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Samsung NX10: A Field Report


Feb 3, 2005
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#1
This is more of a personal field report rather than reviewing each and every aspect of the camera.

This field report is divided into 5 parts.

1. Introduction
2. Handling
3. Image Quality
4. With Legacy lens
5. The Bottom line

1. Introduction

Few months back, I read about the Samsung EX1 review on luminous-landscape where it was given an excellent rating. Craving for a good compact for walk-around photography, I headed down planning to buy the EX 1 and saw this poster promoting the NX10 with 30mm F2 . Asking for both EX1 and NX10 and comparing them side by side, the few things that struck me about the NX10 during the comparsion are:

- Useable Electronic View Finder
- APC-S CMOS Sensor
- DSLR like Menu and buttons layout
- Extremely portable (the NX10 with the 30mm F2 can fit into a One Million dollar home – Crumpler)
- fast kit lens (30mm F2)

After a few days of research and fact-finding, I took the plunge and bought the NX10. Here is a report about using the NX10 in the field.


NX 10 with Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.4.
 

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2. Handling

One of the push factors for me is the DSLR-like menu and layout of buttons on the NX10. Having been a Canon user since I got my first DSLR (300D), the NX10 layout allowed me to control the ISO, white balance, aperture and shutter speed with great ease. Compared to a Canon DSLR, the controls are similar to Canon’s entry level 350D, 400D series.

Most of the “essential” settings can be set using your thumb and index finger holding the camera with your right hand. This allows changing of settings without the need to take your eye off the EVF during composition. Despite what the numbers says about the usability of the EVF, it works well for me. An EVF is important as it has become a habit for me to compose through a viewfinder. It also adds some level of stablility as you can press the EVF eyecup to your eye socket for added support.

The AMOLED LCD screen is also very useful as it opens up new avenues for composition. You can go low or overhead or even have one hand sticking out of the window.


NX10 with 30mm F2. This photo was composed with the LCD screen with the camera at ground level.​

For ISO and white balance setting, you can press the settings that you want to change on the menu button and use the scroll wheel to select the setting. If you are using the AMOLED LCD to compose the picture, there will be an overlay icon over the existing image as you select the setting. This allows a great degree of control as you can watch the scene change when you select the different white balance settings with the scroll wheel.


NX10 with 30mm F2. This shot was taken with one hand sticking out of my kitchen window.

For manual focusing using the 30mm F2, there is the automatic focus assist that kicks in once you enable MF focusing. There is also a “manual” focus assist if you are not uing NX lens. All you have to do is the press the “OK” button in the middle of the menu wheel and there will be a 2X magnification in the EVF or the LCD. This is extremely useful if you are using manual legacy lens.
 

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3. Image Quality (resolution and ISO)

Having a huge (APC-S) CMOS sensor configured at 14.6 megapixel creates some huge RAW file at 20-25mb each. This allows for maximum post processing using Adobe Camera raw and photoshop.It also allows for heavy cropping while still preserving the details and is also dependent on the lens resolving power.


NX10 with Minolta Rokkor 24mm F2.8. The resolving power of the lens and the huge mega-pixel count of the sensor allow me to tease out the details of the wall during post processing.


The photo of a lotus taken with the NX10 with a Carl Zeiss Jena DRR 135mm F 3.5. The photo on the left is the original image, the image on the right is a cropped image. Notice the details in the highly cropped image.

For any review of a modern digital camera, high ISO performance is always a key concern. For NX10, shooting RAW, the images are very usable at ISO 800. However, instead of depending on the sensor to handle the noise for the photographer, wouldn’t it be better if the photographer handles the noise from his end? How do we achieve that?

- Overexpose
Try overexposing your image by 1/3 of a stop, that will reduce the need to PP darken areas hence reduce the generation of noise.

- Shoot in RAW
Not all the time, but in dim conditions, this allows for a bigger file size for Post processing.

- Use fast primes to reduce the need to go up such a high ISO settings.
With a fast prime, you can shoot at the widest aperture, with proper breathing technique and using the EVF for added support as mentioned above, you can probably pull off an image shot at 1/10.


NX10 with 30mm F2. This photo was shot at f2.2 with ISO 800. With proper breathing technique and shooting with the EVF, we can still get a relatively sharp image shooting at 1/10.
 

