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Review: My New Samsung NX Mini

I recently bought a new camera, it's the Samsung NX Mini, which was released last year. It was really a dilemma whether a not to buy it because it can be quite costly for me as a student, but in the end I decided to go for it!

I am not a professional photographer, but as I progress to take better and better photos, it becomes a desire for me wanting to take even better and sharper photos. I also wanted to start making Youtube videos, so a camera phone would not be suitable for this.

I have been looking through many different kinds of camera, and finally decided to go with the Samsung NX Mini. Why?

The Samsung NX Mini is the world's slimmest and lightest interchangeable lens camera, that is good for consumers who do not want to carry a professional bulky camera but still able to take amazing photos. Basically, it is a compact camera with functions similar to a DSLR. It weights 158g (exclude lens and battery) and measures 110.4 x 61.9mm, with a thickness of 22.5mm. It comes with a 9mm wide lens with a thickness of 12.55mm (you can also upgrade to other lens with additional costs). It is equipped with fast shutter speed of 1/16,000secs and full HD video recording of 30 frames/secs, and ISO 25,600, making it very sensitive to light, taking great shots even under tricky indoor lightings or outdoors at night with maximum sharpness.

It consists of a premium metal body with leather-like material finishing and comes in five amazing colours of black, brown, white, mint and pink. It has a 3-inch 180deg flip-up LCD touch screen display which allows you to select your options by scrolling on the screen or by the navigation buttons at the side. With the wide lens and flip-up screen, it makes it even better for taking not just selfies, but also wefies, incorporating more background (for selfies) and people (for wefies). It also comes with a wink shot, a build-in sensor that snaps a photo 2secs after a wink is detected, and smile shot that snaps a photo after a smile is detected.

For photos, there is no need to transfer them to your phone (or other devices) via your computer or laptop. With the Samsung Smart Camera App, you can select and send photos directly to your selected device through the built-in WIFI function. Perfect for people like me who wants to upload quality photos to my Instagram and other social media! You can also send/upload photos through other sharing options such as Facebook, Flickr, Picasa, Dropbox or email. For NFC-compatible smartphones (mainly Samsung phones), photos can be transfered automatically to your phone as you take the photos with the autoshare function. You can also connect your (NFC-compatible) phone to the camera and use it as a viewfinder to snap photos from a distance.

With all the great features, can the camera survive it? Yes, of course! With its super lasting battery life, every battery charge gives you 650 shots and 190mins of video recording (actual performance varies, based on lens, settings and environmental conditions). You can also use it as a baby monitor with the Baby Monitor App. The camera sends a notification to your phone when your baby wakes up and cries.

On top of this, the NX Mini has also won itself a GOLD Award at the International Design Excellence Awards 2015!!

For a simple tutorial and explanation of the camera, click here.

I got myself the brown one because brown matches best with leather! The retail price for this was $649, but I got it at $369! Samsung has already stop producing and selling this model, so when I get to COURTS, there was only 3 sets left - white, pink and brown. White and pink are new, but brown is a display set. The white and pink set comes with 9mm lens and the brown one comes with 9-27mm lens (with additional $100). Since I am looking for a brown one and the 9-27mm lens, I have no choice but to go with the display set. It is still perfectly new but with a slight stratch on the screen, not visible when it's on. Honestly, I am fine with that as I am not really a careful person so the screen is bound to have stratches even if I get a new one.

Here is what that is included in the package:

  • Samsung NX Mini Camera

  • Software for NX Mini

  • Adobe Photoshpop Lightroom (worth $149)

  • 9-27mm Zoom lens (thickness of 29.5mm)

  • External flash (though the camera already has a built-in flash)

  • Camera strap

  • Leather Case with Strap

  • Sandisk 8GB Micro SD Card

Another good thing about the NX Mini is that it is compatible with my portable charger! With its super lasting battery life and extra aid from my portable charger, I will never have a (battery) dead camera, ever! (In case if you are wondering which brand / type of portable charger that I am using, it is a 20,000mAh iPower Power Bank bought from Taobao for SG$15.50.)

Here are some sample photos taken around my house using my new Samsung NX Mini. Photos are sent using the 'email' share option and within 5mins, I have all the photos in my laptop! Though only a maximum of 10 photos can be sent at each time.. Since the photos are sent through email, they are being compressed and hence the following photos might not appear to be as sharp.

*Note: I am not a professional photographer, just a consumer learning and exploring on features of my camera, and on areas that my phone is not able to deal with.

#1: Focus set on Pussy Willow.

#2: Focus set on Curtain Tassel.

In photos #1 and #2, focus can be easily adjusted by tapping on the screen. Another example shown in the next two photos.

#3: Focus set on Pussy Willow.

#4: Focus set on Curtain Tassel.

Next, I tried the sharpness of the photo.

#5: Original Photo.

#6: Cropped Photo.

I would say the photo remains pretty sharp even though such a small area is being cropped out and the bus number is sharp and clear.

The camera also has many pre-set settings with description such as Kids Shot, Food, Action Freeze and Silhouette. In the next two photos is an example using the 'Rich Tones' setting, which captures and merges multiple shots in various exposures to create soft and rich colours.

#7: Using 'Auto' function.

#8: Using 'Rich Tones' setting.

Lastly, I tried on the sharpness of photo taken in the dark.

#9: My hand taken in the dark - selfies in dark environments like parties, no problem!

#10: Cropped photo of #9 - fine details still remain sharp.

As mentioned earlier, the camera also comes with an external flash to aid taking photos in the dark, though the camera already has a built-in flash.

#11: Taken using built-in flash.

#12: Taken using external flash.

Not much of a difference between photo #11 and #12. I would say the photo taken using the external flash is slightly brighter and sharper, but the built-in flash is good enough.

*Photos #9 to #12 is taken in the storeroom with no extra lighting. Photos would turned out to be completely black if flash is off.

Some downsides of the camera that I experienced:

  • No zoom-in and out buttons which most of the cameras have.

  • No still photos can be taken during video recording which my iPhone is able to do it.

  • The camera can be a little bulky after putting on the lens.

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