung NX1000 compact system camera comes bundled with an 20-50mm kit lens matched to the color of the camera body. Pricing is set at US$699.99 and there will be three body color choices: white, black, or pink. Availability in the US market is set for around June 2012.

Analysis. We've all seen WiFi cameras come and go over the years, but this time may be different, for several reasons. First, WiFi itself is more ubiquitous than ever, with WiFi antennas even found recently on ski lift towers: WiFi is becoming the near-universal connectivity fabric of modern society.

What's different this time around is that these latest cameras have a whole lot more smarts to deal with WiFi interfacing, and there's also a new "WiFi Direct" protocol that makes it easy for devices to communicate with each other without the fiddling with network names, encryption types, etc, that was needed in the past. If there's an open WiFi network available, these new NX models will use that; but if not, they'll publish their own network to let a phone or computer connect to it.

Suddenly, rather than being islands unto themselves, cameras become true photo sharing hubs, able to email photos or upload to Facebook and YouTube or to a Samsung-provided cloud directly, automatically backup photos to your computer, let you use your smartphone or tablet as a remote viewfinder and shutter release, and connect to your cell phone for photo sharing even when there's no WiFi network around.

We think this is just the first ripple of a wave that's going to sweep through the camera industry in the next few years: Two or three years from now, this sort of connectivity will be expected in cameras, rather than an unusual feature. You can wait for the coming wave, or get onboard now with these latest NX models from Samsung. One way or another, the WiFi wave is coming; you heard it here first.