Camera Conspiracies: Samsung NX1: Worth Buying in 2020 as Best Hybrid Camera?

“Best camera of 2014 might still be the best camera of 2020 and beyond. The Samsung NX1 was so innovative for it’s time, companies are still trying to catch up. But Samsung doesn’t make cameras or lenses anymore, they focus on smartphones and toasters. Is it worth buying into a dead system? Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the Samsung NX1 in 2020 with the pro 16-50mm f2-2.8 lens.”

Samsung NX1 with Samsung Premium S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS zoom lens. Image courtesy of Samsung.
Fujifilm X-T3 alongside the legendary Samsung NX1, until the release of the X-T3 and X-T4 the  most advanced APS-C/Super 35 DSLR-style mirrorless camera. Image by Karin Gottschalk.

Samsung introduced one of the most promising lines ever of professional-quality APS-C/Super 35 4K hybrid cameras and lenses back in 2014, then promptly killed off the company’s entire photography division shortly afterwards without a word of sensible explanation.

Those lucky enough to have laid eyes on a Samsung NX1 and those even luckier to have been able to purchase one and a selection of some of its amazing lenses, especially the Premium S zoom lenses, were left reeling by Samsung’s decision to obliterate what were the very best cameras and lenses of their class.

Had Samsung continued to develop the many class-leading innovations seen in its NX1 and related cameras, I have no doubt that the company would be producing the best and most in-demand hybrid production cameras today.

As soon as word got out about the NX1, I went looking for one in all the stores in Sydney and its suburbs, and had no luck trying one out though I did come across one forlornly sitting chained up in the dark on a top shelf in a white goods and appliances store, with a 20mm pancake prime lens attached.

I was told there were no other lenses available for it.

I dropped into a couple of Samsung boutiques to enquire about the camera and its lenses and staff members in both places denied such things existed, looking at me as if I were a raving lunatic.

A friend was lucky enough to import a Samsung NX1 and a 45mm prime lens just before Samsung killed all its cameras and lenses off, and I have been patiently waiting for some years now for the chance to borrow them to try them out.

In the absence of any personal insights and experiences of the NX1 upon which to report, the best I can do is provide these product photographs that I was able to extract from a couple of Samsung websites at the time the company was removing its camera and lens division pages from its servers.

Just imagine what Samsung’s NX cameras and lenses could have evolved into given a beginning as extraordinary as this.

Samsung NX1

Other innovative Samsung cameras

Samsung lenses


Fujifilm Global: Fujifilm releases “FUJINON LENS XF16mmF2.8 R WR”

“Fujifilm releases “FUJINON LENS XF16mmF2.8 R WR”
– Compact lens with fast AF performance, weighing just 155g, for casual snapshots and landscape photography
– Exceptional image sharpness, dust and weather resistant, and capability of operating at temperatures as low as -10°C
– Wide-angle lens in the Compact Prime series of interchangeable lenses for the X Series

February 14, 2019

FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) has announced that a compact and lightweight wide angle lens, “FUJINON LENS XF16mmF2.8 R WR” (XF16mmF2.8 R WR), will join the lineup of interchangeable lenses for the X Series of digital cameras, renowned for their outstanding image quality based on the company’s proprietary color reproduction technology. The new lens has the maximum aperture value of F2.8 and focal length of 16mm (equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm film format), delivering edge-to-edge sharpness. Stylishly designed and weighing just 155g, the lens boasts high-speed AF performance, making it ideal for casual snapshots and landscape photography. The XF16mmF2.8 R WR’s black color will be released in late March 2019, and its silver color is due to be released in May 2019.

The XF16mmF2.8 R WR is a wide angle lens that consists of 10 lens elements in 8 groups, including two aspherical lens elements, to effectively control field curvature and spherical aberration for an advanced level of image sharpness across the frame. It is capable of drawing out the full performance of Fujifilm’s proprietary X-Trans™ CMOS sensor*. Its inner-focus AF system** uses a stepping motor*** to drive the focusing group of lens elements for silent and fast autofocus. Furthermore, the compact lens weighs just 155g. This means the total weight of a camera system comes to only 538g when this lens is mounted on the FUJIFILM X-T30 mirrorless digital camera (X-T30), also announced today, promising exceptional portability.

Metal parts are used extensively on the exterior to achieve a stylish look that gives a sense of premium quality and robustness. The aperture ring and focus ring have been designed for optimum operability and user comfort. The lens is also dust and weather resistant, and operates at temperatures as low as -10°C, accommodating a wide variety of shooting conditions.

