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Samsung tweaks a trio of mirrorless camera models

The company updates the existing two models of its NX series and expands with a cheaper, entry-level model.

Samsung adds an entry-level mirrorless ILC, the NX1000, which has a composite (i.e., plastic) body and comes in black or white.
The NX series' Wi-Fi options. Samsung USA

With only one current mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera (ILC), the NX200, and one relatively old model from 2010 (the NX10), plus a model that the company didn't even release in the U.S., the NX11, it's easy to think that Samsung doesn't consider the US a terribly important market for these cameras -- especially compared to the usual barrage from Sony, Panasonic and Olympus. But it looks like that's changing a bit as Samsung rolls out three models for 2012.

All the models are based around the same excellent 20-megapixel sensor and image processor that debuted in the NX200 and incorporate some performance and feature tweaks. These include a bump from 7fps to 8fps continuous-shooting speed and the addition of a 24p video mode, albeit at the odd size of 1,080 x 810 pixels. (That's the 4:3 aspect ratio of still photos rather than 16:9 of HD video.) The only really notable new capability is Wi-Fi support, which Samsung seems to be rolling out across all its digital cameras. It will operate the same way as in the company's compact cameras -- read about the implementation in the WB150, for example.

The NX210 replaces the NX200, and keeps the same body -- that means it doesn't have the dedicated Wi-Fi button that's on the NX1000. Samsung USA

The brand-new entry of the trio is the NX1000, which comes in at the bottom of the line (though the price won't be announced for a little while). It's a modestly redesigned version of the NX200 composed of a plastic body and with a standard LCD display rather than Samsung's signature AMOLED and that will ship in a kit with what looks like a slightly redesigned version of the older 20-50mm i-Function lens. Plus it has a direct-access Wi-Fi button on the top. It will initially come in white or black, with color-matched accessories, and Samsung says that more colors will become available later in the year. In its infinite wisdom, Samsung has chosen not to announce U.S. pricing and availability yet. I'm sure the suspense will kill us all.

The Samsung NX20 replaces the NX11, which never shipped in the US. Samsung USA

Next up the line is the replacement for the NX200, the NX210, which with the exception of the Wi-Fi really is only a bit different. Given that it adds a few features for the same price as its predecessor, $899.99 with the 18-55mm i-Function lens, it's definitely a step in the right direction; on the other hand, if you don't care about the connectivity, the NX200 may be available for a bit at a little less. Samsung expects to ship the NX210 in mid-May.

The NX20 is the biggest update from its predecessor as Samsung had to ditch a lot of the NX11's elderly innards. For $200 more than the NX210 -- $1,099.99 with the same 18-55mm i-Function lens -- the camera also adds an articulated AMOLED display. It retains the EVF and built-in flash and a new maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 (vs. 1/4000), which differentiate it from its juniors, and has a somewhat updated body design and control layout. Like the NX210, the NX20 is slated to ship in mid-May.