Samsung NX: When it becomes clear a company has quit their customers.

As I have noted previously I do not do emotional allegiances to for profit entities. As pointed out by Ezra Dyer in a recent Car and Driver article there are times I wish I could. I may appreciate a good feature/price combination, but I am always evaluating. Exhausting at times. Brand loyalty saves time and thought. Just replace the widget with next year’s widget when the next branded widget is released and fight the man, woman, or child that says otherwise. Then repeat next product cycle.

Evaluating what? Glad you asked. Let’s take a look at, oh let’s say photography gear. With every press release it causes me to objectively consider the pros/cons of the new option. This takes time. If I were just subjectively looking for reasons to convince myself what I had was superior that would take far less time and energy.

This time reconsideration was not brought about by a new press release, but by a sudden unpleasant and unexpected example of indifference from the company in question.

Still a great product:

One thing does not change. I have owned quite a few brands and I still believe Samsung truly released a great system with top notch features, great performance all priced reasonably all other things being equal. Despite no official release from Samsung on the subject there had been huge indicators that all was not well in NX-ville. Non-existent imaging trade show booths. Pulling out of markets and stopping production. Try and find a new NX1 at the major online retailers right now. Abandoning of websites and social media pages. No need for rumors. Even still I stood firm as noted in a recent blog post.

What changed?

The title of that blog post was “Samsung may Ditch the Mirrorless, but I am sticking with it.” I was ok with (granted ok may be strong) Samsung abandoning the camera system, but knowing how large of a company they are I made an assumption in error. I assumed they would minimally service the remaining customers and leave a bit of the house intact. Not for warm and fuzzy reasons. It is a for profit entity at the end of the day. PR can make or break a company. My thinking was why would they risk the bad press of a virtually mobilized angry band of cheesed off photographers? Have they not heard (or seen the comments sections of) Canon and Nikon adherents going at it? Light gatherers can be an angry, unbalanced bunch. Having made my peace with my collection of NX gear I slapped one of my all time favorite lenses on one of my all time favorite cameras when I hung out with my father and my son Saturday.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All is well. I got home and wanted to share some of the pictures so I went to sync my phone to my NX1 like I had done many times before. Fast forward through an hour or so of gnashing of teeth and drained batteries and I hit the interwebs. Did not take long to realize that Android 6/Marshmallow update that came through the evening before on my phone had hobbled the connectivity between the two. Grabbed a device with an earlier Android version and sure enough it connected right away. At that moment my pupils dilated and your mild mannered narrator saw shades of red not occurring in nature. Not a word was uttered, but it was abundantly clear that Samsung had completely left the camera factory building without a single word to their customers. No point in getting upset with a corporate entity. Check please.

Not a gambler:

Two times in my adult life friends talked me in to a casino bus trip and both times I was legitimately stoked, until three truths set in as the bus pulled off. 1) I do not like buses. 2) I do not gamble. 3) I do not drink. Logic and gambling are mutually exclusive for me. Casinos exist to take your money. It is a mugging with complimentary drinks, harsh lighting and a concierge. Sticking with Samsung had now become worse than gambling. Today I am happy, but in light of these developments it was clear that I would eventually have gear that I could not replace, get repaired, or sell. I am highly risk averse. This gear belongs in the hands of folks who are capable of enjoying it’s light gathering goodness without the voice of the old dude at the door from Poltergeist II whispering “Your gear’s gonna die!”

Not all…

Held on to three items. I hold pricey, DSLR-ish gear to a very high standard, but I kept this demi system that punches well above it’s weight class…


  • NX300: I already bought, sold and re-bought this (exact same) camera so I saw no reason for round 2. Plus this camera is awesome, and compact and jacket pocketable when coupled with…
  • NX 30mm f2.0: I know of no other lens this size/price for an APS-C system that is this capable built in lens all in one or otherwise. Period. May exist, but I am not aware of it.
  • NX 16-50mm PZ: Dark magic. Must be dark magic. No other explanation for a lens this inexpensive, this small, and with this mediocre of a paper spec producing shots as sharp as it does.

