Samsung NX mini vs Sony Alpha NEX-3

  • 1"
  • 20.5 megapixels
  • Samsung NX-M
  • 49
    Overall
  • 14
    Imaging
  • 59
    Features
  • 88
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • APS-C
  • 14 megapixels
  • Sony E
  • 49
    Overall
  • 18
    Imaging
  • 29
    Features
  • 84
    Size
  • 100
    Price

Samsung NX mini vs Sony Alpha NEX-3: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to provide a detailed evaluation and comparison of two different camera models that fall into the same category - Entry-Level Mirrorless. Although these cameras are from the same category, they were introduced by different brands - Samsung and Sony. Models we are reviewing in this article have different types of sensors, Thus, Samsung NX mini is equipped with a 20.5 MP BSI-CMOS sensor. Sony Alpha NEX-3, on the contrary, features CMOS sensor with a resolution of 14.0 MP.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Samsung NX mini Key Features:

  • 20.5 MP 1" BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 160 - 12800 (Expands to 100 - 25600)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: No
  • 6.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 (all 30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 110 x 62 x 23 mm
  • Weight: 196 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No

Sony Alpha NEX-3 Key Features:

  • 14.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 12800
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: No
  • 7.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 117 x 62 x 33 mm
  • Weight: 297 g
  • Environmental Sealing: No
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced by Sony NEX-C3.

Why is Samsung NX mini a better choice than Sony Alpha NEX-3

Sensor Resolution 20.5 MP vs 14.0 MP 31.7% more pixels
Built-In Flash Yes vs No All the lenses are stabilized
Max Shutter Speed 1/16000 vs 1/4000 Faster shutter speed
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Battery Life 650 shots vs 330 shots 320 more frames with a single charge
Weight 196 g vs 297 g 101 g lighter
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 vs 1280 x 720 Higher Resolution Video
Microphone Port Yes vs No High quality audio recording option

What are the key reasons to pick Sony Alpha NEX-3 over Samsung NX mini

Sensor Area 365.04 mm2 vs 116.16 mm2 68.2% larger pixel area
Continuous Shooting 7 fps vs 6 fps 1 fps faster
Flash Range 12 vs No 12 better flash range
Number Of Focus Points 25 vs 21 4 more focus points
Screen Resolution 920k dots vs 461k dots 49.9% higher resolution screen

Key PROs of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3

Screen Size 3″ | 3″ Large display
Screen Type Tilting | Tilting Help viewing and changing settings easily
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync

Key CONs of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3

Screen Resolution 461k dots | 920k dots Small screen resolution
Viewfinder No | No No ViewFinder
Sensor Resolution 20.5 MP | 14.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Headphone Port No | No No headphone port
Timelapse Recording No | No No timelapse recording
Continuous Shooting 6.0 fps | 7.0 fps Low continuous shooting
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization
Environmental Sealing No | No No environmental sealing

Samsung NX mini vs Sony Alpha NEX-3: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 from the front view.

Samsung NX mini
Sony Alpha NEX-3
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Samsung NX mini
Sony Alpha NEX-3
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Samsung NX mini is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 101g less than the Sony Alpha NEX-3. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras:
Samsung NX mini — 650 shots
Sony Alpha NEX-3 — 330 shots
Min: 210 shots
Average: 338 shots
Max: 650 shots
Thickness values for Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras:
Samsung NX mini — 23 mm
Sony Alpha NEX-3 — 33 mm
Min: 23 mm
Average: 40 mm
Max: 85 mm
Weight values for Entry-Level Mirrorless cameras:
Samsung NX mini — 196 g
Sony Alpha NEX-3 — 297 g
Min: 180 g
Average: 319 g
Max: 561 g

Comparing Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Samsung NX mini features a 20.5 MP 1" sized BSI-CMOS sensor . Sony Alpha NEX-3, in its turn, comes with a 14.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor and Bionz processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 by the size of their sensors.

