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Raw

Supplied software

The NX10 is supplied with a Software CD containing:

  • Samsung Master (Windows) - Samsung Master is a file browser and image editor. It features a great many JPEG editing effects and tools, ranging from useful tone adjustments to fairly silly image distortion options (how many people actually apply a ripple effect to their images?). Overall it seems fine at what it does but it doesn't seem particularly specific to the NX10 (it can't tell whether images were shot in Smart Range mode, for example). If you already use software such as Picassa, you may find yourself better served by sticking with it.

  • Samsung RAW Converter 3 (Windows) - Essentially a Samsung-only version of SilkyPix, a RAW conversion application developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory which is probably better known in Japan. SilkyPix provides a wide range of advanced RAW conversion options including adjustable noise reduction, lens aberration correction and rotation / perspective correction.

As with Panasonic modes, the NX10 ships with a special (fully featured) edition of SILKYPIX, a rather quirky, though surprisingly well-featured, raw development application for Windows and Mac. The (on-screen) manual is very comprehensive, but doesn't really explain the features very well, and first-time users may find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of options on offer. This isn't helped by the slightly dodgy translations and the plethora of sliders with names that don't really indicate what they actually do. But there is lots here to get stuck into, and the default settings produce perfectly acceptable results.

But after some experimentation and adapting you'll discover that the SILKYPIX can produce superior results to the JPEGs, not least in that they can be fine-tuned to produce output that suits your own needs / tastes. There's easily as much tweaking on offer as you get with Adobe Camera Raw, though the extent of the changes isn't so great so you'll often find yourself pushing lots of sliders and getting pretty similar results. The fact that Samsung, Pentax and Panasonic all provide software based around the Silkypix processing engine suggests it must be pretty capable.

You can save parameter sets (for some reason you put them in the 'cloakroom') once you've found out what works for you, which combined with batch processing and extensive output options (TIFF or JPEG), takes some of the grind out of the business of developing large numbers of raw files.

Samsung RAW Master has a comprehensive feature set, though the lack of any meaningful documentation (and occasionally incomprehensible menu options) mean it can take a while to really feel comfortable and to find your way around. It's not all hard work; a panel of drop-down menus and tabs give a series of sliders to fine tune each parameter. These offers the ability to tinker with just about every aspect of the image processing without those options too often becoming overwhelming.
There are a series of presets, including Nostalgic Toy Camera that adjust all sorts of settings. The nice thing is that you can browse around and see what each has changed in order to produce their effect. Dig a little deeper, beyond the presets, and RAW Master offers almost limitless tweaking opportunities, certainly enough to satisfy even the most advanced user. In fact you can easily end up spending way too long trying the different sliders.

RAW conversion

As is normal in our digital SLR reviews we like to compare the supplied RAW conversion software, any optional manufacturer RAW conversion software and some third party RAW converter. As is often the case, the only converters available at the time of writing the review are the manufacturer's software and Adobe Camera Raw. Here we compare these two converters to the camera's JPEG engine to see how each of them pulls detail out of the images.

  • JPEG - Large/Fine, Default settings
  • SRC - Samsung Raw Converter 3.0
  • ACR - Adobe Camera RAW 5.7 beta

Color reproduction

Place your mouse over the label below the image to see the color from a GretagMacbeth ColorChecker chart produced using each RAW converter.

Samsung NX10 Compare to:  
      
      
      
      
StandardVividPortraitLandscape
ForestRetroCoolCalm
ClassicAdobeRGB

Sharpness and Detail

The default Silkypix conversion is showing marginally less detail than the out-of-camera JPEG but it's also considerably less sharpened. With its much finer control over the type and level of sharpening being applied, we're confident you'd be able to show at least the same amount of fine detail as the JPEGs do. Adobe Camera Raw (still a beta) is producing very similar colors to the JPEG and slightly better detail.

SILKYPIX RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
Adobe ACR 5.5 RAW ->JPEG (Default settings)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop
JPEG out of camera, High quality setting (all settings default)
ISO 100 studio scene 100% crop

Resolution

In this more readily comparable example, it can be seen that the supplied raw converter is extracting similar levels of fine detail to the JPEG engine. Both are showing some degree of pattern in the chart up to about 2500 lph but the camera's JPEG output is much more heavily sharpened, making everything look crisper (though staying impressively free from haloing). ACR treads a path somewhere between the two, in terms of sharpening but manages to extract a fraction more detail from the files than the others.

JPEG from camera Samsung Raw Converter (RAW)
 
Adobe Camera RAW 5.7 (RAW)  

Real word advantages

The major advantage you get processing the NX10's RAW files isn't so much one of sharpness and detail (though, of course, you do get better control over sharpening), but one of noise reduction. The noise reduction applied to all images by the NX10 can smother the finest detail at all ISO settings so there's scope for pulling more detail out of the files.

JPEG from Camera
(default settings - ISO 200, Smart Range On )
ACR conversion
(default settings - ISO 200, Smart Range On)
JPEG from Camera
(default settings - ISO 1600)

Samsung Raw Converter conversion
(Noise reduction - False color ctrl: 75, Noise Reduction: 0, Noise Level: 4, Noise Cancel: 75, Geometric NR: 0. Sharpness - Outline emphasis: 15, Detail emphasis: 83, False Outline ctrl: 0)

RAW files for download

Here we provide RAW files, both from the review and the sample shots we take, to allow you to apply your own workflow techniques and see whether your experiences match ours.

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