If I had traded them I could not think of a single compact lens/camera alternative that would replace them for me. Yes, the a6### cameras are brilliant, and I respect Sony having owned both an A7 and RX100II. But the comparable APS-C lenses are either a bit larger or a bit slower. I also like the Ricoh GR and was impressed when the very talented Zun Lee walked me around his last year at the excellent Image Deconstructed Workshop since relocated to Colorado with Ross Taylor,…


but I am not a fan of having a fixed lens and no articulating screen. Plus on a small camera my personal preference is a touch screen over an EVF. On the small camera side of the game I am actually willing to gamble. Your mileage may vary.

But the high end stuff (NX1, 85mm f/1.4, 16-50mm S, and 50-150mm S) had to go. I highly recommend finding a good local camera shop if you can find one. Good fortune struck when I walked in to Southeastern Camera Carrboro (where I had purchased the NX1 used) and  I crossed paths with the original owner who ultimately bought the gear back upping my trade price significantly. Again, I have no issue with the gear itself so I am glad they found a good home while funding my next chapter.

What next?

With a recent release I am heading home to the first SLR brand that I learned on, my Dad’s gear, many years ago, like my previously owned k-3ii, but this time in digital full frame strength.


Ordered and more on that decision and next steps, lenses of choice and such  when it comes in.

Until the next extended rant.



Samsung may Ditch the Mirrorless, but I am sticking with it.

Shout out to JDevaunPhotog since a Twitter message exchange with him inspired this post I had been meaning to write. Camera gear update: It has been a few months now since I went back fully to the Samsung camp and truly glad I did.

My first approach was prime heavy  (went a little crazy) and I cheaped out on zooms.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was much more selective this time around and I have a kit that better suits my needs and now fits in my small Swiss Gear bag instead of requiring the Lowepro backpack which is now used for all of my film gear. The mirrorless bag weighs like depleted uranium admittedly, but it is small enough to be somewhat inconspicuous or fit in another larger bag when I do not want to scream “I have camera gear!”.

The kit:

  • The aforementioned NX300 I adored, sold, snapped out of it, repurchased and now adore again.
  • The NX1. Simply put the best all around stills and video camera for the dollar available today in my opinion.
  • 30mm f2.0 that performs well above price and size.
  • The extremely versatile  50-150mm f2.8. I thought being limited to 150mm would be a problem, but since I do not shoot long that often and the sharpness allows for heavy cropping I was actually more pleased that at 50mm I was able to leave this lens on the camera for normal shooting rather than swapping or requiring a second body offering more flexibility than the 75-200mm f2.8 Pentax I had owned previously.
  • The 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 Power Zoom. I was saving up for the f2-2.8 16-50mm until the reasonable price, compact size (something oddly therapeutic about watching a power zoom extend and close when powering the camera on and off), great reviews, and the fact that a power zoom is better for video prompted me to get the f3.5-5.6 16-50mm first. Good choice because it is so good I see no immediate need to get the f2-2.8 for now. Insanely sharp lens. The power zoom implementation is quite clever. On AF the ring zooms and on MF the +/- toggle zooms and the ring focuses and the speed of the zoom is configurable. It also responds quickly to zoom inputs compared to power zooms I have used before.This may be the surprise bargain lens for me. In fact this lens scratched 3 lenses off of my immediate shopping list:
    • 16-50mm f2-2.8: No arguing the superiority of a brighter aperture, but even indoor, like a recent car show, I have yet to run in to a situation where I was hampered by a lack of available light. Plus with the 30mm f2.0 on hand I have options in low light right in the middle of this focal range.
    • 60mm macro: While not macro lens close this lens offers a minimum focus distance of 9.48 inches at 50mm and when you combine that with the sharpness it rendered a macro redundant for my current purposes with a little cropping. And mind you I owned and very much enjoyed to 60mm macro the 1st time around.
    • 12-24mm zoom: This is another lens I owned previously and loved, but right now I do not see spending more to gain 4mm of wide angle. Admittedly a good margin, but not enough to trade off keeping one lens on the camera.
  • Having now covered 16-150 I decided to purchase the most loved lens I have ever owned next, the 85mm f/1.4. Again. I love this lens and I do not use this word lightly. Also the only item I have ever sold/traded that I regretted selling as I was putting it in the mail to the person who bought it from me on Amazon. Only the Mitakon 50mm f0.95 I had for the previously owned Sony A7 battles it for first place on my want list. Great value also. Granted not as bright an aperture. but with AF it costs a little less than the all manual Mitakon. Also the used NX1 and the new 85mm combined cost about as much or less than others charge for their factory 85mm f1.4 lenses.

