Samsung NX1 is now full frame – First look at the Canon mount NX-L “Speed Booster” from Italy

There’s now a Canon EF mount focal reducer for Samsung NX mount which gives the 4K H.265 shooting NX1 an extra 1 stop of low light performance and the full frame look (1.08x crop to be exact) from your EF lenses!

Key links:

The NX-L is a crowd-funded product aiming to do for Samsung cameras what the Metabones Speed Booster does for Sony APS-C cameras.

My first impressions are that it is a good one.

It fits my NX1 and NX Galaxy (Android Super 35mm camera), is well built and optically superb. Here’s an idea of how sharp the 4K is with this adapter attached –

Click image to pixel peep the full 4K version

So the NX1 is a 1.5x crop Super 35mm / APS-C camera of course. With this adapter you multiply 1.5 by 0.72 for the new crop factor of the camera sensor (1.08) and do the same with the aperture, say F1.4 by 0.72 = F1.0. Do that for whatever aperture it is you want to calculate the brightness increase for. It’s always the same, a one stop increase. So F2.0 becomes F1.4.

The NX-L is not just a NX1 adapter, it comes in very handy on the cheap 4K shooting NX500, which if I remember correctly did a pesky 2.3x crop in 4K mode – this will bring it back to a 1.6x crop, effectively Super 35mm, making it a great choice for APS-C Canon EF lenses like the highly rated Sigma 18-35mm F1.8.

Luca in Italy is also working on one with electronic contacts for full IS and aperture control, even autofocus in the future. But passive Canon EF mount is still very nice for several reasons. Most Canon EF lenses work in manual focus mode and quite a lot adapts – including manual focus Nikon AI-S lenses, M42, Contax Yashica, Olympus OM and Leica R to name but a few. All of these have manual aperture rings but sometimes it’s nice to just shoot wide open on a Canon lens, for example F0.86 on the NX1 to give it a low light boost that puts a Leica Noctilux in the shade 🙂 That’s what you get wide open with the Canon 50mm F1.2L – a 36mm F0.86 lens or the same look as the 50mm F1.2L on a 5D Mark IV in full frame stills mode (and one less reason to bother with the 1.7x crop 5D Mark IV 4K and those awful file sizes).

Above: Luca is working on a smart EF version of the NX-L, with modified Aputure control unit

I am using the 35mm F2.0 IS at the moment which is a very nice compact Canon lens with a nice feel to the manual focus ring and superb sharpness wide open. I also intend to use the Tokina 28-70mm F2.6-2.8, essentially an Angenieux lens for $350. On any other adapter for the NX1, the modest 28mm wide end would be lost – but with the NX-L adapter it isn’t. What’s more this goes as bright in low light as a F1.8-F2.0 zoom, something which doesn’t exist for full frame at all with a 28-70mm range. The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 is not a full frame lens and the Sigma 24-35mm F2.0 doesn’t have the reach!

The Samsung NX1’s image more than holds up in 2017. I know, because I still shoot with it!! This camera has some serious legs.

Canon or Nikon have not beat it yet on a combination of factors – not least the fact it shoots H.265. The file sizes in 4K are very nice indeed. Colour is a particular strong point of the NX1 and NX500, as is the noiseless image up to ISO 800. The 1600 is perfectly usable. The NX-L’s 1 stop gain helps you to avoid 3200 (where the pixel-packed 28MP sensor tails off quite suddenly) in all but the most ridiculously dark situations.

What’s also quite interesting about this adapter, and one other reason why it will be practically glued to my camera from now on, is the fact the NX1 does a very effective Warp Stabiliser in-camera that crops the field of view slightly. Before this gave a Micro Four Thirds look to the image but now it will give a 1D C, 1.3x crop look to the image so I won’t mind it as much.

Don’t forget also the NX1 effectively shoots 320Mbit 4K footage with the hack (160Mbit H.265), and very nice 120fps 1080p which is now not just 120fps but full frame 120fps! Only the Leica SL and A99 II do better looking 120fps, and they are a ‘tad’ more expensive!

The Samsung NX1 does not overheat, either!

As the NX-L adapter is by an independent producer, crowd funded on an Italian website, there are not factories churning them out by the thousands, so the only problem is getting hold of one. It might be handy to keep an eye on eBay if any used ones come along and to follow Luca’s Facebook page for the NX-L here. If you back the project you may have to wait a while but it’s a great thing to do, directly helping Luca to make these adapters come to life. The electronic EF version is something I am positively chomping at the bit for having now got a taste of the optics and cinematic image.

By the way, one of the most important things to do with the NX1 is to set it to 16-235, +5 master pedestal and video gamma to Normal or GammaDR, as it stops the shadows from crushing and the highlights from clipping. The resulting dynamic range is a BIG improvement on the first firmware which didn’t have these options.

Keep an eye on EOSHD’s dedicated Samsung NX forum for the latest news on this adapter and the hacked firmware. There is still, happily, a very large user-base for these cameras, despite Samsung having gone back to making microwaves.

NX1 users are a very satisfied bunch… And I can see why!