Why Samsung’s NX1 was Way Ahead of Its Time

Boasting specifications that were light years ahead of competitors, we take a look at what could have been for Samsung’s short lived flagship camera…

Four years is a long time in photography. Back in 2014 Canon and Nikon were a million miles from getting into serious mirrorless cameras and the best mirrorless model on the market started with an ‘S’ but wasn’t a Sony.

In fact, the best model on the market was a Samsung, with the brand showcasing its flagship model, the NX1, at the 2014 Photokina show in Germany. It was a camera that was way ahead of its time, but also one that had a short shelf life as Samsung ultimately withdrew from the imaging market by 2016.

The Samsung NX1 could be paired with a battery grip to extend shooting time.

Photographers who remember the camera will know what a great shame it was that the NX1 never reached its potential or gained the audience it deserved and this is made worse when we remind ourselves of this cameras awesome specifications that put rivals to shame.

The NX1 featured a 28-megapixel APS-C sensor – in fact it was the first commercially available camera featuring back-illuminated APS-C sized sensor. Autofocus was supplied by a Hybrid 205 phase-detect system that covered 90% of the frame and the NX1 offered a speedy burst rate of 15 frames per second along with built-in Wi-Fi.

The tilting, touch-sensitive LCD was great for video use.

But there was more, the NX1 filmed 4K at 30p and could capture Full HD slow motion sequence at 120p with scenes lined up through the 3-inch tilting touch-sensitive LCD or via the 2.36M dot OLED EVF. Samsung even had some decent lenses, including the NX 16-50mm f/2-2.8 S ED OIS and NX 85mm f/1.4 ED SSA.

Compare these specifications to cameras from today – four years later – and the NX1 is actually still massively competitive. Pitched against rivals of its day like the Panasonic GH4Olympus E-M1 MkI and Fuji X-T1, the Samsung simply blew them all away.

Offering massive resolution, the NX1 blew away rivals.

But market forces meant that the camera that was way ahead of its time wouldn’t last…..or would it? Used models still crop up on the internet and typically go for around £500-£600. Those looking for a bargain camera that’s suitable for everything from general photography to video use may think this is risk worth taking.

With Canon and Nikon now offering full-frame mirrorless models, perhaps it’s now too late for Samsung to ever step back into the camera market. But even if Samsung doesn’t build another camera, the NX1 was a brilliant model to go out on a high with!