Samsung NV10 Review

October 9, 2006 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 12 Comments | |

Samsung NV10The Samsung NV10 is a 10 megapixel compact digital camera with a 3x zoom lens equivalent to 35-105mm and a 2.5 inch LCD screen. Much more interesting is the innovative Smart Button touch-sensitive interface which attempts to make the traditional menu system more accessible. The NV10 also offers an anti-shake mode, ISO 100-1000, 300 shot battery life and a stylish black metal body. This is the first Samsung camera that we’ve reviewed, so did it impress us? Read on to find out…

Website: Samsung NV10 Review

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Maybe the NV7 won't be so noisy. :-S

7:16 am - Saturday, October 7, 2006

#2 Howard Butler

Dead on accurate review. The only thing that I would recommend is that when thinking "value" there is very little on the market to compare to this "babe". Understand WHAT you are buying and don't expect D80 results. For super sharp, low noise pictures, shoot at low iso numbers and this "point and shoot" will please most out there. As to the chormatic aberration, no doubt it is there, as it is with EVERY point and shoot of this size and thinness. I was an "early adopter" of the "excellent" albeit large point and shoot Sony DSC-F828; and this "revolutionary camera" (for its time) had tremendous chromatic aberration, noise at ISO at 400 and above all for mean price of $999. The point I am making here is that I paid $310 for this camera, and my expectations were met. I could have spent another $150-250 for a "better" point and shoot, but then it would have been larger and more expensive and STILL suffer from many of the same problems (due to size) that the NV10 suffers from. If you want "GREAT" pictures, that you can zoom up 500x, then don't waste you money on any of this and go get a D80 or Rebel XTi or go get a 1DS-MarkII and use the 300 dollars you would have spent on the NV10 to pay for 1/4 of the price of the fast CF cards needed for the 1DS. That, puts this camera into perspective on a price performance ratio.

2:48 pm - Saturday, October 7, 2006

#3 Eugene

The camera is very usable even with the bugs. An example of a bug would be that the camera would not take pics at 10 mega pixels in negative mode( that is shooting the pic as a negative) however this worked with 7 MPIX. the B/w and SPIA settings worked fine at 10 MPIX.
Sincerely yours, Eugene

8:08 pm - Saturday, October 7, 2006

#4 Steve Riley

I recently bought the NV10 2 days before my trip to Mexico.Needing something small to carry in place of my D100 for color with more resolution.I carry Leicas for b&w.I am currently shooting color walls and doors in Mexico enlarged to 40x60 and printed on aluminum.
The images I got with the NV10 @100iso and 200iso were outstanding compared to what I had shot with the D100 a year earlier.The blow ups were wonderful! I LOVE this camera.My day job is shooting people for annual reports, editorial ,web and promo,mostly 8x10 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) effective 35-105 is perfect for my usage,(a little back up I put in my pocket.)Test are test and each unit is different I suppose.Mine seems just about perfect for my needs.
Mine delivers great usable files.Manual was my favorite feature(being able to flash the subject and raise the shutter speed to bring in a more dramatic background.
I recommend it highly! Steve

5:14 am - Saturday, October 14, 2006

#5 Robert Owen

Well I thought the review and testing of the NV10 was well done and thorough.
I have not yet decided which camera to upgrade to, as I have only a Samsung Digimax 305, which has rather limited features compared to the NV10 but also suffers from the chromatic aberration problems shown in the review. I am drawn to getting the Samsung High Definition "compact", but the design is very retro. I will look at the review for that camera., and see if it is worth its weight., or not.

3:48 pm - Friday, October 27, 2006

#6 J. Greenlaw

Thanks for the great review on the samsung NV10, the best on the web! this is my 3rd digital camera. The first a toshiba 3MP, the second a casio 4MP and the NV10. as i am a amateur when it comes to photography my use of the camera will not overtax it's many features. I like it for my purposes, such as grandchildrens photos and posting pictuires on e-bay and travel and vacation shots. all in all i am very satisfied with my purchase (275.00) The thing i dislike the most is the instruction manual! When i bought my 1st camera (toshiba) the manual was very bad. I thought by now (5Years later)The manufacturers of digital products would have improved their manuals. not the case they are not getting better their getting worse! In the review, only a mild negative was given on the manual. in my opinion it deserves a D-! tiny photos and vague or nonexistant explanations. Since the reviewer is most likely a professional
he probably has enough experience with many cameras that he did not have to rely on the manual to use the camera. in my case it too me 2 days of experimenting with the camera to begin to understand and appreciate its many options. I even downloaded the complete manual from samsung's website and it was a bit more helpful but not much better. Thanks for your very helpful review.
J. Greenlaw

12:05 am - Saturday, January 6, 2007

#7 Nick Lori

Well, let me start out by saying that I am not happy to have to post this review. I *really* love my NV10, and this makes it even harder for me.

As I am a motorcyclist and on the bike space is at a premium, I was long looking for a small, pocketable camera to take with me on short trips with friends.

I have a Canon EOS 30 SLR and an Olympus C8080 Wide zoom, and for me image quality is everything. These two cameras fit the bill nicely, but when it comes to carrying them around things change dramatically.

