Samsung: “We have the technology to develop a medium format cameras but we are not going to do that”

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Mirrorless NX prototypes from Samsung promotional video

Megapixel published an interview with Sungrok Kim (Samsung's regional product manager for Digital Imaging Middle East & North Africa) where he denied existing rumors that Samsung is pursuing plans to develop a medium format digital camera:

Q: A few weeks ago an image appeared on Samsung's website depicting what appears to be a camera with a large square sensor. What can you tell us about that?

A: We have the technology to develop a medium format cameras but we are not going to do that because this is not our market. Samsung is a manufacturer that focuses on a broad market – we are not a niche manufacturer like Hasselbald or Lieca. What you see in the image was developed for internal purposes in order to look into future technologies. At this point we have no plans to release it to the public. We have done similar things with lenses – for example we developed a 1000mm lens for astronomical use – but again just for internal purposes.

Some other interesting points form the interview:

  • Samsung's representative also confirmed that they are working on a NX adapter for Pentax lenses (currently without AF support).
  • Samsung is planning to release 4-5 new lenses each year. In about 2 years they will have a total of 15 different NX lenses.
  • Samsung NX100 will be replaced soon, NX10/11 replacement was not mentioned (the NX20 was delayed till 2012).
  • Samsung is currently developing a new generation of APS-C CMOS sensors with higher resolution for its future line of compact system cameras.
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  • Talk, Talk, Talk

    Talk is cheap.

    If Samsung has all this cutting edge technology, why don’t they put it to use?
    I’m sure there is a market for the 1000mm lens and a MF system.

    A near MF system that would allow the use of APS-C, 35mm and MF lenses would be cool.

    A MF system and a 1000mm specialty lens would be great halo products to demonstrate what Samsung can do. Plus, it would really create a great buzz about the Samsung brand.

    “Only the skilled can judge the skillfulness, but that is not the same as judging the value of the result.”
    - C.S. Lewis

    Instead of pounding their chests and claiming they
    can do something, why doesn’t Samsung just do it?

    • http://www.flickr.com/genotypewriter genotypewriter

      Instead of pounding their chests and claiming they
      can do something, why doesn’t Samsung just do it?

      They can’t do it if they haven’t already done it… that’s where the proof is.

      • http://haroldellis4444@gmail.com Harold Ellis

        everybody and their dog can design it. Even school kids nowadays.
        It would be sad if Samsung, biggest Elcompany would not.

        Question is, can they design it so, that anybody would care? I dont think so.

  • Leicatron

    The whole interview is just empty rhetoric.
    The mouse that roared.
    I’m not interested or impressed by Samsung’s products.

  • Mark

    That boxy 6×6-looking prototype looks interesting, even with an APS-C sized sensor.

  • Huggs

    So I guess the rumor of them working with ALPA is dead?

  • Din

    Every product has to have a market and a digital MF camera wouldn´t be cheap.
    How many users would spend $4000 or more in a new MF system?

    • bjrichus

      What?

      ONLY $4k?

      Count me *IN* :-)

    • thommyorkk

      uh, if a major manufacturer came out with a medium format digital camera for $4K, they wouldn’t be able to make them fast enough.

      • Ronan

        Agreed!!! MF digital camera for $4k… i would buy it in a heart beat.

  • Duchebag City

    The focus here is playing the monetary system. Fuck trying to make a high quality product.

  • Peter

    And this attitude is exactly what sucks about Samsung as a camera manufacturer: Catering to the masses, ignoring the interests of enthusiasts to professsionals.

    Speciality lenses or really fast glass or a full frame sensor? Not with Samsung.

    • Din

      Well, at least Samsung has in its lineup 5 prime lenses: 16, 20, 30, 60 and 85mm, I think it is the only one listening.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/ZDP189 ZDP-189

    I have respect for Samsung engineers, but somewhat less for the marketing department that drives the product pipeline.

  • regular

    It reminds me of Canon. Canon pretended to have a super-mega sensor technology for medium format. Sure, I have a unicorn in my backyard.

    At the end of the day, you wont see any product or even a prototype.

