Samsung NX1 vs Sony A5100
The Samsung NX1 and the Sony Alpha A5100 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in September 2014 and August 2014. Both the NX1 and the A5100 are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Samsung has a resolution of 28 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Samsung NX mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|28 MP, APS-C Sensor||24 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-25600 (100-51200)||ISO 100-25600|
|Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.0" LCD, 1036k dots||3.0" LCD, 922k dots|
|Tilting touchscreen||Tilting touchscreen|
|15 shutter flaps per second||6 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|500 shots per battery charge||400 shots per battery charge|
|139 x 102 x 66 mm, 550 g||110 x 63 x 36 mm, 283 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Samsung NX1 and the Sony Alpha A5100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Samsung NX1 and the Sony A5100 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A5100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the NX1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A5100 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Samsung NX1. Moreover, the A5100 is substantially lighter (49 percent) than the NX1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the NX1 is splash and dust resistant, while the A5100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The battery packs of both cameras can be charged via USB, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Samsung NX1»||5.5 in||4.0 in||2.6 in||19.4 oz||500||Y||Sep 2014||1,499||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A5100«||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||10.0 oz||400||n||Aug 2014||549||Sony A5100|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2« »||5.6 in||3.3 in||1.8 in||17.5 oz||350||Y||Jan 2016||1,699||Fujifilm X-Pro2|
|Fujifilm X-T2« »||5.2 in||3.6 in||1.9 in||17.9 oz||340||Y||Jul 2016||1,599||Fujifilm X-T2|
|Nikon D7200« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D7100« »||5.4 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||27.0 oz||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic GH4« »||5.2 in||3.7 in||3.3 in||19.8 oz||500||Y||Feb 2014||1,499||Panasonic GH4|
|Pentax K-3« »||5.2 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||28.2 oz||560||Y||Oct 2013||1,299||Pentax K-3|
|Samsung NX500« »||4.7 in||2.5 in||1.7 in||10.1 oz||370||n||Feb 2015||799||Samsung NX500|
|Sony A6500« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||2.1 in||16.0 oz||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX100 IV« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.6 in||10.5 oz||280||n||Jun 2015||999||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000« »||4.3 in||2.5 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||420||n||Jan 2014||449||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000« »||4.7 in||2.6 in||1.8 in||12.1 oz||360||n||Feb 2014||599||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||1.9 in||16.7 oz||340||Y||Oct 2013||1,699||Sony A7|
|Sony NEX-3N« »||4.3 in||2.4 in||1.4 in||9.5 oz||480||n||Feb 2013||499||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100« »||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.5 oz||330||n||Jun 2012||649||Sony RX100|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The A5100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 63 percent) than the NX1, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the A5100 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 28MP, the NX1 offers a higher resolution than the A5100 (24MP), but the NX1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 3.63μm versus 3.91μm for the A5100). It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the NX1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Samsung NX1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 32.4 x 21.6 inch or 82.3 x 54.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 25.9 x 17.3 inch or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 21.6 x 14.4 inch or 54.9 x 36.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Sony A5100 are 30 x 20 inch or 76.2 x 50.8 cm for good quality, 24 x 16 inch or 61 x 40.6 cm for very good quality, and 20 x 13.3 inch or 50.8 x 33.9 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Samsung NX1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-51200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Alpha A5100 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Samsung NX1||APS-C||28.0||6480||4320||4K/30p||24.2||13.2||1363||83||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A5100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||23.8||12.7||1347||80||Sony A5100|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-Pro2|
|Fujifilm X-T2||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Fujifilm X-T2|
|Nikon D7200||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.5||14.6||1333||87||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D7100||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.2||13.7||1256||83||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D5300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic GH4||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.2||12.8||791||74||Panasonic GH4|
|Pentax K-3||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/60i||23.7||13.4||1216||80||Pentax K-3|
|Samsung NX500||APS-C||28.0||6480||4320||4K/30p||24.8||13.9||1379||87||Samsung NX500|
|Sony A6500||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||24.5||13.7||1405||85||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||APS-C||19.8||5456||3632||1080/60i||23.8||13.0||1089||79||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||13.1||1347||82||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||14.2||2248||90||Sony A7|
|Sony NEX-3N||APS-C||16.0||4912||3264||1080/60i||22.8||12.5||1067||74||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.6||12.4||390||66||Sony RX100|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the NX1 provides a higher video resolution than the A5100. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the Sony is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the NX1 has an electronic viewfinder (2360k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the A5100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Samsung NX1, the Sony A5100, and comparable cameras.
