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Samsung NX Mini Expert Review

Samsung NX Mini Expert Review - Read our full review of the ultra compact Samsung NX Mini compact system camera - with a 20 megapixel 1inch BSI sensor, and 3inch tilting touch screen.

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Category : Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Product : Samsung NX Mini
Price : £399
Rating :
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Samsung NX Mini White (2)

The Samsung NX Mini is a new mirrorless camera from Samsung, with a 20 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor, a compact camera body and has been introduced with a number of compact lenses. The camera has a tilting 3inch touch-screen and built in Wi-Fi for sharing to social networks and smartphones. The Samsung NX Mini is available for £399 with a 9mm f/3.5 pancake lens, and comes bundled with Adobe Lightroom 5.

Samsung NX Mini Features

Samsung NX Mini White (11)

The Samsung NX Mini features a 1inch, 20 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, a Samsung NX-M (Mini) lens mount, and an adapter will be available so that you can use Samsung NX lenses with the NX Mini. 

On the back is a 3inch tilting touch screen, designed for the "Selfie" or "Wefie" generation - a selfie is a self- portrait photo, a wefie is a group shot. The camera features wink-detection, and will automatically take a photo after two seconds if it detects someone winking at the camera.

The NX Mini has the lightest and thinnest body of any mirrorless camera, however it is longer and taller than the Panasonic Lumix GM1 and Nikon 1 J4. The NX Mini weighs 158g body only and is 22.5mm thin (without the lens), making it fit easily into pockets, even with the 9mm pancake lens attached. 

With built-in Wi-Fi and NFC it's possible to quickly share photos and send them to a smartphone or tablet, as well as upload directly to social media sites including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to name a few. In addition there is support for uploading to cloud storage, including Dropbox, so that you can quickly and easily backup your photos without having to use a computer.

Samsung NX Mini White (12)

Samsung has released three lenses at introduction:
  • 9mm f/3.5 ED Pancake, equivalent to 24.3mm in 35mm terms, 31g
  • 9-27mm f/3.5-5.6 ED OIS Compact Zoom, equivalent to 24-73mm in 35mm terms, 73g
  • 17mm f/1.8 OIS Prime, equivalent to 45.9mm in 35mm terms
Wi-Fi and NFC: The NX mini features advanced Wi-Fi and NFC integration that makes it easy to share images. Tag & Go connectivity allows the NX mini to pair with NFC-enabled devices, such as smartphones or tablets, simply by touching the two together. Once paired, you can:
  • Select and send multiple images to mobile devices through Mobile Link
  • Send images to up to four devices with Group Share, eliminating the repetitive process of sending pictures to multiple devices
  • Control the NX mini via a smartphone with Remote View Finder Pro
  • Use the camera as a Baby Monitor - When noise is detected, the paired smartphone is activated via an app, allowing parents to see if they need to attend to their child.
Additionally, images can be uploaded directly from the camera to the cloud for an easy storage / backup solution, with support for Dropbox built in.

Samsung NX Mini White (13)

Key Features

  • 20.5 megapixel 1inch BSI CMOS sensor
  • Samsung NX-M (Mini) lens mount
  • 3inch tilting touch screen, 460.8k dots (HVGA)
  • Built in flash
  • ISO100 - ISO25600 (Extended)
  • FullHD 30fps video
  • 6fps continuous shooting
  • NFC / Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 included
  • MicroSD / MicroSDHC / MicroSDXC card slot
  • 110.4x61.9x22.5mm
  • 158g / 196g with battery
  • Available in white, brown, black, pink and green

Samsung NX Mini Handling

Samsung NX Mini White (6)

Build quality appears to be very good with a solid plastic body, and the silver strip on the top of the camera features a stylish brushed aluminium effect. The tilting screen is solidly constructed and appears to have a well designed hinge. If you open the screen to face forwards, the camera will automatically switch on. 

The textured plastic body aids grip, however as it is not rubberised is can be a little slippery, and the thin body can leave little to hold on to. With the larger zoom lens there is an additional area to hold on to, as you can hold on to the lens, however the camera no longer stands up by itself due to the weight of the lens. We'd recommend using the provided wrist strap to ensure you don't accidentally drop the camera. The camera will easily fit into jeans pockets with the compact 9mm lens attached, and will easily fit into jacket pockets with the larger 9-27mm lens attached. 

Samsung NX Mini White (4)

The screen can be difficult to view in bright sunlight, although turning the brightness up does help, and colours look good on the screen. You can set the focus position using the touch-screen, and select roughly 90% of the screen. 

The compact 9mm f/3.5 pancake lens weighs just 31 grams, and is 12.5mm thick when off, automatically extending when switched on. It features a scratch- proof tempered glass coating, which Samsung says eliminates the need for a lens cap, although we would have still liked the option. The closest focusing distance of the 9mm lens is 11cm. 

The 9-27mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS lens features built-in optical image stabilisation, and weighs 73 grams. This does come with a lens cap, and features a 39mm filter thread. You simply twist the lens to extend it, or twist it back the other way to close it. When closed, the camera will tell you that the lens is locked if you try and take any photos with the lens in the wrong position. The closest focusing distance is 14cm (wide) and 20cm (telephoto).

