This test was conducted with a sample product, so there might be some difference from an official product.
Now Samsung produce great compact cameras, and the recent ST550(TL225) having a Dual LCD has been recognized as a great camera. In this situation, a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera might be a pride of the camera maker. Of course, there were some cameras like the GX-10 and 20, but they were made together with Pentax, so it was not Samsung’s own.
As I was kind of surprised at the performance of Samsung compact cameras, I was expecting the NX10 a lot. I thought it could have been released last year, but it was a little delayed to early 2010 and I got an opportunity to use it before released. And I’m going to write a review of the NX10 based on my experience.
The NX10 has a different structure from previous DSLR cameras. Unlike other DSLR cameras receive light through a mirror and transfer it through reflex to a view finder via penta prism, the NX10 has taken out the mirror and its size has been reduced. That’s why it’s called a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.
Cameras with this feature have already been on sale as Micro Four thirds cameras, but the difference is the size of the sensor. The NX10 has APS-C standard CMOS image sensor, so I can assume the image quality is better than Micro Four Thirds cameras. In addition, the NX10 has contrast AF, and compared to Phase based AF, it has a little low accuracy, but the focal point can freely be moved.
Because the Nx10 is an interchangeable lens type, supply of lenses are the most important,. Therefore, 3 lenses such as 18-55mm bundle, 30mm pancake, and 50-200mm telephoto angle lens were released together. In this review, I will attach the 30mm pancake lens, and I think this lens is the most appropriate to the concept of the NX10. The feature of the 30mm lens can be checked through the above table and Aperture can be adjusted from F2.0 to F22. There will be more lenses released later.
SAMSUNG NX10 1/800s F5.9 ISO100 30mm(45mm)
When I received the NX10 first, it was way smaller than I expected. I thought the absence of the mirror could reduce the size. With the 30mm lens mounted, the size became smaller enough to carry around. When travelling, it was usually difficult to choose one between a DSLR and compact digital camera, but the NX10 would be a good alternative.
The NX10 has a traditional design and personally, I don’t like it much compared with classical design of other Micro Four Thirds cameras. I thought the traditional design was selected, because it targeted a lot of users.
If the size is reduced, the grip might be inferior, but the NX10 had a great grip, because the grip part was a little thick. I didn’t like the traditional design, but it could also be an advantage in the good grip, so there’s pros and cons.
AF assist light and self timer LED is attached on the left front, and the light was not red, but green LED. A rumor said a green LED is better to detect Contrast AF, but I’m not sure. A depth preview button is located on the lower part, and custom white balance function can be allocated on this button.
The model name NX10 and 14.6M pixels are printed, and lens detach button is also located on the right front. Looking at it more closely, you will see 3 holes below the NX10, and this is a built-in microphone.
Bulit-in flash supporting TTL is located on the top of the camera near the brand name Samsung. The built-in flash sometimes automatically pops up or can also manually pop up by pushing the flash button on the right side of the picture. The light is enough to take shots without hand blur in a dark place.
I took out the lens. Because there’s no mirror in the NX10, the CMOS sensor is directly exposed. It’s not easy for users to change the lens frequently, and weak to dusts. It could have been better if there was a dust cover like Sigma SD14. Of course, it supports supersonic dust removal function, but I couldn’t help stop worrying a little.
I checked the mount of the 30mm lens. It’s made of metal. The mount is NX mount made by Samsung. By using an adapter, K mount can also be used, but AF is not supported. When a camera maker supplies lenses also, there was some problem regarding lens supply, but Samsung said they will launch new lenses every year.
Let me check the reverse of the NX10. The first thing I saw was the 3” AMOLED screen which is one of the strengths of the NX10. It has VGA (640×480) of resolution and its great visibility allows users to see the screen well even outdoors. However, as a feature of AMOLED, contrast is rather high, so the real picture in the LCD of your screen might be a little different from the preview of the camera. Other than that, the NX10 has a live view function with 100% visibility and this is so convenient.
