Samsung NX10 Review
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.
The idea of a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera had been circulating for many years before Panasonic and Olympus announced the Micro Four Thirds camera system in August 2008, so it's not surprising that they didn't have the market to themselves for very long. Back when there was still only one Micro Four Thirds camera on the market, electronics giant Samsung showed a prototype of what was to be the first mirrorless interchangeable camera with an APS-C sized sensor. Ten months later that prototype has evolved into a finished product in the form of the NX10.
While other large manufacturers are starting to talk about launching mirrorless systems, Samsung has become the third manufacturer to actually to turn talk into tangible product. However, while Samsung is only the third party to enter the fray, enough time has passed for the other mirrorless makers to have moved on to their second-generation of cameras, including the newly-launched Panasonic G2 and G10. Between them these two cameras (which like the NX take many of their styling ideas from DSLR designs) are likely to make life pretty difficult for the Samsung. The G10 doesn't match the NX's spec but is aggressively priced while the G2 offers smarter video compression and touch-screen cleverness, which will be attractive to some. And they have the advantage of being second-generation products, with the enhanced level of refinement that this tends to bring.
The big distinction is that Samsung has decided to use the larger APS-C sensor of the type that is the de facto standard size in DSLRs. This offers the potential of good low-light performance (its sensor has a 50% greater surface area than those used in Micro Four Thirds and that means more light for any given exposure) but the lenses are not likely to be smaller than those used on DSLRs.
Samsung NX10 Key Features
- 15.1 Megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (presumed to be close relation to Pentax K7 sensor)
- 14.6 million effective pixels
- New Samsung NX mount (25.5mm flange-back distance)
- 720p movie capture (H.264, 30 fps)
- Contrast-detect autofocus
- 3.0" AMOLED screen (614,000 dots, PenTile RGB array)
- 921k dot Electronic Viewfinder
- 30mm F2 pancake and 18-55mm standard zoom options
Samsung is a global electronics giant, able to draw on resources (and in-house technologies) most camera manufacturers can only dream of. And as one of the newer players in the camera market and crucially one of those without the burden (or blessing, depending on your point of view) of a legacy 35mm system to support, it's hardly surprising that Samsung is one of the pioneers of this new hybrid camera category.
Despite doing pretty well at grabbing a decent share of the compact camera market (mainly, it must be said, by undercutting its Japanese competitors) Samsung has struggled to gain any traction from its partnership with Pentax, which has seen it co-developing sensors (including the one inside the NX10) and slapping its logo on Pentax SLRs. At this year's PMA, Samsung told us that although relationship with Pentax remains one of 'close co-operation', the NX10 has been developed entirely in-house, independently of Pentax (or any other partner: Samsung claims the NX is 100% Samsung).
As 2010 gets underway, Olympus and Panasonic no longer have the mirrorless interchangeable lens market to themselves. As well as the Samsung NX10, Sony recently announced (at this year's PMA show in Anaheim) its intention to create a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera as well. The forthcoming Sony offering, like the NX10, will feature an APS-C sensor too. How the market evolves remains to be seen, but for now, it's all very exciting.
The NX System
Samsung describes NX as a 'hybrid' system (there's still no consensus on nomenclature for this new category of camera) that (to quote the original press release) offers "the performance and image quality of a DSLR and the portability and convenience of a compact point-and-shoot". So far, so Micro Four Thirds with a bigger sensor.
As with Micro Four Thirds the key to NX is that it allows the cameras to be slimmer by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder and replacing them with an all-live view system (using the sensor itself to display a preview image on the screen or electronic viewfinder). The flange-back (lens mount to sensor) distance is reduced by around 40% to 25.5mm, the lens mount itself is shrunk and the net result is a camera with an SLR-sized sensor and interchangeable lenses, but in a considerably smaller package.
For Samsung, a company with little experience in optics but an awful lot of experience in solid-state electronics it's also a way to make a system camera that contains little, if any legacy technology and very few moving parts. Digital SLRs use a sometimes awkward pairing of cutting edge electronics and decades-old mechanical systems harking back to the days of film, whereas these new 'hybrid' system cameras are designed and built from the bottom up as purely digital devices. It's our understanding that they're also a lot cheaper for a company like Samsung and Panasonic to make than anything requiring a precision engineered fast-moving mirror and reflex viewfinder.
At present, the NX system is fairly small, but five more lenses are on the way, including a 20mm pancake, a 60mm macro, and a new 18-200mm 'superzoom'. For now though, the NX system comprises the following:
- NX10 body
- Three lenses (30mm, 18-55mm, and 50-200mm)
- Dedicated flashguns (SEF20A or SEF42A)
- Various cases, straps and cables
- 16 Photographic tests (DR)
- 17 Photographic tests (Lenses)
- 18 Photographic tests (Lenses)
- 19 Photographic tests
- 20 Movie Mode
- 21 Compared to (JPEG)
- 22 Compared to (JPEG)
- 23 Compared to (JPEG)
- 24 Compared to (RAW)
- 25 Compared to (RAW)
- 26 Compared to (RAW)
- 27 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 28 Compared to (Resolution)
- 29 Conclusion
- 30 Samples
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.
A portrait lens from 1910 might be coming back to life if two photographers from Germany succeed in a new Kickstarter project—the latest development in the craze to remake vintage optics.
The updated version of Google Glass is called the Enterprise Edition and, as the name suggests, it's not meant for personal use.
Charles Ommanney was once a photographer for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, now he's working for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image compression software JPEGmini Pro was just updated to handle files up to 128MB. They're calling it "The 1 Feature Hasselblad Owners
Apple was just granted a patent for a camera system that prods, coaxes and manipulates users into taking better group and solo selfies.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a better camera than its predecessor, but how much better? Should you buy one?
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced. Here are the six photographers who took home the top prize in their respective categories.
A NASA study has confirmed what your ears have been telling you: people HATE drone noise. In fact, it was ranked more annoying than that of "any ground vehicle."
This floating bird video isn't edited in post-production. It's the result of the birds wing flap matching the camera's 20fps frame rate.
Adobe released a major update to Lightroom Mobile for both iOS and Android users today.
Could the future of photo and video storage be... alive? Scientists at Harvard have managed to encode a GIF of a galloping horse into a live sample of E. coli.
Recently appointed Photokina manager Christoph Menke has provided some background on the decision to try out an annual schedule and other changes in a Q&A session.
Japan's space agency has released an adorable floating drone ball on the International Space Station, and for the first time ever we get to see what's it's been recording.