Samsung NX Mini White (5)

Using the Fn button on the touch-screen brings up a control panel that is easy to use, as you simply press the option you want to set. You can set the majority of options using either the Fn / On-screen control panel, or alternatively the buttons on the back of the camera where there are dedicated buttons for drive mode, focus, and exposure options. To set more advanced options, you simply press the menu button, and the options are spread over a number of menus, including photo options, video options, custom settings, and setup. The mode button lets you set the mode from: Auto, Smart, Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual and Wi-Fi. There are no control wheels or dials, so for those that like to change manual aperture and shutter speeds, this could be a little frustrating.

Samsung NX Mini White (8)

Battery life - Battery life is rated at 650 shots according to Samsung / CIPA standards with the 9mm lens, this is excellent! We took over 200 shots, and there was still 2 bars of battery life showing. If you plan on using Wi-Fi regularly or want to take more shots without charging the battery, then your battery life may be shorter. The battery is charged in camera, using a microUSB cable, so it should be easy to find a suitable charger if you have a modern mobile phone, or alternatively mobile phone travel chargers will also work.

Samsung NX 

Mini VS Nikon 1 S1 (4)
Samsung NX Mini Vs Nikon 1 S1 size comparison - both cameras feature a 1inch sensor. 

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response <0.05secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.4secs
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.6secs
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.1secs
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6fps (11 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash 0.7secs
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5fps (5 shots)

Shutter response and focus speed is very quick, as tested with the 9-27mm lens. Continuous shooting is good at 6fps, shooting 11 shots before slowdown when shooting JPEG images. 

Samsung NX Mini Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung NX Mini Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Photos taken with the Samsung NX Mini have good colour, with reliable exposure. Colours are quite brightly saturated and detail is good. Portrait photos taken with flash have no noticeable red-eye and skin tones and detail are both good.

Samsung NX Mini Lens test images


Lens Performance - Macro performance is very good with the 9-27mm zoom lens, when zoomed to 27mm. The 9mm lens can focus reasonably close, allowing a decent macro photo, and image quality is quite good from this lens. We were particularly impressed by the image quality of the 9-27mm lens, with good detail into the corners of the frame. There was some purple fringing noticeable when there were areas of contrast in the shot, particularly towards the corners of the frame. Distortion is automatically corrected in camera. 

Samsung NX Mini ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - The default ISO range starts at ISO160, and extends down to ISO100, where noise is very low, with good levels of detail. Noise continues to be low with good levels of detail at ISO200 and ISO400. Noise is very well controlled at ISO800, with a very slight drop in fine detail. Noise is also well controlled at ISO1600, again with a very slight drop in fine detail. There is a more noticeable drop in fine detail at ISO3200, however noise levels are still low. Images become softer at ISO6400, although results should still be usable as noise is quite low. Noise becomes much more noticeable at ISO12800, and under our lighting banding is visible. As expected ISO25600 shows the highest levels of noise, and the lowest levels of detail - therefore we'd recommend avoiding this setting if possible.

Samsung NX Mini White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten lighting, with the tungsten preset giving a slightly warmer result. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving a similar result.

Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/4.0 | 9.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/4.0 | 9.0 mm | ISO 200

Panorama mode - The panoramic mode automatically stitches the images as you pan the camera and works in any direction, left, right, up, or down. The camera does a good job of stitching the images together although the resolution is fairly low. 

Samsung NX Mini Outdoor images


The camera produces images with good levels of dynamic range, however for images with high levels of contrast, you can use the iDynamic option to increase dynamic range. There is also an HDR mode that merges multiple shots.

Samsung NX Mini Digital filters


Digital Filters - There are a number of preset colour options under Picture Wizard, and you can adjust the hue, saturation, sharpness and contrast manually if you want to. The Smart Filter option lets you choose from vignetting, miniature, sketch and fish-eye, although you can't shoot JPEG and RAW at the same time when using this option. In playback, there are another set of effects and editing options available including crop, rotate, resize, brightness, contrast, saturation settings, as well as face retouch and red-eye fix. You can also apply the effects available in Picture Wizard and Smart Filter, as well as a few additional ones including: soft focus, oil painting, cartoon, ink painting, cross filter and zooming shot.

Video - The NX Mini records full HD video (1080p) at 25fps, and the maximum ISO setting available is ISO3200 which means that in low light you may need to use a brighter lens. Quality is good, and there are options for wind noise reduction.


Value For Money

The Samsung NX Mini is available £399 with a 9mm pancake lens, and comes bundled with Adobe Lightroom 5, making it excellent value for money for an ultra-compact mirrorless camera, with the nearest competitors available for quite a bit more money.
A similar set of features can be found in the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II, with a 20 megapixel 1inch sensor, Wi-Fi, although you can't change the lens on it, it does feature a bright f/1.8 zoom lens and is available for around £535.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung NX Mini Verdict

The Samsung NX-Mini is an ultra compact mirrorless camera, with a 20 megapixel 1 inch BSI CMOS sensor - it offers detailed images and good noise control. The compact body with excellent Wi-Fi connectivity and an easy to use tilting touch-screen make it an appealing camera, particularly when you consider the relatively low price of £399 that includes a full version of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.

