Samsung is in a way similar to Sony. They like to experiment with digital cameras. If it shows to be a flop – no problem, something else will come next year that would sell well. Samsung already has a mirrorless system based around the NX lens mount and APS-C sized sensor, several cameras and a fistful of lenses. Therefore, the next logical (?) step was to introduce another mirrorless system, based around the smaller 13 x 9 mm sensor. So there it is: the NX mini. It is obvious who are the main target group – people who want small stylish camera with network connectivity and capable of somewhat better image quality compared to theirs iPhone. But is it more than that? That’s what I wanted to find out during my time with the NX mini.
- Announced: 2014.
- Type: mirrorless
- Dimensions: 110 x 62 x 23 mm (4.33 x 2.44 x 0.91″)
- Weight: 196g (with battery)
- Sensor: 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm), 20 megapixels
- Dust and moisture protection: No
- Flash: Built-in + external
- Continuous shooting: 6 fps
- LCD screen: 3″, 460,800 dots, tiltable, touch sensitive
- Memory card: micro SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Battery: Li-Ion B740
- Video: 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 (all 30 fps), mono sound
- Connectors: micro USB 2.0, micro HDMI
CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING
The design is beautiful, I cannot argue that. With its thin profile (only 23 mm) and combination of silver aluminum at the top and all white leather-like body, NX mini is sure to attract attention on the shop display. It is only when you take it in the hand that you realize body materials are not that great. They are not especially bad also but light squeaking can be detected beside the battery compartment and the leather imitation is slippery, so I would recommend using the hand strap at all times for security reasons. Besides that, NX mini is easy to hold and the shutter button is well placed and easy to reach.
All of the buttons on the back have very short travel and feel cheap: it is obvious Samsung intended this camera to be used mostly by touch-LCD interface. And truly, it is far the easiest to use it through touch interface. Usual automatic mode and some scene modes are available, but you also get traditional manual exposure modes (PSAM) and quite a wide range of manual controls. Main menu system is the same as found on other NX cameras – visually pleasing and with relatively logical layout. There is also a quick menu with most important options recalled by pressing the virtual “Fn” button on the LCD.
There are two weird details regarding image playback though: when you press the right button on multi controller, NX mini shows older images, and the left buttons (or using touch interface) will browse through newer images on memory card. This is the opposite of any digital camera ever produced and quite confusing at first. Also, when you rotate camera to portrait position, portrait image will be also rotated to fit the LCD, but then touch control stops working altogether as well as left and right physical buttons for browsing through images. Why Samsung?