Needs covered. I do not regret the sell/swap/buy process that led to this because after having tried so many manufacturers and pieces of gear it has erased any doubts. For the first time that incessant voice in the back of my head urging me to get some other piece of gear or system has gone silent. Will there be change in the future? Certainly. I may get a 10mm fisheye again (previously gifted by Samsung USAs PR arm) for giggles or repurchase the 12-24mm I also adored out of want. Some day down the road I will be drawn to other gear due to the march of time (especially if Samsung carries out the rumored ditch the mirrorless plan) but I am quite happy across the board for the first time ever with my current kit. -ELW



Samsung, Take 2. Streamlined considerably with a film interloper.


Samsung NX1: I believe my camera search may have ended.


Short (ish) version:

I have traded and churned through quite a few digital cameras from mirrorless to DSLR, from Mu-43 (Olympus), to APS-C (Nikon, Pentax, and Samsung), to full frame (Sony A7). All of them great, but in practice each had a weakness for my very broad needs. This NX1 is by far the most flexible camera I have ever owned. No question.

Long winded version:

Fast AF. Stellar video. Weather sealing. Fantastic IQ. Sharp, compact primes (I love the Samsung NX 30mm f/2.0). Weather sealed ‘S’ zooms. Great controls and layout. Solid feel. EVF that makes me forget it is not optical. 15fps with AF. Startup takes only 0.7 seconds. 4K in body recording (H.625 now supported by Adobe Premier). The one ding could be lens count, and lack of aftermarket lens support, but Samsung has covered every lens I want or need (wide zoom, tele zoom, portrait lens, macro lens, fisheye lens, etc…), they perform very well in general and some spectacular, and are priced competitively. After a long search I am quite pleased with this camera.


Since buying my first big boy ILS camera a couple of years ago I have churned through quite a few systems and read obsessively about all. Why? I wanted the best all around functionally DSLR-ish (feature set, controls, and a proper grip and viewfinder, optical or digital, would be nice) photo and video rig that could be purchased by a fiscal mortal with kids and a mortgage without going in to hock up to his eyeballs. After starting with Mu-43, going through APS-C and on up to full frame I found that APS-C was the porridge that Goldilocks chose for me.

At the start I loved my Olympus cameras, but the death knell rang when a newly purchased Nikon D3300, with a pedestrian kit zoom, handed my E-P5, with a much loved prime, it’s hind parts in an impromptu lowlight side by side comparison. Fine camera, but it was gone soon after.


Really liked the D3300 I owned, but I traded for an NX30 after falling for an NX300 that I still own (actually traded it, realized my error and went back and rescued it).

When the Sony A7 dropped in price when it’s sequel was released I jumped at the opportunity to own full frame for less than a grand. Went trade crazy to obtain it. But once the dust settled and the novelty of saying ‘I have a full frame camera’ wore off I never warmed up to it. The Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 was a hoot though.

