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Samsung NV10 review: Samsung NV10

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Casual snapshooters will be pleased by the NV10's generous shooting options. Besides the standard automatic mode and the previously mentioned ASR mode, the NV10 offers 11 different shooting presets for portraits, parties, landscapes, and other common photographic situations. The camera also provides both program and manual control modes, letting users adjust sensitivity up to ISO 1,000, white balance, and aperture and shutter speed. Curiously, the NV10 doesn't feature aperture- or shutter-priority modes, so you'll have to adjust both settings individually. An onscreen exposure meter can help make sure your manual shots get properly exposed, but it's not quite as useful as priority settings would have been.

Though not particularly fast in any given category, the NV10 performed decently in our tests. After a 3-second wait from power-on to first shot, we could fire off a new photo every 2.1 seconds thereafter with the flash turned off. With the onboard flash enabled, that wait increased only slightly to 2.3 seconds. The shutter feels responsive, lagging just 0.7 second with our high-contrast target and 1 second with our low-contrast target. Burst mode disappointed, taking just six full-resolution photos in 8.8 seconds for a rate of 0.7 frames per second (fps).

Despite some notable flaws, photos taken on the NV10 generally look good. Pictures appear crisp and full of detail, with vivid color reproduction. Fine textures such as fur, fabric, and text come out very clearly, with few artifacts. Noise stays manageable at low sensitivity levels, though shots taken at ISO 400 develop a distinct grain that can be easily seen on computer monitors and is accompanied by a minor loss of fine detail. At ISO 800 and above, that grain becomes a prominent fuzz that obscures fine details and muddles colors. Fringing also tended to find its way into some photos, with pinkish auras developing on nearly every contrasting edge.

Though its Smart Touch interface takes some getting used to, the Samsung NV10 is a nice compact camera. Its responsive shutter, manual controls, and attractive images make it a fine choice for casual photographers who want a lot of options without a lot of bulk. If you're willing to spend a bit more, though, consider instead the Samsung NV11. The NV10's bigger, slightly heavier brother boasts a more powerful zoom and both aperture- and shutter-priority modes, two much appreciated improvements over this model.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Time to first shot  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T1000
1.4 
1.2 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot G7
1.7 
1.5 
0.5 
Samsung NV11
2.3 
2.4 
0.6 
Samsung NV10
2.1 
3 
0.7 
Nikon Coolpix P5000
3 
2 
0.9 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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