Samsung is the first company out of the gate with a major camera announcement at CES 2010, unveiling the first model in its NX series. The company announced the NX series at PMA 2009 early last year, but the new NX10 is the first real-world NX series offering.
Samsung’s NX10 is an interchangeable-lens model that’s slightly less bulky than a DSLR, offering a 14.6-megapixel APS-C-size CMOS sensor that’s significantly larger than the sensors found in Micro Four-Thirds system cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. The NX10 has the ability to shoot 720p HD video as MPEG-4 files at 30 frames per second.
Like a Micro Four-Thirds camera, Samsung’s NX cameras eliminate the mirror box found in the body of traditional DSLR cameras. This allows the NX10 to have a more compact frame than a DSLR while still retaining the capability to swap lenses; the NX10 clocks in at 4.8 inches wide, 3.4 inches high, and 1.6 inches deep, and it weighs 0.78 pounds without the lens.
The compact body comes at the expense of the through-the-lens optical viewfinder found in traditional DSLRs. Instead, to compose shots, users must employ either the NX10’s 3-inch-diagonal AMOLED screen or its eye-level electronic viewfinder.
In our brief hands-on time with the camera, the NX10’s AMOLED screen looked bright and sharp, while the eye-level EVF has a proximity sensor that automatically turns off the LCD and powers on the EVF once you put your eye to it. The camera’s physical size is about in line with the first Micro Four-Thirds offerings from Panasonic (the Lumix DMC-G1 [ ] and the Lumix DMC-GH1 [ ]).
Samsung also announced three lenses for the new NX series cameras: an 18mm tot 55mm optically stabilized lens (which is the NX10’s kit lens), a 50mm to 200mm stabilized lens, and a 30mm prime lens. Users will need to buy stabilized lenses to get optically stabilized shots, as the NX10 does not have body-based stabilization.
The lens mount on the NX10 is a proprietary NX mount, but Samsung will also sell a K-Mount adapter to allow compatibility with legacy Pentax K-Mount lenses.
Other key specs include a pop-up flash on top of the camera, an HDMI port for playing back videos on an HDTV screen, and a supersonic dust-removal system for the APS-C sensor. Samsung is also touting the camera’s autofocus speed, which it says is a key benefit of its DRIMe II Pro imaging engine.
Shipping details are still a bit vague at this point. No pricing has been announced and Samsung has yet to post a NX10 product page on its Web site, but the camera is slated for availability in the spring as a kit with the 18mm to 55mm stabilized lens. The camera will be available in black or silver.
[Tim Moynihan is a senior editor for PC World.]