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Samsung NX mini Review

November 2014 | By Devin Coldeway and DPReview Staff
Buy on Amazon.com From $329.00

Samsung has a history of trying something unexpected every once in a while. This is the company that gave us the Dual View series - point-and-shoots with small secondary LCDs on the front panel - as well as the first cameras to run full Android operating systems with LTE connectivity. In a similar spirit they've introduced the Samsung NX Mini. Using a BSI 20.5MP CMOS sensor of the 1"-type, it nabs the title of 'world's slimmest interchangeable lens camera'.

The NX Mini gives the world yet another lens mount, accepting NX-M lenses. There are three lenses in the range at present - a 9mm F3.5 (24.3mm equivalent) prime, 9-27mm F3.5-5.6 (24.3-72.9mm equivalent) collapsible zoom, and a 17mm F1.8 (45.9mm equivalent) prime. An NX mount adapter is sold separately for $149.99.

Samsung engineers have clearly put an emphasis on the 'slim' aspect of the camera. It's only 22.5mm thick, and with the diminutive 9mm prime it's well within the bounds of jacket-pocketability. The body itself is the size of a compact point-and-shoot, and the lenses inspire the same kind of 'those can't possibly be real lenses!' reaction that the Pentax Q7 and its optics did when we first laid eyes on them.

Samsung NX Mini key features

  • 20.5MP 1"-type BSI CMOS sensor
  • Wi-Fi and NFC
  • 1080/30p HD video
  • P/A/S/M modes
  • Raw shooting
  • Capacitive 3.0-inch 460k-dot touch screen LCD, tilts upward 180 degrees
  • Electronic shutter with 1/16000 max shutter speed
  • 650 shot battery life with 9mm lens, 530 shots with 9-27mm lens

It may be a fresh face, but the Samsung NX Mini isn't the only super-small interchangeable lens camera game in town. Nikon's 1 series uses a 1" sensor and proprietary lens mount, while Panasonic offers the GM1 and GM5 with a larger Four Thirds sensor and Micro Four Thirds mount. The intrepid Pentax Q7 came before them all, though it uses a 1/1.7" sensor - smaller than any of the above.

 
Samsung NX Mini
Panasonic GM1
Nikon 1 J3
Resolution
20.9MP
16MP
14.2MP
Sensor
1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Four Thirds (17.3 x 13 mm)
1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
Lens mount
Samsung NX-M
Micro Four Thirds
Nikon 1
ISO range
100-25600
125-25600
160-6400
LCD design (tilt up/down)
Tilting (180° up)
Fixed
Fixed
Screen resolution
3.0" / 460K dot
3.0" / 1036K dot
3.0" / 921K dot
Max burst rate
6 fps
5 fps
15 fps
Video resolution
1920 x 1080 / 30p
1920 x 1080 / 30p
1920 x 1080 / 30p
Battery life (CIPA)
530 shots *
230 shots
220 shots
* With 9-27mm lens

Kit options and pricing

The NX Mini is available in white, brown, black, mint green and pink. A kit with 9mm lens is offered at $449 US / €399. Bundled with the 9-27mm zoom and external flash, it costs $549 / €499.

The Samsung NX Mini will be offered in several colors with the 9-27mm kit zoom.

As with Samsung's recent advanced cameras, the NX Mini ships with a full version of Adobe Lightroom 5.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 25
Enginel

I see this camera more like a 2X teleconverter for NX lenses...
Its native lenses are anyway little too large to be truly pocketable (9-27 is about the size of Sony's APS-C 16-50 collapsible zoom)

0 upvotes
beavertown

Dpreview is moving forward by reviewing such camera.

Good job!

0 upvotes
iAPX

Interesting idea. The camera as a peripheral for the smartphone.

Would like to see others proposals in this direction, as I am working on that with my pocket camera, y smartphone and my tablet , to see how to optimize the potential of them all in any situation.

0 upvotes
Marty4650

This certainly looks like an interesting "pocket rocket."

It has a few rough edges, but the second or third generation should be pretty good.

The 1" sensor might be much more common in a few more years.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey

It occurs to me that the root problem here is dpreview itself can't decide what it wants these cameras to be: full dSLR control in a pocket package? Just a really good point-and-shoot? Something else entirely? and as a consequence the reviews come off as inconsistent and just, well, off somehow.