  • jen

    Samsung should look to the old Nikon for an example of what to do when your R&D department is churning out lots of specialty technology with “no market.” You put it out to market anyway, even if each one is handmade and costs a fortune. Your equipment ends up in books and on collectors’ shelves 40 years later, instead of just in landfills. Your brand becomes “classic” and your camera models become associated with the people who used and took famous photographs with them, instead of becoming a footnote. And you become a legend amongst real photographers. Nikon did it. Samsung prefers to talk.

    • Tim Catchall

      No, you are so wrong. Just look at the mess Apple is in now. In 2007 Steve Jobs should have said, “We have this great new phone with a touch-screen interface and a powerful and intuitive operating system, but it was developed for internal purposes. There is no market for it. People want buttons.” What fools they are! If only they had forward looking managers like those people in charge of Samsung’s camera division.
      /sarcasm

  • http://photoartbymark.zenfolio.com photoartbymark

    one of the dumbest thins i read in a long time you have the technology use it get it out there you never know at least you tried there must be a market there somewhere

  • http://brianhirschfeldphotography.com BH

    That kinda like saying we have the technology to put a man on the moon BUT we’d rather focus on ice cream that doesn’t melt in the sun.

    • Chibs

      Which would make sense, what’s the point of putting someone on the moon? It’s not as profitable as non melting ice cream.
      People have to realize the digital MF market is extremely small, and already has lots of competition.

      • Subterrania

        The market might be small, but it can be grown. Mirrorless was small, but now it is really taking off.

        There are no digital Medium Format cameras under $10,000 on the market. Hasselblad even announced they are looking into the sub-$10,000 market.

        If Samsung could bring a digital MF camera out for around $4,000 or under that would accept legacy and current lenses (with adapters) from APS-C, 35mm and other Medium Format systems they would have a hit on their hands. Not to mention any new lenses Samsung would introduce for their own camera.

        Samsung doesn’t give the buying public enough credit. Before I get flamed about the NX’s great selection of lenses, keep in mind the 85mm, 16mm and a few others have been announced but are still not for sale.

        Talk Is Cheap…

        • Chibs

          Mirrorless never was small. It was viable from the get go and instantly very attractive to consumers and prosumers. Also, it’s impossible to use APS-C lenses on an MF sensor, and if you could use 35mm lenses it would be pointless, as the sensor would only be a few mm bigger at most. Also, yes, perhaps a 4k$ MF camera would sell well. But you can’t make a proper profit from it, at that price. It’s basic economy. It’s not going to sell a lot, that’s just a known fact. There is NO appeal fo consumers whatsoever, and consumers make up most of the market. For most prosumers it will be out of their budget, and for pros with a large budget they’ll just go straight for a higher priced camera that is known to hold up in the field. Samsung lacks a lot of stuff to be even considered by professionals, like a fast service / repair / replacement program, or for that matter, reputation. Low priced cameras only make for good profit when the selling rate is high.

          • CROP?

            You could use APS-C or 35mm lenses on a MF sensor.
            It’s called
            CROP.

            The only thing needed would be a proper spacing adapter.
            There’s no telling what such a camera would cost.
            It could be $4,000, but that was a shot in the dark.

            Do you have any market research to back up any of your claims?

            Get your head out of your @ss.

          • Joe

            You CANNOT use APS-C or 35mm lenses on a MF camera, just like how you can’t use Micro 4/3rds lenses on SLR’s. It’s called FLANGE DISTANCE. The flange distance for a MF camera is too great to be able to put a 35mm lens IN it.

            STFU.

  • DP

    Developing a digital MF and 1000mm lens in-house as a test?

    Sounds like a fun place to work! :)

  • Axel

    If Samsung were to make a real MF camera with a reasonably good (and large) sensor, it could be a game changer.

  • sjp118

    I’m sure Samsung is not the only company with technology stockpiled in their garage.

  • Mark

    Pros expect a level of support that alot of people don’t think about. A medium format camera catered for pros would require a support program behind it. In an already small market.. Look at Canon and Nikon, I think both ran their pro support system into the ground at some point. I know Nikon had a reset a while back.

  • t

    hahahaha if you aint going to do then don’t talk …C..t

  • http://kokorolibrary.net Kokoro

    the cake is a lie

  • simpleguy

    you have the technology in making shit cameras , stop talking , start making something quality and maybe we will pay attention

  • http://waterproofdigitalcamerablog.com/ wproofdc

    I say: if they could do that, they would. period.

  • B0b

    I can cure cancer… but I’m not going to, so nyeah!

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