An EVF is also located on the upper side of the reverse. It has the same VGA (640×480) resolution as the AMOLED. The advantage of the EVF is 100% visibility and the same information as the AMOLED is displayed. Next to the EVF, an eyesight adjustment dial is located, and below there’s an eye sensor, so when putting your eye on it, the EVF is automatically activated. However, unlike optical view finder, it can’t be used when the power is off.
Various control buttons are located on the right side. There was no big inconvenience to use the control buttons on the reverse. Below the Fn button, the status LED is installed.
Looking at the thickness of the NX10, I think it’s very slim, because a mirror has been taken out from previous DSLR structure. Besides, with the 30mm pancake lens mounted, it looks very slim. It looks good to carry it around and take snap shots.
When it comes to the lenses of the NX10, the focus ring wasn’t rotated when setting a focus with AF. Only in MF, the focus was activated. I wasn’t used to this structure at first, (When the lens is small, it’s easy to touch the focus ring being rotated.) but actually it was more convenient, because the focus ring wasn’t rotated.
Looking at the side, there’s a strap ring on the upper side, and opening up the cover, DC input port, HDMI port, Shutter release port, and USB/Av out port are arranged. DC power is 9V 1.5A, and HDMI supports 1080i, 720p, 576/480p with V1.3.
On the other side, there’s a slot for SD/SDHC card. One thing I wasn’t pleased with was the direction of the slot. The label of the SD card directs the outside. It could have been more convenient, if it directed the opposite, because we usually check the label and put it in the slot.
Looking at the reverse of the NX10, from the left side, speaker, hot shoe, mode dial, power, shutter, and zoom button are located. It’s similar to general DSLR cameras in the button arrangement.
A hot shoe is located on the top of the NX10. When it’s not used, by using a hot shoe cover, it can be protected. When it comes to outer flash, it could also activate flashes from other company, even though the adjustment of light was impossible.
Green button working as Mode dial, Power switch, shutter, Dial, and Zoom button and Shooting type setting button are located on the right side. Mode dial wasn’t inconvenient to use. When changing the power switch from Off to On, it wasn’t smooth. When it comes to Green button, it was used to initialize settings and also as a zoom button, but the location was not appropriate, so I felt a little inconvenient.
A place for Serial number, Tripod hole made of metal, and Battery chamber cover are located on the bottom.
Opening the battery chamber cover, I could see the batter was fixed by a separate fixing instrument. Because the tripod hole is made of metal, I think it’s strong to scratch.
Let’s take a look the accessories included in the NX10. I won’t talk about USB cable, Install CD, and quick manual. Most of all, a battery charger is included and the status of charging can be checked by the LED, and the power connector is replaceable, so it can be used in other countries, once the connecter fits.
The battery is Li-Ion 1300mAh BP1310 and can take 200 minutes / 400 pictures on CIPA standard, and actually I could take shots very long.
A camera strap Samsung logo printed was also included. It was good enough to hang on my neck and wrist with some winding.
SAMSUNG NX10 1/1250s F10.0 ISO100 30mm(45mm)
Let’s take a look at the user interface of the NX10. The biggest feature of the NX10 is Smart Auto function which has been applied to Samsung Compact Cameras. This function allows users to take great pictures even for beginners, because the NX10 automatically analyzes and optimizes the camera settings according to various shooting situations.
Looking at the shooting screen of Smart Auto, there are various icons on the lower side. According to the situation, appropriate mode is automatically selected to take shots.
It’s the shooting screen of P mode. P mode is displayed on the right below and shutter speed, aperture, exposure, shots to take, and battery are displayed on the lower side. Various information is displayed on the left and right sides as icons, and you’d better check them before shooting.
When recording a move, resolution and quality are displayed in the left side, and aperture value is displayed on the lower side. When it comes to the NX10, P and A mode can be used for movie recording. 720p can be recorded for up to 25 minutes. On the right side, icons to check shooting mode and AF mode are located.
By pushing DISP button, the status of the screen changes to 3 levels. Through the custom screen setting menu, icon, guideline, and histogram can be displayed, and by pushing DISP button once more, nothing is displayed in the screen. Users can change it by the situations.
