Camera of the Future?

by fletch murray4 Comments

Can you guess what camera was released a year ahead of its time?

Here are some clues:

  • Touch screen interface and focusing
  • Tack-sharp 16-50mm f/2.-2.8 zoom lens
  • Bluetooth, Wifi
  • Gamma C and Gamma DR settings Mirrorless (less bulk,  film in sunlight w/o hooded monitor and rig.)
  • APS C sensor
  • Back-side illuminated sensor
  • Records 4k internally on SD cards
  • Films at 120 fps at 1920 x 1080
  • Records 4k at 24 fps, UHD at 30 and 24 fps, 1920 at 120, 60, 30, 24 fps
  • Films at 23.98 as well as 24 frames per second
  • Uses h.265 codec (what the new iPhone uses)
  • Has internal image stabilization
  • Magnesium alloy body
  • Shoot stills at 15 shots per second
  • Under $3k for lens and camera

And now it is priced at $2,199.00 ($600. off to sticker price).  Its color “look” is close to Canon's. (It doesn't “lean to the green” like others).

It rolled out in Sept. 2014. It received 87% Gold Award from dpReview.com and their video tests showed it beating the GH4.  It may have stalled with filmmakers because the h.265 wasn't supported natively by Adobe Premiere Pro, though it is now.  (I used the free app, “Handbrake”, to convert to h.264 and I could edit the shots on my MacBook Pro.)

Since I'm a Canon shooter I didn't pay much attention to it until I learned it shot 120 fps at the full 1920 x 1080.  Tony Northrup also tested it against the GH4 and Sony and its autofocus beat them both, hands down.

Samsung NX1 feat image

I had to see for myself if this camera might work for me.   I'm a cinema verite, documentary style filmmaker – no focus puller. I want to count on its auto focus and auto white and I need a flip out monitor.

So, I tested auto focus in low light. Currently, the 70D is the king of auto focus. This camera came close but didn't surpass the 70D.   But, judge for yourself. Below are tests I did on a camera that may have been the most under-publicized camera for filmmakers wanting 4k internal AND 120 fps at 1920.

Resolution and Noise at various ISOs ( vs 70D, 5D M3, 5D M3 with Magic Lantern)

Autofocus in low light (f/2) run and gun (chasing my dog around the house)

120 Frames per second (people jogging, mostly with Canon's EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens)

One note: This camera was withdrawn from European market three months ago.  Was that a strategic withdrawal from a soft market? Or is a planned alliance/licensing deal close? Wouldn't it be great to have a crystal ball and see what Canon's next entree will be?  I'd like to stay with the Canon glass I have and not have to work with variable density filters to adjust f stop.

(cover photo credit: snap from B&H)


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Comments

  1. Aguslord

    Samsung NX1? Just guessing. Still, a7s is an overall much better video camera, or the gh4; both of them cheaper than The NX1. You can get an a7s for 1800 dollars new these days.

  2. VIKTORARCH

    The samsung nx1 still is first that has usb3 port, + first 8k video sensor for consumers.

  3. cinebootcampfletch

    Aguslord Good comments.  If I were a lowlight shooter, I’d probably like it. 

    But focus is my main issue.  Check out Tony Northrup’s review of the GH4 vs NX1 and A7s.  
    youtu.be/iZuxo2ZFz_g

    At 4:03, referring to the video auto focus tests, Tony says the NX1 “did a far better job of focusing…any frame we paused on, was in focus.”  

    Tony ran the test three times, giving the Sony A7s a chance to nail the focus, but it didn’t.  

    It was this test that convinced me to try the NX1 for myself because I shoot a lot of documentary and I’m tired of fast-moving, action shots on location being “a little out of focus”, ALL the time.

    Also, the NX1 is selling for $2199 with a zoom lens til the end of the year.  And that’s not just any zoom lens. It’s a 16 – 50 mm f/2-2.8 (24.6-77mm equivalent).  B&H is selling the a7s for $2,198. body only.

    The NX1’s range of recording options outstrips the A7s.

    The NX1 ($2199. incl. 16-50mm zoom lens) does 4096 x 2160: 24 fps (Internally)
    3840 x 2160: 30 fps (Internally)
    1920 x 1080: 120 fps, 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps, 50 fps, 25 fps. 

    The A7s ($2,198.) according to B&H, does 
    1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps
    1280 x 720: 120 fps
    1440 x 1080: 30 fps
    640 x 480: 30 fps

    Don’t get me wrong.  I’m glad you stated your position.  You’re not alone.  I was just sharing what I thought was the most overlooked camera to roll out in years.

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