Unlike previous Samsung DSLRs, which have been produced in partnership with Pentax, the design of the NX10 is all Samsung’s own work. It follows the conventional DSLR shape but scaled down in all dimensions, with a small but comfortable rubber-coated handgrip, a pop-up-flash on the viewfinder turret, and a chunky knurled dial for shooting mode selection.
The overall build quality is excellent, and although the body is made of plastic it feels very strong. Externally the camera is very well finished, with very close panel joins and spring-loaded hatches with strong hinges. Unlike the Panasonic G2 it has a separate metal-hinged hatch for the memory card positioned on the side of the camera, for easy access when using a tripod. The tripod bush is metal and positioned in the ideal location directly under the centreline of the sensor. All the controls are solidly mounted and clearly labelled, and operate with just the right amount of tactile feedback.
The controls are sensibly placed for easy operation, with separate buttons for exposure lock, exposure compensation and drive mode placed close to the thumb grip, and a single control wheel mounted just behind the shutter button. Samsung has paid rather more attention to the ergonomics than it sometimes does with its compact cameras, and the NX10 is well balanced and comfortable to hold despite its compact size. Even with the big 50-200mm zoom fitted it handles well. There’s no question that the NX10 is a very nice little camera. It looks and feels like what it is: a tiny little fully-functional DSLR. If I didn’t have a Y chromosome I might describe it as adorable.
One of the NX10’s highlight features is its superb 7.5cm (3.0 inch) AMOLED monitor, which with a resolution of 614,000 dots is one of the sharpest on any camera. AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) technology has a number of advantages over the conventional LCD display. It is self-illuminating, and so doesn’t require the LCD’s power-hungry back-light; it is lighter, stronger, sharper, better contrast, has a faster refresh rate and is cheaper to manufacture. AMOLED screens have started to appear on a number of high-tech devices including some of the latest smartphones, and will very likely eventually replace LCD for most display applications. The AMOLED monitor on the NX10 is so sharp it is literally impossible to see the individual pixels, and is very bright and clear even in strong sunlight, although any fingermarks on the reflective plastic cover can cause daylight visibility problems.