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Samsung's NX1: The first 4K camera to record in H.265

6 minute read

samsung / redsharkSamsung NX1 camera

Samsung uses the occasion of Photokina 2014 to launch a camera that's sure to entice not only photographerss, but may lure video shooters as well, featuring 4K recording to H.265, a world's first.

Samsung's IBC presence was largely about broadcasting solutions and IPTV, but the South Korean electronics giant is going big at Photokina, one of the largest photography equipment conventions in the world. It had a September 15th launch event for its NX1 camera (which we teased HERE)

Many of the specs bear out, including 4K recording at UHD and DCI standards, a Super35, APS-C 28MP sensor, wi-fi connectivity and more. In the 'didn't happen' category is the exact inclusion of an ISOCELL sensor, which many thought would migrate from Samsung's smartphones to its cameras. The NX1's 'Back Side Illuminated" sensor purportedly gathers more light than conventional sensors, and undoubtedly shares similarities with ISOCELL, as its two applications of the same technology. In fact, you could consider the NXI's sensor as a higher-end variant of the ISOCELL sensor in Samsung's flagship Galaxy S5 phone.

NX1 goes H.265

Yet another camera that is able to shoot 4K video is perhaps nothing to shout home about at this point, but Samsung surprises by adopting the new H.265 codec for its mirrorless NX1 camera (to record in 4K). The codec is the next stop on from the H.264 codec that is the power behind MP4, XAVC, AVC Intra, AVC Ultra and AVCAM (in fact, H.264 is so ubiquitous that I have probably forgotten some camera technologies that use it). While H.264 was a high efficiency codec when developed, H.265 is intended to take things a whole lot further with claims of up to 50% more efficiency than H.264.

Of course, there had to be a downside to this, and there is: H.265 video takes a LOT more computing power to encode and decode, so you will either need to transcode to an intermediate codec, like ProRes or Avid's DNxHD, or you will need a nice fast computer to edit the codec natively.

H.265 for consumers?

It's a bit of a surprise to see H.265 in a consumer camera so soon, as the technology is so new at the moment, but that drop in data rate means that the 4K data from the camera will take up far less room on the memory card and should allow the use of slower memory cards with the camera, too. It's obvious why Samsung has made this decision. 

If you are looking for cheap media costs, this could be your camera, if it's as good in hand as on paper.

Again, the Samsung NX1 camera has a Super 35mm sized sensor (APS-C); It can shoot full 4K at 24p and UHD at 30p. And it will cost $1,499. We still have no word on shutter (global vs rolling), dynamic range, or sensitivity, but we'll report details as they become available.

Check out the press release from Samsung on Page Two!

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J. – Sept. 15, 2014 – Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA), announces today the launch of the NX1 SMART Camera. This new flagship model combines professional image quality with cinema quality Ultra High Definition (UHD) / 4K resolution video recording and industry-leading SMART connectivity. Samsung also expands its line of professional-grade "S" lenses with the introduction of a new telephoto lens, the NX 50-150mm F2.8 S OIS lens.
"The NX1 is the new flagship in our award-winning NX line-up. It brings together our SMART camera technology, new 4K video capabilities and Samsung's fastest AF system to date in a lightweight, portable body. This blend of cutting edge imaging technology appeals to a wide variety of photographers, and makes it one of the most competitive models in its class," said Ron Gazzola, Vice President of Marketing, Digital Imaging, Samsung Electronics America. "The combination of the new Samsung 50-150mm F2.8 S lens and NX1 delivers an unrivalled shooting experience that gives users the confidence that they're taking the best images or video in any situation."

Blazing Fast Speed and Superb Image Quality

The NX1 boasts an all new, best in class, 28MP BSI CMOS sensor, which supports Samsung's fastest autofocus system to date, the NX AF System III. Photographers can quickly focus on subjects, making this camera ideal for photographing a football player as they run down the field or baseball action at home plate. Developed utilizing Samsung's advanced semiconductor technology, the back side illuminated sensor is capable of gathering more light than conventional CMOS sensors. The new NX AF System III features 205 Phase Detect AF points covering 90 percent of the frame, allowing photographers to quickly focus on their targets. This quick focusing ability allows the camera to achieve 15FPS of continuous shooting while continuously tracking focus. The system also employs a patterned AF Assist Beam that reaches up to 15m and will help to more accurately capture clear photos in low light.

