Samsung NX mini SMART Camera. Photo: AFP
The world's slimmest and lightest interchangeable lens camera, the Samsung NX mini Smart Camera, is actually small enough to slip into a pocket, even with a lens attached.
And it really is slim. It measures just 110.4 x 61.9 x 22.5mm, meaning that it is shorter and narrower than a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone (albeit more than twice as thick) and the reason for this tiny size is that Samsung sees its latest camera as a smartphone companion of sorts. A device that can sit in your left-hand jacket pocket while your handset occupies the one on the right.
But as well as being smaller than its flagship smartphone, it is also much better looking and boasts a much better perceived build quality thanks to a magnesium and aluminum frame and the use of colored faux leather to wrap the body and offer better grip. All of which gives it a very retro-futuristic feel.
Samsung is trying to position the camera as a smartphone companion that, when different lenses are attached, takes imaging performance and quality beyond anything the average rear-facing smartphone camera lens can capture. That's why the NX Mini's standard ‘pancake' lens offers a fixed focal length and the device's three-inch color touchscreen tilts up, so that it can be used for selfies.
"Samsung introduced the first flip up touch display camera in 2011 as a leader of the selfie trend, and has designed the device in response to evolving consumer demands. This approach is exemplified by the NX mini, with features such as a 3.0-inch Flip up Display and wide angle lens exclusively designed to address the global passion for selfies. Its lightweight design also means that it can slip in a pocket, for photography anywhere and everywhere," said Myoung Sup Han, Executive Vice President and Head of the Imaging Business Team at Samsung Electronics.
Making group selfies simpler still is something called ‘wink' shot. Rather than set the camera's remote timer, simply wink at the device and two seconds later the shutter will release. Sharing pictures is simple too thanks to built-in wi-fi and NFC.
However, the camera also has some limitations despite its potential promise. The initial lenses are not particularly fast and nor do they offer very wide angles or big zoom performance. And because the camera is so small, it requires an adaptor in order to accept Samsung's existing range of NX lenses, which will make up for the NX Mini's shortcomings but will add to its bulk, weight and cost.
The NX Mini will come in a choice of black, white, brown, light green, and pink when it launches in April. Initially, three specially designed lenses will be available for it.
A 9mm F3.5 ED lens for selfies, portraits of others and landscape shots, with a fixed 24mm focal length; a 9-27mm F3.5-5.6 ED OIS lens which offers a compact zoom lens performance equivalent to a focal length of 24.3-72.9mm; and a 17mm F1.8 OIS lens which should be good for depth of field shots, and should behave like a 50mm lens.
The NX Mini will retail for $449, paired with the new 9mm NX-M lens, or $549 when paired with the 9-27mm lens and SEF-7A flash. NX-M lenses will also be available separately. The 9mm and 9-27mm NX-M lenses will retail for $179 and $279, respectively. The 17mm NX-M lens will be available at a later date.