The one that interests me is the Samsung NV7 OPS.
Samsung N design
I really like how the N-series departs from the oppressive decade-old silver box metallic design introduced by the Canon Elph (Design Classic #938).
In particular, we are back to classic brushed black stainless steel, leave a nub for gripping (a la Nikon), have the lens stick out from the body (a la Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX1 or DMC-TZ1).
Thank god! There is a clear minimalist consistency in design that goes throughout the line that will say “Samsung” if this ever catches on. As DCRP said, “The build quality of all three cameras also stood out—they feel like they’ve been carved from a solid block of metal.” Great job!
Clear design language shouldn’t be much of a surprise if you’ve followed Korean companies recently. Personally I’ve felt that Koreans and Italian design seem to be very similar.
Next, Samsung is trying to own the color blue with clear blue accents. This reminds me about how Sony is trying to move to orange accents with the Alpha.
In the computer world, many manufacturers are trying to distance themselves from the blue obsession that came about with the introduction of the blue LED. Which got me to think at just how far behind the times are in photography where we think that silver metallic boxes, white lenses, and black SLR bodies are cool. Geez, I hope Samsung puts a blue LED in the N-series somewhere.
Along that minimalist route is the lack of labeling on the buttons around the LCD control. Samsung calls these “Smart Touch” “soft buttons” because their action will depend on the LCD software-control. That’s an innovative idea when you consider that labeled hard buttons are a vestige of the days when you looked through the viewfinder to compose a shot. Unfortunately, this emphasizes a thing I hate about today’s new stereos, cameras, computers, etc.: buttons that all look alike and can’t be understood by tactile feedback alone.
Samsung’s place in the world
Samsung shares a technology agreement with Pentax and Samsung dSLRs are just rebadged Pentax cameras and lenses. Pentax has an agreement with Casio to develop their operating systems which is why the Casio Exilim EX-Z series cameras have the same optics as the Pentax lenses. However, they have differing views on the future of anti-shake and it is clear that Samsung is firmly in the Pentax/Sony camp.
Don’t let the Schneider-Kreuznach label on the Samsungs fool you. There is some relationship between Samsung, Schneider (and Kodak) that I don’t understand—for instance, the Schneider dSLR lenses seem to be rebadged Pentax ones.
The NV7 vs. the LX1
If this puppy did RAW, I’d be all over it. It doesn’t and the CCD is the 1/3″ type that I’m not fond of in a camera this size.
Other things to consider are the fact that the LX1 does 28mm at wide angle (16:9 aspect ratio) instead of a paltry 38mm and the interface on the LX1 is practically entirely tactile—you can easily hack the parts that aren’t.