The NX10 fared marginally better than the NEX-5 in our Auto White Balance studio test. The NEX-5 image shot a little bit warmer under the 3200k incandescent lights.
Both cameras produced good images with nice, though slightly saturated colors in our studio test. To my eye, the NX10's images look a bit sharper under close inspection.
Cranking ISO up to 3200, the NX10 flattens colors more significantly than the Sony. Both images are predictably noisy viewed at 100%.
The Sony seemed to do a little bit better than the NX10 at very high ISOs, though as reviewer Jim Keenan stated in his NEX-5 analysis, "...differentiating the brands on the basis of ISO performance alone provides no clear cut winner."
Sony alpha NEX-5, ISO 3200, 100% crop
Samsung NX10, ISO 3200
Samsung NX10, ISO 3200, 100% crop
So which camera gets the advantage in image quality?
Up until ISO 800, I'm picking the NX10 as the winner. Images have just a little more contrast and detail than the images I see from the NEX-5.
It really is a toss up, though. The NEX-5 offers a lot of options to tweak image quality including six "Creative Style" processing modes, four DRO Dynamic Range Optimizer settings, and six levels of High Dynamic Range exposure. The NX10 counts nine processing modes in its exposure options, along with Smart Range on/off. The NX10 may take the advantage in the image quality section of our comparison, but either camera will produce very good images for its user.'
Advantage: Samsung NX10
Price and Value
The Sony NEX-5 retails for around $650 in its least expensive configuration with the 16mm lens and $700 for the 18-55. This includes a small flash unit that clips into the accessory port, but not the EVF. The little brother to the NEX-5, the NEX-3, will cost $550 with the 16mm lens. You'll give up 1080p video recording and trade it for 720p for the lower price.
The NX10 is currently selling for about the same price. Do a little comparison shopping and you can find it for $650 with the 18-55mm lens. For everything the Samsung offers, it's a better value than the NEX-5. It's not a clear-cut point, though. If compact size and trend-setting style is more important than a built-in flash or EVF, then the NEX-5 has what you're looking for. Based on specs alone, the NX10 offers more bang for the buck, but it's hard to pin down exactly what a better-looking camera should be worth. For $650, you could do much worse than the NEX-5.
Advantage: Samsung NX10
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