Samsung NX10: Hands-on with photography's ginger stepchild

At CES, we gave the NX10, Samsung's first mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera, a quick spin. Click through to find out why we feel let down

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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The birth of a new technology is probably our favourite thing, and CES is one big baby boom of cool new stuff. But, while some new products are worthy of a cigar, others are more like a ginger stepkid. We got our hands on the Samsung NX10, and are sad to say that this first camera in the NX series has more than a touch of strawberry blonde about it.

The NX10 is Samsung's first entry in its NX range of mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses. It's offered with 18-55mm and 30mm pancake lenses, and packs an electronic viewfinder that's actually quite pleasant to use. It's lightweight, fast and looks decent, but just a bit square, like a kid that insists on wearing bow ties.

There's nothing wrong with the NX10, it's just underwhelming. It's so similar to the Micro Four Thirds format as to be virtually redundant. Essentially, Samsung is a year too late and the novelty has worn off -- it was gazumped by the Panasonic range of interchangeable cameras, and it's not as pretty as the Olympus Pen series. The added kick in the pants is that NX is a proprietary format. At least Micro Four Thirds is supported by Panasonic and Olympus, and lets you bodge your existing full-sized Four Thirds lens onto your new camera. We'll settle for proprietary formats as long as they're excitingly unique -- or, better yet, bat-poop crazy -- but NX is neither.

Ricoh showed the way with its modular GXR system, a great piece of thinking outside the box. Samsung had the chance, yet chose to keep its thinking buried at the bottom of the box, with the box put in another box and then both boxes put at the back of the cupboard. Our main objection is the same as with Micro Four Thirds -- that this is basically the traditional SLR design, so it's hard to think of it as a radical new dawn in digital photography.

Still, the NX10 does boast a 15.1-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, which is 50 per cent bigger than the Micro Four Thirds sensor. Big sensors are good news. And, while we're disappointed by NX as a concept, there's not much to choose between NX and Micro Four Thirds on a technical level, so it's as good an option as any if you're thinking of buying into a new lens ecosystem. Keep it CNET for our full review to find out how this particular child grows up.