Another nail in the coffin: Samsung will stop selling cameras in the Netherlands

Samsung-NX-camera-system
After Germany, Samsung will now also stop selling cameras in the Netherlands:

"Samsung confirms to stop selling cameras in the Netherlands. In other countries, the manufacturer has made a similar statement to the outside. It is not yet clear whether Samsung the development of camera's complete cease." (Google translation)

This is just the latest report confirming previous rumors that Samsung will be closing their camera division. We are now just waiting for the fire sale.

Via TweakersEOSHD

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  • AYWY

    The question now is: Will it be a total shutdown or will it continue in Asia only….

    • I’ve said it before – I think somebody will buy their camera division.

      • EnPassant

        But who?
        If at all realistic a Japanese company will buy Samsungs camera division I can only see Ricoh/Pentax as a possible buyer. They did after all have some partnership before Samsung started with their NX mirrorless cameras.

        And they unlike other camera companies have no mirrorless system with a larger sensor. Buying Samsung cameras would give them a ready developed solution.

        The big IFs are however costs and how such a takeover fit into Ricohs business plans?

        • How about Nikon? They don’t have and they need a serious mirrorless solution. Maybe they can also buy the Samsung sensor unit and be independent from Sony.

          • EnPassant

            I doubt that.
            Firstly I think Nikon is the kind of company who want to develop their own system in-house. At least in their main area cameras.
            Secondly the Samsung NX mount doesn’t fit into the Nikon system. It’s even less wide than Fujifilms X-mount and only made for APS-C sensors.

            If Nikon will produce a serious mirrorless camera system it will have a mount that can be used for both DX and FX sensors.

            Having a second thought the only other Japanese company taking over Samsungs cameras could be Sigma.
            Their own ILC system is in practise dead and the foveon sensor is not FF. So for them a mirrorless APS-C system is a better match.
            It could also mean Sigma got more serious producing lenses for mirrorless cameras.

          • Zos Xavius

            Sigma would be a good fit as well. If sigma made a Foveon A7 like body a lot of people would be interested. I have a friend that is a Sigma fanboy and quite honestly the differences between the newest Foveon and the 24mp Sony sensors is not that huge. I don’t know if foveon has any place in the future unless they go full frame because as the technology stands now it is very limiting and not really suitable for general purpose photography.

          • Spy Black

            “I have a friend that is a Sigma fanboy and quite honestly the
            differences between the newest Foveon and the 24mp Sony sensors is not
            that huge.”

            You haven’t looked closely enough at the Foveon-created images.

          • Zos Xavius

            I have and the differences aren’t that great. Just an opinion really. Feel free to disagree with me all you want. The Foveon might be resolving slightly more fine detail than say my K-3. I think it would take a pretty sizeable print to really see the differences. The color differences are there though. I will definitely admit that Foveon has superior color to pretty much everything out there with a Bayer sensor. It would be interesting to compare the pixel shift mode of the new k-3 with the Foveon. I think the results would be really close. I would love to see an A7 foveon though. A FF version of that chip would be interesting.

          • Spy Black

            Well yes, I guess we’ll have to disagree. I think the Foveon sensor has bad dynamic range and does not like to be pushed to high ISOs. Foveon is a great idea who’s technology has some bad traits that appear to be problematic to be resolved, like the above issues, and apparently sensor size yields. As long as you have well-exposed images you’re OK.

            Personally I do hope the technology hurdles are overcome, but it appears Sigma doesn’t have the proper resources to do so, as they’ve been messing with this technology for many years now, wigh little advancement. I wonder how Foveon would’ve fared if Sony had been the one who bought Foveon.

          • Thom Hogan

            Funny thing is, back when the Foveon sensor was still in prototype I was able to see some of the initial images being produced. My take then is still pretty much the same today: too much contrast but very high edge acuity.

            But a lot of people like those attributes in an image and respond to them, much like saturation.

          • Spy Black

            That edge acuity is weird, it’s right down to the pixel level. It’s essentially microscopic unsharp masking, and it’s a pain when retouching, and especially compositing. Had to deal with some fashion shots a few years back shot on a Sigma, what a pain that was, and those were studio shots made with controlled lighting!

          • Thom Hogan

            No, it’s not like unsharp masking, as it doesn’t move adjacent pixels in value. It’s real acuity.

            But that’s the thing, acuity, contrast, saturation, and the like are very difficult to take out of data after the fact. Adding those things into optimally captured data that’s not-prejudiced by arbitrary shifts is far easier than removing them.