|Samsung NX1||2360||Y||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/8000s||15.0||Y||n||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A5100||none||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Sony A5100|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2||2360||n||3.0||1620||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-Pro2|
|Fujifilm X-T2||2360||n||3.0||1040||tilting||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Fujifilm X-T2|
|Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D5300||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic GH4||2359||n||3.0||1036||swivel||Y||1/8000s||12.0||Y||n||Panasonic GH4|
|Pentax K-3||optical||Y||3.2||1037||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.3||Y||Y||Pentax K-3|
|Samsung NX500||none||n||3.0||1036||tilting||Y||1/6000s||9.0||Y||n||Samsung NX500|
|Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0||922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||none||n||3.0||461||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||n||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0||922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||2400||n||3.0||1230||tilting||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Sony A7|
|Sony NEX-3N||optional||n||3.0||460||tilting||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||none||n||3.0||1229||fixed||n||1/2000s||10.0||Y||Y||Sony RX100|
One feature that is present on the NX1, but is missing on the A5100 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.The A5100 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the NX1 does not have a selfie-screen.
The Samsung NX1 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The NX1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the A5100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The NX1 supports UHS-II cards (on its first slot), while the A5100 can use UHS-I cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Samsung NX1 and Sony Alpha A5100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Samsung NX1||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Samsung NX1|
|Sony A5100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5100|
|Fujifilm X-Pro2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-Pro2|
|Fujifilm X-T2||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||3.0||Y||-||-||Fujifilm X-T2|
|Nikon D7200||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon D7200|
|Nikon D7100||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D7100|
|Nikon D5300||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Panasonic GH4||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Panasonic GH4|
|Pentax K-3||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Pentax K-3|
|Samsung NX500||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Samsung NX500|
|Sony A6500||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6500|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony RX100 IV|
|Sony A5000||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A5000|
|Sony A6000||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A6000|
|Sony A7||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Sony A7|
|Sony NEX-3N||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony NEX-3N|
|Sony RX100||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Sony RX100|
It is notable that the NX1 has a hotshoe, while the A5100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
The A5100 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Sony. In contrast, the NX1 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the NX1 from Samsung. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Samsung and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Samsung NX1 better than the Sony A5100 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Samsung NX1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (28 vs 24MP) with a 8% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 922k dots).
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (15 vs 6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Faster buffer clearing: Supports a more advanced SD data transfer standard (UHS-II vs UHS-I).
Reasons to prefer the Sony Alpha A5100:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (110x63mm vs 139x102mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 267g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (63 percent cheaper at launch).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the NX1 is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Samsung NX1 and the Sony A5100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the NX1 or the A5100. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 400D vs Sony A5100
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- Canon M50 vs Sony A5100
- Canon SL3 vs Sony A5100
- Canon XS vs Samsung NX1
- Leica V-LUX 4 vs Samsung NX1
- Leica X Typ 113 vs Samsung NX1
- Nikon 1 J5 vs Sony A5100
- Olympus E-PL9 vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic G10 vs Sony A5100
- Panasonic G2 vs Samsung NX1
- Sony A5100 vs Sony A6000
Specifications: Samsung NX1 vs Sony A5100
|Camera Model||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Samsung NX mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2014||August 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 1499||USD 549|
|Sensor Specs||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||28 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6480 x 4320 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.63 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.59 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-25600 ISO||100-25600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-51200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||DRIMe 5||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||83||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.2||23.8|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.2||12.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1363||1347|
|Screen Specs||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||1036k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||15 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||Single UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Connectivity Specs||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Samsung NX1||Sony A5100|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||500 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||USB charging||USB charging|
139 x 102 x 66 mm
(5.5 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
110 x 63 x 36 mm
(4.3 x 2.5 x 1.4 in)
|Camera Weight||550 g (19.4 oz)||283 g (10.0 oz)|