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Samsung NX10 review

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Samsung NX10
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  • NX10 Micro Four Third Digital Camera - 14.6 Megapixel - 7.6 cm 3" Color OLED - Black

Summary

Our Score:

9

When Panasonic launched the Lumix G1 at the end of 2008, it was the first of a new type of camera, so new in fact that the industry and the journalists who write about it have yet to agree on the taxonomy of the species. Some prefer “interchangeable lens compact”, which is far too difficult to pronounce after a couple of pints, a crucial problem for the aforementioned camera journalists. Only slightly less cumbersome is “mirrorless system camera”, which is more general and therefore more useful. We'd better all agree on a name soon, because it looks like there are going to be a lot more of them around. Olympus is enjoying some success with its stylish Pen series, and now Samsung has decided to get in on the act with the launch of its new NX10 camera and a selection of lenses and accessories.

There is one crucial difference between the NX10 and its two market rivals. While both Olympus and Panasonic use the smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor in their cameras, the Samsung NX10 uses a 14.6 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, the same size as the majority of conventional digital SLRs. In theory this could give the NX10 a significant advantage in picture quality, with the possibility of superior dynamic range and low-light performance. It's certainly no disadvantage in terms of size and weight. The NX10 measures 123 x 87 x 39.8mm (body only), and weighs 413g including battery and memory card. This compares favourably with the 124 x 83.6 x 74mm and 432g of the new Panasonic G2 (review coming later this week). Samsung has achieved these compact dimensions in the same way that Panasonic has, by eliminating the bulky reflex mirror and replacing the optical pentaprism viewfinder with an electronic LCD viewfinder.

Samsung has priced the NX10 very competitively. The starter kit comprising the camera and a very nice 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom lens with optical image stabilisation (OIS) is currently available for around £490. Panasonic's recently-launched Lumix G10 entry-level model is crucially slightly more expensive at £500 (£600 in some places) for the 14-42mm starter kit, while the new Lumix G2 kit price is around £700. The original G1 is still available for around £350 with the older 14-45mm kit lens, but probably not for too much longer. The Olympus Pen E-P1 kit is around £500, while the newer Pen E-P2 viewfinder kit price is around ££825.

Samsung has developed a new lens mount for the NX system, with an internal diameter of approximately 42mm, smaller than the 48.5mm of the Pentax K mount used on its previous full-sized DSLRs, and only a little larger than the 41.5mm of the Micro Four Thirds mount used by Panasonic and Olympus. As a result the NX system lenses can be very compact, and the standard kit lens isn't much bigger or heavier than the Panasonic 14-42mm image-stabilised lens accompanying the Lumix G2 and G10. Currently available NX lenses include a 30mm f2 pancake lens (equivalent to 45mm with the 1.5x conversion factor) priced at around £220, and a 50-200mm image stabilised f/4-5.6 telephoto zoom for around £170, which is the same size as a standard APS-C lens and looks very bulky on the tiny NX10 body. Both of the currently available zoom lenses have built-in OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation), with switches for this and the autofocus mounted on the side of the lens barrel.

A further five lenses for the NX system were recently announced; a 20-50mm f/3.5-5.6 compact zoom, a 20mm wide-angle pancake lens, an 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 OIS superzoom, a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens and a presumably cheaper non-OIS 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 standard zoom. These will, according to Samsung, become available before the end of the year.

Carlos

May 11, 2010, 1:14 pm

It cost's more than a Nikon D5000, but it isn't as good. What exactly is it's purpose. I have the same question about all of these 4/3rds cameras. They're far too expensive for what they are: DSLR's but not quite as good.

lensmann

May 11, 2010, 4:43 pm

@Carlos: The idea is that you get DSLR-quality photos in a *much* smaller and more portable package. All the photo mags last year seemed to think this was the future. I have to say they don't particularly appeal to me - I can't live without a proper optical viewfinder - but maybe they really do appeal to the sort of people who're dissatisfied with the image quality and shooting limitations in a compact, but would still like something they can slip into a pocket.

Luis

May 11, 2010, 5:23 pm

The "purpose" of these mirrorless cameras should be to make smaller camera than a DSLR. That's the basic advantage in removing the mirror. However, manufacturers still couldn't understand that once you attach a zoom to these cameras the size advantage becomes irrelevant. They should first be providing a good lineup of small, fast primes (so that users would see the advantage in switching to such system) and after introduce zooms for those who already bought into the system and sometimes don't mind the size and prefer the comfort.