So, I was looking for a nice small camera to have on me for just those times when I just couldn't be arsed to carry around lenses, bodies and such.

Enter the NV10. For me it was love at first sight. I can't remember when was the last time I saw a gadget and thought to myself "I HAVE to have one of these!"
Seriously it is absolutely, stunningly gorgeous to look at and operate.

The menu is ingenious and is a major WOW factor among friends and family. Not only is the camera seriously stylish and well built, but it is also very slim and the smart menu system works quite well.

As the initial wow factor subsided, and I started taking pictures I couldn't help but notice some things I didn't like.

First of all, exposure issues. I took the camera trhough its paces on a short trip around a local botanical garden, on a bright, cloudless day.
Most of the times the camera had a very hard time exposing correctly and kept underexposing -no doubt due to the lighting conditions.

This is not so much of a problem for me, as I adjusted the exposure accordingly and went on my way. However, having a reliable metering system is always a plus and lets you get on with actually TAKING pictures, instead of fiddling with the controls all the time.

Second issue -and quite a serious one: focusing problems.
Even on that bright day the camera completely failed to focus correctly on quite a few occasions. The system indicated that it had focused, I took the picture and later on found out that the subject was out of focus, whereas the background was clear.

And we are not talking about small subjects here: it did it on shots of statues, people and even on portraits!

An unreliable focusing system is a deal breaker for me, but I was DETERMINED to keep the camera, since I was so head over heels with its looks.

The third issue however was the final drop in the glass: corner (and overall) softness.

I went on a business trip quite recently and I took this camera with me to see what it can do. I had a few field photoshoots, which were not so important so I guessed I could play around a little with the camera to see if I could workaround its flaws.

On the face of it it seemed to be working. However, when I dowloaded the photos on my PC later I was horrified!

Most of the pictures had TERRIBLE corner softness, and to add insult to injury ALL of them had tons of noise (ISO 100), were 'soft' and the details looked flat and 'mushy'.

I was really, really disappointed. The NV's image quality is well below average for me. It might be excellent for others, but for me it was the deal breaker.

I could provide 100% crops to show what I mean, but trust me: Especially the corner and overall softness is HORRIBLE.

On some occasions it looked like the photo was taken from a mobile phone cam. :(

The next day I took the same photos using a colleague's Nikon Coolpix 7300 and the difference was shocking. (I also took some photos with my Olympus 8080 WZ but comparing the outputs would be unfair to the little one anyway...)

The NV has an incredibly beautiful shell, and a really innovative (and cool) control system.

However it is severely let down by the following:

- very small sensor with too many pixels, leading to excessive noise even at ISO 100
- mediocre lens quality (no aspherical elements), leading to flat images, mushy details and corner softness
- very limited dynamic range due to exaggerated (read: bad) contrast/highlights curve, which burns out highlights and underexposes many shadow areas.

So there we are... I had noise, really soft pictures, even more corner softness and limited dynamic range to work with. Bummer.

I still love this camera so much... I look at it and hold it and it feels JUST right; I wanted so badly to keep it and tried to work around its issues.
However, at the end of the day a camera is all about taking good pictures, and this is EXACTLY where this NV fails miserably...

If you think I am being exaggerating and you like the looks of the camera, then by all means go ahead. However, don't say I didn't warn you....

4:54 pm - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

#8 Mark Goldstein

That's a very detailed report - thanks for stopping by :)

5:02 pm - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

#9 Steve M

I love everything about the NV10, but...three times now, I have had to send the camera back to Samsung because the motorized lens jammed. They have replaced the camera twice now, and I am waiting the hear from them on the third repair. I am a professional photographer, and I am very careful with my cameras. This is my first pocket sized camera with a retractable lens, and it will definately be my last. I hope the third time is the charm, because like I said, aside from the lens issue, I can't say enough good things about this camera.

12:36 am - Sunday, December 30, 2007

#10 Bert Friedman

I love a lot of things about the NV10;
but the focus issues listed above my post are very troublesome.
I wish Samsung would step up to the plate and support the very people who are paying their salaries.
HEY SAMSUNG how about a firmware fix for the issues people are finding with the NV series cameras.

3:22 am - Tuesday, August 26, 2008

#11 Steve Riley

Still using my NV10 after 2 years.I don't really see some of the negative issues stated in the posts.As a pro I even use as a back up for people shots.I always shoot at 100-200 iso as anything higher is noisy.The greatest feature is manual for sun syncro shooting with flash.
I did read a post re: to out of focus.I had the same problem for about a week till I took time to check the settings and realize I was set on Macro!
I wanted to experiment with this little camera and have just published a book of Mexican doors I shot all at iso 200.
You can view a 15 page sample of the shots by looking under bwaysteve on
All reproduction was from 7x8 in.files at 300dpi.As I stated in an earlier post I have also made some 40x60 on aluminum.

2:15 pm - Tuesday, August 26, 2008

#12 Chris

I actually own this camera, and although I havent used it a huge amount, when I have used it, it has served its purpose providing a more than satisfying result each and every time.

With myself being such a novice, I am still getting used to all the features packed within this compact camera.

For the price, well worth at least being in your list of "maybe's"

8:43 pm - Thursday, October 9, 2008