It’s been a long journey, but Samsung’s managed to build out a compelling camera lineup that has something for everyone. Pros can get the high-end NX30; cameraphone addicts can pick up the Galaxy K Zoom; and selfie fanatics will probably go for the NX mini, a tiny interchangeable-lens camera with a flip-up LCD that fits in your pocket. It’s that latter model we’re checking out today, and while it’s hardly a professional workhorse, Samsung’s entry-level mirrorless cam is a practical choice for the largest demographic any electronics manufacturer could hope to target: regular people.
The biggest selling point here is a super-slim, lightweight body that you can slip into a handbag, or even a pants pocket. Without a lens attached, the NX mini is no larger than many compact point-and-shoots, and when you stick on the 9mm (24.3mm, 35mm equivalent) f/3.5 kit lens, it’s not much thicker. There’s a 1-inch, 20.5-megapixel CMOS sensor that’s identical in size to what you’ll get with very high-end compacts, like the Sony RX100 M3, but quite a bit smaller than the APS-C sensor manufacturers include with mirrorless cameras like the Alpha 6000 or the aforementioned NX30.
Of course, a slim design also means you’ll have to put up with some limitations. There are only a few buttons on the rear, and they’re adorably small. They’re adequate for petite hands, but many adults will need to use a fingertip to do things like accessing the menu, switching to a different mode or reviewing captured images. There are miniature buttons on the top, too, for turning on the power or launching into Samsung’s WiFi mode. Fortunately, the shutter release is nearly full-size, and once you launch the menu, you can adjust many settings simply by tapping the 3-inch, 480 x 320 touchscreen, which also flips up 180 degrees for self-portraits, or at any angle in between for shots below eye-level, or overhead if you flip the camera upside-down.
Another peculiarity is the microSD card slot, which Samsung’s now including with many of its point-and-shoot cameras. It’s not like microSD cards are difficult to come by or much more expensive than their full-size counterparts these days, but they are tricky to insert. Plus, they’re incompatible with most laptops for downloading pictures and video (without an adapter), and very easy to misplace. The battery, however, is large enough for full-day shoots, at 2,330mAh, and the camera charges via micro-USB, which I prefer personally, though some users will want to have an external charger (which you won’t find in the box).
Samsung’s NX mini introduction is well-timed, however, with young casual photographers now focused on style and selfies above all else. The NX mini is hardly the most capable mirrorless camera on the market, with a lens, it’s a very solid buy.