Shooting landscapes with the Samsung NX1

Rhossili Sunset - Just a quick one that I grabbed whilst working down in South Wales. This was the lovely sunset at Worm Head, Rhossili, Wales. Shot using a Lee little stopper and a .9 hard grad.

I have been using the Samsung NX1 now to shoot my landscape shots for a little while, and thought I would let you know a bit more in-depth, my thoughts and how I use this camera. For those that don’t know, I have only really been properly into photography for just over 2 years. My first (what I like to call proper camera) interchangeable lens camera was the Samsung NX1000, and as a learning tool this was a great bit of kit, it introduced me into shooting in RAW format and taking control of the camera, rather than using ‘Automatic Mode’.

Thanks to the nice people at Samsung, this year I was given the chance to start shooting with Samsung’s flagship camera the NX1. This was quite a step up from my beginners NX1000, but boy was it what I needed. I had found myself wanting to do more and as good as the NX1000 was, the NX1 is just, well better in every way. The best bit about upgrading within the NX range was that all my lenses and accessories that I used before were still all very useful. So whats in my kit bag now?

  • Samsung NX1*
  • Samsung NX1 Battery Grip*
  • NX 16-50mm S f2-2.8 OIS Lens*
  • NX 12-24mm f4-5.6 Lens
  • NX 50-200mm III f4-5.6 OIS Lens
  • NX 45mm f1.8 Lens
  • Lee Sev5n Filters – Big Stopper – Little Stopper – Various Lee ND Grads
  • Manfrotto Befree Tripod
  • JJC NX Multi Function Timer/Remote Control
  • METZ 44 AF-1 Speedlight NX Fit
  • Hama “Katoomba” Camera Sling Bag, 190RL

Being that my main passion is shooting landscape shots, most of the time my NX1 is paired with the 12-24mm lens. It is a great lens, and I mostly shoot at the wide setting of 12mm. Personally I find that the sweet spot on this lens is about f8-9 for good sharp landscapes. I remember when I started shooting landscapes I always had my fstop set at f22, thinking I needed everything in focus, you don’t and you won’t get the best out of this lens like that. I always use a tripod for my landscape work, even if I am not shooting long exposure. This allows me to set up my frame and then work out what filters I am going to use, and of course it keeps the camera as steady as a rock.

Into the Light - Ladybower NX1
Into the Light – Ladybower NX1 – 12mm – F8 – ISO200 – 1/100sec

The NX1 seems to me, to cope with larger dynamic light ranges, far better than anything I have used before. The detail/data in the RAW files is huge, one observation I will give you guys is that it seems to capture more shadow detail than you think it would, but it will not handle the highlights as well. So if shooting a frame with highlights and shadows you want to keep, expose the camera to not blow out the highlights, then in post processing you can recover the detail in that shadows. The picture above was shot at iso200 to deal with the light and yet keep the exposure relatively fast, I would happily shoot up to iso800 for landscape shots with this camera, without worrying about losing any detail, for other type of shots you can also go higher if needed with no worries.

I have used this camera in some challenging situations, cold and snow, rain, sea spray, and others. It’s never given me any concern or reliability issues.

The Old Man of Storr - Need I say more? The view from up here was breathtaking, so was the climb up there!
The Old Man of Storr – Need I say more? The view from up here was breathtaking, so was the climb up there!  – 12mm (cropped) – f9 – iso100 – 1/1000sec

Using the Lee Sev5n filter system with this camera and the 12-24mm lens works very well too. Long exposure is a very useful tool in a landscape photographers bag. Be it to smooth out water, capture the movement in the clouds, or both. The NX1 has a maximum of 30secs on its internal timer, but in bulb mode it can cope with whatever you chuck at it. This is where the remote timer comes in very handy. I do like a long exposure shot, and will often use my Big Stopper (10 stop filter) or Little Stopper (6 stop filter) combined with the Grad filters to achieve what I want.

Cornish Coastal Calm Colour - A seascape taken at Sandymouth in Cornwall. Mono or Colour?
Cornish Coastal Calm Colour – A seascape taken at Sandymouth in Cornwall.  – 12mm – iso100 – f8 – 30secs

 

Rhossili Sunset - Just a quick one that I grabbed whilst working down in South Wales. This was the lovely sunset at Worm Head, Rhossili, Wales. Shot using a Lee little stopper and a .9 hard grad.
Rhossili Sunset – Just a quick one that I grabbed whilst working down in South Wales. This was the lovely sunset at Worm Head, Rhossili, Wales. Shot using a Lee little stopper and a .9 hard grad. – 12mm – iso100 – f9 – 25sec

I know I said the sweet spot is between f8-9, but sometimes you have to mix it up, here is a shot taken at f22, as I wanted the sun flair.

Cornish Dreams - I do love editing the shots I take. I enjoy the editing process almost as much as the taking of the shots. Often in my mind I see the final edit as I am taking the shot, or should i say, I take the shot to achieve the vision I have.
Cornish Dreams – I do love editing the shots I take. I enjoy the editing process almost as much as the taking of the shots. Often in my mind I see the final edit as I am taking the shot, or should i say, I take the shot to achieve the vision I have. – 12mm – iso100 – f22 – 15sec

When shooting my landscape shots, I am mostly shooting in Aperture Priority Mode and iso100. I then let the camera work out the rest, and it does this very well. If I am not happy with what it wants to do, I will then dial in the exposure compensation as I see fit. In challenging light situations I will also bracket shots, not to produce a HDR in the classic sense, but to give me more to work with in post processing. I used to have to do this all the time with the NX1000, but with the NX1 I very rarely need anything but the one RAW file to produce what I want. Less time needed to post process 🙂 even though I enjoy it.

