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Samsung NX Mini Review: Handiest Mirrorless Camera We’ve Ever Tested

Samsung NX Mini 09

We review Samsung’s NX Mini!

In today’s post point-and-shoot world, a camera needs to offer more than just being able to take photos to be able to succeed. That’s one of the reasons mirrorless cameras are taking off, as far as marketshare is concerned. Small and relatively compact yet still possesing DSLR-like qualities, these cameras are usually the gadget of choice for photographers who value traveling light.

Samsung NX Mini 06

Samsung, ever the opportunist knew that however small current mirrorless cameras are, they’re still too big for some people. That’s probably the reason why they made the ridiculously small NX Mini.

The NX Mini sitting on top Xiaomi's Mi 3
The NX Mini sitting on top Xiaomi’s Mi 3

A mirrorless camera that fits in your pocket (literally)

The NX Mini is the smallest mirrorless camera that Samsung has ever made. While it’s not small enough to take the title of the world’s smallest (that still belongs to the Pentax Q) its specifications are way better than Pentax’s offering. The NX Mini uses a 1-inch sensor that’s comparable in size to Nikon’s 1 and Sony’s RX offerings, and goes up to 20.5-megapixels. At 110 x 62 x 23mm, it’s pretty small, and can be tucked in your jeans pockets with the 9mm pancake lens, although it’s going to be a tight fit. At just 196 grams, it’s also pretty light, which is great news for people looking for a relatively light camera.

Samsung NX Mini 07

Externally, the NX Mini has a very retro feel. The finish on the front of the body resembles leather, and the camera has a metallic trim on the top, and on the sides of the lens. The top of the camera holds the buttons for the direct link (which controls the Wi-Fi) power and shutter button. On the back lies the other camera controls, though you’ll be doing most of your navigation and control via the 3-inch touchscreen. Speaking of the touchscreen, the display can rotate 180 degrees that allows you to take selfies with ease. The NX Mini has a built-in flash on the front, and can take an external flash (and other accessories) via the flap on top.

Samsung NX Mini 05

Connectivity features abound

Samsung’s hell bent on equipping every camera it sells with both Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity, and the NX Mini is no exception. Both wireless technologies are present in the camera, which allows for seamless photo transfer and sharing. You can even remotely control the NX Mini via an app for both Android and iOS, which makes hands-free shooting possible (and allows for some epic selfies with the rotating 180 degree touchscreen).

Samsung NX Mini 04

New lens system

To get the camera as small as it is, Samsung had to shrink a couple of things in the NX system. That includes the lenses and the mounting system. The NX Mini sports the new NX-M mount, with dramatically shorter and smaller lenses. The lenses are around 20 percent narrower than regular NX lenses, and currently there are only two lenses for the new mount – the included 9mm pancake lens, and a 9-27mm zoom lens. If you already have NX lenses, you can use them via an optional mount, though that kind of defeats the purpose of using a small camera like the NX Mini.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Good image quality

The NX Mini manages to capture excellent photos, with good exposure and dynamic range, even with mixed illumination. Even on higher ISOs, noise wasn’t really a problem and you can push the ISO up to 1600 without any obvious noise issues. Since it’s an NX series camera, you have more control over your shot compared to a point-and-shoot, though the camera’s interface and lack of physical manual controls make shooting on manual a bit difficult.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Hugo Barra, VP for Xiaomi Global
Hugo Barra, VP for Xiaomi Global

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We’ve been using the camera as our primary shooter during events, and it’s managed to hold its own so far, enough that we usually ditch the SLR and go with the NX Mini instead. The autofocus of the camera is also pretty good, able to lock on 0.1 second.

Here are some videos taken with the NX Mini:


Samsung NX Mini 01

A great little camera for shutterbugs who want something small, light and powerful

While the manual controls and hard to use UI of the NX Mini isn’t the best in the world, the camera is still pretty powerful and handy. Most people who use it will probably keep it in auto (as did we when we were taking a majority of our shots) and will still produce excellent photos. If you’re looking for a powerful camera that’s easy to use and is very light, then the NX Mini might just be for you. Unfortunately, we don’t have an idea yet of local pricing, though it debuted in the US with a $499 (Php 21863) price tag. We’ll update this article when we get the local price.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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