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Video

The NX10's mirrorless design puts it in a strong position and a crossover movie capable camera, too - by the simple expedient of not spending most of the time with a mirror in front of the sensor. It's a benefit that Panasonic exploited with its GH1 - currently challenged only by the Canon 5D Mark II in terms of appeal to videographers. However, it isn't just its lack of mirror that makes it a good camera to use for video - Panasonic brought much of its camcorder know-how to bear on the GH1 by incorportating a high-speed sensor and a lens with stepless aperture, designed for fast, quiet contrast detect AF. Without this, the Samsung isn't likely to be challenging the GH1 but should, in principle, be able to square up to the other Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Video specification

The NX10's video specification is about standard for a camera of this level - it offers slightly more sophisticated compression than most but only with a limited range of frame rate options (one, in fact). The H.264 compression will mean smaller files but ones that are comparatively easy to make use of, once out of the camera.

Slightly unusually, the camera describes its 720p mode as '1280' which, in a world still coming to terms with its '1080's, '720's, 'p's and 'i's, could easily give the (false) impression that it offers higher resolution than its many competitors offering 720 HD video.

The built-in microphone captures mono audio and has an optional wind-cut option to try to reduce the booming effect of the wind on the mic. However, unlike the GH1, G2, EOS 550D, E-P2 or E-PL1, it has no option for an external microphone.

Sizes • H.264
1280 x 720, 30fps
640 x 480, 30fps
320 x 240, 30fps
Audio AAC format (mono), wind-cut feature
Format MP4 (H.264)
Data rate 62.8 KBits/sec
File size 1.1 MB/sec (720p MPEG 4)

Using Movie Mode

The Samsung isn't in on the trend for direct-access movie shooting that appears to be sweeping across its class (particularly the hip, mirrorless clique sitting at the back), instead requiring you to turn the mode dial to video, first. This approach is still fairly common but, if you like to grab video clips as well as stills, you're likely to appreciate the immediacy that direct access brings to the GH1, GF1, G2 and E-PL1.

Once you've selected movies on the mode dial, there's a menu option allowing you to select either Program mode (in which the camera chooses the aperture, shutter speed and gain), or aperture priority, in which you can select the aperture and the camera chooses the other two parameters - though none of the lenses currently available offer much control over depth-of-field. Lenses from other mounts, used with an adapter, do offer more flexibility in terms of depth-of-field but are, of course, manual focus only.

You can select either single AF (SAF) or continuous AF (CAF) while in movie mode, but both of these stop the moment you press the shutter button to start movie recording. To re-focus while recording movies you press the depth-of-field preview button (naturally). Manual focus is always available.

There are some unusual and interesting features that the Samsung offers, such as the ability to add fades at the beginning or end of a clip (or both if you prefer). Sadly, this option is only available at the point of capture, making it difficult to predict when full brightness will be achieved (the image starts to become visible about 2 seconds after you first pressed the shutter). The other notable feature is the ability to pause and restart video recording by pressing the 'OK' button on the back of the camera. The ability to pause clips is both rare and useful, which makes the other video flaws even more of a disappointment.

Movie mode displays

The standard movie record screen looks much like the stills recording view and can be shown with or without icons representing the settings. Pressing the Fn button gives you access to all the key shooting parameters, including aperture control mode, image size, quality and sound.
Pressing the Menu button brings up a slightly large range of options, including white balance and Picture Wizard (Color mode). A second page (not shown) includes metering mode and AF mode. The third tab of the movie menu includes the ability to apply fades (in, out or both), to your movies. It also gives access to the wind cut feature.

Video quality comments

The image quality of the NX10's video is exactly what you'd expect from a camera with an APS-C sensor - really rather good. Unfortunately, the rolling shutter effect is exactly what you'd expect of a camera with an APS-C sensor that wasn't specifically designed to provide HD video. The NX10's sensor is an updated version of the one used in the Pentax K20D/Samsung GX20 - presumably more similar to the four-channel readout version that appeared in the Pentax K-7 (since, unlike the older models, it is able to offer HD video).

The NX10 seems not to be very fast at reading the data from the sensor because even moderate lateral movement of vertical lines across the frame sees them rendered as diagonals (where the readout of the sensor can't keep pace with the movement meaning that, by the time the bottom of an object is captured, it has moved relative to where its top was captured). While it's difficult to quantify precisely, but the NX10's rolling shutter is so obviously visible even with only slow lateral motion that we'd describe it as the worst we've seen from a large sensor camera.

There are also operational problems with the NX10's video, not least the shutter lag between you pressing the shutter button and video recording starting. We measured it at 0.8 seconds, which means you can rule out spontaneous video grabs. Also rather frustratingly, pressing the shutter button again at the end of the video appears to cut off the last half second or so of the recording, so you have to get used to both preempting and over-shooting any event you wish to capture. Interestingly the last 0.4 seconds of all the videos we shot appear to be blank space, almost as if the camera is just emptying its buffer when you stop recording, rather than writing the information to the video file.

Overall it wasn't a very impressive performance and we'd recommend you look elsewhere if shooting video clips appears on the list of things you want from a camera.

Sample videos

These samples were all shot using the 'HD' 720p mode (called 1280 by the camera), all hand-held.

Caution: very large files

 • 1280 x 720, 30 fps, H.264, .MPEG4 file
 • 9.2 sec. 10.0 MB
 • NX 30mm F2 lens
 • 1280 x 720, 30 fps, H.264, .MPEG4 file
 • 7.2 sec. 7.8 MB
 • NX 30mm F2 lens
 • 1280 x 720, 30 fps, H.264, .MPEG4 file
 • 4.9 sec. 5.4 MB
 • NX 18-55mm OIS lens
 • 1280 x 720, 30 fps, H.264, .MPEG4 file
 • 4.9 sec. 5.4 MB
 • NX 18-55mm OIS lens

 

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