Conclusion - Pros
- Very good resolution and decent sharpness (though see below)
- Very detailed results at ISO 100-200 (fairly low noise reduction)
- Bright, punchy results out of camera; perhaps too punchy for many...
- Slim all-metal body
- Superb build and finish, very stylish 'classic' design
- Innovative and impressive 'Smart Touch' control system
- Fairly fast and responsive
- In-camera effects / editing
- Excellent screen
- MPEG-4 movies use very efficient compression
- Comprehensive feature set and full manual exposure
- Lots of on-screen information
- Very well priced
Conclusion - Cons
- Contrast and Saturation way too high - no way to change them in-camera
- Some fall-off in sharpness at edges / corners
- Shutter lag and focus not as fast as best competitors (not bad though)
- Strong visible chroma noise at ISO 400+ (very mild noise visible even at ISO 100)
- Occasional focus and exposure errors
- 'Advanced Shake Reduction' little, if any, better than high ISO but adds processing time
- Underpowered flash
- Unimpressive battery life
Samsung is rapidly catching up with its Japanese rivals and is finally starting to make its mark on the digital camera market with a combination of aggressive pricing, appealing styling and a dash of genuine innovation (such as the NV10's smart touch user interface).
The NV10 is, undoubtedly, a lovely camera (I kept thinking; if this had a Canon or Nikon badge on it it would sell by the boat load) and one that offers an usually wide feature set for such a slimline model. The key to the success of the design is the new user interface, which puts every conceivable control at your fingertips and makes experimenting with the settings uniquely fast and incredibly easy. By comparison the pages of menus and multiple button presses most ultra slim cameras require to change even basic settings make you feel like you're being made to jump through hoops for the privilege of being able to set the white balance yourself. It takes a little longer to master, but honestly, once you've used the Smart Touch system 'in anger' you'll never want to go back.
The feature set is generally well thought out, though many of the more esoteric functions and effects stray dangerously close to being 'gimmicks' - you can see the influence of the cell phone division at work in some of the frame and overlay effects. What's slightly annoying is that in amongst all the special effects (including full control over red, green and blue channels) Samsung couldn't find space for the basic image parameters (contrast and saturation) - or even a simple 'natural' setting - that would allow users to override the excessive contrast and saturation that, whilst fine for the 'point and shoot' crowd are less appealing for the serious user.
Image quality (contrast and saturation issues aside) is pretty much on a par with most 7-10MP competitors (there's little if any advantage to be gained from the extra pixels) - and at ISO 100 the soft touch approach to noise reduction actually produces better than average low contrast detail. At ISO 400 and over noise is a real problem, but for small prints high ISO results are just about usable if the light is so low you've got no other choice. It's not the best quality in the world, but it's by no means the worst and for the price it's surprisingly good.
Ultimately then, this is a very well priced, very well specified and well-designed camera that offers a real alternative to the Casio Exilims and Canon Elphs that dominate the ultra-slim sector. It's not the most compact camera on the market, but it is very slim and pocketable, and it packs a weighty punch. If you find the output to your taste there are few reasons not to consider it, nor for me not to recommend it.
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
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Samsung NV10 Review Samples
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