By using FN button, users can set resolution, quality, AF area, flash, color space, and smart range. The last menu regarding OIS is inactive, and the reason is that there’s no OIS in the 30mm lens. If OIS supporting lens is mounted, the mount becomes active and users can select whether OIS is activated every time or only when pushing the shutter.
Selecting OK button from the direction key of the NX10, AF area can be selected. The size and location of AF area is adjustable, so users can exactly set the focus where they want. Moreover, selecting 4 direction key, metering, AF mode, white balance, and ISO can be adjusted. One unique thing is that there’s no AF-MF conversion button in the 30mm lens, and it can only be converted as software.
Pushing the shooting type setting button on the top, users can select the shooting mode among continuous shot, burst, and timer. Selecting trash bin button, Picture Wizard is executed, and users can select the colors they want to shoot.
Pushing exposure compensation button, colors slightly go blue and exposure can be adjusted. By pushing AEL button, exposure can be fixed. Pushing it once more, it’s released.
Pushing the menu button, setting screen is displayed, and Camera 1-3 are menus to set by pushing Fn button, and in human shape 1, users can set quick function settings such as exposure compensation, noise reduction, and AF assist light custom setting. In setting 1, settings like format, initialization can be done, and in setting 2, screen, date, and sound settings such as quick view, screen adjustment can be made. Lastly, in setting 3, cleaning sensor and video output can be set, and new firmware can be updated through this menu.
Pushing the playback button, users can check pictures previously taken, and thanks to the AMOLED, it has great visibility even outdoors. Selecting DISP button, information of the pictures can be confirmed and editing function is also provided. Pictures can be arranged in 3×3 or 5×4, and can be sorted by file type or date.
SAMSUNG NX10 1/160s F3.8 ISO3200 30mm(45mm)
I compared ISO setting in day and night. It was good enough to use in up to 400 or 800, but there was some noise in higher ISO. What I didn’t like of the NX10 was the lower image details caused by reduced noise. Of course, it’s the best to get the reduced noise and great image details, but it’s not easy actually. Therefore, I think it could have been better, if users could choose one of them.
The NX10 provides 9 kinds of Picture Wizard such as Standard, Vivid, Portrait, Landscape, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, and Classic, and 3 more with custom. Because they are slightly different, users can take shots with the mode they want. I think it would be better if 3 custom Picture Wizard modes can be shared through the web.
The NX10 supports various types of White Balance, and it was the most convenient for me to set Custom White Balance at once by using Depth Preview button on the front. Personally, I take a lot of shots under low light condition and set White Balance by using a grey card, but with this function, I could easily set White Balance.
Moreover, it supports various White Balances such as Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent W, Fluorescent NW, Fluorescent Daylight, Tungsten, Flash WB, User White Balance, and Color temperature. It was quite good at setting the White Balance most of the time, and for more accuracy, I could also adjust it with looking at the live view by setting it to Color Temperature.
The NX10 can record a movie for 25 minutes in 720P 30fps. Pushing Depth preview button while recording, AF tracking started, but I didn’t think it was fast enough, and it often failed to track the focus if the objects was moving fast. When it comes to exposure mode, P and A modes ar supported. In A mode, aperture can be adjusted while recording, and by using MF, various effects can be applied using shallow depth. Therefore, it’s very good to express users’ intention compared to compact cameras.
SAMSUNG NX10 1/180s F3.8 ISO100 30mm(45mm)
We’ve looked at the NX10 closely. We need a camera when we go traveling or something. In this situation, we needed to choose a DSLR with great quality but heavy weight or a compact camera with relatively low quality, but light weight. I personally prefer a compact camera. After taking shots, I used to be unsatisfied with the quality of pictures, and decided to take a DSLR next time, but still prefer a compact camera. However, the Samsung NX10 would be a good choice to people like me. Especially, with the 30mm pancake lens, you will have both great image quality and small size.
P.S. Wait a second. The review has not been finished yet. There will be sample pictures. These pictures have not been compensated, but only resized by using Photoworks.