Samsung's interchangeable lens, somewhat compact camera makes uncompelling debut.
Lori GruninSenior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
ExpertisePhotography, PCs and laptops, gaming and gaming accessories
Updated 1/21/10: added a few details to chart and analysis based on B&H's price of $699.99 at the end.
It's been 9 months since Samsung first displayed its interchangeable-lens camera under glass; though now officially announced, in preproduction, and slated for availability this spring, there still isn't a whole lot of information available. Unfortunately, that includes price, which is key for this segment. Also still unknown are any real details about shooting performance, such as burst rate and shutter speed range. Samsung's only claim about autofocus is that it's "fast and decisive."
The most significant potential downside is the proprietary new lens mount--the Samsung NX mount. That alone has disappointed the small but vocal legions of Pentaxians who've been counting on Samsung to deliver an interchangeable-lens model to support their lenses (a reasonable assumption, given Samsung's dSLR relationship with Pentax). Samsung really could have used the support of these fanboys; now it has no built-in boosters to help with marketing. Although there's a plan to supply a Pentax K-mount adapter, it won't support autofocus. At launch, Samsung plans to offer three NX mount lenses: an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, 50-200mm f4-5.6, and 30mm pancake.
It lacks the sleekness of models such as the Olympus' E-P series, and is even a bit larger than the GF1. However, it does have a little more of a grip and its EVF is built in rather than an add-on. On one hand, the NX10 uses a larger sensor than its Micro Four Thirds competitors do, but it's also higher resolution, which might mitigate any potential noise advantages.
Also, unlike its competition, the NX doesn't have in-camera stabilization, instead using optical stabilization. This really only becomes an issue if it impacts the cost of the lenses or the practicality of using third-party lenses with an adapter.
Given the aforementioned lens issue and its rather ho-hum looks, the camera would have to be really fast or deliver extra good photos to appeal to the enthusiasts who have to date comprised the market for these cameras. At about $700 for a basic kit--and I don't know how much each lens will run--I don't think it's inexpensive or compact enough to appeal to people stepping up from a point-and-shoot. Slated to ship in the spring, the NX10 will come in silver as well as black.