The NX1 also incorporates a new DRIMe V Image Processer that delivers superior color reproduction and works with the camera's built-in Adaptive Noise Reduction technology to help retain details and remove noise from photos captured at high ISO's. The advanced algorithm also analyzes details and color in each photo, making sure users always have the clearest image.

Wide Phase Detection gives the NX1 the ability to instinctively track subjects almost anywhere in the frame, regardless of their location. Photographers can capture even the briefest of moments. There is no need to re-compose a shot – they can simply focus and shoot immediately, allowing for extreme speed and flexibility. This technology will be of particular interest to those who love to shoot video, as the NX1 supports the use of Phase Detect AF during movie recording, so that results are stable and steady.

The new Samsung Auto Shot highlights the innovation available in the NX1. Using the DRIMe V Image Processor and an advanced algorithm, the NX1 will track a baseball as it travels to a player, allowing photographers take crisp images of the moment a ball connects with a bat. While these shots can often be difficult to take, the NX1 removes any concern by accurately predicting the right time to trigger the shutter and capture a full-resolution image.
As the only compact system camera on the market with a top deck LCD panel, photographers can easily confirm camera settings, including aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, AF settings, drive and battery life with one glance.

Cinema Quality Video

Videographers and filmmakers can easily shoot cinema-quality video straight from the NX1. Utilizing the next generation HEVC codec, the NX1 is capable of recording smooth and immersive UHD/4K (DCI Standard) video. Users can easily save files directly to the memory card in the camera, eliminating the need to carry hefty external 4K recorders. This is made possible by a built-in HEVC Codec (H.265).
With a myriad of input, output and connectivity options, users will be able to customize their NX1 for their unique recording needs. Additionally, using Samsung's SMART technology, users can also share their videos directly to any Samsung UHD television via Wi-Fi.

The NX Lens Line-up Gets Faster

Expanding upon Samsung's premium line of "S" lenses, the new Samsung 50-150mm F2.8 S lens is the second in the series and affords photographers the opportunity to capture telephoto images with crisp clarity and tack sharp focus in a variety of scenarios. Its fast aperture provides excellent low light performance and beautiful bokeh, making it perfect for sports, nature and wedding photography. The lens features an Ultra-Precise Stepping Motor (UPSM), improved from the conventional Stepping Motor (SM), it is three times more precise in its ability to control and focus on subjects. Photographers can capture sharp photos at low shutter speeds using advanced multi-axis Optical Imaging Stabilization (OIS) with four-axis control and a six-axis sensor array. These sensors detect camera motion, and help the lens to make the precision corrections necessary.
The new telephoto lens features a dust and water resistant build making it both durable and reliable. All of the lens controls, focus, zoom and OIS, are located in a single "function zone" on the side of the lens, making it easy to control.

Smart Connectivity, Tag & Go

Building on the successes of Samsung's market leading SMART Camera technology, the NX1's NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities offer the next-generation of connectivity, making it is easier than ever to take advantage of a host of intuitive sharing features. The 'Tag & Go' function lets users tap and share memories instantly and easily, pairing the NX1 with NFC enabled smartphones and tablets. Additionally, the NX1 incorporates Bluetooth 3.0 for an always-connected experience with a mobile device. After authenticating the connection via Bluetooth, the NX1 is capable of collecting important time, date and location data and automatically imports it into the image's metadata. Once authenticated, the connection will automatically switch to a Wi-Fi connection for data transfer.

The Photo Beam feature allows the transfer of images or videos to a smartphone or tablet by simply touching the two devices together with no other configuration needed. MobileLink lets users select multiple images to send to four distinct smart devices at one time, so everyone can treasure photos without the need to take repetitive shots on each individual device. AutoShare sends every photo you take instantly to your smartphone or tablet and the Remote Viewfinder Pro function enables control of the NX1 from a smartphone, allowing the user to zoom and snap shots remotely yet still have full visibility of the scene, opening up new photographic possibilities. Manual settings can still be accessed, including shutter speed and aperture, so that photographers can retain camera control yet have another option as to how they want to frame their shot.

Tags: Business