Samsung rather shocked us when it announced its new NV series. Not only were we gifted a trio of stunningly retro snappers, two of them sported what was claimed to be a ‘revolutionary’ new interface called ‘Smart Touch’.
We were sceptical. The mouse, the touchscreen, the iPod clickwheel – these are revolutionary interfaces. But it was right: Smart Touch is a great new control system, and the NV7 OPS is a stonking new camera.
Stroke my Samsung
First, let’s get some details out of the way. The NV7 has a 7MP sensor, the lens is a fast 7x zoom from optics expert Schneider-Kreuznach, it’s got an image stabiliser – OPS stands for optical picture stabilisation – and there’s a 2.5in LCD round the back.
So far, so ordinary. Now for the outstanding features. If ever there was a more eminently strokable digital camera, we’ve yet to see it. The slim NV7 has all the style and panache of an old-school Leica, but without all that silly film nonsense.
Its lens barrel – sadly lacking a cover – also has a quality, machined feel, like lenses used to be before the introduction of practical-but-downmarket plastic went and ruined everything.
Kiss my interface
The show-stealer, though, is unquestionably Smart Touch, which is a clever blend of touch-sensitivity and mechanical buttons. Seven buttons run along the bottom of the screen and six up the side.
They push in but they’re also touch-sensitive, allowing you to run your finger along each axis, draw a crosshair on the option you want and select it by pressing the button. Trust us, it’s much easier than traditional menus.
This is all very nice, you’re thinking, but does the NV7 take good photos? Thankfully, yes. Colours are very accurate and the shots have plenty of detail. The only caveat is a little too much sharpening, which can leave some odd purple fringing.
Review continues after the break...
So solid view
There’s no need to worry about camera shake as the image stabiliser effectively cuts this out even in lower light, and the funky pop-up flash is excellent and far enough away from the lens to avoid red-eye.
The only slight disappointment is the LCD, which is merely nice. It’s 2.5in wide – a good size – but, alas, it could be brighter as you can’t see much in fierce sunshine, and there’s no optical viewfinder to fall back on.
Still, these are but minor problems. Unless you demand nothing less than 10MP – in which case, look at its brother, the NV10 – the NV7 is a fantastic performer with more style than most cameras have pixels.