What is Samsung R1?

Is this the Samsung R1?

36exp is a "group of professional photographers who actively work in our fields of expertise". Few hours ago the owner of that website went to several online forums and posted this:

"Last night I attended a market research session on a new camera design, they showed a mock up and spec of a new camera with a dSLR like spec and 24MP APS C size sensor, in a small retro body, with interchangeable lenses"

There was also a link to a post on 36exp that was removed shortly after it went viral. Here is the original text:

"Last night I attended a feedback session run by a research company on behalf of a major camera company. They were looking for ‘advanced camera users’ to give feedback on a new camera design.
They showed what looked like a very well progressed mock up and spec of a camera, which was about the size of a Canon G12, or mirrorless camera, but had styling very similar to the Fuji X100.
The spec of the camera that we were asked to give feedback on was given as:

- APS C size sensor
– 24.3 mega pixels
– Interchangeable lenses
– Mirrorless system
– Magnesium alloy body
– Retro Styling (their words) i.e. direct access buttons and dials for controls, similar look to Fuji x100, black and chrome
– 10 fps
– Max shutter speed 1/8000 sec
– Phase autofocus
– Swivel LCD screen (although this didn’t get good feedback)
– Price £616 including kit lens

They didn’t reveal it as Samsung initially, but the discussion got onto which brands we trusted and everyone mentioned Nikon, Canon, Leica etc as brands with heritage that they would trust if buying into what seemed to be a premium camera. When someone mentioned that they would be less likely to buy it if it was from Samsung a guy appeared (who been observing the session from behind one way glass) and announced that it was a Samsung camera, and asked our thoughts on this….

Couldn’t get any pictures or bring anything out unfortunately. It may be called the Retro R1 or similar as the mock up had Retro etched on it, but tape over the rest of the name.

I really liked it, seemed to have SLR spec in a smaller body, hopefully it comes to fruition."

Few months ago several Samsung camera prototypes appeared on a promotional video and one of them indeed had a retro design. In addition, I recently received some rumors that Samsung may show a second NX camera at CES 2012 in addition to the NX20.

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  • fred

    Pleeeeeease don’t call it the “Retro”! If it’s a serious camera, give it a serious name.

    • Global

      Name doesn’t matter. If its a good camera, it will sell. Do you think “X100” or “D5100” or “5DMII” are “serious” names?? Its all nonsense.

      Make a great product, Samsung — couple it with lots of pancake lenses — worry about name later!

      • z

        R1? Its a lot better than Samsung Retrolution S II Mini Pro..

        • chrisq.

          that is just silly, if it’s a good camera it’s a good camera, if a name stops you from buying a camera even if it is amazing there is something seriously wrong with you and you’re probably just a snob.

    • chris

      this is obviously what the people want… look how many comments this thread already has..

      samsung are you listening to the people? : )

  • EnPassant

    What about EVF?

    • Craig

      Forget that, does it have an OVF? Also we want to know the release date. And we want to know if you can bolt an “M” lens to the front, because if it uses Samsung glass the camera is DOA.

      • jarda

        DOA? I don’t think so. Samsung made some really good lenses for the NX. Lot better than Sony made for their NEX

        • Carlos R B

          Right on…m lenses? yeah right…who cares? a few people who can afford 2500 usd lenses, but cannot buy a leica camera? samsung is a lot better than sony

      • Anon

        It is not really possible to have a built-in optical viewfinder in a camera with interchangeable lenses (Contax G series is really the only one to successfully do this). However, if you just mean a regular optical viewfinder…they’re already made by Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss, etc. in pretty much any focal length you’d want.

        • Matt

          It’s really not possible, yet pretty much every interchangeable lens rangefinder has had it? It’s called framelines.

          • Anon

            Eh, no. Framelines only work when you’re talking about a dedicated system like the M series with certain lenses (and it’s not always accurate). For example, where are the 40mm framelines? (except on a R3A/M, CL, and CLE) they don’t exist. Samsung definitely isn’t going to piggyback the M mount, so they would have to come up with an entirely new system. I’m very optimistic about Samsung but I don’t think they’re capable of creating a manual-focus digital rangefinder to compete with today’s cameras. Leica is really the only one who can get away with that. I seriously doubt Zeiss/Cosina is making a lot of money.

        • Ken Elliott

          I have a zoom optical viewfinder for my Leica, made by Nikon. There is no reason Nikon could not build it into a camera. But I get your point that no company has done this.

      • UseFilm

        If I have to chose between 86% of frame OVF and 100% of frame EVF than I would vote for EVF.

  • all i can say at this point is that body looks neat.