Fujifilm has been promoting compact and lightweight fixed-focal-length lenses as the “Compact Prime” series, which include stylish models such as the “FUJINON LENS XF23mmF2 R WR” (XF23mmF2 R WR), “FUJINON LENS XF35mmF2 R WR” (XF35mmF2 R WR) and “FUJINON LENS XF50mmF2 R WR” (XF50mmF2 R WR). The series allow users to enjoy snapshots casually, thereby further expanding the appeal of the X Series.

X-Trans is a trademark or registered trademark of FUJIFILM Corporation. With a highly-aperiodic proprietary color filter array, the sensor minimizes moiré effects and false colors without the use of an optical low-pass filter.

**An AF system that moves relatively small lens elements in the middle or at the rear for focusing without moving the front group, which consist of relatively large lens elements
***A type of motor that rotates only at a fixed angle in response to an electrical pulse signal, making it capable of precision positioning.

1. Product features

(1) Advanced image resolution

The lens consists of 10 elements in 8 groups, including two aspherical lens elements. The aspherical lens elements are controlled at high precision to reduce field curvature and spherical aberration, resulting in an advanced level of image sharpness across the frame and drawing out the full performance of Fujifilm’s proprietary X-Trans™ CMOS sensor. The lens is also capable of close-ups with the minimum working distance of just 17cm.

(2) Compact, lightweight and stylish design for superior operability

The compact lens weighs just 155g, keeping the total weight of a camera to only 538g when it is mounted on the X-T30 mirrorless digital camera for excellent portability. It also measures only 45.4mm long.

The extensive use of metal parts on the exterior achieves a stylish look that gives a sense of premium quality and robustness, similar to the XF23mmF2 R WR, XF35mmF2 R WR and XF50mmF2 R WR.

The aperture ring and focus ring have just the right amount of clicking and torque for ease of use.

(3) Fast and silent autofocus

The lens uses the inner-focus AF system that drives smaller and lighter focusing elements. It uses a stepping motor, known for its silent operation and precise control, to achieve fast and silent autofocus.

(4) Advanced weather resistance will withstand a wide variety of shooting conditions

The lens barrel, sealed at 9 locations makes the lens dust and weather resistant and capable of operating at temperatures as low as -10°C.

Mounting it on weather-sealed mirrorless digital cameras such as X-Pro2, X-T2, X-T3 and X-H1 allows you to shoot in light rain or a dusty environment outdoors with peace of mind.

<Optional accessories>

“PRF-49” protection filter and “FLCP-49” front lens cap

Together with the launch of the XF16mmF2.8 R WR, Fujifilm is releasing the PRF-49 protection filter and the FLCP-49 front lens cap compatible with Φ49mm filter diameter….”

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR prime lens, with lens hood.

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR


I first came across the news that Fujifilm would be adding a 16mm prime lens to its “Fujicron” fast, small prime lens range at Fuji Rumors, and was a little dismayed.

Was Fujifilm pulling a fast one by releasing this lens instead of the updated 18mm that documentary photographers and photojournalists had been requesting for ages now, and that had been reported as “in the works”?

Since putting Fujifilm’s current 18mm prime lens to a thorough test with documentary and street photography subjects, I have been hoping beyond hope that Fujifilm will at least produce a “Fujicron” 18mm lens if not a manual clutch focusing 18mm lens in the same style as its excellent, professional-quality XF 14mm f/2.8 R, XF 16mm f/1.4 R and XF 23mm f/1.4 R prime lenses.

Fujifilm’s “Fujicron” compact prime lens collection was so named by Fujifilm customers rather than the company itself for their loose resemblance to Leica’s M-System M-Lenses for the company’s M rangefinder cameras.

My documentary photography and photojournalism style and methods were the product of relying for many years on Leica rangefinder cameras and a set of Leica Summicron-M and Elmarit-M lenses, and the rangefinder way of seeing and shooting is the one with which I remain most comfortable, working fast and efficient in available light and darkness.

Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera which was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism.

My preferred documentary photography and video prime lens focal lengths in APS-C and their 35mm equivalents are:

  • 14mm – equal to 21mm
  • 18mm – equal to 28mm
  • 23mm – equal to 35mm
  • 27mm – equal to 40mm
  • 50mm – equal to 75mm

My practice when covering events is to carry two prime lenses mounted on two camera bodies, with my preferred focal length combination being 18mm and 50mm – in 35mm sensor terms, 28mm and 75mm.

