Samsung NX10 Review

March 11, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |


The Samsung NX10 is an excellent first entry into the growing interchangeable lens compact camera market, offering intuitive handling, especially for beginners, great image quality and fantastic value for money. Only the proprietary and physically larger NX lenses detract from what is a very serious contender to the Micro Four Thirds cameras.

I've rarely reviewed a first-generation product that is quite as well-designed as the NX10. Everything about it, from the conventional yet stylish DSLR-like design, logical user interface and excellent build quality is testament to the lavish attention that Samsung have obviously invested (not to mention the cost). The NX10 may not be quite as slim as the smallest Micro Four Third models from Olympus and Panasonic, but it does offer a useful handgrip and even more useful built-in viewfinder. The all-plastic construction doesn't affect the overall quality feel too much, and it ensures that Samsung can offer the NX10 at a very tempting price which seriously undercuts its main rivals.

The NX10 also offers all the advantages that a large APS-C DSLR sensor offers, namely better performance at higher ISOs than the smaller Micro Four Thirds format. I'd be happy to regularly shoot with any setting from 100-800, and even 1600 is handy at a push when you want natural results without having to resort to the built-in flash. Note that the RAW files are massive, weighing in at 25Mb each, which is as large as files from the 21 megapixel Canon EOS 5D Mark II!

While the results from the NX10 are clearly a step above the MFT cameras, you will have to compromise on the size of the camera system. The tiny 30mm pancake lens is fine, but the 18-55mm and 50-200mm are substantially bigger than their Panasonic and Olympus equivalents. This could be a problem for a system that's being promoted as a half-way house between a compact and a DSLR, although they certainly aren't as large as similar DSLR lenses. The movie mode is also not quite as sophisticated as either the Panasonic GH1 or the Olympus E-PL1, with no stereo sound or option to connect a microphone, no one-touch record button and no ability to change the shutter speed or take a still image during recording.

The excellent electronic viewfinder and even better AMOLED screen are real attractions, even if the latter is fixed rather than the swiveling type. Combined with the fast auto-focus system, which is easily on a par with the Panasonic Lumix G cameras, you could be forgiven for thinking that you're shooting with a DSLR camera rather than a mere "compact". The Samsung NX10 really does look, feel and behave like a proper DSLR that's been shrunk in the wash.

The Samsung NX10 also represents excellent value for money, even though it's only just been launched in the UK and Europe. If you shop around £700 will buy you the body and all three lenses, an incredibly good deal that's several hundreds of pounds cheaper than the Panasonic and Olympus equivalent. The NX10 is by far the cheapest way into the new mirror-less, interchangeable lens format (which still needs a snappier name).

So, if you don't mind buying into the closed Samsung system (and why should you when there are 5 more lenses on the way this year alone), and you can live with the slightly bigger lenses, then the NX10 is well worth your close attention and well worth our Highly Recommended award.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 5
Value for money 5