Samsung NX10 digital camera (with 18-55mm lens)

The Samsung NX10 is the perfect option for users who want SLR-like performance in a compact size

Samsung NX10 digital camera
  • Samsung NX10 digital camera
  • Samsung NX10 digital camera
  • Samsung NX10 digital camera
  • Expert Rating

    5.00 / 5

Pros

  • Small size, APS-C sensor, built-in EVF and flash, easy-to use menu system, snaps clear and vibrant images

Cons

  • AMOLED screen doesn't tilt or rotate, didn't always find the correct focus point in close-ups

Bottom Line

The Samsung NX10 can do the job of a digital SLR, but it's smaller and a little more affordable. It's an interchangeable lens camera that doesn't skimp on features -- you get a built-in flash and an EVF -- and it can take very clear and vibrant photos. We think it's perfect for users who want SLR-like functionality from a camera that's not much bigger than a compact camera.

Would you buy this?

The Samsung NX10 is an interchangeable lens digital camera that’s going to garner a lot of attention. It has a bigger sensor than the interchangeable lens cameras from Olympus and Panasonic, and it’s much better value for money. It also feels like a mini digital SLR rather than a compact camera. It’s the type of camera that you fall in love with once you pick it up and start snapping; from its small and solid construction, to the warm electronic sound of the shutter, there are plenty of things to like about it.

Samsung NX10: small camera, big sensor

The Samsung NX10 has an APS-C-sized, 14.6-megapixel CMOS sensor. It’s the same size as a traditional entry-level digital SLR, such as the Nikon D90, and it’s bigger than the Micro Four Thirds–sized sensor that’s used in the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G2 interchangeable lens cameras. It’s the same size as the Ricoh GXR with an A12 GR lens unit. The main benefits of the larger sensor are an ability to capture more light and offer a shallower depth of field for beautifully blurred backgrounds — perfect for close-ups.

You can use either the 3in AMOLED screen or the built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) to frame your pictures, and both of these features are a joy to use. The AMOLED screen will automatically switch off when you use the EVF. The screen is very bright and easy to view in daylight, with the only downside being that you can’t swivel it if you want to take photos from different angles. The EVF can be used if you are faced with extremely bright daylight conditions, and you get the exact field of view through it that you would get while looking at the 3in screen — however, its colours won’t be as rich.

There is no mirror box or pentaprism in the Samsung NX10, so it's compact and easy to carry in a backpack (or even a handbag if you use the pancake lens). Funnily enough, even with a built-in flash and EVF it still feels easier to carry and hold than the Olympus PEN E-PL1, which doesn’t have a built-in EVF. The NX10 has a comfortable handgrip and balances perfectly in your hands, whether you’re using the 30mm pancake lens or the 50-200mm tele-zoom lens. It accepts any Samsung lenses that use the NX mount and currently there are three lenses available: an 18-55mm zoom lens, a 30mm pancake (prime) lens, and a 50-200mm tele-zoom lens. You can buy the NX10 in a kit with the 18-55mm lens for $849 or with the 30mm pancake lens for $899. The 50-200mm lens costs $350 on its own.

Samsung NX10: ease of use, picture quality

Using the camera is easy. Its on-screen interface is simple and you can learn where everything is and how to get to each function in no time. There is a control dial for changing the shutter and aperture quickly when you’re in one of the manual modes, and you can even change the focus mode or focus point without having to venture deep into a menu. When you’re in single-point autofocus mode, simply press the central OK button and then use the buttons around it to move the focus point anywhere on the screen. You can then use the control dial to make the focus point bigger or smaller. It’s very nifty.

Once you’ve learned how to use the NX10, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it. Even if you don’t want to learn how to use it, you can make use of its auto mode or one of its many scene modes. However, it’s a camera with which you can be creative and it will be a waste if you don’t learn a little bit about how to control the exposure. When you use the manual features you can get better control over the exposure and capture photos that have more atmosphere than they would if the camera was dictating all the settings.

In this photo we used manual shutter and aperture settings to make sure the reflection and bright parts of the photo were properly exposed.

While the NX10 doesn’t have a grainy filter, you can still use black-and-white mode to add mood to your photos. You could close the aperture, use a fast shutter and bump the ISO up to 3200 if you wanted to add some noise to this photo.

The NX10 captures very clear and vibrant pictures by default and it can be used effectively in all sorts of lighting conditions. It will perform best in bright daylight, but it’s also useful in overcast conditions, and you can even use it in low-light with reasonable results. You will start to get noise if you use an ISO of 800 or higher. However, the noise won’t be much of a concern if you view photos on a high-def monitor or TV; the noise will only be really noticeable when you zoom in on photos, crop them closely or print them larger than A3.

From top to bottom: ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO 3200. You can see that noise becomes noticeable at ISO 800 and that images really start to lose definition at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200.

The NX10 overcompensates slightly in overcast conditions, but aperture and shutter priority modes work well. We panned in this shot to give the plane a sense of motion against the tree.

The clarity of the NX10’s images is superb. You’ll be able to get some great prints out of it at A3 size and even larger.

If you plan on freezing fast-moving objects, the NX10 will oblige with a continuous frame rate of 12 shots per second until its buffer fills up. This will happen after around 21 shots with a class 4 SD card. One thing the NX10 lacks is tracking focus (the Olympus PEN E-PL1 has this feature), but it does have face recognition and continuous focusing. We had some trouble with the autofocus at times, especially during close-ups. The focus point could not be found by the camera automatically and we had to switch to manual focus instead. But in general, focusing was fast and accurate.

Conclusion

Overall, the Samsung NX10 is a winner. It’s simple to use, it takes clear and vibrant pictures with its stock lenses, and, best of all, it’s not expensive. It feels comfortable to hold, it’s well designed, its battery life is good, it can capture HD video (see an example of the video quality in our preview of the NX10), and it has a built-in flash and EVF. We love it and recommend it to anyone who wants a small interchangeable lens camera for under $1000.

See more test shots in our Samsung NX10 gallery.

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Read more on these topics: samsung, photography, digital cameras, slr cameras
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