            Indeed, that’s true of video as well as stills. Note how everyone is now shooting S-Log or another flatter contrast/color rendering these days and “grading” the footage in post. Broadcasting has always had some very specific ranges and targets for “neutral” color and contrast. Digital sensors easily exceed IRE 80 with the still picture controls, which makes them almost immediately a problem for NTSC-derived video standards. And IRE targets are just two of the things you need to hit ;~).

            It’s why I’ve been on a “capture optimal data” stance for decades now. Indeed, if you go back to Ansel Adams, you’ll see that he was basically up to the same thing, only with chemicals and papers instead of bits.

          • Thom Hogan

            How close do I have to get? Inches? ;~)

          • Spy Black

            It’s noise and dynamic range leave a lot to be desired. Might look great under good lighting, but then so do cellphone pics.

          • Jeffry De Meyer

            sigma doesn’t have that kind of money

          • Zos Xavius

            Ricoh and Nikon are both good candidates. Ricoh has the cash to do it more than Nikon. Will samsung give up their sensor fab though? I kind of doubt it seeing as how it probably produces more smart phone chips than anything else. It would be interesting to see a real potential player other than Sony and Canon have the ability to produce sensors. The market needs competition. If one day every camera only has Sony sensors it won’t be good.

          • Thom Hogan

            I don’t think anyone other than a couple of companies wants a fab these days, and Samsung has others uses for theirs. It’s not about the fab. The more serious question is about patents and coding. Will Samsung give those up in a sale and does anyone want Samsung’s not-Android coding?

            The question is what would you actually get if you bought Samsung’s camera business. Some camera designs. Some lens designs. It’s unlikely you’d get any of the manufacturing or any of the designers/coders. You could spend more time trying to figure out what Samsung did and how to get your version of it to market than you might just making your own. Not a lot of implied value without some clear, leading edge value in the mix.

          • KC

            Samsung really had nothing of value to sell, the only lookers were probably the Chinese and with only limited assets of the camera business there was likely no interest. Samsung’s sensor business would certainly not be part of a camera business divestiture. So their only choice was to invest heavily or shut it down. With a rapidly shrinking market their only choice was to shut it down…

          • elf11

            “does anyone want Samsung’s not-Android coding”

            The product of a computer programmer is typically called “code”, not “coding”.

          • Jeffry De Meyer

            Samsung isn’t getting rid of their sensor unit.
            I can see apple taking over Nikon before nikon buys anything

          • I wasn’t sure if their sensor unit is part of the camera unit. They will probably no longer need their 28 MP APS – C sensor which is pretty good .

          • Jeffry De Meyer

            Since they just announced a new pixel marketing buzz thingy for phones, you can put money on them keeping their sensor division.

            Wouldn’t be all that surprised they struck a deal with leica or some company that stated they needed to get out of the camera market for them to start using their sensors and other parts

          • Thom Hogan

            Yes and no. The sensors are obviously produced by the semiconductor side of Samsung. There’s much the same organization at Samsung as there is at Sony in terms of sensor/camera, though the Samsung organization is much more opaque to outsiders.

            Samsung made a big ploy towards getting more sensor sales outside the mobile phone companies a few years ago. That didn’t go too well.

          • Spy Black

            …assuming Mitsubishi would sell Apple Nikon, and I’m not sure if foreign companies can own Japanese ones. Even if so, what would Apple want with Nikon?

          • Jeffry De Meyer

            Ruin an other creative industry with their mindless crap?

          • Thom Hogan

            For the fifteenth thousandth time, Mitsubishi doesn’t own Nikon. Nikon is a publicly traded company. Indeed, at the moment, a huge portion of its stock is shorted on the Nikkei, meaning that a lot of independent investors think that Nikon’s value is going to go down.

            But more to your point: there’s nothing Apple would want from Nikon other than perhaps optical technologies, and those they’d tend to put out to bid.

          • Spy Black

            Interesting, I’ve heard this Mitsubishi thing for years now, where did that come from?

            Yeah, I don’t see Apple needing anything from Nikon they couldn’t get better as an outsourced service from them.

          • Thom Hogan

            See http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikon/about-nikon/nikon-faq/is-nikon-a-subsidiary-of.html. I’ve been trying to squelch this notion that Nikon is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi for decades and have had something akin to this posted on my site that entire time.

