Samsung NX10 Digital Camera – Micro Four Thirds Alternative

2010 CES Featured News Samsung Uncategorized

Samsung NX10 Digital CameraSamsung has finally made an official announcement about the DSLR-alternative concept camera they teased us with almost a year ago at the 2009 PMA tradeshow. Displayed behind glass in the Samsung PMA booth, the concept camera got a lot of attention even though Samsung had very little information to offer. After months with no follow-up, it looked like maybe they were going to let it fade away. Happily, that’s not the case. In concept, the 14.6-megapixel Samsung NX10 is the same as the Panasonic and Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras, trading the traditional SLR mirror and through-the-lens optical viewfinder design for a smaller, lighter camera with an LCD display and electronic viewfinder (EVF).

Samsung NX10 Digital Camera - Front & Back

Although on the surface it looks like the Samsung NX10 might be a simple copy of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, there are a couple of critical differences. Instead of the 2x crop factor Four Thirds sensor, the NX10 uses a larger, 1.5x crop factor APS-C sensor. In theory, the bigger pixels on the NX10′s 14.6-megapixel sensor should mean significantly better image quality – especially at high ISO settings. The NX10 is also using Samsung’s new DRIMe II Pro engine, which the press release suggests gives the camera an edge with auto focus performance:

“The Samsung NX10 ensures users never miss a moment, with one of the fastest AF in its class on the market. The company’s latest innovation, the new DRIMe II Pro engine and advanced AF algorithm, also provide ultra fast AF speed with the higher precision of contrast AF.”

Sluggish, temperamental auto focus has been one of the main complaints about the Micro Four Thirds cameras (especially the Olympus E-P1). We’ll have to wait and see if the NX10′s auto focus performance is actually better than the Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras. I’d say it’s a pretty sure thing the NX10 will have better AF than the Olympus E-P1 and E-P2. It’s the Panasonic GF1 and GH1 that Samsung is going to have to beat to really come out on top. If the Samsung AF performance is noticeably better than the Panasonic cameras, then Samsung may have a real winner on their hands.

Samsung NX10 Digital Camera Key Features & Specs:

  • Sensor: 14.6-megapixel APS-C CMOS
  • Lens Mount: Samsung NX
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100 – 3200
  • Video: 720p HD, MP4. H.264
  • Viewfinder: EVF electronic viewfinder
  • LCD Display: 3-inch AM OLED
  • Image Stabilization: OIS optical image stabilization (lens-based)
  • Flash: Built-in pop-up flash
  • Dimensions: 3.4 x 4.8 x 1.6 inches (8.64 x 12.2 x 4.06 cm)
  • Weight: 0.78 lbs (353.8g)

In terms of size, the Samsung NX10 is comparable to the largest Micro Four Thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix GH1. That makes it smaller than the smallest available digital SLR, the Olympus E-420. It’s a little thinner and less wide than the Panasonic GH1 and it weighs a bit less as well. It does not have a tilt-swivel LCD like the Panasonic but it has the larger APS-C sensor, so I think the size and weight differences are a wash. Stepping back and considering the GX10′s larger sensor, it’s impressive that they’ve been able to pretty closely match the size and weight of the Panasonic GH1.

The compact Olympus Digital Pen and Panasonic Lumix GF1 Micro Four Thirds cameras have been very well-received by photographers. They offer a smaller alternative to the digital SLR or a higher-quality alternative to high-end compact cameras like the Canon G-Series. The Samsung NX10 looks really good on paper, but we’ll have to wait and see how well it measures up in the field and in the lab. No matter what, competition for the Micro Four Thirds system can only push technology and benefit photographers. I think it’s exciting that there is going to be an alternative to the alternative.

Samsung says the NX10 digital camera, the 30mm pancake lens and the 18-55mm OIS and 50-200mm OIS zoom lenses will be available in spring of 2010. They weren’t specific about when in the spring and a price hasn’t been announced yet. We will let you know when we find out more.


Related Content:
All Samsung Digital Camera User Reviews
Digital SLR User Reviews
Digital SLR Forum
Four Thirds Cameras Forum
Samsung Digital Cameras Web Site

Samsung NX10 - Front
Samsung NX10 - Back

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Journ says:

    NX10 looks more professional. I think that the quality and technology of Samsung camera products are getting better nowadays.

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