I don’t have either of those prime lens focal lengths for my Fujifilm cameras and my current set of three Fujinon lenses predate the “Fujicron” compact prime concept, so I rely on a suboptimal set of otherwise terrific prime lenses instead.

Their 23mm, 27mm and 56mm focal lengths are not a perfect fit for my long-standing documentary photography methods so I usually default to just the 23mm lens, or bring a Panasonic Micro Four Thirds camera with me, equipped with a Panasonic compact or Olympus pro-quality zoom lens, in order to add the equivalent of 18mm and 75mm to my kit.

Fujifilm’s compact primes are particularly well-suited to its X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera as well as its small DSLR-style and rangefinder-style cameras.

The X-Pro2’s optical viewfinder aka OVF is designed for focal lengths from 18mm through to 56mm, and benefits from short lenses with narrow front diameters to avoid jutting too much into the OVF’s field of view.

Wider and longer lenses can be used with the X-Pro2’s electronic viewfinder aka EVF though it is not up to the standard set by, say, the X-T3’s EVF.

My preferred event documentary prime lens pair of 18mm and 50mm is based on the distances I can easily maintain from my subjects in a crowd while depicting enough information in order to tell the story.

I am currently editing images shot in a dense crowd in poor light with my 23mm and 56mm lenses on an X-T3, and am constantly wishing I had a pair of 18mm and 50mm fast-focussing, wide maximum aperture, prime lenses instead.

I have tried out the Fujinon XF 50mm f/2.0 R WR and have been impressed with its image quality and autofocusing speed.

Now we need Fujifilm to come to the party with, say, a Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 manual clutch focusing lens optimized for pro video and stills photography, or at the very least a Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 (or f/2.8) R WR “Fujicron” compact prime.


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  • FUJIFILM XF 18mm f/2 R LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 23mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 35mm f/2 R WR LensB&H
  • FUJIFILM XF 50mm f/2 R WR LensB&H

SmallRig Has Two Fujifilm X-T3 Cages in Pre-Order, One for the Camera with Battery Grip and One Without. First 100 Orders Get 30% Off.

Camera accessories maker SmallRig is quick off the mark with not one but two camera cages for the Fujifilm X-T3 APS-C/Super 35 hybrid mirrorless camera to take advantage of the X-T3’s radically boosted video capabilities. 

My experience with a range of Fujifilm cameras indicates that almost all of them benefit at least from metal hand grips and more so from vertical battery grips for better, safer handholding and extra power. 

It is pleasing to see that SmallRig has acknowledged this by adding extra gripability to its cage for the X-T3 minus vertical battery grip. 

Both camera cages are currently available under SmallRig’s Pre-Order scheme at 30% off an already low regular price and the estimated shipping date is October 11, 2018, well-timed for the official release of X-T3 production models. 


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Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom lens.

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Fuji Island, Picture Perfect Paradise [Special offer time-limited until December 7, 2018]

“Ever wondered what life would be like on your own private island? Or dreamt of whiling away your days as a travel blogger?

Fuji Island is the ultimate luxury escape for photography lovers….

… Created by FUJIFILM, the island comes with the latest camera equipment – including FUJIFILM’s brand new X-T3 mirrorless camera, world-famous lenses and a range of other photography goodies. You even have your own personal photographer on call….”

Fujifilm X-T3 with Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip and Fujinon MKX 18-55mm T2.9 cinema zoom lens. Photograph by Jonas Rask, courtesy of Fujifilm.

Fuji Island picture gallery, images courtesy of Fujifilm Australia


This sounds like an interesting concept, and I am looking forward to seeing participants’ photographs made on Fuji Island at a Fujifilm event that was apparently held there last week, the week of 3rd September 2018.

Although the Fuji Island web page states “Experience  Fuji Island  for USD $2,200 per night for up to two people (minimum two night stay)”, it appears that the island resort is capable of accomodating at least sixty-three people as that was the number of guests invited to the event.

Fuji Island seems to be a time-limited phenomenon rather than a permanent one:

Fuji Island is available for private hire and overnight luxury stays until 7th December 2018.

If you wish to take up Fujifilm’s special offer then make your booking fast, before southern hemisphere vacationers book up all available places!

Meanwhile we have received further information about another Fujifilm Australia event associated with Fuji Island.

Fujifilm Australia held “the XT-3 launch event on the mainland of Fiji where guests were staying (The Marriott in Momi Bay). The following day, we took everybody out by boat to Fuji Island. The launch event was held on the 6th September, and Fuji Island on the 7th.”