Samsung NX mini
Sony Alpha NEX-3
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Sony Alpha NEX-3 is equipped with a sensor that is 0.3x larger than the one featured in Samsung NX mini. Compared to the cameras with smaller sensor area, the ones with larger sensors ensure more control on the blurry background and depth of field if you shoot in the same aperture and focal length. Thus, the first model has a significant advantage here.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Samsung NX mini Sony Alpha NEX-3
Portrait Photography
82%
74%
Street Photography
7%
57%
Sports Photography
37%
26%
Daily Photography
10%
48%
Landscape Photography
69%
83%

Samsung NX mini for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • High resolution sensor (20.5 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/16000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small 1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor
  • No Image Stabilization

Sony Alpha NEX-3 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • No Image Stabilization

Samsung NX mini for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Small size (110 x 62 x 23 mm)
  • Live View

Disadvantages:

  • No Built-in View Finder
  • No Image Stabilization
  • Small 1"(13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor

Sony Alpha NEX-3 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Small size (117 x 62 x 33 mm)
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.4 x 15.6 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • No Built-in View Finder
  • No Image Stabilization

Samsung NX mini for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/16000s)
  • No View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (6.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (21)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)
  • Small battery life (650 shots)
  • Small size (110 x 62 x 23 mm)

Sony Alpha NEX-3 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • No View Finder

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (7.0 fps)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Slow Max Shutter Speed (1/4000s)
  • Smal Number of autofocus Points (25)
  • Bad Low Light ISO (830)
  • Small battery life (330 shots)
  • Small size (117 x 62 x 33 mm)

Samsung NX mini for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Small weight (196 g)
  • Small size (110 x 62 x 23 mm)
  • Built-in Flash
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small 1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor
  • No Built-in View Finder

Sony Alpha NEX-3 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Small weight (297 g)
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • No Built-in Flash
  • No Built-in View Finder

Samsung NX mini for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small 1" (13.2 x 8.8 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (20.5 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Max Native ISO (12800)

Sony Alpha NEX-3 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.4 x 15.6 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.0)
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (14 MP)
  • No Environmental Sealing
  • Bad Low Light ISO (830)

Comparison of Samsung NX mini vs Sony Alpha NEX-3: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Samsung NX mini or Sony Alpha NEX-3, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Samsung NX mini and Sony Alpha NEX-3 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Sony Alpha NEX-3 deserves a higher Total Score than the Samsung NX mini. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Samsung NX mini vs Sony Alpha NEX-3 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Samsung NX mini Sony Alpha NEX-3
General
Brand Samsung Sony
Model NX mini Alpha NEX-3
Announced Mar 19, 2014 Jun 07, 2010
Body Type Rangefinder-style mirrorless Rangefinder-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type BSI-CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size 1" APS-C
Sensor Dimensions 13.2 x 8.8 mm 23.4 x 15.6 mm
Sensor Area 116.16 mm2 365.04 mm2
Sensor Resolution 20.5 MP 14.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 5472 x 3648 4592 x 3056
Max Native ISO 12,800 12,800
Max Boosted ISO 25,600 n/a
Min Native ISO 160 200
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Samsung NX-M Sony E
Number of Lenses 2 83
Focal Length Multiplier 2.7x 1.5x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch Yes No
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No No
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center Yes No
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection No No
Number of Focus Points 21 25
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a n/a
Screen
Screen Type Tilting Tilting
Screen Size 3″ 3″
Screen Resolution 461k dots 920k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen Yes No
ViewFinder
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage % %
ViewFinder Magnification
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/16000 s 1/4000 s
Continuous Shooting 6.0 fps 7.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash Yes No
Flash Range 12
Flash Modes Smart Flash, auto, auto + redeye reduction, fill-in, fill-in + redeye reduction, 1st curtain, 2nd curtain Auto, Red-Eye, Slow Sync, Rear Curtain, Fill-in
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes No
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average No No
Spot Yes Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted Yes Yes
Video Features
Video Resolutions 1920 x 1080, 1280 x 720, 640 x 480, 320 x 240 (all 30 fps) 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)
Max Video Resolution 1920 x 1080 1280 x 720
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 MPEG-4
Microphone Port Yes No
Headphone Port No No
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 2.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing No No
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 196 g 297 g
Physical Dimensions 110 x 62 x 23 mm 117 x 62 x 33 mm
Battery Life 650 shots 330 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model B740 NPFW50
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording No No
GPS
Storage Type microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo
Storage Slots 1 1

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