MANILA, Philippines — There was a time when the flexibility of an interchangeable lens was only available on bulky Digital Single Lens Reflex cameras (DSLRs). But times have changed, and the ability to swap lenses has come not only to mid-sized mirrorless cameras but also to a new breed of pocket digital point and shoots.
Announced on Wednesday, March 19, the Samsung NX mini SMART Camera is the latest ultra compact interchangeable-lens camera to hit the market. Competitors include the Nikon 1 J3, Panasonic Lumix GM1 and Pentax Q7. The NX mini is not the smallest but is the lightest, packs the most megapixels and comes with a flippable touch screen.
Samsung claims it is the “world’s slimmest interchangeable lens camera,” and at 22.5mm, it is.
Samsung NX mini
Nikon 1 J3
|Dimensions||110.4 x 61.9 x 22.5mm||101 x 60.5 x 28.8mm||98.5 x 54.9 x 30.4mm||102 x 58 x 34mm|
|Weight (body only)||158g||201g||274g||200g|
|Sensor Size||1-inch||1-inch||Micro Four Thirds||1/1.7-inch|
|Display||3-inch 180 degree flip||3-inch fixed||3-inch fixed||3-inch fixed|
BUILD & DESIGN
The NX mini was designed to look and feel like a premium camera — with its metal chassis and a retro style leather-like finish, this miniature camera lives up to expectations. The NX mini is available in a host of funky color options including bright pink and mint green, our photos are of the white model, but the black and brown models are sentimental favorites.
Size-wise, the mini is perfectly pocketable and will fit snuggly inside a shirt pocket or clutch. It’s not one that you’d hold like you would a regular camera so the lack of a grip of any kind is forgivable, maybe even preferable. You’ll end up holding the device more like you would a smartphone when taking photos.
One of the best design decisions on the NX mini is a touch screen that flips upward 180 degrees. Fully extended, the touch screen rests on top of the device allowing you to take proper selfies. Only two other Samsung cameras have this feature, the compact MV900F and the NX300m, I don’t see why it can’t be the standard. None of the current crop of point and shoot interchangeable lens cameras have flippable screens.
With some customization the NX mini was a pleasure to use.
On top of the usual A, S and M modes, there are also Smart Modes (i.e. Beauty Face, Macro, Action Freeze and Light Trace) similar to what you’d find on a Galaxy smartphone.
There are also dedicated buttons for selecting between single or continuous shooting modes, selecting the autofocus type, and for tweaking exposure compensation – the latter being a real gem. On a lot of cameras, exposure compensation is buried under a series of menus. On the NX mini it’s a quick down press on the nav pad and then left or right to decrease or increase exposure respectively.
A quick tap of the function button on the touch screen also brings up a menu that allows you to quickly set exposure, aperture, shutter speed and ISO (depending on which shooting mode you are on).
With the NX mini Samsung introduces another lens mount to the photography world, the NX-M. With this initial release three NX-M lens options were introduced a 9mm f/3.5, a 9-27mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS, and a 17mm f/1.8 OIS lens. The camera will also work with existing NX lenses with a $149.99 mount adapter accessory.
Like the new camera the new lenses are small as can be, an engineering marvel if you may. Initial test shots came out great, definitely a step up from the usual point and shoot.
Like the rest of Samsung’s SMART Camera lineup the NX mini comes with a range of wireless features. Thanks to built-in WiFi and NFC connectivity Tag & Go allows quick and easy transferring of images from the camera to smartphones, using a paired smartphone as a remote viewfinder, and using the camera as a baby monitor. Dropbox and Flickr integration is built-in for easy uploads. Users also get 2GB of free Dropbox storage and the full version of Adobe Lightroom.
The NX Mini with a 9mm prime lens will retail for $449 while the model with the 9-27mm zoom lens and an external flash is priced at $549. The camera is expected to hit US stores in April 2014. — Rappler.com