Samsung Releases the NX mini, 9mm, 9-27mm and 17mm Lenses

Samsung NX Mini with 9mm and 9-27mm lenses

Samsung’s an odd player. They have the technical know-how, the design teams, the foundries, and the marketing capability and budget (watch how they have managed to eventually out-muscle Apple in the smartphone arena), but somehow their NX line just does not get enough attention.

So in a move that reminds me of the original Micro Four Thirds initiative (moving to a less crowded playing field), the NX mini moves away from the APS-C sensors in the NX line to a 1″ sensor size, like that of the Nikon 1 series. The potential difference here is that Samsung does have experience in crafting a consumer experience that casual users might like that is also connected. If you have tried using a recent Samsung camera like the NX 2000 you might have an idea of what I am saying. It is a nicely done camera that is very smartphone-like, runs a decent OS (Tizen), and has a lot of fun little things that many will like. Of course if it sinks under the anonymity of the usual NX no-shows in the digital camera landscape, its not going to sell well, is it?

CK: Given the lacklustre success of Samsung cameras compared to their highly popular Galaxy line of mobile products and TVs, I am not sure how well this will sell. As YS mentioned earlier, Samsung have all the chops to properly market this better. I wonder if Samsung will make an adaptor like the Nikon FT-1 to mount their existing NX lenses onto this and gain a 2.7x crop for super tele shots. That’d be an interesting and fun addition, though probably not for the demographic that this line is targeted to.

YS: As for the camera itself, it is a fairly small and very thin camera at 22.5mm in thickness, packed with a 20 megapixel 1″ sensor, a somewhat lacklustre HVGA 3″ LCD that does the 180 degree thing for selfies and is touch-enabled,  1080p video at 30 FPS (and only 30 FPS), WiFi with NFC, and of course, the new NX-M lens mount. In the usual move to make the camera smaller, the NX Mini follows the Nikon V3 in using microSD cards. I am sure that will actually go down well with the customers Samsung is pitching this to. No, I was not being sarcastic on that one.

Samsung NX mini rear view

As for the lenses, there is a 9mm (24mm equivalent) pancake prime that is a bit slow at f/3.5, a 9-27mm f/3.5-5.6 (24-72mm equivalent) collapsible kit zoom which could be made a little thinner, and the 17mm f/1.8 (45mm equivalent) fast prime. The latter two lenses will have image stabilisation.

CK: I think for their target market, f/3.5 is quite fine. Remember that kit lenses are usually f/3.5-5.6 or slower anyway. As a start, I think that’s a rather decent set of lenses. Also, starting off with 24mm equivalent is a nice touch, compared to the 28mm equivalent that most kits come with.

The NX mini will be available in April for US$450 with the 9mm, or US$550 with the 9-27mm. The pricing is far more sane than it was for the Nikon 1, but can Samsung finally pull it off?

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