The limited range of lenses currently available may deter some, particularly as there are other compact system cameras with a much larger range of lenses, and it would certainly be useful to see a roadmap for future lenses. Despite this, the Samsung NX Mini delivers very good images in a compact body and lens system and offers some of the best Wi-Fi connectivity available. Perhaps the Samsung NX-Mini could give Samsung some real traction in the mirrorless camera market, especially if high quality lenses continue to be released for it. 

If you are likely to be happy with the lenses currently available then the Samsung NX Mini offers excellent value for money, delivers very good image quality, excellent Wi-Fi connectivity and is well worth looking at.


 
 
  The Samsung NX-Mini delivers excellent image quality in an ultra compact mirrorless camera with the best Wi-Fi connectivity currently available. 

Samsung NX Mini Pros

Easy to use 3inch touch screen
Very good image quality
Good colour reproduction
Good noise performance
Lightroom 5 in the box
Very good value for money
Dropbox support
Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity
Great battery life
Silent shutter

Samsung NX Mini Cons

Tips over with 9 -27mm lens attached
9mm lens doesn't feature a lens cap
Limited number of lenses available
Grip could be better

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Samsung NX Mini Specifications

ManufacturerSamsung
Image Sensor
CCD pixels20.5Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)5472
Pixels (H)3648
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1inch
Sensor Size (width)13.2mm
Sensor Size (height)8.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution460.8k dots (HVGA)
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/16000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Viewfinder
Viewfinder ResolutionNo Data
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting6fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30fps
Stereo SoundNo Data
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion
CIPA RatingNo Data
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data
Dimensions
Weight196g
Width110.4mm
Height61.9mm
Depth22.5mm

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Comments


dannyr e2
5 18 United Kingdom
2 May 2014 5:06PM
Its a nice looking camera, but I was surprised how tall and wide it is, I thought it was a lot smaller.
I think the Panasonic GM1 or the Pentax Q7 are better choices right now if you really want small , but Samsung really loves to undercut the competition so with a few more lenses added, it might become an interesting choice.

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ChrisV e2
8 889 26 United Kingdom
6 May 2014 12:06PM
Seems to me there's a little bit of a law of diminishing returns in smaller sensor ILC formats. Going down to 1" isn't gaining much if anything over the Panasonic GM1 in terms of size, whilst offering even more than the [necessary given the size] trade-off in handling and DoF control. The latter is quite well addressed by the number of fast primes available for MFT whereas there's the double-whammy here of slow lenses and a smaller imaging area.

The camera is decent looking and the price is good - but I just can't see the format gaining much traction or being a hit with the sort of serious photographer for whom lens-switching is an enticement to buy into a system.
lemmy e2
7 2.0k United Kingdom
7 May 2014 1:18AM
I don't follow the logic here. The Samsung has a 25.4 (1 inch sensor), much larger than the 17mm sensor of MFT cameras.

It appears to be a real bargain but the image quality doesn't seem to reflect the larger even than APS- C image size. While there is more to a camera than IQ and the size of this camera is remarkably small for such a large sensor, I'd have expected more.

With a smaller sensor, the Panasonic GM1 looks to have better IQ and an even smaller body size. More expensive, though.
joshwa e2
4 710 United Kingdom
7 May 2014 9:06AM
Hi Lemmy,

The "1inch" sensor is a diagonal measurement - the actual sensor dimensions of the "1inch" sensor is 13.2 width x 8.8 mm height.

Details / pictures etc here
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/sensor-size-explained-with-sample-photos-17813
lemmy e2
7 2.0k United Kingdom
7 May 2014 11:29AM

Quote:The "1inch" sensor is a diagonal measurement - the actual sensor dimensions of the "1inch" sensor is 13.2 width x 8.8 mm height.


From my schoolboy recollection of Pythagorus that gives a diagonal of 15.8mm rather than 25.4 or 1 inch.

Perhaps the one inch refers to the length of the piece of wire that used to connect a cathode ray tube to the left-side veeble oscillator in the pre-war TV sets of Baird Wink

I've always wondered at the confused minds of the people who introduced all these bizarre measurement systems. If someone tells me the physical dimensions of a sensor, just like they would a floor tile or a desk, I can work out the crop factor, diagonal, area and all easily. I can't do that for 1/ 1/17inch. So we have a sensor of 13.2x8.8 with a diagonal of 15.8mm which is known as a 25.4mm sensor.

My next car will be a 12.5 litre Ford Focus. I calculate the engine size by taking the tradition size of a fuel tank in a 1948 Ford and dividing it by 4.

How about leading the way, Joshwa and in future ePz referring to all sensor sizes by by their dimensions? The dawn of a new age of enlightenment in the digital camera world!

I agree with ChrisV over this camera, it seems to sacrifice too much for too little, if any, size saving. The more the merrier, though and I'm sure it will be just what some people have been looking for.

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