            Certainly Nikon is strongly influenced by Mitsubishi still, particularly on the banking side. But that’s not the same as being owned by…

          • TinusVerdino

            Japanese companies won’t touch Samsung. I don’t think they liked the Pentax cooperation much. Digicame.info doesn’t even report on Samsung. Maybe a company like JK-imaging could buy it and put Kodak on top.

        • johnny

          Chinese may be interested. They want to enter this market for a long time.

          • EnPassant

            That’s possible if a company can take over the camera division for a bargain price.
            China is however a big country. The question was which company!

        • Kunzite

          Ricoh buying Samsung’s camera division, unlikely. Why would they? What would they gain from getting a 3rd camera division (after Ricoh’s homegrown and Pentax)?

          What they would get is a camera division in deep trouble, one requiring significant investments to turn it around *if that’s possible at all*. A money-absorbing black hole. An investment Samsung shied away from.
          No, I don’t see Ricoh buying Samsung’s camera division. Getting Pentax was a solution (and they’re still struggling to make it work); getting Samsung cameras would be a problem.

          • EnPassant

            In essence I agree with what you write. That’s why I added question marks and IFs!
            Ricoh was just a suggestion as other buyers from Japan seemed even less likely.
            I simply questioned if anyone would buy Samsungs camera division considering how the market for cameras is developing. Why would a buyer think they would be more succesful than Samsung?
            Because unless they have some brilliant business plan they must account several years with big losses before they make any profit.

          • Kunzite

            Yes, that’s what I was referring to as “a money-absorbing black hole”. Given the current market conditions, I don’t see who would buy Samsung’s camera division – assuming it is for sale. Not the companies which are already into ILCs, IMO, and who else would want to get into a still declining market? And, obviously, the brand would not be part of the deal.

            I should add that Samsung developed the NX while “collaborating” with Pentax, but without informing Pentax of this – much less trying to get them in. Such things might leave a sour taste.

          • Thom Hogan

            They would gain some modern camera design, for one. The current Pentax models are long-form Realtime OS (RTOS) iteration products, the Samsung designs are modern Linux-based designs. And those RTOS designs all tend to be DOS-based, complete with 8.3 filenaming restrictions. RTOS designs are tougher to integrate into modern communications.

            Clearly Samsung has 4K video and PD-on-sensor focus capabilities that Pentax would covet, too.

            But…the problem with Pentax (and Ricoh’s own cameras, for that matter) is the same problem Canon and Nikon have, only worse: they’re basically still designing film SLRs with “digital film.”

          • Kunzite

            The problem with the OS is that getting the NX camera line means they would have a Linux-based OS line of cameras, AND their Pentax line of cameras, AND their Ricoh line of cameras; the “modern OS” firmware being made for a different architecture than the other cameras. It would add to complexity without solving anything by itself.

            Btw, the Android-based cameras were a bad idea. Modern and Linux-based is not necessarily better.

            Pentax doesn’t need Samsung’s camera division for 4K video, nor for PD-on-sensor focus capabilities. For the first, they need a 4K capable sensor (likely Sony) and a processor capable of encoding 4K video (likely Fujitsu). For the latter, they need a sensor with PDAF support (likely Sony). I’m simplifying things a bit, but you get the idea.

            Actually the result they’re getting with that approach is quite good, better IMHO than every Samsung camera out there. And the NX1 tries to emulate a DSLR…

          • Thom Hogan

            Agree with your first paragraph, but…

            The problem with the RTOS-based cameras is that they’re mired in DCF plus assumptions about electronics that are no longer valid. We’ve been kludging things onto the shell for four decades now, and it shows. It also keeps cameras from getting into the modern era, where the places that you would want to move images through and to (e.g. Flickr, Facebook, et.al.) are constantly changing APIs, options, and more. A hard coded response to any of the things happening in the Internet-fueled world is bound to fail. As it is, the Japanese camera makers can’t even keep their iOS and Android apps up to date and working well.

            I agree that Android-based cameras are the wrong idea. I argued that point with Nikon executives in Tokyo in 2010 and have turned out to be correct in my assessment of where they were trying to go with that (one of the leads wasn’t happy when I bluntly predicted the Coolpix Android would fail). However, Linux running underneath as the OS is not a bad choice. Indeed, a better choice than the DOS-based OS’s being used. Some cameras, such as the D4, run TWO OS’s (FDOS for the camera, Linux for the Ethernet stack), which isn’t the solution, either.

