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So it's close, but no cigar, for the ergonomics. Will the Samsung NX10 impress is more with the quality of its output?

In a word, yes. While there's not a huge difference in practice between the performance of a 12 or 14 megapixel sensor, the APS-C sized chip inside the Samsung NX10 really delivers the goods.

samsung nx10

Images are nice and colourful with bags of detail, and the resolution matches anything from a similarly priced Japanese DSLR.

This is also a testament to the quality of the lens. Cheap lenses are the Achilles heel of otherwise good-value DSLR bundles, but the Samsung NX10's glass is an impressive performer for the money.

samsung nx10

Chromatic aberration and other distortion is kept to the absolute minimum – we're impressed.

ISO performance is good too. It's a bit of a pain to have to keep adjusting it via the Menu button, but once set, you'll be impressed by the results.

samsung nx10

As our test shots from a gloomy Gloucestershire church show, you can get good detail with minimum noise in environments where you don't want to use flash. While the high performance ISO isn't quite as clean as the Canon EOS 550D for example, the Samsung NX10 delivers very usable results up to 1600.

To return to colour performance for a moment, we often used the Vivid style in the Picture Wizard menu, as it added an extra bit of punch to the Samsung NX10's JPEGs without making them look garish.

samsung nx10

You can shoot in RAW, and you'll reap the benefits in terms of maximum detail and editing flexibility (but stick to Photoshop for fine-tuning your shots as the supplied RAW editing software is pretty basic, and PC only).

For less experienced users, there are the usual range of 'helpful' widgets that you tend to find on hybrid cameras. Samsung claims the new Smart Auto setting on the PASM dial will automatically work out the best settings to save newbies the hassle of reading the manual, but as with all Auto modes, it's no panacea for poor light or a fast moving subject.

samsung nx10

You're better off learning how to adjust aperture or shutter speed yourself – after all, it's easy enough to make adjustments via the top wheel.

The picture styles and in-camera photo editing proves more useful in practice than Smart Auto, and the range of in-camera tweaks provided by the Samsung NX10 is quite impressive. This is certainly a good upgrade for less-confident compact camera owners eager to try new things.

samsung nx10

There is the usual range of AF and metering options, and they all work well. Despite Samsung's claims about the "ultra fast AF speed", we found our review sample tended to 'hunt' a bit more than we expected, particularly when shooting at wide apertures.

It's worth fine-tuning the AF points for the most consistent results, but this is a good photographic habit to get into anyway.

samsung nx10

HD movie capture maxes out at 720p, and you can choose from Program or Aperture Priority AE modes.

The quality of movie recording is fine for the money, with good contrast and reliable AF; while 720p falls short of full HD quality, it's comparable to the excellent Panasonic GF-1, and having some control over exposure settings is a big help.