This is one odd looking camera. But then it is part of Samsung's NV range, and they're all a little bit odd when compared to your average compact snapper.
The NV11 is certainly well up there in terms of features, with a highly impressive 10.1 megapixel CCD backed up by one of the best lenses we've yet encountered on a compact camera. But it's not just the 5x optical zoom rating that's getting us hot under the collar, because this is top-notch Schneider glasswork, and adds a touch of class to the whole set up.
The lens is also part of the reason for the NV11's odd styling, which has a certain Communist Eastern Europe quality to it. In terms of solidity and build quality it's one of the best we've ever seen. The way the lens and the rest of the buttons move and feel really is first rate, and the NV11 feels like a 'proper' camera – and has the manual mode to match.
The design doesn't get any more normal around the back either, with the large 2.7inch LCD viewfinder surrounded by more buttons than in a whole seaside town's panto season.
The system works by pressing the button down the side that relate to the icon on screen – say ISO setting – you then run your finger along the other axis of buttons to adjust the settings. It's great after a while, but starting off it's a right royal pain, and may well turn people off using it altogether.
Pictures almost perfect
This would be a real shame, because the NV11 is fantastic camera, and while the looks are old school, the quality of the images it produces are bang up to date. Okay, so we know the megapixel count on offer here is pretty high, but the quality of the images this camera produced still took us a little bit by surprise, as previous Samsung cameras have disappointed.
While high-megapixel compacts often end up noisier than a student's 21st birthday party, this beauty keeps that unsightly stuff to a minimum even when you push the ISO up quite high. However, there is often a pay off in the form of a slight softness to the image.
The lens also works wonders, with little in the way of barrel distortion – where the edges of the image go out of shape – that many other compacts suffer from. This coupled with the extra lens capacity makes it one hell of a flexible camera.
Elsewhere, face recognition technology works reasonably well, and the colour reproduction is excellent. Bright colours and dramatic contrasts are top of this Samsung's skills CV, although that lack of absolute sharpness may bug you over time – especially if you are blowing prints up larger than standard.