Brainstorming a future US$3,000 Samsung cinema camera.

Samsung NX1

This is a shame because the NX1 and NX500 are best in class for video performance and features, in some ways for stills too. Perhaps Samsung should consider building a professional $3000 cinema camera based around the Super 35mm sensor in the NX1 which plays on their astounding technological strengths

Andrew Reid suggested Samsung should make a cinema camera, and thought that is such a great idea it deserves its own detailed response thus this blog post . (waves to Samsung reps! Hopes they’re reading…. one can but hope!)

I don’t think it would take much more to get there (well…. it would be a significant sized project for Samsung for sure, but easily well within their grasp to pull off). Because the Samsung NX1 is already such a fantastic video camera! The best at its price point, and arguably the best stills camera for filming with at *any* price point! Even over a year later since the Samsung NX1 was announced. (yes, I’m even including the new Sony A7s mk2 in this comparison! Though what is “best” at this point can at times get to be highly subjective, depending on what you place more or less weight on as being important) Thus we could easily imagine how great a pro version of the NX1 focused on filming (rather than photo stills) could be….

All Samsung need to do is increase the size of the NX1 body the minimum amount needed so it can do this (perhaps C100/C300 shape/size? Although, I’d much much rather have the ergonomics of an FS5/FS7! But even if, g-d forbid, it has the shape of an FS100/FS700 then I’d still be “ok” with that that!):

  1. Make space for dual mSATA slots, perhaps mSATA already in their own simple plastic casing like what Atomos does with SSDs (I think Sound Devices made a good choice going mSATA on their small PIX-E5 recorder, and in a small camera it makes even more sense over the large SSDs). Dual slots are needed so you can write a proxy to the 2nd slot, or just simply if you need the extra bandwidth when doing 6.5K raw at high speed. Can’t stick with SD cards, as they won’t handle 4K ProRes HQ, which leads me onto my next point….
  2. Add DNxHR / ProRes, whichever licensing of DNxHR or ProRes is easiest for them to get. Though having ProRes HQ would be preferable I suspect over DNxHR (just because ProRes is more commonly recognised by the market, thanks to BMD and others widely using them), plus ProRes 444 or even raw would be dreamy! (but maybe a little unrealistic in a $3k camera?!)
  3. Add two XLR inputs.
  4. Make its HDMI port a full sized HDMI port.
  5. Add two SDI outputs (important to have two, what happens if one breaks? You’ll have a nearly useless camera for many people, as SDI is for them *essential*. Plus is very common to run more than one monitor in a production environment, thus got to have two)

I think if Samsung did this (and nothing else, just the five points listed above: mSATA + DNxHR/ProRes + XLR + full HDMI + SDI inputs) for US$3,000 then they’d have a huge huge indy cinema camera hit on their hands! The next DVX100 or 5Dmk2 of our generation??

Even if it came out at US$5k I reckon it could maybe still be rather successful, although it would be up against the URSA Mini 4.6K, Sony FS5, and Canon C100 mk2, all at a similar price point. (plus whatever else comes out in the next 6 months)

For bonus points Samsung could do:

  1. Camera mount: just before, I’m assuming they’re sticking with the Samsung NX mount that the NX1 has, and only making the body a little bit bigger. As Andrew mentioned perhaps their mount held back sales of the NX1, maybe this cinema camera should have a different mount? Ideally I’d like to see them use the Sony FZ mount (as this would mark it out as a true cinema camera, able to be used with the best of the best cinema lenses, yet also allowing tremendous flexibility with this mount!), next best choice would be using the Sony E mount, 3rd best is Micro Four Thirds (like the JVC LS300). Branding/marketing/licensing issues mean I expect sadly all of these are out of the question. Thus I feel the best Samsung can realistically do is create their own open cinema mount, which has similar features to the Sony FZ mount. But make it completely open and easy for anybody else to adapt. Thus Samsung will start off by selling their Samsung Cinema Camera with the high prestige PL Mount, but in a blink of an eye we’ll see third party manufacturers offering adapters for everything you can possibly imagine (like they do now for the Sony FZ mount!).
  2. High Speed Options: apparently their engineers managed 6.5K 240fps in testing, maybe we could at least get this cinema camera to give us 1080p 240fps or 4K 60fps?
  3. High than 4K resolutions: give us all 6.5K resolution from the sensor!! 😮
  4. Raw: need I say any more? This could hit it out of the park!

What are your thoughts? Write a comment below! Remember, it should be based on the existing underlying NX1 technology (so not too much more R&D is needed for Samsung to get it to market. As even this limited list would take a huge effort on Samsung’s part to make happen) or using commonplace readily available tech (such as mSATA, or SDI connections) and hit a US$3k price point or at least not more than a couple thousand over that.

