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Samsung presents cameras with a good amount of innovation, more so than traditional manufacturers, especially the likes of Nikon and Canon.
With the Samsung NX Mini the company has done it again, producing something that is fairly special in the market – if not unique. Pentax has tried to market an ultra-small compact system camera, and hasn't found too much success, while Nikon has done well with its cameras that use the same size sensor as the Samsung NX Mini.
What the NX Mini has achieved is a very small size – the body of the camera is smaller than some compact cameras. However, if you attach the 9-27mm lens, you won't be able to fit this camera in your pocket. You can purchase a 9mm f/3.5 pancake lens, which makes it more pocketable, but is obviously more restrictive in terms of focal length.
With only three lenses available at present, it will be interesting to see if Samsung manages to find success with this model, and expand that range. I can't see many people shelling out for the adaptor to attach existing NX mount lenses, but at least it's there should you want it.
The audience for this camera seems a little limited, and while some aspects of its specification, such as the touchscreen and inbuilt Wi-Fi, will probably appeal to those coming from smartphones, other aspects, such as the slight imbalance of the lens/camera combination may be offputting. It's good to see that Samsung has included raw format shooting and manual control here, for those who are enthusiasts, but at the same time it's hard to imagine many enthusiasts being tempted by a camera such as this.
While it is a little bigger overall, the Panasonic GM1, also features a much larger sensor and uses the same Micro Four Thirds mount as the rest of the Panasonic and Olympus range, so it's a better system to buy into if you're looking for completeness. The Panasonic also has a touchscreen and inbuilt Wi-Fi.
The responsive, tilting touchscreen is great to use to set the autofocus point and when scrolling through images in playback. It's a shame that some of the virtual buttons displayed on screen which you need to press to change settings, such as aperture or shutter speed, couldn't be a little bigger though – as it can be fiddly to press them. The ability to face the screen completely forwards will appeal to those who like to shoot selfies though. Samsung's range of different Wi-Fi functions is great too – and much better than its rivals'.
Images present a painterly, smudgy effect, even at low sensitivities. While the overall impression of images is good, if you're sharing online, or printing at small sizes, when examining them closely it's disappointing to see such a loss of detail.
The Samsung NX Mini is an interesting camera. It fits the niche area of the market of those looking for something ultra small that they can take manual control of and change the lenses. For the moment, that lens range is small, and it'll presumably be down to consumer demand whether the range is expanded further to include more optics. While the body itself is small, and the kit 9-27mm lens is small when compared to some lenses from other systems, it's not a pocketable device unless you attach one of the pancake lenses.
One of the biggest pluses of this camera is its relatively low price. It's cheaper than the Panasonic GM1, but it's not quite as cheap as the Nikon S1, with which it shares a sensor size – the Samsung offers a fair amount more than the S1 though for your money.
Amy has been writing about cameras, photography and associated tech since 2009. Amy was once part of the photography testing team for Future Publishing working across TechRadar, Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N Photo and Photography Week. For her photography, she has won awards and has been exhibited. She often partakes in unusual projects - including one intense year where she used a different camera every single day. Amy is currently the Features Editor at Amateur Photographer magazine, and in her increasingly little spare time works across a number of high-profile publications including Wired, Stuff, Digital Camera World, Expert Reviews, and just a little off-tangent, PetsRadar.
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