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Samsung NX10 Digital Camera Review

samsung20100521.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Simon Vrantsis  

 

For many existing and prospective photographers, the size of the DSLR is usually the main drawback they find when thinking of taking the next step in their photography. Always wanting the best image quality possible but wanting a compact form factor, image quality inevitably takes a back seat to convenience. However, technology is starting to give the consumer a higher quality middle ground that has been unavailable previously.

Samsung is relatively new to the photographic industry but with their newly released NX10, have made the first step with a new technology that even their better-known competitors haven’t thus far.

Fitting a 14.6-Megapixel cropped sensor into a body with dimensions not dramatically bigger than the previously reviewed Canon G11, Samsung is breaking new ground with its NX10, becoming the smallest interchangeable lens camera with an APS-C sensor. With a sensor size identical to that found in many DSLR cameras, the NX10 is capable of delivering image quality never thought possible from such a compact package. Samsung have managed to do this by removing the mirror mechanism found is traditional DSLRs.

Paired with Samsung excellent 30mm f2.0 pancake lens, the image quality proves to be one of the highlights of the NX10. For the most part, it performs well in all the key area necessary in delivering great photos, in particular exposure, white balance and accurate reproduction of colour. Handling noise, however, is an area in which the NX10 doesn’t perform quite as well, and the details expected from its 14.6-megapixel sensor starts to diminish due to the noise reduction used. Overall, the NX10 performs very well under optimal lighting conditions and is consistent compared to its competitor at its highest ISO setting but begins to struggle when the discussion of noise handling comes up.

Another highlight of the NX10 is its superb 3” AMOLED display with a 614k resolution. With a viewing angle wider than is possible with LCDs and delivering a bright and high contrast image, the display is a pleasure to use in both live view and playback modes. It’s also worth noting how smooth it response when panning across a scene which shows signs of a great refresh rate.

The building quality of the NX10 is solid with a blend of metal and plastic construction. In hand, it definitely feels more like a shrunken DSLR and, due to this, delivers better handling than some of the retro designed competition. The rubber trim also gives the NX10 an added feel of security.

A major sign of the build quality Samsung wanted to provide here can be seen in the all-metal lens mount on the body, which mirrors that found on the lens itself. At launch, Samsung has made three lenses available; an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 and 50-200mm f4-5.6, both with image stabilisation, along with the 30mm f2.0 pancake lens the NX10 was tested with.

The NX10’s auto focus performance is fast and comparable to the DSLRs its in direct competition with, and offers a flexible range of AF point selection options. It also has quite a reliable metering system, which makes using the NX10 nicely efficient. Away from its auto focus, the NX10 has a nice feature to assist those wanting to manually focus. As soon as the focusing ring is twisted on the lens, the camera digitally zooms in on the scene to give a closer view of the scene to ensure focus on elements of importance. This definitely results in the want to use manual focus more than usual.

Regarding continuous shooting, the NX10 peaks at a serviceable 3fps. This means it won’t be ideal for photographer with a passion for capturing action in full flight but its definitely consistent with the competition at the NX10’s price point. The continuous drive mode does have some restrictions though with a buffer of three RAW images and ten jpegs.

An obvious result of removing the mirror system from the camera, apart Samsung’s ability to reduce body size, is the requirement to fit the NX10 with an electronic viewfinder instead of what would normally been seen paired with a cropped sensor in traditional DSLRs. With 100% frame coverage and made up of 921,000 dots, the result is a large, bright image comparable to what’s found in most entry-level DSLRs. Composing does become a little difficult when bright light strikes at the right angle, especially from the side, and, compared to the pristinely smooth LED display, it show signs of lag when sweeping across the scene.
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Samsung should, if nothing more, garner a heighten level of respect with the NX10. They are still relatively inexperienced in the photographic industry but that should not deter consumers in anyway. They have produced a camera that has a sensor 50% larger than its most direct competitors on the market, the Micro Four Thirds by Panasonic and Olympus, delivering a much-improved high ISO performance. The NX10 also delivers image quality that is on par with many of the entry-level DSLRs on the market and in a smaller package.

Being the first step in the mirror less APS-C technology, there are obviously some kinks that need to be ironed in future releases but rarely is a new technology perfect for its inception. Samsung’s NX10 is made for the photographer that wants DSLR image quality to take wherever they go and they’ve deliver this at a more than reasonable price. Hopefully third-party lens manufactures jump onboard the NX lens mount to give it the support the technology deserves.
 

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD)

RRP $849

SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 14.6 Mega pixels
Image Sensor
CMOS 23.4 x 15.6mm, RGB primary colour filter
Image Sizes 9 Sizes
Resolution Settings (Aspect ratio 3:2) 14M (4,592 x 3,056), 10M (3,872 x 2,592), 6M (3,008 x 2,000), 2M (1,920 x 1,280), 1.4M (1,472 x 976)
Resolution Settings (Aspect ratio 16:9) 12M (4,592 x 2,584), 8M (3,872 x 2,176), 5M (3,008 x 1,688), 2M (1,920 x 1,080) RAW: 14M (4,592 x 3,056)
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Auto: 1 / 4,000sec. ~30sec.Manual: 1 / 4,000sec. ~30sec. (1 / 3EV or 1 / 2EV step) Bulb (Limit time: 8min), Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter
Exposure Metering System
Metering: Multi, Centre-weighted, Spot Metering range: EV0~18 (ISO100•30mm F2.0)
Exposure Modes ±3EV (1 / 2EV, 1 / 3EV step)
ISO Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200 (1EV step)
LCD Monitor AMOLE, VGA (640 x 480) 614k dots (PenTile), Approx. 100% field of view
LCD Size 3.0-inch
Viewfinder Yes, EVF VGA (640 x 480) 921k dots equiv., Approx. 100%, Approx. 0.86x (APS-C, 50mm, -1m-1), 
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent (W, N, D), Tungsten, Flash, Custom, K (Manual), Micro adjsutments each 7steps in Amber / Blue / Green / Magenta axis
Self Timer 10 sec., 2 sec. (with mirror up)
HD / Full HD Movie Option 720p HD, MP4 (H.264), 
Movie Sizes 1,280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 24, 30fps, Mono Sound
Video Out NTSC, PAL (user selectable) HDMI 1.3: (1080i, 720P, 576P / 480P)
Storage Type SD, SDHC
Still Image Format/s RAW (SRW), JPEG (EXIF 2.21), DCF, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
Movie Image Format/s Movie: H.264
Audio Format/s Sound: AAC
Connectivity USB 2.0 (HI-SPEED)
Power Source AC adaptor - AV-VQ900AM
Battery Options BP1310 (1,300mAh
Battery Life
200min / 400shots (CIPA Standard)
Dimensions (W) 123.0 x (H) 87.0 x (D) 39.8mm
Weight 353g

 


 


 


 

 
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