Compared to... Nikon D5000
Although the NX10 isn't technically a DSLR, its handling, feature-set and styling suggest Samsung wouldn't mind if you overlooked that (fairly trivial) distinction. And its feature-set puts it squarely in one of the most competitive classes of camera - the enthusiast DSLR. This isn't an easy market to enter, as it already plays host to some very capable cameras, not least Canon's Rebel series and the Nikon D5000. These are the cameras the NX10 has to square up to if is to convince people to walk out of the store with a Samsung, rather than a conventional DSLR.
In feature terms the NX10 and D5000 are pretty similar - the Samsung has a 14.6MP sensor and higher-resolution rear screen while the Nikon makes do with a 12MP sensor and smaller, lower-res LCD but mounts it on a tilt and swivel hinge for flexible shooting. The Samsung has an edge in terms of size, weight and price, and its mirrorless nature means it's built around contrast detection AF, giving it a more seamless, compact-camera-like live view experience.
The Nikon can't focus as quickly as the Samsung in live view mode - requiring either a mirror drop/lift sequence to use its phase detection AF sensor or an attempt to contrast detect with lenses not really designed for it. The flip side is that the Nikon has an optical viewfinder, which some people are likely to prefer to using the Samsung's LCD viewfinder. It also has a slight AF speed advantage when using the viewfinder, as the Samsung's impressive AF speed isn't quite as snappy when the Nikon can use its conventional DSLR phase detection AF.
In the process of re-checking the behavior of the pre-production K-mount adapter used in this review, we found the focus of the main test shot could be improved (as a result of the difficulty of assessing manual focus). This improved shot has now been added and the conclusions adjusted accordingly.
Studio scene comparison (JPEG)
Samsung NX10 vs. Nikon D5000
- Samsung NX10: Pentax FA 50mm F1.4 (F8, via adapter), Manual Exposure, ISO 100
JPEG 14MP/Super Fine, Neutral WB, Standard Picture Wizard(Standard), Self-Timer
- Nikon D5000: Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 G (@F8), Aperture Priority, ISO 200,
JPEG Large, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
5.5 MB JPEG (4592 x 3056)
5.2 MB JPEG (4288 x2848)
There's very little to choose between these two cameras in terms of detail or color rendition. The Samsung is a touch sharper than the Nikon, but Nikon JPEGs are some of the least sharpened we encounter (at their default settings). The NX10 isn't doing a great job with the colored cotton balls in the sixth crop - with the reds in particular showing little detail.