Samsung NX1 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Samsung NX1's image quality to its predecessor, the NX30 as well as against several competing APS-C models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Canon 7D Mark II, Nikon D7200, Pentax K-3 II and Sony A77 II.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved: click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Samsung NX1, Samsung NX30, Canon 7D II, Nikon D7200, Pentax K-3 II and Sony A77 II -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Samsung NX1 to any camera we've ever tested!

Samsung NX1 vs Samsung NX30 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100
Samsung NX30 at ISO 100

The NX1 ups the resolution from 20 megapixels in the NX30 to 28 megapixels. The fine detail from the NX1 is more noticeable here at base ISO, especially in the fabric swatches, but both cameras resolve excellent fine detail at this ISO.

Samsung NX1 vs Canon 7D Mark II at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 100

The higher-resolution 28MP sensor and lack of an optical low-pass filter on the NX1 really tips things in Samsung's favor here compared to the Canon 7D Mark II. While the 7D Mark II is not bad by any means, the NX1 manages to capture more fine detail.

Samsung NX1 vs Nikon D7200 at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100
Nikon D7200 at ISO 100

With about 4 more megapixels of resolution as well as more aggressive default sharpening, the NX1 displays a bit more fine detail here at base ISO than does the D7200.

Samsung NX1 vs Pentax K-3 II at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 100

Both cameras here do very well at resolving fine, crisp detail, and again we have a slight difference in resolution. The Pentax seems to handle the low-contrast detail in the red fabric a bit better than the Samsung, but not so much with the pink fabric.

Samsung NX1 vs Sony A77 II at Base ISO

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 100
Samsung NX1 at ISO 100
Sony A77 II at ISO 100

Again, lots of fine detail out of both cameras in all three crops here at base ISO, especially with the mosaic and fabric crops.

 

Samsung NX1 vs Samsung NX30 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600
Samsung NX30 at ISO 1600

Bumping up the ISO here a bit, the NX1 displays a lot of detail in most areas, but also shows a bit more graininess in terms of noise, while the NX30's default NR processing is a bit heavier. The NX30 shows a bit more natural detail in mosaic than the NX1 and also handles the red fabric slightly better than the NX1, though the NX1 does better with the pink fabric.

Samsung NX1 vs Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 1600

Apart from the resolution difference, the NX1 and 7D Mark II appear quite evenly matched at ISO 1600. Noise is well-controlled from both cameras, and both show lots of fine detail. The default NR processing from the NX1 seems a bit stronger compared to the 7D Mark II, as the mosaic crop detail looks a bit more distorted on the NX1 crop.

Samsung NX1 vs Nikon D7200 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600
Nikon D7200 at ISO 1600

The shadow noise characteristics from the Nikon appear cleaner and have a slightly finer-grained appearance. Both cameras resolve lots of detail, but as we saw with the Canon comparison previously, the lighter touch to NR processing from the D7200 keeps fine detail in the mosaic crop cleaner and more natural. The D7200, however, does struggle a bit more with the fabrics at this ISO compared to the NX1.

Samsung NX1 vs Pentax K-3 II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 1600

Detail in the mosaic crop looks quite nice from the K-3 II, but the camera displays more noise in the bottle crop and really struggles to resolve detail in the red fabric compared to the NX1.

Samsung NX1 vs Sony A77 II at ISO 1600

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 1600
Samsung NX1 at ISO 1600
Sony A77 II at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the A77 II crops are looking quite a bit softer than the NX1's, especially with the default level of in-camera NR processing. The bottle and mosaic crops' finer details look much less crisp from the Sony. While both cameras struggle with the red fabric, the NX1 manages to pull more detail from the tricky pink fabric swatch.

 

Samsung NX1 vs Samsung NX30 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200
Samsung NX30 at ISO 3200

The difference between NR processing is much more apparent now at ISO 3200. The NX30's NR does well to remove noise, but leaves behind visible artifacts, especially in the shadow areas. The NX1, conversely, displays a bit more noise, but resolves more fine detail. Both cameras, however, struggle with the fabric swatches.

Samsung NX1 vs Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200
Canon 7D Mark II at ISO 3200

At ISO 3200, shadow noise looks quite similar between these two cameras, though the NX1 manages to pull out more detail in the mosaic crop, while the 7D Mark II handles the red fabric just a bit better (though both struggle to resolve any discernible leaf pattern).

Samsung NX1 vs Nikon D7200 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200
Nikon D7200 at ISO 3200

Like the 7D Mark II comparison, we have similar levels of noise, with a nice, finely-grained appearance. Both cameras resolve a lot of fine detail, and troublesome areas like the fabric swatches prove challenging for both cameras.

