Performance & Image Quality

The NX Mini uses a 20.9-megapixel, 1" sensor that gives it a resolution advantage over many of its compact ILS peers. As we'd expect from a Samsung camera at this level, JPEG processing is biased towards low noise, rather than critical resolution, but at low ISO sensitivity settings, there's plenty of detail, and noise isn't really an issue until ISO 1600 and above, at which point noise-reduction begins to steadily eat away at resolution.

Realistically, the NX Mini will most often be used (we suspect) as a social and 'carry everywhere' camera, and as such it should satisfy most snapshot social photographers - and occasional printers.

ISO 160 JPEG
100%
ISO 160 JPEG
100%
In everyday shooting and good light, the Mini does decently well getting contrast and certain details. I liked how this rusty barbed wire turned out, and while the noise reduction does muddy fine details up close, it's not apparent except at 100%, and little things like the stray spiderwebs are perfectly visible. I found that in bright the Mini tended toward the warm side of things in bright sunlight when left to its own devices, but never far enough that it seemed a mistake or incapable of being corrected.
ISO 160 JPEG
1S0 160 Adjusted Raw
There's a decent amount of detail in the out of camera JPEG version of this shot, but as you can see, a couple of minutes adjusting sharpening on the simultaneously-captured Raw file yields a great deal more resolution.

Low light & high ISO

In low light, the Mini does as well as can be expected from a compact system with a 1" sensor. Up to 3200 in variable light is pretty safe, but beyond that the IQ takes a hit. Brighter, more colorful shots at 6400 looked fine zoomed out, though there is a tendency towards pinkish noise which is mostly visible in neutral midtone areas.. Processing the Raw files allows you to minimize all this, of course.

ISO 2000 JPEG
100%
At ISO 2000 in poor light the NX Mini is still capable of delivering pleasantly-detailed, low-noise JPEG files. The camera's metering has done well in this high-contrast situation, too.
ISO 3200 JPEG
100%
At ISO 3200 fine detail is - as we'd expect - reduced by the effects of in-camera noise reduction but JPEG files are still relatively clean and certainly good enough for small prints and web sharing.
ISO 12800 JPEG
ISO 12800 Adjusted Raw
100%
100%
At the NX Mini's maximum ISO sensitivity setting of 12800, image quality is relativelty poor although this colorful picture still looks acceptable at screen resolution. As you can see, processing the simultaneously-captured raw file has yielded a slightly sharper result, but arguably the smoother, softer JPEG is a better choice for low-resolution printing and sharing.

Movie mode

The video modes on offer are 1080/30p, 720/30p, 640x480/30, and 320x240 — "for sharing." Samsung may want to take note that even many feature phones no longer record or share at that extremely low resolution, and they would do well to add 60p and/or 24p options.

In lieu of a high-framerate video mode, there is the "multi-motion" option, which lets you slow or speed up recorded video by various factors – but slow motion is only available for low-resolution video, and fast motion doesn't make much sense. The camera would certainly be better served by variable frame rates and a simple interval shooting mode.

1920x1080 @ 30p, 15Mbps, MP4, 10 sec, 20.4 MB Click here to download original file

That said, 1080p foootage looks creditably sharp and smooth, much better than the muddy 1080p often found on low to mid-range cameras. Exposure is locked when you start shooting, but you can set the focus simply and easily with a tap on the touchscreen; another tap returns it to autofocus. You can pause and unpause recording with the central navigation button.

That's the limit of the interface, though for everyday video it's more than enough, and home movies will be a snap to edit in-camera. There are no advanced features like zebra stripes, focus peaking, or histogram, but this camera is really not aimed at video-first users, and few devices at this level include such options.