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Samsung VP-MX10 Review

Samsung has been very kind to send me a Samsung VP-MX10 [1] for review as well as a 4 GiB SDHC SanDisk memory card.

As this is my very first camcorder, this review may not be as in dept as I cannot compare it with any other camcorder besides the video feature of my digital camera.

Summary
Pros

Cons

Introduction
The Samsung VP-MX10 is my very first camcorder. There is also another variation of MX10, called the MX10AU. The only difference is MX10AU has 4 GiB of built-in memory on top of the SDHC/MMC memory card slot. The MX10 is retailing for S$449 while the MX10AU is retailing for S$499, a difference of S$50. Even though I got the MX10, Samsung is kind enough to send me a 4 GiB SDHC card along with it.

Physical Appearance


Side View


AV Out Port, Mini USB Port, Charger Port


Battery Compartment, SD Memory Card Compartment


Holding Strap

The MX10 has a size of 60mm in width, 62.5mm in height and 121mm in length and weights 280 grams. The weight and the size of the MX10 feels quite good in my hands. Holding the MX10 on my right hand, I am able to use my thumb to power on the MX10, to start or stop a recording, to switch between recording and viewing mode, and to on the anti-shake (EIS) feature. My index finger is able to reach for the zooming in and out switch which is located on top. There is also an area to place my remaining of my three fingers.

Package Contents


Contents In The Box

Here are the stuffs that are included in the package

  1. MX10 Camcorder
  2. Main Battery
  3. Button Backup Battery
  4. Charger
  5. USB Cable
  6. TV Out Cable
  7. Pouch
  8. Camcorder Lens Cover Strap
  9. Instruction Manual
  10. Installation CD
  11. Warranty Card

When I first played around with the camcorder, I notice that the backup battery in the compartment is missing and it lacks the lens cover strap. I wanted to write that as a con in this review, but just to make sure, I search through the box and found the battery and the strap packaged together with the manual. I think it would be good if they are separated.

Lens


Schneider Kreuznach Lens

Samsung is using Schneider Kreuznach lens for the MX10. I am not really good when it comes to lens and what the values actually mean and here is what it says “f=2.3-78.2mm” and “F:1.6”. The diameter of the lens is 30mm. It supports up to 34X Optical Zoom which personally I find it fantastic and up to 1200X for Digital Zoom. You can take a look at “34x_zoom.avi” for the demonstration of the fantastic optical zoom. You can find the sample video at the bottom of this post.

LCD View Finder


View Finder

The 2.7″ LCD View Finder is able to display up to 112K pixels. Personally I find that the quality of the LCD display is a little poor maybe they put it this way in order to accommodate the 120 minutes of recording time.

Recording


Settings Menu


View Finder

The MX10 records in MPEG4/ASP format. I have no problem playing back the video that I have recorded. If you have problem with playing back the video, you can try installing the software that came with the CD or by installing the famous Combined Community Codec Pack [2].

The MX10 can record in 3 different resolutions:

  1. 720x576i
  2. 720x576p
  3. 352x288p

and in 3 different qualities:

  1. Super Fine
  2. Fine
  3. Normal

There are 6 scenes mode you can choose from

  1. Auto
  2. Sports
  3. Portrait
  4. Spotlight
  5. Beach/Snow
  6. High Speed

There are 6 presets for white balance

  1. Auto
  2. Daylight
  3. Cloudy
  4. Fluorescent
  5. Tungsten
  6. Custom

You can even add digital effect to the video from the 6 preset digital effects:

  1. Black & White
  2. Sepia
  3. Negative
  4. Art
  5. Mosaic
  6. Mirror

As the MX10 is reasonably priced, it is targeted towards the budget consumers and hence the MX10 did not include High Definition (HD) recording. If you like a HD version of the MX10, you can go for the HMX10C. The HMX10C comes with a 8 GiB of built-in flash memory and is retailing for S$1,199. There is also another model which is the HMX10 that does not come with a built-in memory but that is no longer available in Singapore.

Still Image
Sadly, the MX10 can only record video and could not capture still images. I think capturing still images is a good feature to have.

Quality
I am not very particularly impressed with the quality of the MX10 as I think the video feature of my digital camera can take almost same quality. The cons of using digital camera to take a video would be the lower optical zoom and lesser battery capacity because of the compact size of digital camera.

Most if not all of the video looks a little grainy when viewed from your computer as opposed to viewing using the MX10 View Finder. This is true as the quality of the LCD display of the view finder is a little poor.

The evening shot, “evening.avi” looks great whereas if you take the night shot, “night.avi”, some time is needed for the MX10 to focus of the target. As seen in the video, the quality goes from normal to blur, back to normal and then blur again.

I am quite impressed with the night shot ignoring the fact of the focus issue as I wasn’t expecting much from it. Perhaps because of the dark lighting at night, the video does not look grainy on my computer screen. I don’t think it is possible to record an object that moves very fast when at night as the focus issue will blur the entire video.

Sound
The sound quality of the MX10 is rather good, it can reproduce recorded sound clearly and loudly. No complaints from me for this part.

Size
The video that I have recorded are in 720x576i resolution with super fine quality which is the best the MX10 can record. Judging from that, a 45 seconds video is 26,475 KiB in file size. That would make 1 second of video 588 KiB in size. A 4 GiB SD-HC card can record up to 1 hour and 55 minutes of video in 720x576i resolution with super fine quality. Technically, it can support up to 32GiB SD-HC memory card.

Battery Life


As Mentioned, 120 Minutes Of Battery Life


The Battery

Battery life is a plus point to the MX10. It says here that it is able to go up to 120 minutes of recording on a single full charge. My LCD backlight is on and the LCD color and LCD brightness both are set to 50% and I off the Beep sound. I am able to get about 124 minutes of video recording which is slightly more than the stated time. I think by lowing the LCD color and brightness, you can get even more recording time.

Conclusion
If you are looking for a dedicated and reasonably priced camcorder, the MX10 is for you. But if you got a mid to high end compact digital camera, I would say stick to the digital camera as the video quality of both the MX10 and your digital camera would be the same.

Personally, I would save a bit more and go for the HMX10 because it can record in HD and it will be future proof for at least a few more years.

Sample Videos
I have uploaded 3 sample videos for your viewing pleasure. These videos are taken straight from the MX10 SD-HC memory card, renamed and then uploaded to the FTP. They have not been altered in any manner.

  1. Testing Of 34X Zoom – 34x_zoom.avi [3] (26.7 MiB)
  2. Evening Shot – evening.avi [4] (25.9 MiB)
  3. Night Shot – night.avi [5] (24.5 MiB)