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:
Sony Alpha NEX-3 Key Features:
|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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
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.
Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.
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.
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.
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.
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|
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.
For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:
|Samsung NX mini||Sony Alpha NEX-3|
|Model||NX mini||Alpha NEX-3|
|Announced||Mar 19, 2014||Jun 07, 2010|
|Body Type||Rangefinder-style mirrorless||Rangefinder-style mirrorless|
|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|
|Lens Mount||Samsung NX-M||Sony E|
|Number of Lenses||2||83|
|Focal Length Multiplier||2.7x||1.5x|
|Macro Focus Range|
|AF Multi Area|
|AF Live View|
|AF Face Detection|
|AF Contrast Detection|
|AF Phase Detection|
|Number of Focus Points||21||25|
|Number of Cross Focus Points||n/a||n/a|
|Screen Resolution||461k dots||920k dots|
|ViewFinder Resolution||0k dots||0k dots|
|Min Shutter Speed||30 s||30 s|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/16000 s||1/4000 s|
|Continuous Shooting||6.0 fps||7.0 fps|
|Manual Exposure Mode|
|Custom White Balance|
|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|
|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|
|USB||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|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|
|Storage Type||microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC||SD/ SDHC/SDXC, Memory Stick Pro Duo/ Pro-HG Duo|