Samsung NX Mini Review


NX-MINI-750x400[1]Since I can remember, I have loved exotic faraway places. As a child I’d leaf through travel magazines, looking at pictures of saffron clad lamas and dancing Masai tribesmen.

When I got old enough to be able to travel on my own I backpacked across the continents, recording my humble adventures with my trusty camera. Unfortunately my camera was not that good and the photos, well, mediocre albeit that may have been my photography skills. Still, mostly I just remember my old SLR being a bit too cumbersome, especially if you had been trekking for miles.

Now in the digital age, and for me, old age I decided it was time for a new camera. I have to be honest, I was just going to buy a point and shoot. I didn’t really want to fuss with changing lenses anymore. I just wanted something simple but somehow I came home with something altogether different, a compromise, the Samsung NX Mini. There’s a new breed called mirrorless cameras and I guess it falls somewhere between a dSLR and a point and shoot. Call me a sucker for style, it just looked neat!

The best camera for travelling I wish I had back in the day.

When I was starting my search for a new camera I asked myself, “What would the best travel camera be like”? – Well, it needed to be compact, easy to use, have a long battery life and take awesome photos! How’s my NX Mini stack up?

Is it Compact?

Have you seen this thing? It’s definitely small and light and can easily fit into pocket, jacket, etc. so there’s no more need to carry unwieldy camera bags. Even with a few lenses along this camera isn’t taking up much space in your luggage. Seriously, at its price range, you cannot get more compact than the Samsung NX Mini. The Sony RX 100 M3 is equally small but almost twice the price for example.

Is it Easy to Use?

While travelling, you usually don’t have the time to mess around with a bunch of lenses, settings, etc. because by the time you’re ready to shoot, that very special magical moment is gone. The ideal traveller’s companion therefore must be simple to use, ideally just point and shoot simple.

Still, there are moments when you do want that extra control and you have that extra moment to make sure you get this sunset or whatever it be just the way you want it. The NX Mini gives you both, simplicity with the option to delve deeper and take control of those important setting like ISO, aperture and shutter speed.

One thing I found interesting is that you can actually take the shutter speed up to 1/16,000 of a second. That’s pretty crazy and should allow you to shoot at lower apertures even in bright sun light.

SLR Quality

The image quality most simple cameras offer leaves much to be desired. The NX Mini has a 1 Inch Sensor that is far better than most ordinary point and shoot cameras. Though still not quite up to professional DSLR standards, it does offer amazing quality at its price point and size. It also gives you the choice to shoot RAW or JPEG images.

But let’s be honest, we all know it’s all about the lens and that’s where SLR cameras shine. You can change them to fit your creative desires. Although the Samsung Mini isn’t a true SLR you do have the option to change lenses to suit your needs.

Long Battery Life

While travelling, you’re miles away from the nearest power connection. To be any good, a travelling camera needs to have long battery life. No need to fret, the battery is good enough for about 650 shots! So you can go image hunting wherever you wish, without worrying about plug points and chargers.

Wi-Fi

The Samsung NX Mini does have a WiFi mode which allows you to share pictures wirelessly. You can easily transfer the pictures from the camera to a smartphone, and if you so desire, you can also post the pictures directly on the Internet.

‘Selfie’ Mode

For the selfie addicts, this is the perfect choice. The 480 x 320 touchscreen flips by as much as 180 degrees, so you can smile and take as many selfies as your narcissistic self desires. OK, just kidding, it actually can be quite handy if you are traveling alone and you want to take a photo of yourself in front of the Pyramids of Giza for example.

The Downside

No camera is perfect, of course, and neither is the Samsung NX Mini. Most of the so called problems you will probably face with it are because of the compromises that Samsung had to make in order to accommodate the small size.

Teeny Weeny Buttons: Frankly these buttons would be nice for nimble fingered people. But my large hands are pretty clumsy when operating them. These small buttons will take some getting used to.

Micro SD Card Slots: Well they may be great theoretically but micro SD cards are not too common, and yes, they are a pain to use. You cannot use these cards with most computers unless you have a special adapter for that purpose.

What about the others?

One thing I discovered while looking for my new camera is that there are a lot of great choices out there, each with its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Among compact cameras the Sony RX 100 M3 offers better lenses, images and video quality. However its price is almost twice that of the Samsung NX Mini. The Nikon 1 S2 is inexpensive and has similar performance and image values, though it is not as compact as the Samsung NX Mini.

If small and compact design is a criteria then a great mirror-less camera is the Sony Alpha 600. Sony offers a far better image quality and lens options.

So why choose the Samsung NX Mini?

The Samsung NX Mini has been designed and created for non-professionals. People who like to shoot great pictures but do not wish to go for the expenses and the hassles of a real high end camera. The price at which it is being offered is pretty attractive, and the small pocket-friendly size makes it one of the best compact cameras for travelling in my book.

Published in Travel Photography, Travel Photography Gear Reviews

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