Samsung is about to release a cheaper NX1 with 4K…. or does the NX500 only have 2.5K?

The Samsung NX1 has been getting attention on both the photography side for having the highest resolution APS-C sensor on the market (28 megapixels, greater than any full frame Canon DSLR!), but even more so on the film side for being the second system camera after the Panasonic GH4 to have internal 4K recording.

Now it appears that Samsung is bringing out a cheaper version of the Samsung NX1 called the “NX500” with a lot of the benefits which made the NX1 so great!

Here are the leaks:

Over in Italy there is a promotional offer:

Nella presente Operazione il prodotto promozionato è la Smart Camera NX a marchio Samsung modelli NX1, NX30, NX300, NX500, NX3000, NX3300.

Which Google Translate tells me means “In this operation the product being promoted is the Smart Camera Samsung NX-branded models NX1, NX30, NX300, NX500, NX3000, NX3300.”

Now neither NX500 or NX3300 are cameras which Samsung currently makes! Yet it says the promotion is “Dal 12 gennaio 2015 al 31 marzo 2015 inclusi” (“From 12 January 2015 until March 31, 2015 included.”). I’m guessing somebody slipped up and including cameras which are not out, but will be available to buy before the promotion ends on March 31st.

We can get a better guess at exactly when they do ship as this store in the Netherlands has already put up the option to pre-order them along with expected shipping dates: Shipment date in the Netherlands is 30 January 2015 for NX3300 at €449 (already down from €600??) and 6 March 2015 for NX500 at €749 (already down from €999??).

Sadly these links lack any specs info, except for the Dutch Photo Semeins store which says the NX500 has a “28 megapixel BSI APS-C” sensor. Which very strongly indicates it will have the same sensor in it as is in the Samsung NX1!

But… Photo Semeins isn’t the only Dutch web store with info up about these new Samsung cameras! (what is it with these Dutch stores huh? I’m guessing it is somebody at Samsung Netherlands who let the info out too early)

The Dutch store Foto Tuerlings also has info available about the Samsung NX500:

Samsung NX500

Translated this says:

In mid-February available !!

1. 28M BSI CMOS sensor
2. Hybrid Auto Focus System (Phase Detection + Contrast AF) AF 205 points!
3. 9 frames per second shooting continious
4. New SMART options: GEO tagging, 4x faster WiFi connection, Bluetooth etc.
5. 2.5K (Quad HD) movie
5. UHD Timelaps Video
6. Tilt flip-up Super AMOLED display with Touch
7. Double control wheel

First of all, these are same nice looking specs for a budget priced camera!

What exactly “Quad HD” is and what exactly “2.5K” is can vary a little depending on who you ask, just like how the meaning of “4K” can vary by a few pixels here and there.

So the Blackmagic Cinema Camera for instance is 2.5K and is 2432×1366.

Quad HD is also knowns as QHD, or even as short for WQHD (Wide Quad HD), or 1440p. To quote Wikipedia for more info:

…is a display resolution of 2560×1440 pixels in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It has four times as many pixels as the 720p HDTV video standard, hence the name.

Thus Quad HD is 4x HD (720p) but is not the 4x FHD (“Full HD”, i.e. 1080p) or “4K” that you might hope for.

None the less, having Quad HD / 1440p is very handy for a filmmaker who is providing FHD output! As it gives you a better quality HD file, and extra room in post to play around with stabilisation or other aspect rations without dropping below FHD resolution after cropping.

However… maybe Foto Tuerlings got it wrong, and it has 4K as well as “2.5K”?

After all, Samsung itself leaked that the NX500 has 4K:

Sensitivity: ISO 100 – 32000
Highest Sensitivity: Manually ISO 32000, ISO 25600 Auto ISO limit
Top shutter speed: ISO 1/4000
Video: 4095×2160 (24p), 3840×2160 (25p / 30p), 1920×1080 (50p / 60p), 1920×1080 (25p / 30p)

And back last month there was rumours of the Samsung NX400 (which would actually be info for the NX500 we would assume) that said it too has 4K (and will be released in February). But… the day before a different website said their rumour it is will not have 4K! (and they said it will be released in January instead)

So will it have 4K or not? Hopefully it will! Fingers and toes crossed.

Anyway, it is a camera to keep your eye on! If it does have 4K, this might be my first 4K camera? (especially once it goes on sale at a reduced price for the body only) As while I’ve purchased a Sony A7s, it will need an expensive Atomos Shogun as its external recorder to do 4K. (although… if the soon to come Sony A7000 surprises us and has internal 4K, maybe I’ll be getting that? I’ve got high hopes for the A7000, just add IBIS and 4K!)

UPDATE (18th of January): has released 3D renders of what the NX500 is meant to look like:

NX5000 render
NX500 render and info

Additionally, you can now pre order it from B&H:

NX500 B and H