Big sensor hybrid to worry the Micro Four Thirds faithful
For serious photographers Samsung has also included a Depth of Field Preview button to the left of the lens on the front of the camera. The Menu is well designed and intuitive with all vertical settings in each tab fitting in one screen and the added bonus of the camera remembering the last setting you selected in each folder.
Besides the built-in flash, there are more powerful options on offer
The 640 x 480 pixel delivers an exceptionally bright and detailed picture. Likewise, the electronic viewfinder, with its 921,000 dots and 100 per cent frame coverage, is large and bright and has all the display options and information of the Live View screen, including an electronically activated grid for composition. Unfortunately the eye sensor located just below it, which automatically switches between Live View and Viewfinder, is so sensitive that I kept unintentionally interrupting Live View with my left thumb.
Samsung’s big idea in designing this latest model was the decision to use an APS-C sensor, which is around 1.5x larger than the one mounted on a Micro Four Thirds model, that gives it an advantage in picture quality and ISO performance without increasing the size of the camera. While the sensor does deliver outstanding image quality, its noise performance is less impressive than I’d have expected, probably due to the fact that Samsung used most of the increase in sensor size for a higher pixel count, rather than enhancements to the pixel size.
The lack of a reflex mirror and shutter curtain mechanism means the sensor is not protected when you change the lens and is therefore more exposed to dust than an ordinary DSLR one. Samsung tackles the problem by providing the NX10 with what they call a Super Sonic Drive, a dust removing system that shakes off particles by vibrating 60,000 times a second.
At present Samsung’s new NX mount system offers three lenses that were included with the review sample. The standard lens kit option is an 18-55mm OIS / F3.5-5.6 zoom lens, the other two are a 50-200mm OIS/F4.0-5.6 tele-photo zoom and a prime 30mm F2 pancake lens. Five more lenses should be released throughout the year to complete the system. In the meantime, German company Novoflex has announced an NX mount adapter to suit a range of popular camera mountings, with prices starting at £77 (€89).
The 30mm pancake lens benefits from being significantly brighter than the zoom offerings
While the larger sensor does not affect the body size of the NX10, which is comparable to Micro Four Thirds cameras, the NX lenses are necessarily bigger and heavier than the Micro Four Thirds ones, having to cover a larger frame. In addition, like Nikon and Canon, Samsung builds image stabilisation (IS) into the lens rather than in the camera – a factor that contributes to make the lenses bulkier but nevertheless, the IS works quite well. Incidentally, the slim 30mm pancake lens does not have IS.