I've been wanting a small camera for a while, having wearied of lugging a large Canon DSLR (currently 7D) and lenses around on the off-chance of getting some good photo opportunities. The Canon is great for sports and for taking on pre-planned photo trips or outings, and also on holiday, but just not sensible for more casual use.
I first bought a Panasonic LX5 which I thought I could share with my wife and replace her aging but still good Fuji F30. However, even though this is about as good as compact cameras get, I was still not happy with the image quality, especially if any editing was required. The wife is also unimpressed as she finds the Fuji perfectly adequate and simpler to use.
I've given up on waiting for Canon's offering in this fast growing market, and I was quite interested in the Samsung NX10 because of the APS-C size sensor and the range of lenses available. However, I'd been put off by some adverse comments and lukewarm reviews but collected a lot of samples online and was generally impressed. I then tried out a few cameras in this class the other day and found the NX10 to be exactly what I was after. I don't mind that it looks like a shrunken DSLR because in essence that is exactly what I want.
I also didn't mind that it came with a flash and viewfinder neatly built-in, unlike the expensive and fiddly add-ons needed for other brands like the Micro 4/3rds and the NEX range. I also wanted a compact lens with a near normal focal length and the Panasonic 30mm f/2 (45mm equiv) meets that need, and has gotten some very good reviews. Non of the other brands seem to offer an exact equivalent to this. The clincher was some of the excellent deals on the NX10 now that the NX11 is almost here.
I've taken a few shots around the house with all three lenses and I'm quite amazed at the quality. All three lenses seem very sharp and noise is very well controlled up to ISO 800. Focusing speed is very quick - just not an issue. It really is above expectations and I'm looking forward to taking it outdoors, given some decent daylight, which has been very elusive around here so far this year.
I would say I could recommend this to anyone wanting a a backup to their DSLR or even as an only camera. Sitting it side by side with my 7D, given the size difference, it is hard to believe that they have the same size sensor - at least until you see the photos!
I think Canon and Nikon are going to have to get on board with this very soon or Panasonic, Samsung, etc, are going to eat their lunch.