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The Samsung NX Mini is the first in a new line of ultracompact mirrorless cameras from the Korean manufacturer. Based around a 1-inch sensor and an entirely new lens mount, the NX Mini looks like a point-and-shoot where the lens just happens to come off.
Though we'll leave our performance analysis for the full review, we were able to take the camera for a spin around Boston and upstate New York recently, and were quite surprised by the camera's image quality. This little number may be tiny, but would be a massive mistake to judge it by its small size.
Describing the NX Mini isn't all that complicated: it's a slim point-and-shoot body with a flip-forward screen and interchangeable lenses. Inside, there's the 1-inch sensor (the same size as you'd find in excellent cameras like the Sony RX100 and RX100 II), and the requisite WiFi and NFC connectivity. Other than that, there's not much to know. It doesn't run Android. It doesn't have a touchscreen. It doesn't text you when it misses you. It's just an easy-to-use camera that also lets you swap lenses.
We were only able to shoot with the new 9mm f/3.5 lens with the NX Mini, which we also got hands on time with prior to the NX Mini's announcement. Though there will undoubtedly be better lenses to pair with the NX Mini in the future, we think it's the best option to start with thanks to one word: pocketability.
With the 9mm lens on the NX Mini, you can easily slip it into a pants pocket—not to mention a jacket or a bag. And the image quality you get with the combination is quite impressive. It's far better than what you'd get with any smartphone on the market, especially in low light and much more attractive sharpness.
The one complaint we had with the combination is a lack of zoom. Though the NX Mini and the 9mm prime lens may be better than a smartphone when it comes to image quality, its focal length isn't any different. Your shots will be better, but the NX Mini and 9mm lens don't open up any other possibilities—other than in low light where a smartphone is just hopeless.
Though the images will more or less speak for themselves, to our eyes there's a lot to like here. Details are relatively sharp, while even in low light the NX Mini's sensor holds up well. And despite being a relatively slow, wide angle lens, macro shots do provide an acceptable level of bokeh. There's plenty of room to do editing after the fact, as well, with more dynamic range than we were expecting.
We'll have more thoughts about the camera when we publish our full review, but in the meantime we continue to be intrigued by the potential of Samsung's new lilliputian system.