Yes. IQ was amazing of course, but AF was passable at best and occasionally downright infuriating. Plus with a full frame came large (and pricey for me) lenses. The smallest factory prime is small for a DSLR, but rather large for a mirrorless. Again, fine camera, just not my cup of tea. I then rekindled my childhood fascination with Pentax after buying a 2nd hand DSLR for my Dad to replace his recently deceased and much loved ME Super led to my purchase of a K-3ii. Somewhere in there I bought an RX100II second hand to serve as my pocket camera. All was well in the land. Pentax, Sony and I forever.


Then I bought a phone (LG V10) that, before I realized it, displaced the Rx100II for casual use.


Thought process. It would be nice to have an APS-C pocket camera again. I am liking the Pentax so maybe I will give big brother RICOH’s GR a spin? But I would really like a compact APS-C camera that was able to switch lenses… like the NX300 I traded in an A7 acquisition fit. The Samsung lenses I traded were long gone, but I bought my old body back from the camera shop and repurchased my most favorite AF prime lens ever (the aforementioned 30mm f/2.0) from Amazon for peanuts new. Compact game set.

Then my daughter asked, “Can you film my band recital?” Certainly. This fine Pentax DSLR can surely do a passable job at video, right? Video is not my thing, but for my offspring sure. Bought a RODE hotshoe mic from the camera shop and during my test run… Wait a minute. What is the deal with the focusing?… Suddenly the focus motor whirring that seemed endearing while shooting stills was a constant drone on playback as the Pentax hunted all over the place. Blur and motor whine sums it up. I must be doing this wrong, this is awful at video. Quick Google search. Nope. As a video camera it makes for a great stills camera. As much as I love the K-3ii for stills there can be only one. While still sorting this out in my head an odd thing happened. Had some legacy Minolta glass I had liked to use on the NX300 so I called the camera shop to see if they still had my old adapter before repurchasing from Amazon. Conversation:

  • <Me> I was wondering if you had a box of used adapters where I might look to see if you have my old MD to NX adapter?
  • <Camera store> Yes, it just so happens we just got an NX1 and a flash in on trade.
  • <Me> Um.

Yeah, 2 days later I bought the NX1. They made me an offer I could not refuse.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few days later I filmed the recital and for a first time run with 2 unknowns (a new to me NX1 and the first time I ever used an external mic) it went very well.  I did not shoot in 4k as I felt it was overkill for the task at hand. Due to user error it was overexposed for most of it, but I am still pleased with the result. Fade in/out was in camera and they went straight from Movie Maker decompression to Youtube that night with no edits at all.

Additionally performance and stills quality have been amazing. If you are looking for the absolute best of class at one specific area and have money to burn others may meet your specific needs. If you are looking for a reasonably priced solution that is far beyond competent at anything you throw at it and quite exceptional at a few do yourself a favor and give the Samsung NX1 a try.

I close out with a collection of sample shots. -ELW


When a portrait reaps unexpected encouragement…

Tuesday night Brother Art (Baritone Extraordinaire) says to me, “My friends and family say to me that they see all these pictures on, but they have not seen any pictures of me.” I was so touched that a) people were looking at the photos and b) Brother Art wanted to have a portrait of him. I told him, “Well we are about to fix that.” right before taking the picture below that I posted to Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

Brother Art, Baritone Extaordinaire @100meninblack

A post shared by Eric Woods (@ericlwoods) on

Now the smile on his face when I showed him the picture was more than reward enough, but it did not end there. While not that many likes were gathered for this photo relative to others (all likes very much appreciated) 2 of these likes were photography heroes of mine. One in the person of the esteemed and accomplished Mr. Lonnie Graham who wrote “Beautiful portrait” and liked:

and the other in the person of the esteemed and accomplished Mr. Lou Jones who liked the photo also:

It may seem little to some, but this small acknowledgement, 2 words and a few mere double taps, meant the world to me.

Here is the full original:

and this a link to the shots from that afternoon.