Samsung NX1 vs Pentax K-3 II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200
Pentax K-3 II at ISO 3200

Noise from the Pentax is more visible than in the NX1's crops. Both, however, display a lot of fine detail in the mosaic crop, though the NX1 looks sharper here than in the K-3 II's crops. The biggest difference is, again, with the fabric crops, with which the Pentax really struggles.

Samsung NX1 vs Sony A77 II at ISO 3200

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 3200
Samsung NX1 at ISO 3200
Sony A77 II at ISO 3200

The NX1 appears to be the winner here across the board. The A77 II's NR processing is even more apparent now at this higher ISO. Fine details are much softer from the Sony camera, which is particularly evident in the bottle and mosaic crops compared to the NX1's. The fabric swatches are more or less similar, with both struggling with the lower contrast patterns, though the A77 II's NR processing leaves more visible artifacts here.

Samsung NX1 vs. Samsung NX30, Canon 7D Mark II, Nikon D7200, Pentax K-3 II, Sony A77 II

100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Samsung NX1 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Samsung NX30 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon 7D Mark II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D7200 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Pentax K-3 II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A77 II test image taken at ISO 6400
Samsung
NX1
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Samsung
NX30
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
7D Mark II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D7200
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Pentax
K-3 II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A77 II
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. On high-contrast areas, all cameras do very well at resolving crisp, sharp details at base ISO. The NX1 really holds up well as the ISO rises, with noise not impacting image quality in these areas much at all. Against its peers, the NX1 is near the top of the pack; practically head-to-head with the D7200, with sharp, crisp detail and good contrast, while the others display varying degrees of softness, noise and/or a drop in contrast.

 

Samsung NX1 Print Quality

Overview: Fantastic prints up to 30 x 40 inches at base ISO through ISO 400; Very good 20 x 30 inch prints at ISO 1600; and acceptable 5 x 7 inches prints are possible all the way up to ISO 25,600.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100/200/400 images make for excellent prints all the way up to 30 x 40 inches and larger; you're really only limited by the resolution of the sensor. At 30 x 40 inches, even at very close inspection, pixelation is practically nonexistent, but at normal viewing distances for these very large prints, details are nice and sharp, and colors are vibrant.

ISO 800 prints look great up to 24 x 36 inches. Images are very clean with hardly any visible luminance noise thanks to the noise reduction processing. There is some very minor softening of really fine details due to NR, however a 30 x 40 inch print would be suitable for wall display.

ISO 1600 images are not much different from ISO 800, however there's a bit more softening of very fine detail due to NR processing, so we're stopping at 20 x 30 inch prints here at ISO 1600. Overall, the detail is still very good, and the colors are pleasing.

ISO 3200 prints top out at 16 x 20 inches as shadow noise becomes slightly more evident and NR affects fine detail a little bit more. We'd be fine with 20 x 30 inch prints for less critical applications, though.

ISO 6400 images look nice up to 13 x 19 inches, as noise/NR processing effects further reduce fine detail resolution, however as with the earlier ISO, we'd be happy with bumping the print size up to 16 x 20 for less critical applications.

ISO 12,800 prints reach their limit at 8 x 10 inches. Noise, as well as noise reduction processing, is becoming more noticeable, and it's taking a toll on fine detail. Colors, as well, are beginning to appear a little on the dull side.

ISO 25,600 images max out at 5 x 7 inch prints. Detail loss due to noise and less pleasing colors really limit printing at larger sizes.

ISO 51,200 prints are too noisy with drab colors to consider acceptable at any size. However, 4 x 6 inch prints may be okay for less critical applications, though we'd recommend avoiding this ISO level for prints.

The high-powered, high-resolution Samsung NX1 brings a lot to table in terms of print quality performance. With its high-resolution 28.2MP APS-C image sensor, this camera's files can create some really large prints, especially at low to mid ISO sensitivities. Up to ISO 400, prints look fantastic all the way up to a massive 30 x 40 inches. You can print larger sizes too, as you're really only limited by how much you're willing to push the boundaries of the sensor's resolution. Fine detail is excellent as are the colors at these lower ISOs. At the mid-range ISOs, the NX1 still manages to produce some very good, large prints. At ISO 1600, the NX1 yields a nice 20 x 30 inch print, while ISO 3200 manages a solid 16 x 20. At the top end of the high ISO scale, the NX1 can still make acceptable prints, though we consider ISO 25,600 to be the maximum for usable prints at 5 x 7 inches. At ISO 51,200, images are too noisy and soft for acceptable prints. One point also worth mentioning is that in our initial print assessment using a then-current firmware, we found a subtle, yet noticeable greenish tint to shadow color in mid to higher ISO prints. However, with the latest firmware (v1.32 as of this publishing date), the color cast in the shadows has been corrected and now appears more natural.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



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