The NV11 also offers several snapshot-friendly features, for those who don't want to play with the camera's manual controls. You can choose from 11 preset scene modes, including the standard portrait, night, and landscape settings. Face-detection auto focus and auto exposure finds subjects' faces and adjusts focus and exposure settings accordingly. Face detection can be extremely valuable when taking family photos or portraits where the subjects are off-center or when they're not the closest foreground objects in frame.
Though it performed OK in our lab tests, the NV11 suffered from some minor quirks. After taking 2.4 seconds to start up and capture its first image, the camera could fire off a new shot every 2.3 seconds with the flash turned off. With the onboard flash enabled, that time increased to 2.7 seconds. The shutter lagged only 0.6 second with our high-contrast target and 1.2 seconds with our low-contrast target, which mimic bright and dim shooting conditions, respectively. Despite these otherwise respectable times, the shutter tends to feel unresponsive right after you turn on the camera. Often if you press the shutter release down while the camera is starting up, it won't register and the camera won't shoot. It's best to wait a second or two after you press the power button before you hit the shutter release, and even then you should press it halfway to get the camera to focus first before pressing all the way to capture a photo. It's a relatively minor nitpick that only seems to appear when you turn on the camera, but it can sometimes prove irritating. Finally, burst mode disappointed us, taking a mere seven full-resolution photos in 10.4 seconds for a rate of 0.7 frame per second.
Thanks to relatively low noise at all but the highest sensitivity settings, the NV11's photos look quite good. The camera reproduces colors rather well, and its two separate manual white balance settings offer flexibility when shooting between two nearby locations, like on a shady porch and in a sunny backyard. The photos aren't perfect, though; the NV11 tends to blow out highlights, especially when using the camera's onboard flash. We also noticed some minor processing artifacts creep up around fine details, such as textured fabrics.
With some very nice photos and full manual exposure controls, the Samsung NV11 seems like a decent choice for amateur photographers who want to learn the art, or for dSLR owners who want a reasonably compact second camera. The camera doesn't shoot as fast as we would have liked, though, and its Smart Touch control scheme is definitely an acquired taste. Try out this camera for a bit before you commit to it, if only to find out if its touch sensor controls are right for you.