Samsung NX1 Walkaround

by Zig Weidelich

The Samsung NX1 is 5.5 inches wide, 4 inches tall and 2.6 inches thick (138.5 x 102.3 x 65.8mm). Compared to the Samsung NX30, that's half an inch taller and 0.5 inches wider, 0.2 inches taller, and 1 inch thicker. That's larger than most mirrorless cameras, but compared to pro-level APS-C DSLRs, it's smaller, sometimes by quite a bit. (Its closest APS-C competitor is probably the Sony A77 II, which is bigger at 5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 inches.)

The body is made of magnesium alloy for durability and strength as befitting a pro-level model, weighing in about 640g with battery and card, approximately 160g heavier than the NX30. But that's quite a bit less than some pro-level APS-C DSLRs like the Nikon D300S (951g), and Canon 7D (945g) and even the Sony A77 II (732g). The full magnesium alloy body is also weather-sealed against "dust and minor splashes".

The front of the Samsung NX1 appears clean and uncluttered. The reasonably deep grip is sculpted to feel good in your hand, and the body is textured for better purchase. To the left of the NX lens mount (as viewed from the back), there's the lens release button where you expect it, and to the bottom right of the mount is a large, easy-to-find depth-of-field preview button that can be reprogrammed to activate custom white balance, RAW+ or HDR mode. And in case you're wondering, a speaker sits behind that narrow slit below the lens mount. The NX1's new patterned autofocus illuminator can be seen near the top just below the mode dial (read more about the AF illuminator in Tech Info).

The NX1's top panel is home to the controls and features you'd expect on a professional DSLR, and will be quite familiar to pros and enthusiasts currently using some other brands. But it also includes at least one feature not normally seen on pro-level models.

Starting from the right, we immediately notice the new illuminated LCD status display, a first on mirrorless models, but ubiquitous on enthusiast and pro DSLRs. It offers users a quick overview of current settings and status, without having to view the main monitor or EVF. To the front of the display on the slanted top of the grip is the first of two control dials (three if you count the wheel around the 4-way controller on the back), and to the front of that, the shutter release button surrounded by the power switch for easy one-finger access to both functions. To the right of the dial is the exposure compensation button, and in front of that is a dedicated movie record button. Just below the LCD, you can see its illumination button, as well an AE-Lock button which doubles as a protect button in playback mode.

To the left of the status LCD is a locking exposure mode dial. The locking mechanism is the toggle type, meaning you press the central button to lock or unlock, and don't need to hold it down while turning the dial. On the dial are the standard PASM exposure modes, two custom settings for quick access to favorite settings, a full auto setting, and Samsung's Smart mode which is just the company's name for their scene modes. (The latter is not usually associated with a pro-level camera, but it's handy to get to some of the camera's special features.) An ISO-standard flash hot shoe is above the EVF towards the back of the camera, and to the front of the hot shoe is the NX1's built-in flash. Flanking the pop-up flash near the front of the top panel are stereo microphones, and you can just make out the diopter adjustment dial to the right of the eyecup at the rear.

On the left side of the top panel we find a cluster of four buttons for quick access to the commonly used functions of autofocus mode, metering, white balance and ISO sensitivity. Surrounding those is a locking drive mode dial with single-shot, continuous normal, continuous high, self-timer and bracketing options. The lock for this dial is located nearby and is the press-and-hold type.

Moving the rear of the camera, we find the same 3-inch Super AMOLED touch panel used on the NX30. But unlike the NX30's fully-articulating mechanism, the NX1's just tilts, up to 90 degrees up and 45 degrees down, leaving enough space for access to the port cover doors on the left side of the camera.

To the top-left of the display panel is an EVF button for manually switching between the monitor and EVF, but as you can see just below the viewfinder eyepiece, there's an eye sensor to automatically switch between the two.

To the top right of the monitor is the Wi-Fi/Mobile button which is used to launch selectable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth features.

Continuing on to the right, at the top we see the status LCD illumination button again, and just below that is the much appreciated second control dial. A dedicated AF ON button (used to decouple autofocus from the shutter button) is provided just below the rear control dial; yet another pro-level feature. Both controls are next to a textured and ridged thumb rest for easy access, and to the bottom right of the AF ON button is the card access lamp, where it's more likely to be seen.

The rest of the controls are pretty standard, with menu, function, playback and delete buttons surrounding a 4-way pad with central OK/AF select button. The 4-way pad is used mainly for navigation, but its function is context sensitive with the top direction dedicated to display options, and the other three directions programmable. The 4-way pad is surrounded by a third control dial or wheel which can be programmed to adjust ISO, AF size, aperture or shutter speed when in shooting mode.

On the left side of the body we can see the flash button located on the side of the flash housing above the lens mount, the lens release button, as well as two doors protecting the ports. The top port cover conceals external mic and headphone jacks, while the bottom covers HDMI and USB 3.0 ports.

From the right side, we can see the single SD card slot compartment door, as well as the NFC logo.

And here's the view from the bottom, showing the battery compartment door, battery grip terminal (covered), and a nicely centered tripod socket.


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