On the front of the camera is the F2.8-5.1 Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan lens with a focal length of 7.4 – 22.2mm (35mm equivalent 35-105mm). The lens protrudes slightly from the front panel, but not much beyond the size of the handgrip. Also on the front is the AF assist lamp and the sensor for the remote control, which is included in the box.
The built-in flash is a pop-up type mounted on the top of the camera, alongside the on/off button, the shutter release and the 8-position main mode dial which selects between basic shooting modes. There are quite a few to choose from, including the usual Auto and Program modes, and a limited Manual mode in which you can select either minimum or maximum aperture as well as shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/1500th sec. The camera is equipped with Samsung’s proprietary Advanced Shake Reduction (ASR) electronic image stabilization system, which works well but is derived from the system used in digital video cameras, and thus slightly reduces the effective image size. It also has a decent movie mode offering 640 x 480 at 30fps, and unusually for a compact camera it does allow the use of the optical zoom while shooting.
Other modes include an unusual Effects setting, which offers the same rather silly superimposed photo frames as the NV3, and also an animated .GIF mode, which shoots a brief movie clip and then turns it into a small looping animation, ideal for inclusion in emails, or as a screensaver for a mobile phone.
When we come to the back of the camera we find the real innovation. At first it looks rather intimidating. Rather than the usual menu button and D-pad, the NV10 has two rows of unlabelled black buttons, seven below and six to the right of the 230,000 pixel 2.5in LCD monitor. This is the Smart Touch control system. The layout resembles the control system found in the cockpit of a jet fighter, and that may be where Samsung got the idea.
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