Samsung NX mini review

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SAMSUNG NX MINI LENSES

At his point, there are only two lenses for this camera. The smaller and cheaper one is the 9mm pancake. It will give you point of view like 24mm lens on full frame camera. This is a good focal range for landscapes or group people shots, but not appropriate for portraits. Aperture is only F/3.5 and combined with the lack of optical image stabilization makes this lens useful only in good light. It is very small though and makes NX mini extremely slim and portable.

The second lens is the 9-27mm F/3.5-5.6 collapsible zoom (24-72 mm). This one has image stabilization and is therefore more attractive to most potential buyers. It is more expensive to buy NX mini with it though (around $100 extra).

Both lenses share a similar build quality: plastic all over but feel relatively solid. Image quality is mostly fine: I couldn’t see any major optical flaws beside the usual smaller amount of chromatic aberrations or slightly blurred corners.

Samsung said there will be a third lens this year; a 17mm F/1.8. This one would give you a 45mm equivalent viewing angle and could allow for a somewhat shallower depth of field. This would also be the only actually interesting lens since both 9mm and 9-27mm are too boring and limited in my opinion.

You can also get an NX to NX mini lens adapter, but I’m not sure who would want to bother with that.

AUTOFOCUS

Auto focus speed is satisfactory. In daylight it will focus within a second for most situations, but low light seems to be a problem sometimes. You can select a single focus point anywhere in the screen or let the camera choose where to focus. Manual focus is also available with the option to magnify part of the frame for more accurate focusing.

SAMSUNG NX MINI SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY

The smaller 13.2 x 8.8 mm sensor with 20 megapixels sounds like a good choice in theory. This is the same size Sony used in RX100 and that one works fine. The one in NX mini… well also works fine, but now we must compare it with other mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and they all use much bigger sensors, therefore have better image quality. NX mini is fine in daylight. For most part it would be hard to distinguish images from various cameras, but I could instantly see very dull colors on default image settings and slightly lower dynamic range. This becomes apparent in post process when you really need to bump some sliders up to get more color into images.

At low light, NX mini images degrade faster than those from the Samsung NX2000 for example. The main problem is the noise reduction which is way too strong even in RAW files. Look at the image below shot at ISO 1600. When zoomed to 100% (right image) wheat field is completely ruined by the noise reduction. I have seen similar results from other cameras before, but never in RAW files what means Samsung by default applies a great deal of noise reductions in all images and you cannot control it.

NX mini ships with full version of Adobe Lightroom 5 – I don’t know why. People who know how to use this program will not buy NX mini anyways.

SAMSUNG NX MINI LCD AND EVF

LCD can be tilted up to 180 degrees for a selfie. Sadly, it does not tilt the other way so NX mini is useless on a concert or in any large crowd – you will have to shoot by a pure luck. It has a now usual 3 inch diagonal with 460,000 dots. Viewing quality is fine but one could wish for higher dot count – 900,000 would look even better. Viewing angles are very good, and touch control works as it should and also supports multi-touch.

SAMSUNG NX MINI MEMORY AND BATTERY

NX mini supports micro SD memory cards. I can see the logic behind that – they want you to use Wi-Fi to transfer photos and this camera is targeted at pure amateurs who will probably useĀ  USB cable to transfer photos, but micro SD cards are actually a very bad choice. They are too small and fiddly for regular use and are too easy to get lost.

Li-Ion battery is quite strong. According to official CIPA measurements, it can provide around 500-600 shots from a single charge. I haven’t shot that many photos, but it seems NX mini could do it in real life. This makes NX mini the best mirrorless ever regarding battery life. Similar cameras give only around 300 shots, Olympus E-M1 has 400-450 shots battery life, but NX mini tops them all. As expected, battery is charged inside the camera using the micro USB cable (via PC or by using supplied AC/DC adapter).

FLASH UNIT

Interesting but somewhat weird thing about NX mini is the flash selection. The camera allready has a small built in flash. When you buy the 9-27mm lens separately you get a second flash which is attached to the top of the camera. Besides being somewhat stronger it doesn’t offer anything worthwhile: it still uses main camera battery as a power source and cannot be tilted for bounce, so what’s the point?

SAMSUNG NX MINI VIDEO RECORDING

NX mini records Full HD video but only with mono sound. There is no option to attach external microphone. Video quality is quite good – videos are sharp even in low light, but you should use 9-27mm lens since it has optical stabilization, it really helps for videos.




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2 thoughts on “Samsung NX mini review

  1. Hello,

    First off thank you so much for the in depth review. it was very helpful. I was thinking of buying this camera for making videos (mostly vlogging), but I would like to ask if you know of other cameras of a similar price range or cheaper that offers more or better quality. I am interested in a flip screen camera such as this one. I have a DSLR for taking photos and making high quality videos but it is too heavy to carry around and difficult when I’m filming myself handheld. Your help will be greatly appreciated.
    P.S: if you think this is a better otion, do I need to buy both lens or does the 9-27mm work just fine and how heavy is it? is it comfortable for vlogging with the camera facing me?
    Sorry for the long questions.

    Thank you :)

    • 9-27mm lens would be just fine. Video quality is quite good on NX mini, you should be fine with it for amateur vlogs. :)

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