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Samsung HMX-R10 - Operation and Performance

By James Morris



Our Score:


Footage is recorded to flash memory, with no storage built in. An SDHC slot is located on the bottom of the device under the same flap as the battery, but this will make it hard to swap over memory cards when the R10 is attached to a tripod. However, as you can fit just under two hours of footage on a 16GB card even at the top video quality settings, you probably won't need to swap out cards that frequently.

There are few physical features for the enthusiast user, with no accessory shoe nor minijacks for an external microphone or headphones. But the range of manual settings is reasonable, even if these are exclusively available via the touch-screen LCD. A quick menu provides access to a basic EV exposure control, but if you delve further into the main menu, aperture and shutter priority modes can be found. You can't configure shutter and iris independently, but the EV setting remains available.

Manual focusing can also be found buried in the main menu. This is operated via a fiddly onscreen slider, or by touching a point on the screen. No touch-operated exposure control is provided, however. The menu also includes options to toggle the R10's face detection system and backlight compensation, which like the manual focusing is somewhat buried here, considering how frequently it can be needed. There is also the usual array of preset scene modes.

The 1/2.33in CMOS sensor is not quite as large as the 1/1.8in unit in the VP-HMX20, which impressed us so much with its image quality. But the R10 still achieves decent video quality in most lighting conditions. In bright sunlight, it tends to over-saturate colours and slightly blow out highlights, but this can be dialled back using the exposure controls. Low light performance is also very credible. There is quite a lot of noise visible, but colours remain bright to a low level of illumination. The Normal Super C. Nite mode can help here, as it allows the shutter speed to drop to 1/25th of a second. This does reduce noise, but doesn't entirely eradicate it. Overall, though, the R10 performs well in low light, considering its price.

Image stabilisation performance isn't quite so impressive. The R10 only offers an electronic system, rather than optical, and doesn't incorporate any of the advanced modes now starting to appear on camcorders from Canon, Panasonic and JVC. As a result, only very mild shakiness can be compensated for, and the image will be quite jerky at maximum telephoto when shooting handheld. The zoom is also one of the slowest we've ever encountered, taking many seconds to travel from 1x to 8x.


May 17, 2010, 4:05 pm

If only they'd spent a few pence adding a mic socket...

Peter 20

May 17, 2010, 6:26 pm

Having owned this little cam for almost a year now (shows you how on-time these reviews are.. wink wink) I must say it's a nice little cam the picture quality is good and I love the fact that it's small enough to carry around in your pocket. The only complains I have about it is 1. it does not have a regular hand strap, so it feels as if it's going to fall out of your hand all the time, and 2. the whole angle lens is a solid pain to get use to, don't be surprised if the first few videos you make will be mostly of the sky.


May 17, 2010, 11:55 pm

the image stabiliser doesn't really look that good

James Morris

May 18, 2010, 1:18 am

Yes, unbelievably Samsung only sent us this camcorder a few weeks ago. But as it's still available and a very good deal, we thought we'd review it anyway.

Peter 20

May 18, 2010, 6:04 pm

Cliche, The image stabilizer is a bit on the shakey side, it's good when you want to zoom in on something far away but then you really really have to try hard to keep a steady hand. When you zoomed all the way in it takes about a second for the stabilizer to lock-in, once it's locked in it does just a good enough job to reduce any small unintended handshaking. It will definitely NOT work when recording while you walk.


May 18, 2010, 11:28 pm

thanks for the info Peter !

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