Samsung’s camcorders have been increasingly impressive over the last couple of years, with the VP-HMX20 showcasing the company’s new-found abilities. More recently, Samsung has been returning more to its budget-conscious roots, with models such as the HMX-H104 again balancing quality against a keen price. The SMX-C10 takes things back further towards value, costing less than £150 from some vendors.
So the price is unimposing, and so is the C10’s size. It’s about the length and height of a small mobile phone, and only around twice as thick. It’s also beautifully designed, with attractively rounded ends and a stylishly slanted lens. There’s a zoom rocker on the top and record button on the back, so you can use the C10 in traditional Handycam posture, although this is a little uncomfortable unless you have hands the size of a child's. Samsung has taken the slightly odd decision of angling the lens upwards, which takes a little getting used to but does make Handycam-style shooting easier on your wrist.
Samsung has also made the sensible decision of situating additional controls on the edge of the flip-out LCD. This allows you to operate the C10 with two hands at waist height, which is far more comfortable than the usual orientation. Here again the angled lens further aids posture, once you’re used to idea that the camcorder body should be pointing below what you will actually see onscreen.
The C10 records standard definition footage to SD memory. Five different quality settings are available. The three TV modes record video in the regular PAL format of 720 x 576 pixels at 25fps, whilst the two Web modes use a more online-friendly 640 x 480 pixels resolution, although the frame rate is still 25fps. At the top TV Superfine setting, which operates at approximately 6Mb/s, you can fit 23 minutes of footage per GB of storage. In all modes, the C10 employs H.264 compression, producing MP4 files, which we found widely compatible with current editing software.