So what about low light performance, to be honest I think it deals with this perfectly fine, but then, I am not shooting action at low light? When I shoot in the dark, it’s always on a tripod, and I love the results I get.

Amongst the Giants -  London Skyline
Amongst the Giants – London Skyline – 24mm – iso100 – f8 – 2.5secs

 

River of Sin - SinCity Series
River of Sin – SinCity Series – 12mm – iso200 – f8 – 8sec

All of the shots above were taken with the 12-24mm lens, but don’t think it’s the only tool I use for shooting landscapes. I also have the 50-200mm in the bag, this is a great reasonably priced zoom lens for the NX range. It might not be that fastest lens but for landscape shots that is not so important, the extra reach however can be…

Stags - I have never seen so many deer as when traveling between Fort William and Skye, these two were just showing off!
Stags – I have never seen so many deer as when traveling between Fort William and Skye, these two were just showing off! – 200mm – iso100 – f5.6 – 1/60

Ok so the above shot is not a landscape shot, but whilst I was out shooting landscapes this opportunity presented itself. The below shot is a landscape taken with the 50-200mm.

Humber Sunrise - Samsung NX1 - 50-200mm III
Humber Sunrise – Samsung NX1 – 50-200mm III – 200mm – iso100 – f5.6 – 1/640

So far on my journey with the NX1 I have been loving it, I can’t give you comparisons to other cameras, apart from the NX1000, but I can tell you I am more than happy with what I have. Also as of yet I have not used the 16-50mm S f2-2.8 Premium for any landscape work (only had it in my bag a week), I have used it for other work (see last blog post) and was very impressed. Being a fast lens it should be ideal for nighttime work, so I am planning a Milky Way test shoot with it soon. Watch this space…

“This content is created with the Samsung NX1, which has been provided by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.”
*The equipment supplied to me by Samsung under the Samsung Imagelogger program.

7 thoughts on “Shooting landscapes with the Samsung NX1

  • March 29, 2015 at 7:32 pm
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    Dear Andi Campbell

    thank you very much for your posts about the NX1 – i also am an NX1000-user since 2012 and i also would buy the NX1 if it weren’t this expensive. From your posts and especially the images i can see a lot of the outcoming quality – still, in “small” formats (like 2048x…) this is possible with the NX1000 too, so my question is: IS the quality that much greater at 1:1 (pixelpeeping)? Is the noise lower? On the NX1000 i experience alot of noise already at 400…

    I already compared a lot of cameras which are in the range of my budget (somewhen…) and the NX1 always is the winner – still, comparing their rawfiles i always – even in iso100 – see noise – would you mind to make a short 1-to-1 between the NX1 and NX1000, comparing the noise at some ISO-levels? Perhaps up to 1600 or as far as you think the NX1 delivers usefull data?

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • March 30, 2015 at 9:39 am
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      Hi Manuel

      I have not tried the two next to each other like you suggest. I will see If I can do this in the future for you.

      My feeling is that the NX1 far out performs the NX1000 in many ways including the image quality. But be careful when comparing imagewise them as the sensors are very different. Yes you will always get noise if you pixel peep, but as the NX1 has the extra megapixels its not a true comparison.

      Where the NX1 wins hands down over the NX1000 is due to its usability. You have far more control over the pictures you take, the EVF is great for framing the pictures, and the focus system is far quicker. Another thing that I find very handy is the touch screen, especially for focus area etc.

      It is far more expensive than the NX1000, but justifiable in my mind. Yes as you will have read I was lucky and received the NX1 from Samsung as an Imagelogger, but before that I had ordered one and paid for it myself, and would do so again if given the choice.

      May I ask what sort of thing you want to shoot with it?

      Andi

      Reply
  • July 13, 2015 at 9:32 pm
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    What is your process for getting focus on the NX1 when shooting landscapes. IMO the DOF preview button is useless because you cannot change focus while previewing and you cannot zoom in to check for exact FG/BG focus.

    Reply
    • July 14, 2015 at 11:07 am
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      Hi Adam

      I just normally go with the aperture sweet spot of the lens I’m using, then focus on whatever I want the focus point to be. This works well to give me an overall sharp landscape image. For example the NX 12-24mm lens has a sweet spot of between f8-9, and this is my fave lens for landscapes.

      I understand what you mean about the limitations, however I don’t find them an issue personally. Maybe this is just due to that fact that I have grown to understand what the capabilities of the camera are, and also that as we are shooting digital then grabbing a second shot after a tweak of settings is not really a problem?

      All the best Andi

      Reply
  • June 9, 2016 at 11:27 pm
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    Stunning bits of information. Biggest internet thank you.

    Reply
  • June 12, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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    Hi, what in your opinion is the sharpest lenses for landscape? And i care not about the wider shoot i can get, but the sharpest from the nearest to the farthest point. I have the nx500 using the 16-50mm kit lenses and really try to have everything in focus, but i cannot. If i use f22 everything is a bit blurry and now i usually shoot in f8, the result is better, but again if it is possible i want sharper images. Maybe i am asking a lot from a crop sensor, but if i buy the 12-24mm am i going to have sharpest results? Have you ever compair these two lenses side by side?

    Reply

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