          • Kunzite

            That is interesting, but it doesn’t touch the point I was making, promoting instead the acquisition of a camera division as a magical solution.

            I’ll start by observing that having a Linux-based OS does not make or break a camera system. Indeed, it’s the Samsung NX which failed – not Pentax, Nikon, Canon.

            I would like to also go back to a claim of mine, that getting the NX camera line means they would have a Linux-based OS line of cameras, AND their Pentax line of cameras, AND their Ricoh line of cameras. Is usage would not automatically expand over the existing product lines.

            The effect – put it in a simplified manner – would be having 3 separate product lines to integrate, instead of 2. I’m assuming that Ricoh cameras are all similar (GRs and perhaps the G800 series), as well as the Pentax ILC cameras so I might be seriously underestimating the effort here. The overall idea is that acquiring a new software&hardware architecture makes things more complex, not easier.

            Yes, in principle integrating hardware&software into an unified architecture is a good idea. In practice, I don’t know – give me a few months with unlimited access and I’ll be able to form an informed opinion 😉
            The thing is, even if deemed as feasible modernizing the software architecture can – in principle – be done without the expense of buying another camera division. IMHO the money would be more effectively spent on forming a strong embedded software department.

            By the way, AFAIK Pentax is using an ITRON-based RealOS, which is far from a mere DOS. This is not my area of expertise, however, so I would abstain from commenting on its specific capabilities.

          • Thom Hogan

            My point is this: if you stick with DCF and RTOS systems, you’ll ride cameras all the way to extinction. Thus, the GR and Pentax ILC systems are not really going to give you any better future, only a worse one. Itron RealOS is basically an Intel 286 version of a DOS-like RTOS if I understand it correctly. Last time I looked closely at the OS’s that all the Japanese camera companies were using, they all are still heavy RT OS versions, and they still pretty much live in the long legacy that ended with MSDOS.

            Personally, I wouldn’t acquire the Samsung designs and assets if I were Pentax. But I also wouldn’t keep iterating what we know won’t fly for very much longer.

          • Kunzite

            Extinction? A worse future? From my point of view, a worse future would be to make cameras part of this IoT craze. They are specialized devices and it might be better if they remain that way.

            DOS-like for a RTOS is a superficial view. I understand what you’re saying even though the technical side of me cringes when reading that. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it – DCF is a minor annoyance, otherwise you can implement pretty much all required functionality including video encoding and wireless networking.

            What would prompt an OS change IMO would be the ability to run user-level applications. Sony is doing that – they’re running some sort of embedded Linux – though I can’t say I’m thrilled at their selection of apps (some of those are similar to functions offered by the “old-style” Pentax firmware).
            There might be an alternative, though: run the apps on a separate device i.e. a smartphone or tablet.

            P.S. It seems we agree on the main point regarding the acquisition of Samsung cameras.

          • Thom Hogan

            Yes, we agree on the main point regarding acquiring Samsung’s camera business. I don’t know who would clearly benefit from that.

            Where we disagree is on the future. However, I tend to be a far thinker not a near thinker. While I still can program in Zilog Z80 assembly code and there are plenty of devices out there that use that old staple or newer variants of it, I also was part of the early design team of what I believe still to be one of the most forward looking OS’s out there. My job in Silicon Valley was to be thinking five to ten years out, not next generation of current product.

            And it seems very clear to me that devices that are app-programmable, and communicate to other devices, has been where we’re headed for some time. Even autos are clearly headed there. Cameras really don’t have a current way to get there without kludges, as both Nikon and Sony have shown with their Linux-based subsystems living in parallel with the real time OS driving the device. And both have made a mess of that.

            Running apps on a separate device is certainly a possibility. To a large degree, that’s what Camera Control Pro for Nikon has been, dating all the way back to the N90s and the Sharp Wizard version. Put a simple API out the 10-pin and then let something else talk to the camera. But the problem with that is that it really is just a simple serial protocol that hasn’t kept up with the times.

      • KC

        My suspicion is that they tried to sell the business and had no takers (who in their right mind would buy into a rapidly contracting sector). So when it came down to it they were forced to exit the business. The puzzling part is that they are slow rolling the shut down. Maybe they are trying to burn through inventory.

        • yes, they are probably doing it market by market after they get rid of their inventory

      • Spy Black

        I think if anything they’ll just clear stock and sell sensors to whoever needs ’em.

  • MonkeySpanner

    The timing here is good. Quit the business then dump all the product on crazy holiday sales.

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