Could a small, mirrorless camera that features a 14.6-million-pixel APS-C-sized sensor give the Micro Four Thirds format a run for its money? We find out
Viewfinder, LCD, liveview and video
The NX10’s pop-up flash has a guide number of 11m @ IS0 100
Rather cleverly, this small sensor detects when the viewfinder is held to your eye and then automatically turns the screen off and the EVF on. It then switches back when the camera is no longer held to your eye.
Samsung claims that the 3in AMOLED screen of the NX10 uses less power and is brighter than a conventional LCD screen.
Picture Wizard button
In image mode, the Delete button actually doubles up as the Picture Wizard button, allowing quick access to the various image styles.
The NX10 comes supplied with Samsung Master and Samsung Raw convertor software. The first of these is for basic image browsing and editing, while the latter is a rebadged version of Silkypix Developer for editing the SRW raw files produced by the NX10.
The NX10 can be connected to a television or monitor via the camera’s HDMI socket. Those with a compatible Samsung Anynet+ televisions can even control the playback of images on the camera via their TV remote control.
For those who regularly take portraits, Samsung’s Beauty Shot feature may be of particular interest. It detects skin tones in an image and then lightens and smooths them for more flattering portraits. The effect can be applied either when the image is taken or to a saved image.
Both the 18-45mm kit lens and the 30mm pancake lens suffer from slight curvilinear distortion. This is currently not corrected in-camera for JPEG files, although raw files can be corrected using the supplied Samsung Raw convertor software.
As it has no mirror box or SLR mechanism, the Samsung NX10 relies on an electronic viewfinder. Many people were put off these viewfinders thanks to the first generation of bridge cameras that had low-resolution EVFs with poor refresh rates. However, technology has now moved on and the screens used in contemporary EVFs have far higher resolutions with better refresh rates. Some EVFs, such as the one on the NX10, even have certain advantages over optical viewfinders.
For starters, all EVFs should be able to display a 100% view of a scene. The Live View system will preview through the viewfinder how the image will look with the current exposure and colour settings applied. The NX10 will also detect when you hold the camera to your eye, and switch from the Live View being displayed on the rear screen to the EVF.
One thing I find particularly useful is the fact that the image can be magnified in the viewfinder for precise focusing, which is something that can be difficult on small SLRs with equally small and dim viewfinders. When shooting in manual mode, a quick turn of the focus ring of the lens activates this magnified preview. If you don’t touch the focus ring for a few seconds, the view reverts to its full-frame mode so the image can be composed. In all, I found the 921,000-dot Samsung NX10 electronic viewfinder one of the most natural to use.
Samsung is currently leading the way when it comes to the manufacture of active matrix organic light emitting diode (AMOLED) displays. These screens have a higher refresh rate, consume less power (as they don’t require a backlight) and are generally brighter than traditional LCD units.
The NX10 has a 3in AMOLED screen made up of 614,000 dots. This isn’t quite as many as used in the current 3in screens of high-end enthusiast and professional DSLR models, but the screen’s high-contrast ratio and brightness make up for it. In subdued lighting the screen looks bright with an excellent level of contrast. In bright sunlight the screen is also very good, although in terms of visibility it wasn’t a great deal better than most other screens currently available.
For those who also like to shoot moving images, the NX10 can capture HD video and the maximum 1280×720-pixel resolution at 30fps capture is very good. Sound is only captured in mono, with a maximum video recording time of 25 minutes for a single clip, but you can apply any of the Picture Wizard colour settings to video footage while shooting. There is even the option to perform basic video ‘trimming’ to edit the start and end points of captured videos.