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4. With Legacy lens

Given the paucity of NX lenses available (5 at the moment), the manual legacy lens (i.e. M42 mounts) opens up a whole world of fun. Some of these out-resolves modern lenses and can focus at a smaller mimimum focusing distance. NX mounts adapter are cheap and plentiful on ebay and given the same aperture range, these legacy lenses are much more affordable than modern lenses.

A confluence of the “advantages” of the NX10 using legacy lens are shown in this photo:
- close focusing distance using the Helios 44-2 58mm F2, an SGD 50 lens;
- using the AMOLED LCD to compose this photo allows me to shoot at nearly ground level;
- fast aperture at F2 allows the ISO to be kept at 100 and shutter at 1/60;
- shooting at RAW produces a 25mb file for maximum post processing and cropping space.


NX10 with Helios 44-2 58mm F2.

Another photo to show the resolving power of the sensor. The original RAW file is at 25mb, after conversion to jpeg, we get a 16.4mb jpeg file (left photo). A close crop (right photo) will show the amount of details captured by the sensor.


NX10 with Carl Zeiss Jena DDR 135mm F3.5.
 

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5. The bottom line

As with all EVIL cameras, NX10 is not built for sports or F1 photography, you will still need a DSLR for that. You would not want to use the NX10 exclusively to shoot a full actual day wedding or an event. But anything beyond photography that requires snappy AF and fast frame rate, the NX10 does the job nicely.

All in all, I am very impressed with the Samsung NX10. The superb usablility coupled with a APC-S CMOS sensor makes it one of the best “compact” out there for me. However, you do need to to spend a considerable amount of effort in terms of using the correct exposure and post processing effort to get the best results out of the camera. One will also need the “correct” lens to make full use of the resolving power of the sensor. As a portable walk-around compact, the results are totally worth the effort.


NX10 with Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.4.
 

Feb 3, 2005
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#7
NX10 with 30mm F2. Bicycle shadows on a hot afternoon.

 

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#8
NX10 with Carl Zeiss Jena DDR 135mm F3.5.

 

litlefiter

Senior Member
Feb 13, 2010
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www.flickr.com
#9
Wow! great and well written review! plus your photos are really inspiring. did u get the bundled kit zoom with this camera?
 

Feb 3, 2005
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#10
hi litlefiter, thanks for the compliments.

No, I got the 30mm f2 kit lens set with the NX10.
 

Apr 6, 2007
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#11
While reading your field report on the NX 10, I wish to know what adapter should I consider for it the M42 or K-mount, please enlighten me
 

Feb 3, 2005
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#12
While reading your field report on the NX 10, I wish to know what adapter should I consider for it the M42 or K-mount, please enlighten me

hi oldkingkoh, you might want to do some research on the lens (m42 or K-mount) before you decide. I got the MD/MC adapter because I have existing Minolta MD/MC lens. I also got the m42 adapter because m42 lens are relatively affordable. Look through the m42 and k-mount lens collection to see how the lens will fit into your style of photography before deciding.
 

Apr 6, 2007
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#14
Thanks for your advice, but I have no lens collection before so I think rather hard to build up
 

Feb 3, 2005
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#15
NX10 with 30mm F2. Once again, the huge file size allows for maximum post processing.

 

Anthony Lee

Senior Member
Feb 12, 2009
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Shunfu Road, Singapore
#17
Hi Lucpher,

I use only manual focus lenses on my Canon 5D and intends to get an Evil camera for my casual use. On my Canon FF, it's very easy to manual focus owing to the large VF, special super precision matte focusing screen, and also electronic focus confirmation. I read that the only manual focus assist is the 2X magnification on the EVF/LCD. Will this pose any problem with WA lenses wider than 24mm? I am looking at either the LX10/100 or NEX5 or the GF2. Would like to see more photos of landscape and human portraits with MF lenses if you have, many thanks.
 

Feb 3, 2005
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#18
Hi Anthony,

Manual focusing WA lens is still manageable on the NX10. Here are two photos taken with the Rokkor 24mm 2.8, on the NX10 with the crop factor, it's about 35mm.






Hi Lucpher,

I use only manual focus lenses on my Canon 5D and intends to get an Evil camera for my casual use. On my Canon FF, it's very easy to manual focus owing to the large VF, special super precision matte focusing screen, and also electronic focus confirmation. I read that the only manual focus assist is the 2X magnification on the EVF/LCD. Will this pose any problem with WA lenses wider than 24mm? I am looking at either the LX10/100 or NEX5 or the GF2. Would like to see more photos of landscape and human portraits with MF lenses if you have, many thanks.
 

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