“There were 60 people in total attending the event. It was a mix of Fujifilm retailers, partners, staff and media.”

“We don’t have control over when media will publish articles, but we have already started receiving coverage.”

Further on Fuji Island, “Fuji Island is supposed to be an island paradise people can book. On the private island, there will be a host of FUJIFILM equipment, including an X-T3 that people can try out and take amazing holiday photos with.”


Press Releases

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Fujifilm Small Eyecup EC-XT S: might this be a good choice for eyeglasses wearers?

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Is Samsung still the one to emulate in mirrorless hybrid camera hardware/software design and engineering?

Photokina 2018 is approaching and with it come announcements and rumours of marvellous new mirrorless hybrid cameras and lenses in sensor sizes including 35mm, APS-C, Medium Format and Micro Four Thirds. 

Yet I cannot help but think back to the once great white hope of mirrorless for stills and video, the Samsung NX1 and its close companions numbering amongst them the Samsung NX30, the Samsung Galaxy NX and the Samsung NX500, and wonder if any other camera maker has yet learned the lessons that these amazing cameras have to teach them. 

Samsung NX1 APS-C/Super 35 digital hybrid mirrorless camera with Samsung Premium S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS zoom lens.

I have never had the pleasure of using any Samsung camera due to their poor to nonexistent distribution here before Samsung’s camera and lens division was tragically axed , but I had an all-too-brief play with a colleague’s Samsung NX1 some time ago and that was enough to be amazed.

More recently mention of the Samsung NX30 appeared on a mirrorless rumours website, I googled to and was stunned and amazed to see the camera had a tilting electronic viewfinder and fully articulated monitor, two of the most essential , in my option, features for any serious stills and video hybrid camera.

My beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 has both and its is a potent combination for stealthy and efficiently shooting stills or video, caged or uncaged, heavily rigged or camera-and-lens only.

The Samsung NX1 had superb ergonomics and a still unsurpassed menu design, and I suspect it worked even better in the hand when rigged with its vertical battery grip and Premium S lenses.

Imagine if Samsung had stayed in the camera and lens business, constantly innovating and showing the more established players in the market how it should be done.

Imagine what contemporary Samsung rangefinder-style and DSLR-style hybrid mirrorless APS-C and larger sensor equipped cameras might be like, with tilting EVFs, fully articulated AMOLED monitors on the mid-to upper level cameras or tilting AMOLED monitors on the lower-end models, excellent hardware ergonomics and software user interface design, 6K read-out, 1080p at 120 frames per second, HEVC H.265 codecs for 4K and 8K video, and more.

Imagine if Blackmagic Design, Canon, Fujifilm, Leica, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh/Pentax and Sony learned even a fraction of the lessons Samsung’s genius designers and engineers had to teach them.

Samsung NX1

The Samsung NX1 was so far ahead of its time that many potential users complained bitterly about its then poorly supported HEVC video codec and H.265 video file type, but not long after its release computer makers began adding support and now it is standard on contemporary computers and 4K television sets.

Many professional moviemakers continue to rely on their Samsung NX1 cameras and native and adapted lenses, and anticipate the day when they start breaking down with dread.

Samsung NX30

The Samsung NX30 was aimed more at stills photographers than moviemakers, with its 1080p video and 20MP sensor, but it has two features I consider essential to hybrid mirrorless photography and cinematography, a tilting electronic viewfinder aka EVF and a fully articulated monitor.

Samsung Galaxy NX

The Samsung Galaxy NX was a bold experiment in pushing camera menu systems way beyond still common lists of text links into an Android-based fully graphic icon-based system.

Samsung NX500

The Samsung NX500 was minus an EVF but partially made top for that absence with a tilting monitor.

Apparently many photographers and cinematographers adopted the NX500 as a smaller companion camera to their Samsung NX1s.

Samsung lenses

It was often said of Samsung’s cameras that there were not enough lenses, though the company’s camera division had begun working on its professional-quality Premium S lens range before its was suddenly shut down.

It managed to issue two Premium S lenses, the Samsung Premium S 16-50mm f/2.8 ED OIS and Samsung Premium S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS zoom lens, with other lens designs rumoured to be in the works or about to be released.

Any new mid-level to professional mirrorless camera system should be released alongside at least five top-quality lenses – a wide, medium and telephoto zoom lens trio, and two or three fast, wide aperture prime lenses.