  • Stepper

    Why do camera companies spend so much money on market research trying to figure out if a camera like this will sell. Of course it will sell! Just look at the X100 – hot cakes. Even the Olympus E-P(x)s were successful due to their styling, despite their mediocre performance.

    Here, I’ll save Nikon, Canon, Samsung and all the other camera companies a million bucks in market research: Make it look cool with lots of knobs and classic styling and it will sell. As long as it has these things and has at least decent performance it will make money.

    • CommonSense

      I totally agree. Companies know that people like retro looking cameras with classic dials and switches.
      Therefore Samsung should release retro camera as soon as they manage.

    • Ke

      Olympus really sorted out the performance with the new PENs.

  • Harryson Ford

    I would be very interested in such a camera. Actually, a sort of M9 with APS-C and good AF would be very a nice small walk-around camera.

    • Craig

      That camera is already available it is called an M8.

      • preston

        He said he wants good AF, so M8 doesn’t work.

        I would suggest the Fuji X100.

      • Carlos R B

        Your M8 has AF…must be one of a kind…

      • Ronan


        M8 has 10MP, High ISO is non existant, LCD is horrible, sensor is mediocre.

  • cheesecake?

    (apparently) Mirrorless design and phase detection AF?

    is that even possible?

    • BornOptimist

      You might get your answere Sept. 21st.

      • Carlos R B

        Too bad on a 2.8 crop sensor and slow lenses…

        • BornOptimist

          Crop sensor or slow lenses does not have anything to do with his question.

          • Carlos R B

            Of course not, but sales do….

    • u_atom

      Fuji Finepix F300 use phase detection.

    • yup, quite possible. the point is that you have to have a couple of columns of pixels on the side of the sensor (and maybe a few more for accuracy deeper in) reserved exlusively for phase detection, and there you go, phase detection AF in a mirrorless design.

      of course, in reality, it’s a bit more difficult, but i remember fuji had a few sensors (and even a patent for) where arrays of pixels were reserved for phase-detection AF. the downside is that if the detection arrays are *within* active imaging blocks, then you have to interpolate those pixels in the final image.

  • Tregix

    Something looks strange. The NX200 has a 20.3MP sensor and not a 24.3 MP sensor. The NEX7 has a 24.3 MP sensor…

    Could be a typo though.

    • Carlos R B

      its not, the guy posted in dpreview today, so its about an upcoming camera, not an existing one…and he explicitly said it was samsung…

    • Din

      The new Sony sensor?
      Or the NX200 sensor is a really 24MPx sensor.

  • benjamin

    thats a fantastic looking mock up. but i would have serious reservations about going with an NX mount simply because i love using old manual lenses and the flange distance wont allow me such a pleasure..

    • CommonSense

      Benjamin, while theoretically using third party lenses looks tempting, practically, with sensor over 14 mp, you should use the lenses made by sensor maker. These lenses are optimised for the sensor, and design with inner knowledge of the offset of micro lenses over the pixels.
      For instance if you take Leica lens and put it on NEX5 mount, it will give in corners inferior sharpness to sony zoom 18-55

      • benjamin

        I enjoy old lenses for their unique rendition wrt to contrast and rendition, so sharpness doesnt bother me too much. in fact, i d say all but 3 of my lenses are over 20 years old, with 2 of them being 50 years old. I even convert lenses from minolta/fujica/konica to be used with my nikon system. if i were to go mirrorless, i d love to have the opportunity to at least try all these other lenses that i wouldnt be able to mount on an slr. the NX system is very tempting for their prime lenses though, and i love prime lenses =P

      • AhamB

        What you say is correct for the NEX-3/5 with rangefinder lenses shorter than 35mm. Color shift (magenta color cast at the image borders) and smudging of the corners are the problems with such lenses. Sony was able to fix these problems with the NEX-3C though and it’s expected that the NEX-5N and NEX-7 also don’t suffer from them.
        People have been lots of different lenses to the Sony NEX with great success and it’s only getting better.

    • Din

      With NX camera you can use 13 different systems lens, all of the manual with adapters… Even Leica M39 lenses can be used on it.

      • Bill

        But you can’t use Leica M-mount glass on the NX system.

        • fants

          You can use M lenses, actually…you just have to remove the NX mount and replace it with an M adapter. It’s an annoying process but totally reversible…still, doesn’t exactly make for quick switching between M and NX lenses.

  • Carlos R B

    Lets hope it happens…samsung is managing to get small great lenses (or good) to their system, while sony is not….lenses are neither compact or good quality..

  • Ke

    That’s a damn good deal for 600 quid if true.

