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


Andrew Reid
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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Yup Samsung says the camera is capable of recording 240 fps at 28 megapixels but they find it's not needed by most users. Impressive hardware if true!

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I find the 28 megapixel readout at 240 fps a bit hard to believe. Imagine the ammount of raw data this would give. A lot of processing power would be needed to compress this to a usable format. The image processor would be unbelievably overcapacitated if actually possible. Why would Samsung use an expensive powerfull chip like that when not using it? It's just a marketing manager saying it, wouldn't believe it so easily.

Compare it to Canon raw, 1080p (2 megapixels) @ 24 fps is something like 100MB/s. 28 MP is 14 times the data = 1400MB/s, times ten (240fps) = almost 14GB/second. What kind of supercomputer is going to compress this real time into a codec?

Maybe the chip can do it in theory, but the whole processing chain in the actual camera? Find it hard to believe.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

They are using the capability in the focua tracking features, the camera can fire a photo in the millisecond a ball touches the baseball bat. They said during the debugging and developing of these features their engineers did actually record 28mp stills at 240 fps. The notion that they didn't implement the feature because the targt customer doesn't need it is the one I am not understanding, the target customer is professional video shooters, who needs that more than us.

If it can do it I just can't imagine why they wouldn't implement even 120p, not at 28mp even at just 1080p, or perhaps it's harder to downscale than just throw the entire readout.

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I find the 28 megapixel readout at 240 fps a bit hard to believe. Imagine the ammount of raw data this would give. A lot of processing power would be needed to compress this to a usable format. The image processor would be unbelievably overcapacitated if actually possible. Why would Samsung use an expensive powerfull chip like that when not using it? It's just a marketing manager saying it, wouldn't believe it so easily.

Compare it to Canon raw, 1080p (2 megapixels) @ 24 fps is something like 100MB/s. 28 MP is 14 times the data = 1400MB/s, times ten (240fps) = almost 14GB/second. What kind of supercomputer is going to compress this real time into a codec?

Maybe the chip can do it in theory, but the whole processing chain in the actual camera? Find it hard to believe.

I agree. I think they probably managed to do it in a lab with some parts of the camera connected to a developer's board, just pushing it.

I can not imagine they are able to pull it off in-camera with all the limitations thereof.

 

With Magic Lantern and the Personal-View's community (Vitaly/Driftwood), the FS5 internal 4K unlock and the rumored 4K for the E-M1, I believe people think anything is possible now. I get the 'gimme gimme gimme!' mentality, but I think it is unlikely that they just didn't implemented it, because nobody would've used it anyways, so why bother. I think in a highly controlled environment things can be pulled off, but in reallife actual recordings with the camera's wiring I'm pretty sure they can't.

 

Also pay attention to what is being said...

 

 

It's pretty vague. It's like going to the supermarket with a grocery list to cook up a certain unfamiliar dish and you do buy all the right ingredients, but nowhere it says which precise quantity of each ingredient you will need, in what order you should use them and how long to leave it in the oven at what temperature. It will probably end up in a fail. I mean, granted, you managed to put something together, but what good is it, if it sucks.

 

That said. There's a lot of talk, but I just want to see this thing get reviewed or want a hands-on myself. It sounds enticing, but is it actually nice to shoot with? What are the pro's and con's? I'd like a long video from Philip Bloom on this.

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I agree some of this stuff sounds too good to be true and I'm skeptical. And I have a bad feeling the camera is going to be buggy to begin with. One thing about Samsung, they don't have a high end video segment to protect like Canon does. So maybe in this and future cameras they are going to give videographers as much as they can- it's more a matter of them figuring out what the video community wants. It looks like they finally have a camera that can make some waves- really hope they get it into the hands of prominent reviewers, especially those who are focused on video.

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I find the 28 megapixel readout at 240 fps a bit hard to believe. Imagine the ammount of raw data this would give. A lot of processing power would be needed to compress this to a usable format. The image processor would be unbelievably overcapacitated if actually possible. Why would Samsung use an expensive powerfull chip like that when not using it? It's just a marketing manager saying it, wouldn't believe it so easily.

Compare it to Canon raw, 1080p (2 megapixels) @ 24 fps is something like 100MB/s. 28 MP is 14 times the data = 1400MB/s, times ten (240fps) = almost 14GB/second. What kind of supercomputer is going to compress this real time into a codec?

Maybe the chip can do it in theory, but the whole processing chain in the actual camera? Find it hard to believe.

 

Maybe they just mean they could successfully record that to the RAM but of course nothing would be able to store it. Just what the system is capable of. Now I just raw footage from the camera.

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I wonder why the discussion got stuck and turned into pedantic pondering about just one little detail of that interview. The interview itself was sort of interesting as a whole, even when taken with the obligatory grain of salt. Sure, the detail about 28mp readout @240fps is interesting from a geeky point of view, but hardly relevant enough to get blinded by, so that one wouldn't see the forest (the new camera) for the trees (geek porn).

 

To Dave Etchell's question "Is the camera actually capable of recording video at 240 frames?" the answer is simply "No."

That should be clear enough an answer for now, shouldn't it. I don't think that answer is making the NX less interesting, though.

 

The comment saying "We didn't see there being an application for that, at least for very, very few people" is probably just marketingmogulese for they don't yet know how to implement that one feature in a feasible (non-crappy, reliable, etc.) way, and therefore they've settled for the blingy sport shooting gimmick, for now. It doesn't mean we won't ever see it, or something like it, implemented on the video side of things in the (hopefully) not too distant future. 

 

I think the bottom line is that the new Samsung model is finally lifting Samsung into the top league, and it's about to become a worthy new contender in the prosumer stills and HDSLR game. Which is nice. Regardless of it being able to do full 28-megapixel readout at 240fps or not. If it can deliver good looking 1080p and 4K, along with great looking stills, whilst feeling nice in the hand, that's all that matters. So far things look pretty promising.

 

If the proverbial pudding turns out to taste as good as it looks, it will also have a halo effect throughout the whole NX system, which does have some potential. Hopefully Samsung will keep the momentum, because they need that halo effect. Hopefully that momentum will be noticed by the third party accessory makers, too.

 

I for one am still looking forward to having a taste of that pudding. Not that I'm a Samsung fan, but I wouldn't mind a new, slightly different contender in the mirrorless game. 

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How come no footage is out yet?

I got the feeling the firmware might need some tweaks based on some of the comments from Photokina. This could be the camera that puts Samsung on the map. The last thing Samsung needs to do is put such an important camera in the hands of reviewers and have it be buggy.

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