Splogbust

May 12, 2010, 12:59 am

I get the impression that in a way Samsung have missed much of the true appeal of the 4/3rds cameras, which is that they look good in a retro sort of way and have nice names like Olympus and Leica adding to that certain 'retro-quality'/ designer value. Samsung may even have produced a better camera, but in the fashion and name-dropping stakes they are a non-starter, and as the fate of a lot of the resulting photos is to be seen on computer screens rather than A3 prints, it's probably not the point really. It will be interesting to see how Sony get on - from the few pistures I've seen i can't tell if they have used the Zeiss brand on the lenses.

Maxx

May 13, 2010, 12:39 pm

Luis is absolutely right: small, fast primes (plus combination with HD video)with smaller body at the price of an entry level DSLR would make mirrorless a reasonable choice. Add fat zooms and 50 percent to the price, and you wind up with an inferior product: as big or bigger (or one hundredth of an inch smaller) as a DSLR, more expensive, more limited choices, with more compromises in image quality... Nothing to get enthusiastic about, or rather disappointing, really.

Zero

May 14, 2010, 12:52 am

Could you do a video review of this product?

Ed

May 14, 2010, 1:00 am

Already done, will upload tomorrow.

PrimaryKey

May 14, 2010, 8:17 pm

How about replace these photos with examples that are actually in focus?

Ed

May 14, 2010, 8:40 pm

Video review uploaded.

Zero

May 14, 2010, 9:10 pm

Nice thanks for the video upload.

John McLaren

May 14, 2010, 9:15 pm

I must agree with PrimaryKey, those photos of the model cars are very out of focus. Why?

Rizwancd0

May 18, 2010, 9:17 am

I've bought the camera. Got it at a nice discount.





I think the 30mm combo is simply fabulous. Got the 18-55 OIS as well for those situations where I need to be a little flexible.

John Shewsbury

May 19, 2010, 3:21 pm

Well... be it Samsung, Olympus and my favorite brand Panasonic... this "new type" of camera is certainly interesting but I was hoping that the price can be slightly lower... at all of their current prices... I personally feel it's quite expensive for me... many "entry level" DSLR camera prices (from Canon/Nikon/Olympus/Pentax/Sony)have been slashed down for the last several months due to the appearance of newer models and thus Samsung/Olympus/Panasonic have to seriously consider about the price war if they wanted more consumer to buy this "new type" camera... I surely love to try 1 but the higher prices makes me considering the bridge/superzoom digicam like those Panasonic FZ38 or Fujifilm HS10 or S200 EXR instead...

Volker Schenk

June 5, 2010, 11:24 pm

Quite informational review - just more care for your sample photos has to be taken. They really do not show, what they could/should, and the model cars for ISO quality test are absolutely the wrong choice for the subject. Some of them even look, like they are out of focus!

Mike B

June 13, 2010, 2:18 pm

Many who need reading glasses, like me, need an optical viewfinder with diopter correction as using the LCD screens on most cameras is not easy (without putting my glasses on!). In particular the use of an EVF allows users to be able to see the menus and settings with ease. This makes bridge cameras, like the Panasonic FZ38, ideal but the image quality is not quite as good as a DSLR.





This is what attracts me to the micro four thirds cameras. Now ideally I would like to see the four thirds imager in a light compact camera like the FZ38 and I will forgo the interchangeable lens! But failing that a compact and lightweight camera with EVF and HD video (less devices to carry around) is quite attractive. To this end the Panasonic GH1 is the most interesting as the 10 times zoom lens supplied is ideal but the price is too high (even though it has dropped to £825 with cash back).





Lets hope with Samsung joining in the micro four thirds market it pushes the prices down!

Steve Davies

June 17, 2010, 11:51 pm

This is the camara I was dreaming about and looking for when I bought my Nikon coolpix P6000 last year.I will definatly be selling It shortly and buying one of these ,or one of the other brands.Nikon undoubtly will be anouncing one soon.

biggi247

November 24, 2010, 12:52 am

I just found and bought this camera with the 18-55mm lens on ebay for 302.99 (+9.90 shipping) from digigood, everywhere else had it for £387 minimum. You can't beat it for this price the only thing it is missing is an articulated screen.

Kartman

January 12, 2011, 10:31 pm

Would this camera be suitable for sport photography? I have used my son's Nikon D2000 with a 70-200 zoom kens and motordrive at kart race meetings and had some great shots that print crisp, sharp images at A4. the downside is the sheer weight especially when travelling.


A zoom of 200mm is fine because I can always get a press pass and go out on track so no real long distance work.


The Samsung zoom lens at around £150 looks very attractive compared to over £600 for the Olympus and the £1500 ish fo the Nikon lens my son has.

George E

January 24, 2011, 3:37 am

I bought this camera for my two months trip to Aus. following the Ashes Tour.


In the last thirty years all my previous SLR lenses have all been metal or metal reinforced.


The Pancake lens has the regular metal fitting but the 18-55mm lens is a plastic fitting and guess what the fittings are so flimsy they just broke thankfully its still under warranty.

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