A Samsung NV11 landed in my lap (review)

  • May 21st, 2007

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been amazed by the "wow" factor of a simple point-n-shoot camera. As manufacturers race to cram every imaginable feature into the smallest form factor imaginable, you begin to see super compact cameras with monster resolutions that are almost too small, dainty, or susceptible to damage with slightest mishandling. After taking delivery of a Samsung NV11, my immediate impression was "this camera looks and feels solid"; a camera that looked as though it were carved out of a solid chunk of metal.

Samsung NV11 - Front

Front view of the Samsung NV11 digital camera. Solid housing and a Schneider lens to capture images w/ a resolution up to 10.1 mega pixels. The only drawback is that the lens does not sit flush with the body.

Jutting out from the front of the housing is a Schneider Varioplan 7.8-39mm lens. What sets the NV11 apart from the rest of the point-n-shoot options is the lens which juts out the front side of the camera. It’s not the prettiest camera on store shelves, but surely meets the standards of a specific user looking for an everyday point ‘n shoot built like a tank.

Samsung NV11 - Top

In it’s powered-off state, the NV11 lens housing juts out of the front side of the camera. Within due time, you begin to look past this physical "inconvenience" after enjoying the zoom capability of the camera.

The Samsung NV11 specs

Not your typical point-n-shoot camera, the Samsung NV11 offers a great selection of options and features including one of the trickest grid-like interfaces (which reminded me of playing Battleship). Using a series of horizontal and vertical touch sensitive buttons, the NV11 offers an intuitive interface for navigating camera options or adjusting image settings on-the-fly.

  • Image Sensor: 1/1.8" CCD, 10.1 MP
  • Lens: Schneider 7.8-39mm, F2.8 – F4.4, 5X Optical Zoom, 11.4X Digital Zoom
  • LCD: 2.7" TFT LCD
  • Shutter: Auto: 1 – 1/2000, Manual, S Mode: 15 – 1/2000 , Night: 15 – 1/2000
  • Facial Recognition – Coupled with the Advanced Shake Reduction, blurry portraits are a thing of the past.

The list of specifications is long winded and includes various exposure, flash, sharpness, effects, white balance, and voice & movie recordings. Enjoy the ability to record DVD quality videos at an amazing 30 fps.

A larger point ‘n shoot

Pike St.

Driving down Pike St. (Seattle) – George Bush Federal Courthouse and Space Needle in the distance

Serious allergies

Up close, giant serving of Pesto atop a salmon omelet at CJ’s Cafe.

As many others believe, actions & images speak louder than words. Thanks to the intuitive interface, simple learning curve, and overall simplicity, it was possible to spend more time shooting rather than flipping through the manual. The solid build and size coupled with the Anti-shake mechanism allowed for clear un-blurred candid images.

Likes and dislikes

I am by no means a professional photographer, but I do enjoy trick looking gadgets that manage to turn heads or raise eyebrows. The Samsung NV11 is not your usual Canon SD – the large lens protruding out the front of the camera makes others wonder "is that a point ‘n shoot?"

Likes

  • High Sensitivity up to ISO 1600
  • 10.1 MP – Pixels aren’t everything, but the NV11 matches my Nikon D80 (for pixels).
  • Solid build quality and industrial strength aesthetics.
  • Intuitive touch interface – glide your fingers across the sensors horizontally & vertically to manipulate settings, edit photos, apply effects, or browse.
  • Large screen – no wonder the camera is on the larger side.
  • On board photo editing and effects – frame, add drop shadows, frames, rounded corners, etc. (Skip the post processing and add image effects directly on the camera and print).
  • USB cable charging – charge via USB using the wall adapater or your computer.

Dislikes

  • No memory card – I understand that it is becoming the norm not to include a memory card, but a 512 MB wouldn’t hurt.
  • Image distortion with Advanced Shake Reduction enabled. See the Pike St. (Seattle) image above.
  • Slow start-up time – a little bulkier and slower to start compared to standard point ‘n shoot cameras.
  • Bulky hard lined housing and obtrusive lens; check out the the compact sibling Samsung NV3 (7.2 MP).
  • Weak flash
  • Noticeable noise at ISO 100-400.