The Samsung NX10 is about take the digital camera market by storm. It's a compact camera with the functionality of a digital SLR, but an intelligent auto mode allows it to also be used as a point-and-shoot camera until you get used to all of its controls.

With a very easy menu system at your disposal, it won't take you too long at all before you're shooting like a pro with the Samsung NX10.

Samsung NX10: key specifications and features

The Samsung NX10 has a 14.6-megapixel, APS-C sized CMOS sensor and it can take interchangeable lenses. Unlike a digital SLR, however, it doesn't have a mirror box or a prism for reflecting light through an optical viewfinder. As a result, it is a lot smaller than a traditional digital SLR; it's approximately the same size as an advanced compact camera. The Samsung NX10 will take on the likes of the Olympus Pen E-P2, the Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF1-K, and the Ricoh GXR.

Unlike the Olympus and Panasonic cameras, the Samsung NX10 isn't based on the Micro Four Thirds system. It has an APS-C sized sensor, which at 23.4x15.6mm is a bigger sensor than the 18x13.5mm sensor found in the Micro Four Thirds system and it's capable of capturing more light as well as providing a shallower depth of field - which is perfect for portraiture.

The APS-C sensor size is on par with the Ricoh GXR when it's paired with the A12 GR Lens module. The sensor itself is not image stabilised: the Samsung NX10 uses lens-shift stabilisation, so you'll need to switch on image stabilisation on the lens itself (if it's available).

Perhaps the best part of the Samsung NX10 is that it has both a built-in flash and a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF); this means it's ready to be used straight away in any type of conditions. A 3in AMOLED display resides on the back of the NX10. It's bright and crisp so you use it relatively comfortably on bright days.

The Samsung NX10 also doesn't cost a lot: you can buy the NX10 in a kit for only £49. This makes it one of the more affordable interchangeable lens cameras on the market. Because it's also so much easier to carry around than a full-blown D-SLR, it could eat away at the entry-level digital SLR market.

Samsung NX10: on test

We had a chance to use the Samsung NX10 recently during a Samsung event at Taronga Zoo. We used all the currently available lenses for the NX10 - the 30mm pancake lens, the 18-55mm zoom lens and the 50-200mm tele-zoom lens - and found it to be a great camera overall. You really get the sense that you're using a digital SLR, but it's not difficult to carry it around with you.

The Samsung NX10 camera doesn't have extensive manual controls - the body is too compact for dedicated dials for both shutter and aperture controls - but it's very easy to change all the exposure values by using the single dial in conjunction with the on-screen menu.

In fact, Samsung's on-screen menu for the Samsung NX10 uses one of the best systems we've seen. It's very easy to navigate; the settings are all labelled and can be changed without much hassle once you learn the layout. It's easy to change settings on the fly when you're in manual or semi-manual modes, although you will need a little torch in order to use the controls at night.

The focusing capability of the Samsung NX10 is very good. It uses a contrast-based focusing system and it picked up our subjects quickly during our brief test period. We were able to use the autofocus effectively in bright and shadowed conditions, and even in semi-dark conditions.

You can change from a continuous autofocus mode to single autofocus, and you can use manual focus for when you want to get creative or shoot at night. The Samsung NX10 allows you to select a focus point manually and also to change the size of that focus point.

We took test shots in bright sunlight and dark conditions, and the quality of the resulting images was very good. The Samsung NX10 is capable of capturing fine details and colour gradations without any problems and the resulting bokeh effect (see below) from all of the lenses we used was very attractive

We're yet to examine the results from our ISO testing, but the Samsung NX10 is capable of shooting at up to ISO 3200. For low-light shooting, it's best to use the 30mm pancake lens, which has a wide aperture of f/2.0. During our night shots, we used the lowest available ISO speed of 100, an aperture of f/8.0 and increased the exposure time to get different lighting effects. It was relatively easy to manually focus the camera in the dark as the AMOLED screen shows a lot of detail and zooms in on the area you are focusing on to help you make sure it is in focus.

The Samsung NX10 can capture video at 1280x720 using the H.264 codec. It can capture clear and vibrant images and it will autofocus in video mode. However, you'll want to put the camera on a tripod while your shooting video and try not to zoom too much while filming - these actions can result in a 'wobbly' image, especially when viewed on an HDTV.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

Samsung NX10: Specs

  • 14.6 Mega-pixels CMOS
  • uses SAMSUNG Lenses for SAMSUNG NX Mount
  • EVF Viewfinder
  • Single AF, Continuous AF, MF
  • exposure compensation ±3 EV (1/2EV, 1/3EV step)
  • ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (1EV step)
  • Metering: Multi, Center-weighted, Spot Metering range: EV0 ~ 18 (ISO100•30mm F2.0)
  • AEL Button
  • TTL Auto Pop-up flash
  • 28mm wide-angle (Equivalent to 35mm)
  • RAW (SRW), JPEG (EXIF 2.21), DCF, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
  • USB 2.0 (HI-SPEED), NTSC, PAL (user selectable), HDMI 1.3 : (1080i, 720P, 576P/480P)
  • DC 9.0V, 1.5A (100 ~ 240V)
  • 123×87×39.8mm
  • 353g
  • 14.6 Mega-pixels CMOS
  • uses SAMSUNG Lenses for SAMSUNG NX Mount
  • EVF Viewfinder
  • Single AF, Continuous AF, MF
  • exposure compensation ±3 EV (1/2EV, 1/3EV step)
  • ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (1EV step)
  • Metering: Multi, Center-weighted, Spot Metering range: EV0 ~ 18 (ISO100•30mm F2.0)
  • AEL Button
  • TTL Auto Pop-up flash
  • 28mm wide-angle (Equivalent to 35mm)
  • RAW (SRW), JPEG (EXIF 2.21), DCF, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
  • USB 2.0 (HI-SPEED), NTSC, PAL (user selectable), HDMI 1.3 : (1080i, 720P, 576P/480P)
  • DC 9.0V, 1.5A (100 ~ 240V)
  • 123×87×39.8mm
  • 353g

OUR VERDICT

The Samsung NX10 left us with a very good overall first impression. It’s very easy to use, it has plenty of features (so you won’t have to fork out for more accessories straight away), and it takes clear and vibrant photos. We only noticed some slight issues with the colour balance when shooting in bright sunlight; a colour cast was sometimes introduced to our subject, despite shooting from the same angle. We’re keen to see how the Samsung NX10 handles high ISO speeds, but our tests up to ISO 400 barely show any ill effects of noise and discolouration when we view the pictures at their full size.

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