The bane of ultra compact cameras is simply this: they go all out to pack in the features, but fail miserably when it comes to performance. Does Samsung’s NV9 break that jinx? Nikhil Singh tells more...
The NV9 is really compact — its frame measures only 95 x 60 x 21 mm. And with a weight of 180 g and rounded sides, it’s one really portable camera that fits easily in your pockets.
The camera features a black metallic finish (it’s also available in silver) that looks great and doesn’t attract fingerprints. The button placement is on target — the shutter button and mode dial are placed on the top side (towards the right) of the camera, while the power button’s on the far left, ensuring that you never press it by mistake. Between these buttons nest two analog meters to show your current battery and memory status. While it’s not the most useful feature, it works well and adds to the camera aesthetically.
A zoom toggle is located on the face, and it’s a little high for your thumb to reach. Below it are the Image Stabilisation, Function, Preview and Exit buttons. In between them is the navigation pad with a ‘Menu/OK’ button in the centre. Beside the buttons sits a 2.7”, 230,000 pixel screen.
All in all, the NV9 boasts of simple design, accentuated by features like analog dials and a blue ring around the power button, all of which add to the camera’s aesthetic appeal.
The camera supports up to 10.2 megapixel, and doesn’t lose detail even at full resolution. Besides featuring spot-on auto-whitebalance, its colour reproduction is vivid and brilliant, and the fact that the ‘Exit’ button doubles up as a colour mode button adds a good bit of pre-shot effects to give your snaps an extra edge. You can add preset colour tints and even manually set colour tints using RBG (Red, Green and Blue) sliders. You can play around with colour saturation levels before shots are clicked too. This feature is especially useful for those who don’t use Photoshop.
The NV9 allows ISO settings 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 (3200 at 3 MP). Its low light sensitivity is excellent, and it does really well right up to ISO 400. The camera’s also got one of the most brilliant night modes I’ve seen in a while, and night shots it produced were well detailed, reproduced colour accurately, and had minimum noise.
The camera’s macro performance was pretty decent too, although it didn’t perform too well when objects were placed closer than 1.5 - 2 inches away. Shutter lag was minimal and start-up time was about 2 seconds from power-up to shot.
The Samsung NV9 is a mixed bag — while it lacks a few of the standard features, it makes up with a few unique offerings. It features the standard modes — Scene, Auto, Program and Video, but lacks any sort of manual mode. It does however feature a Dual Image stabilisation mode for shots in full zoom (it features 5X optical zoom), where it uses both digital and optical stabilisation to get the best results. Apart from that, there’s an incredibly useful Guide mode that shows you the ropes when it comes to everything from low light shots to high speed ones.
The Samsung NV9 is the ideal mix of features and performance. Everything from its simple user interface to its easy-to-use pre-shot colour options make it an incredibly user-friendly camera that’s great for beginners. And for a price of Rs 14,990 (Rs 13,000 street price), this ultra compact makes for an incredibly attractive deal.