Tag Archives: samsung

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.

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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…

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  • 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,…

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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.

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

Until the next extended rant.

-ELW

 

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

Samsung NX

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.

Background:

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.

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Olympus E-P5 in full regalia.

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.

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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).

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Samsung family 1st time around.
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Samsung round 1. Yeah, I went the pedestrian zoom and prime lens crazy last time around. Loved every lens except the 50-200mm. Never floated my boat for some reason. Preferred to use the 85mm and crop later. Hi. My name is Eric and I am a recovering lens hoarder. <support group> ‘Hi, Eric.’ Going the constant aperture ‘S’ zoom route first this time around.

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.

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The magical light gatherer. Was great fun, but had to grow up.

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.

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Lightly used, pristine Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 from Amazon just after arrival.

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

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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.

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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

Gallery: Yesterday and my NX1.

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Loving this combination. In just a few short days the NX1 and the NX 50-150mm S lens have become my favorite camera lens combination ever. Sharp, fast usable focal range. Light weight and compact considering the capabilities. Flexible. I have already used it for portraits, low light, animals, abstract, and more. Does everything I throw at it. Plus it is water sealed and has exceptional connectivity capabilities. Stellar video, fast and accurate AF…

Gallery: Random recents.

Samsung NX
Back in the Samsung fold. Missed my NX300 so I bought it back from the camera shop I sold it to. Picked up a copy of my favorite prime ever, the 30mm f/2.0 and upgraded from the NX30 to the NX1. Instead of a bag o’ very nice primes and pedestrian zooms I went with the 50-150mm f/2.8 to save on weight and gain water sealing to match the NX1.

RNF – Sight vs. Vision. Don’t worry when others do not see your vision…

They may see what you do , but they may not be able to see your vision. -ELW

Carolina Theater, Backstage
Carolina Theater, Backstage

I am not sure if other photographers of various classification are struck by this, but I tend to get distracted while attempting to make a vision in to a reality. I will see a situation that looks simple enough to the naked eye, but I begin to see a vision of what could be with some adjustments. Case in point this past Saturday I enjoyed being a part of the 100 Men In Black Annual Concert which was held at the Carolina Theater, Durham, NC. I especially enjoyed sharing the lead on the closing song, an arrangement of ‘My Tribute’ originally by Andre Crouch. Photographers must get used to looking a little off, but at one point during the intermission I went a little past off to some. With many crowded together behind me talking I stopped as all fell silent in my head and I stared off to an isolated corner of backstage where I noticed an interesting arrangement of things and color. All it needed was a change of perspective to make it interesting. I took a quick portrait orientation test shot and then placed my trusty NX300/30mm f2.0, which was on my person the whole night, on the floor. I heard ever more distant banter behind me like, “What’s wrong? Are you going to to step on it?”, and for a brief moment all went silent as I aligned my camera on the floor stooped down and took this one shot above.

I then stood up, and turned around as the background banter returned. I gave no explanation, because vision is not always easy to explain. But I knew I had captured what I was pursuing. To me the picture symbolizes peace, utter silence and isolation, but just behind me was a hornet’s nest of excited intermission chatter and activity. Beyond the curtain there was a theater full of people. The juxtaposition of these extremes in such close proximity is why I hold this one photo more dear than any other that evening. It is also why I love photography. It is very perspective driven. In the midst of chaos came a picture of solitude and peace. It is about what you choose to see. Do you choose to see chaos or peace in a given situation?

Below I add some other photos from that day’s earlier sound check and some taken around the same time as the intermission one above. -ELW