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This paper compares two approaches for evaluating the amplitude and timing jitters of an Er-fiber laser mode-locked at 10 GHz. Using a low-noise oscillator as the clock drive for the mode-locking, relative amplitude jitter was measured as low as 0.0384% and timing jitter as low as 0.0153% (Δf=100 Hz-40 MHz). Applying the mode-locked pulse train in a photonic sampling experiment at 10 Gsample/s, a spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) of ∼48.5 dB (over the Nyquist bandwidth of 5 GHz) for multiple analog inputs at L band (1-2.6 GHz). These results correspond to an analog-to-digital conversion resolution of ∼8 SFDR bits at 10 Gsample/s. Finally, the use of "instantaneous companding" is demonstrated to correct for third-order distortions generated by a Mach-Zehnder modulator used in the photonic sampling link.