Samsung NV10 Digital Camera
A Solid Piece of Work
I first held a mock-up of the NV10 at CES in January. I thought If the actual camera works as well as this looks it will be a pretty nifty product.
I have been using a Sony Cyber-shot 3.2 Megapixel camera for about 6 years. It cost me $349.95 at the time. It is bigger, requires a belt case, and does much less than this small, hefty, solid black Samsung product. The NV10 has a MSRP of $290.00 but I have found it in Circuit City at $264.00 and Amazon at $250.00.
Inside the box:
The 10.1 Megapixel Samsung NV10 digital camera
SLB-0837B rechargeable lithium-ion battery
CD-ROM featuring DigiMax Master and drivers
72 page camera manual (printed)
Setting up the camera was a breeze. I installed and charged the battery using the included USB cable and compatible AC to USB adaptor. I added a 512 MB memory card to augment the 20 MB internal memory (Now holds about 188 photos at 10 MP per shot) and I was ready to go. It would be best to buy one or two extra batteries as battery life is not as long a I would like to see. Purchase several 1 Gig memory cards if you are traveling or just like to take many shots where ever you are. It is possible to set the megapixals to 1, 3, 5, or 7 instead of 10 MP to conserve memory. 7 MP still gives very good results. I also installed the DigiMax Software and the Camera driver from the included CD on the ThinkPad Model Z61t so I could use it for these tests.
I have carried the NV10 in my shirt or pants pocket for about a month now as I tested it in Key West. I found it easy to use as a point and shoot camera. The 3X optical zoom is adequate and the 5X digital zoom option (makes for a 15X combination) is better than many I have seen but I would use it sparingly. Moving away from the auto settings took a little study. The included manual is very comprehensive. After a few days I was able to use the button system that is on left and bottom sides of the large (2.5 Inch) color LCD monitor without referring to the manual. I suggest using the camera in AUTO mode for a while and, when you feel comfortable with that, take a complete tour of all the options by pushing all the Smart Buttons to see what is offered to expand your ability to control your results. I was amazed. I highly recommend using the AUTO MACRO mode to get good close-up results.
I have included more test photos at the end of this article
Here are my thoughts:
The camera is completely enclosed when turned off. I had no worry about lens, flash, or other items getting caught/dirty on my pockets. Being so small it was easy to forget I had it with me. The 2.5 inch Color LCD it is clear and crisp. It did tend to get smudged by fingerprints. Cleaned up easily though. There is no optical viewfinder.
The Smart Touch buttons.
This took a while to get used to. It is a different way to make options easily available. I found it less intuitive when deleting photos. It was also hard to find and view photos one at a time as using the buttons made them go by before I could stop. Perhaps that would get easier with practice. It was also hard to differentiate between a still shot and a video using this method.
The Pop-up flash
A fine feature but it seemed to pop-up at times when I thought it was not required. However I am not a light meter. As with most cameras there is a red eye problem. The red eye manual option did not take all of it out but what camera does.
Advanced Shake Reduction
This feature did make for longer time between shots when used. I also found using it with zoom made photos less sharp without a tripod.
Advanced Movie Function
I filmed a one minute movie inside and outside the condo. I played it full screen on the ThinkPad. The video was a welcome surprise. It had good lighting and sharp vivid colors. I did notice two dropouts. Sound was turned off during the zoom. It is possible to capture stills from the video. I would definitely use this camera for a quick video when I did not have my camcorder with me and expect good results.
Scene Mode and DigiMax Master
The DigiMax Master seems to be a good basic photo editor. I am sure it would do the job. My greatest need is to change print sizes and DPI as I need different sizes and DPI for press releases than I do for web sites. DigiMax Master will do that and more. I prefer to work in Photoshop Elements for editing or when adding special effects to photos and a Video editing program like Ulead Video Studio 11 for movie editing.
The NV10 is a well made and very capable camera that provides all the options needed for someone who wants to expand to some manual settings as they build experience. I found the photos to have good color and focus. I was happy with the recovery time between shots. Even while using the flash. I am very comfortable with the Smart Buttons concept. I be happy to own this camera!
More details available at the Samsung Website