After a year of marketing the popular NX100, Samsung has released its feature-packed replacement, the NX200. The new compact system camera (CSC) goes up against the likes of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1, the Sony NEX-5N and others in Sony's mighty NEX series and Olympus's latest-generation of PENs, particularly the Olympus PEN E-P3.
The latest digital camera to join the Samsung NX lineup owes its heritage to the NX10 - the first mirrorless CSC to feature an APS-C sized CMOS sensor. After a brief flirtation with the miniaturised DSLR-type styling seen with the NX10 and subsequent NX11, Samsung chose to alter the formula when developing the more compact-like NX100: a trend that looks set to continue, judging by the design of the manufacturer's latest innovation.
Sporting a sleek new all-metal design and whole host of improvements over its predecessor, the feature-packed Samsung NX200 comes with a price tag doubling that of the year-old NX100, with two different kit lens packages available for £699.
Last year's Samsung NX100 represented a decent everyday camera with its compact body and APS-C sized CMOS sensor, but it wasn't without its issues. Speed - both in terms of operation and autofocus performance - as well as noise in shots taken at high ISOs were two of the most prevalent problems. Thankfully, Samsung has clearly taken these criticisms on board and it seems that the developers of the Samsung NX200 have really gone all-out when compiling their list of 'must-have' features.
Receiving top billing is the Samsung NX200's DSLR-sized 20.3MP sensor, which is only beaten by the marginally better-endowed 24.3MP Sony NEX-7. It seems that the 'megapixel race' we've witnessed in the DSLR sector of the market has finally filtered down into the CSC arena too. The Samsung NX200's APS-C sensor eclipses other rival's Micro Four Thirds offerings in terms of both size and resolution, so we'd expect to see better image quality and low light performance from this camera over that of its peers.
Also of note is the new AF system. Designed with speed and precision in mind, the Samsung NX200's autofocus puts in a performance that eclipses that of its predecessor, with an AF speed of 100ms according to Samsung.
Continuing the theme of responsiveness, the Samsung NX200's DRIM III processing engine has been incorporated to aid the camera in delivering an impressive high-speed performance, with a maximum continuous burst rate of 7fps at full resolution, plus the ability to shoot Full HD 1080p movies in MP4 format.
The camera also boasts an expanded ISO sensitivity range spanning ISO100-12800 and so should - in theory - be pretty versatile when it comes to low-light photography. The fact that it offers such a comprehensive range of settings goes some way to making up for the lack of built-in flash on the camera body (a small unit is bundled in the box that can be attached via the hotshoe).
It's also worth acknowledging that there's no built-in viewfinder, nor is there currently an external one available for separate purchase: a point that's likely to spark some degree of contention, particularly seeing as some of the Samsung NX200's cheaper competitors provide both flash and viewfinder options.
On a more positive note, the Samsung NX200 presents a range of automatic and manual exposure modes, as well as a Magic Mode. The latter offers users the chance to get creative with their shots in-camera, with 10 different Smart Filters and 12 Magic Frames: features that - along with one-touch, 3D and action panorama capture - enhance the level of versatility offered by this smart little camera.