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Thomas Fitzgerald Photography: Two Years with the Fuji X-Pro 2: A look back – COMMENTARY

“I discovered the other day, quite by accident, that my Fuji X-Pro 2 is two years old this week. Tomorrow in fact. What a few years it has been. I’ve had ups and downs with the camera, but it’s also been good to me. Writing about it and processing Fuji files has undoubtedly made a name for me in certain corners, and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today if it hadn’t been for buying that camera….”


Fujifilm X-Pro2 with Fujinon XF 23mm f/2.0 R WR “Fujicron” lens and Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2 metal hand grip, a necessity when attaching lenses larger than this one.


I have had my X-Pro2 for almost as long as Thomas Fitzgerald has had his, and I have benefited from his hard-won insights into how to get the best out the camera’s X-Trans raw image files thanks to his ebooks on the subject.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 with Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R, Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R and Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro prime lens, the first set of Fujinon XF lenses released by Fujifilm in March 2012, all with focus-by-wire non-manual clutch focussing mechanisms.

Unlike Mr Fitzgerald, I had passed on the X-Pro1 after some extensive hands-on testing at the sadly now defunct Sydney city CBD professional camera store Foto Reisel, due to its lack of diopter adjustment, the disappointing optical quality and mediocre mechanical operation of the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2.0 R, one of my most important focal lengths for documentary photography, the slow autofocus of that lens and its then companions the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 Macro and the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 , one of my least favourite focal lengths.

I had been hoping for those three lenses to have manual clutch focus to enable accurate focussing with aperture wide open in available darkness and fast setting of hyperfocal distance, like certain lenses made by Olympus such as its Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  for Micro Four Thirds format, later joined by the entire M.Zuiko Pro professional-quality prime and zoom lens range.

Luckily that need has been satisfied in more recent years by Fujifilm’s APS-C format Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR and the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, though there have been no indications that they will be joined by further manual clutch focus prime or zoom lenses any time soon.

That is puzzling given the need for fast and accurate manual focussing and focus pulling for video or for available light photojournalism that often cannot be usefully met by relying on autofocus alone or focus-by-wire only lenses such as the majority in Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF collection.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mr Fitzgerald’s dislike of the X-Pro2’s video implementation which turned out to be rather disappointing.

Although the X-Pro2 finally received its long-promised 4K video capability via firmware, Fujifilm just plain forgot to make it usable enough and left out all the associated video controls needed for quality moviemaking – see my list below.

The X-Pro2’s electronic rangefinder aka ERF in action in the optical viewfinder aka OVF.

I love the X-Pro2’s form factor, its size and weight and most of all its Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that I mostly use in ERF-in-OVF mode, that is, with the small electronic rangefinder window active lower right of the optical viewfinder window.

I tend to bypass the X-Pro2’s electronic viewfinder aka EVF much of the time, especially when working in available darkness, as it is not up to the standard of, say, my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 rangefinder-style hybrid camera with its tilting 2.36m-Dot 0.77x OLED EVF or my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4’s 2,359K-Dot OLED Live View Finder.

Unlike those two Panasonic cameras and all others made by Fujifilm, the X-Pro2 is remarkable in being three cameras in one, with its optical viewfinder, electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor.

In effect it is a rangefinder camera, a DSLR-style camera and a view camera all in one and of a size and shape in-between a classic Leica M-Series rangefinder camera and one of Fujifilm’s incredible 120 roll-film format “Texas Leicas”.

I am hoping that Fujifilm’s coming X-Pro3 will correct some of the X-Pro2’s shortcomings just as that camera was a huge advance on the X-Pro1, but in the meantime Fujifilm needs to issue another firmware update for the X-Pro2 as follows.

  • Custom settings for video – Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color and Sharpness.
  • Exposure zebras – instead of the dreaded non-programmable overexposure “blinkies”.
  • Focus bracketing – for focus stacking for product and microphotography.
  • Eterna film simulation – for a flatter, more gradeable look for video.
  • Pixel view – for professional operation in all image review functionality and not just when ‘Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display’ is selected.

The X-Pro2 got it right in so many ways that the X-Pro1 got it wrong, but its successor the X-Pro3 can be much better again with an OLED electronic viewfinder and more, making it the perfect companion camera for longer and wider lenses than the X-Pro2’s OVF comfortably allows.

Fujifilm’s ongoing Kaizen firmware updates for the X-Pro2 has made it a much more usable camera than it was on release, and I am deeply grateful for that, but more still needs to come.


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