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Andrew Reid

Photokina report day 1 - the Samsung NX1 (4K mirrorless camera with H.265)

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h.265 is great, but in terms of editing, we're right back to where we were in 2009 or so- affordable or near-affordable computers don't have enough power to decode it smoothly in real-time, so we're stuck transcoding to an un- or less-compressed format. In a year or two or three the software and hardware will catch up and we'll be where we've been for a couple years with h.264 (native editing, smooth playback).

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I am thinking about buying the lumix GH4 and this is clearly a top contender.

I use a x2 anamorphic kowa 8-Z and I don't feel like using 16:9 then crop sides and lose something to get à true 2:35 ratio.

If the Samsung has a true 1.33 ratio mode with HiQuality codec I won't hesitate twice.

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NB: I hope to bring you an exclusive interview with Samsung about the NX1 later at Photokina, and I will return to use the camera again to go deeper into the features it offers. If you have any questions you’d like to see answered, now is the time to ask me on the forum!

 

Are you still hovering around in the same hall? Have you done the interview already?

If you haven't, and can can have a longer interview, it would be interesting to know a bit more about the new sensor, for example.

 

So it's backside illuminated and has no low pass filter whatsoever (right?), but how about the rest of the sensor stack? How thick is the glass + IR filter in the front of the sensor? Since the flange distance is longer than, say, the Leica M mount, do they use any micro lenses in the front of the sensor?

(a bit nerdy line of questions, I know, but it's relevant and interesting in the sense of adapting SLR lenses to the body, and just to satisfy our curiosity)

 

They also claim it can read the whole 7K sensor without pixel binning or line skipping up to 30fps, so is there any heat-related restrictions to the length of a recording? It would also be quite interesting to know about how the camera delivers 1080p 25/30fps, and even though they won't comment about it, it would be interesting to know how does it look like, in terms of moire and aliasing.

Can you convert the 4K footage into 1080p @10-bit 422, á la GH4?

 

I'm sure you'll come up with plenty of other interesting tidbits to ask, as we're all sort of positively surprised by this new kid in the block.

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h265 is the future, and from the start supports higher bit depths. So I would be extremely surprised if the next generation of editing software and GPUs won't support it, including perhaps 10 bit files. This thing is straight from the future, so right now support may not be that great. But that will change. Maybe you shouldn't buy one right now, but...

 

In contrast Sony's XAVC does support 10 bit h264, and some cameras produce it AFAIK, but hardware support? I really doubt that will happen at all.

 

If only this thing had built in stabilization...

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h265 is the future, and from the start supports higher bit depths. So I would be extremely surprised if the next generation of editing software and GPUs won't support it, including perhaps 10 bit files. This thing is straight from the future, so right now support may not be that great. But that will change. Maybe you shouldn't buy one right now, but...

 

In contrast Sony's XAVC does support 10 bit h264, and some cameras produce it AFAIK, but hardware support? I really doubt that will happen at all.

 

Definitely support is coming, but key thing is when. Camera is next month. If you can't edit the footage, then that's a bit of a problem isn't it!?

 

XAVC = H.264. What do you mean by hardware support? On the edit side?

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He means hardware acceleration by the GPU or some help from the CPU (like Intel Quick Sync). Right now there's no GPU AKAIK that even simply decodes H265 in hardware so editing would be a pain. We're also dealing with 5x slower renderings.

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I think Nvidia will incorporate h265 support in the Maxwell 20nm (2nd generation Maxwell)

Nvidia will launch GTX980 (Maxwell) this month or in october, so I think we will have h265 hardware support available in march or april 2015.

I have not read anything about AMD or I can´t remember it.

 

Next 6 months will be exciting with new Intel Broadwell CPU´s, Nvidia and AMD GPU´s, etc.

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Editing software companies are not going to update for H.265 when there is no demand for it yet. With this camera coming out then people will start demanding it and the likes of Premier will have to take notice. I expect a month delay from the cameras release before you see H.265 popping up in editing programs. 

 

I don't know anything about the NX mount, how easy is it to get most modern canon/nikon lenses working on it? will this prove a stumbling block for Samsung when so many people already have some kind of lens collection?

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So does the NX-1 have any recording modes, other than h.265?

Transcoding is the minor problem, that's the point of view from a former owner of this manufacturer's camera. There are so many things about cameras that can be done wrong. Let this topic not end up with a "Nice try, Samsung!"

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Transcoding is the minor problem, that's the point of view from a former owner of this manufacturer's camera. There are so many things about cameras that can be done wrong. Let this topic not end up with a "Nice try, Samsung!"

 

I agree. And I am certainly not trying to be negative about this camera, I'm really interested in it!

 

But for me it would be a huge problem having to transcode, because I shoot weddings. Sometimes I have to make a same-day-edit which is already too tight on the clock. Furthermore I can simply not transcode hundreds of clips after every shoot.

 

For the rest everything looks like it is my dream camera, if the DR is better than my GH3's. And I'm sure that a 'simple' firmware update could bring us h.264 as an option.

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pretty sure until the end of the year Premiere CC supports h265.

 

looking forward to this cam, only lens im missing is a 35mm F1.4 ... at the moment there is only 35mmF2.0 NX mount. 85mm & 50mm is there, so a great 50-200mmF2.8. let´s hope metabones will release a NX->EF adatper soon.

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looking forward to this cam, only lens im missing is a 35mm F1.4 ...

let´s hope metabones will release a NX->EF adatper soon.

 

Well, if you're not allergic to manual focus lenses, there's always the Samyang 35 mm F/1.4 AS UMC, and there's also a VDSLR version of the same lens.

 

As for the adapter, I don't think that's feasible. or at least I've never seen one. Canon FD is doable, so are Pentax K, Minolta MD, Minolta/Sony A, Leica R, M42, Nikon F, Olympus OM and Contax/Yashica, but I wouldn't count on Canon EF. 

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@Andrew: Only 8 bit h264 is supported by hardware decoders, however XAVC allows for 10 and 12 bit h264, and, if I'm not wrong some Sony cameras do make use of 10 bit h264 files. Hardware makers must have known that for 3 years 10 bit files are in use, but they never bothered adding support for that. I doubt that will change, ever.

 

On the other hand, h265 IS going to be supported, and from the start does higher bit depths. I would not be surprised at all if "official" content is delivered with 10 bits, and thus there is a big incentive for hardware manufacturers to accelerate that sort of content. I wouldn't even be surprised if, to be able to be called HEVC capable it is required to support higher bit depths.

 

In any case, someone has to start... and that someone seems to be Samsung. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 btw. does support HEVC, AFAIK, and other new-ish smartphone chips should too.

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