First the Nikon 1 models, now the NX... you guys just don't seem to "get" these cameras at all.

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
richsfusa

dpreview seems quite clear. perhaps it is your interpretation that is "somewhat off."

3 upvotes
vladimir vanek

OMG, now everyone's going to produce "selfie" cameras to support that ill idea to shoot oneselves. Human vanity must have gone a long way to reach today's levels.

4 upvotes
jnd

It's actually very useful for couples or travelling friends or long distance relationships or for people who are separated for another reason. In this age it's easy to stay connected through the internet so why not share the connection through some photos? Not everyone uses it to show off their face in every post on their profile.

1 upvote
Vlad S

Vanity has reached mythical proportions already in the antiquity: recall the original Narcissus.

0 upvotes
anthony mazzeri

Vladimir, I assume those liking your comment don't realise the irony you using a selfie as your own avatar.

1 upvote
citrontokyo

anthony, it's only a "selfie" if you take it yourself. otherwise, it's a portrait. can you prove it's the former?

0 upvotes
Enginel

I'd be very pleased if all girls posting selfies on the internet would use this camera instead of 1/4" camera of smartphone.

0 upvotes
Gesture

That's a Silver Award winner. But Samsung NX owners enjoy great value.

0 upvotes
bluevellet

Pretty short review. I expected a bit more info.

IQ seems pretty good, with the 17mm prime, until maybe ISO 3200

0 upvotes
Felix E Klee

Well, in the title it says "mini review".

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

I've never had any buffering problems when shooting raws with this.

I don't like that in raw, NR gets applied at higher ISOs, starting around 1600, even if you turn off NR.

"The Samsung doesn't really have an answering marquee feature except, perhaps, its 180-degree-tilting 'selfie' LCD — useful, but hardly an equalizer. "

Except Samsung has an optically excellent f/1.8 17mm lens, nearly PanaLeica level, but unlike good PanaLeica lenses it costs $250. There is no Nikon 1 system equivalent. And the Samsung kitzoom is optically better than either the kitzoom with the Nikon 1 V3 or the Panasonic GM1, or GM5 now.

So it's the lenses, not so much the body, but at least Samsung has an idea of how to do a touch screen menu.

1 upvote
ambercool

I'm curious, have you owned the Nikon 1 V3, GM1, and GM5 with kit zoom to make these comparisons? More importantly, how long have you owned these three cameras in comparison to the Samsung for real world use?

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

No, but I've played with both the V3 and GM1's lens extensively, albeit indoors.

The Panasonic's lens isn't real special. That is all, it's not horrid or anything like say the kitzoom on the Sony A6000.

The V3's kitzoom has been trouble for every online user and me. Anyhow only very very expensive Nikon lenses can begin to compete with good cheap Samsung lenses.

Own? I try not to, much too expensive and a waste in the case of the Nikon's kitzoom. That 32mm 1 system lens is good, but it's nearly $1000 and I've not tried the 18.5mm--I read elsewhere it's good.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Murdey

"Except Samsung has an optically excellent f/1.8 17mm lens, n... There is no Nikon 1 system equivalent."

Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5/1.8 @ $200

3 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

Richard,

And note where I noted the existence of that lens further down, well before you corrected me. (But yes, I was wrong to not check.)

The fact remains that the kitzoom on the V3 is not good. While the Samsung NX Mini's is.

0 upvotes
Todd3608

I doubt enthusiasts and those who want manual control are really the target for this camera.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW

True, but two of the lenses are real draws. And the camera shoots nice raws until it starts with autoNR.

0 upvotes
Richard Murdey

and what dpreview doesn't itself understand is that there exists enthusiasts who don't want manual controls on this class of camera, or that 95% of the "enthusiasts" who claim to need these manual controls will not, in fact, ever use them.

Comment edited 17 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
anthony mazzeri

Todd, actually they are. Search youtube reviews of the NX300 and lo and behold you'll see a teenage girl vlogger who bought the pink one listing this as one of its main features after the flip-up screen - i.e., in manual it doesn't keep refocussing as she moves while recording her vlog.

0 upvotes
Murat Sahan

Looks nice, will try one in IRL soon I hope

0 upvotes
Total comments: 25