Samsung NV10 digital camera

Samsung recently launched three new digital cameras as a part of a new range entitled NV for New Vision, but does the flagship model, the NV10, live up to that vision? We check it out.

The NV10 sports a whopping 10 megapixels in a compact digital camera no bigger than a packet of 20 cigarettes, which in our minds is a tad excessive for the average consumer digital camera user.

Following the same lines as the NV3, the NV10 features a protruding 3x optical zoom lens, ISO settings up to a rather low 1000, 11 scene modes and something Samsung calls "Smart Touch".

The new "Smart Touch" system works by users gently touching navigation buttons which line the 230k colour 2.5-inch TFT screen in order to call up menu items, manipulate the settings, or view your pictures.

Lightly touching the buttons - there are seven on the bottom and six up the side - brings up a cross hair looking graph graphic. So for example the bottom button will bring up the megapixel count, while the side buttons bring up the choice of whether you want it to be 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 megapixels.

In use it takes a little getting use to, partly because the screen is so clear and bright that we found we wanted to touch it more than the buttons, however, it does mean that everything is very accessible, there aren't any deep menu structures here.

Aside from the plethora of buttons, like the NV3, the NV10 is very retro in its design. The jet black metal case has that Praktica feel to it and like the NV3 it too has nice little touches like the blue circle around the lens making it stand out from the crowd.

Inside and the camera offers both the Optical Picture Stabilisation (OPS) and an Advanced Shake Reduction (ASR) processing function. As well as TV quality MPEG4 VGA (640 x 480) 30 fps video recording (including zoom and pause) and a photo gallery function.

The camera also features a virtual dial mode so you don't have to look at the top of the camera to see what you are selecting.

So far so good, so what about the actual pictures? Well it's not good. On numerous occasions using the camera, we had trouble focusing on the subjects or objects. With the camera producing more blurred pictures than we would like.

In fact at one point it was so bad that we had to give up entirely.

Additionally, as we are finding in other 10 megapixel cameras from other manufacturers, the NV10 suffers from huge amounts of noise when it comes to skin tones (see accompanying pictures).

It's as if the sensor and camera just can't seem to cope with that many megapixels.

Likewise the high megapixel count means other drawbacks. Select the Advanced Shake Reduction mode and you'll have to wait a whopping 6 seconds between taking images, saving them to the cameras SD card and being able to take another.

And then there is the fact that a 512MB card will get you just 97 images at the highest settings.

Verdict

Manufactures are keen to point out 10 megapixels will give you "plenty of creativity when it comes to cropping". However so far we've yet to see a compact digital camera with 10 megapixels that produces good results without any noise and the Samsung NV10 isn't the one to break the mould.

Nice looking, this camera falls down when it comes to taking pictures and for that reason we can't recommend it.

If you do like the style, and you probably do because it does look nice, opt for the more practical and equally stylish NV3.


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