  • Zaph

    “– Retro Styling (their words) i.e. direct access buttons and dials for controls, similar look to Fuji x100, black and chrome”

    It really depends on what those controls ARE. If you can look at the top of the camera, and be able to adjust shutter speed and aperture without lifting the camera to your eye, then wonderful. Otherwise, it’s more style than substance.

    In the absence of more manual control wheels, I’m not sure why more small cameras don’t have a really simple and small LCD (or OLED, or … something that you can see in bright light) on top that show the current ISO, shutter speed and aperture, linked to a dial that can toggle easily between them. It would take up very little space, and would mean you could quickly and easily change those without even raising the camera. It probably sounds like a step backwards to some, but I would love to see it.

  • grumps

    I’m very interested. I think Samsung and Sony are the major contendees for the mirrorless market right now. Actually Fuji too.

    Now where’s the full frame interchangeable lens mirrorless camera… wow that was a mouth full! LENSES, show us the lenses, Buy Schneider, Zeiss or whatever, and show us the good stuff, it’s logical!

  • Well, as long as it is Samsung, I won’t touch it no matter how good it looks. At least those lowlifes are on the right track if this is right. I’d love a NEX in a stylish body and if possible, 35mm~.

    • Vince

      Did they kidnap your sister? That was a really senseless post with no explanation…

      • Sorry:

        I’m glad they are pushing a better design and hopefully fuel the competition. I think that if the R1 isn’t just some marketing blow off thing, they can prod real electronics companies into action.

        plug: come to Korea to see just how Samsung behave toward their insurance, housing, car, government, grocery, etc., customers, and then lock up the people who are kind enough to warn other people.

  • Ronan

    ~$1000 APS-C sized, interchanble, mirrorless camera that has a retro style (think Fuji x100) and accepts M lenses.

    It would sell so fast, they wouldn’t be able to keep them in stock.

  • Leica’s going to get its butt kicked by all these “retros”. It looks like an old Leica screw mount (ala IIIF) kind of.

    • Ken Elliott

      Or Leica sales go up because everyone becomes aware that Leica is the “real thing” and want one.

    • pooh

      Look at the knobs. More like a Contax.

  • Why should a shutter speed dial be considered ‘retro’?

    • ke

      Because 99% of modern non-DSLR cameras sold don’t have direct controls for shutter speed, ISO, or aperture. Sure with some you can change them, but it’s usually hidden under menus.

      People like having direct access, it was a system that worked well.

    • Carlos R B


  • Noktonite

    Too much hype here, too little substance. The specs haven’t been officially announced.

    You can’t use Leica/Voigtlander M or LTM lenses on the Samsung NX mount. People are outright lying if they tell you that it’s possible. You either lose infinity focus or you have to physically remove the NX mount from the NX camera and replace it with an M mount.

    The Sony NEX is a better system.

    Samsung blew it.

    Vaporware to keep sales from Sony during the all important Christmas shopping season.

    My NEX 7 is pre-ordered and I’ll be taking great shots this holiday season of my loved ones.

    Good luck waiting on Samsung’s vaporware.

    • ke

      “The Sony NEX is a better system.”

      Shame about the lenses, though, eh?

    • Din

      Instead looking for a NEX to use M lenses, why don´t you buy a Leica M9?

      • Vince

        I’ll order one this weekend. What’s your credit card number again? Seriously, the “buy an M9” comments are just short of troll poop. Want a fast car? Buy a Veryon. Want a nice watch? Buy a Blancpain Villeret. If you own an M9 and make this comment, you’re likely a tool. If you don’t, you’re certainly a troll. Either way, it’s an asinine comment.

      • Ronan

        Because an M9 is around $7000ish and has crappy high iso.

    • fants

      Correction, the Sony NEX is a better camera. NX is the better system, given that it actually has useful compact lenses compared to Sony’s mediocre-at-best lineup. If you’re going to be using M lenses, then yeah, the NEX-7 looks to be the best option out there bar an M9. But if you’re going to be using only M lenses, why not spend 1/4 the money on a NX100 and just leave the M mount on it?

      • Carlos R B

        Well said…sony is getting this system on a totally wrong way, big and not good performance lenses…

        • MJr

          The amount of pre-orders say otherwise tho.

    • chris

      yes you cant use m mount on samsung nx but why bother with old legacy lences if you can have the new samsung primes which acutally have useful autofocus.

      m mount lenses are for such a tiny market compare to other camera buyers why would samsung even bother.. they could sell a ton of their own samsung nx primes.

  • Dgd

    R1 naming should be full frame.
    R10 Aps-c.

    • Sky

      R1 was already taken by Sony. It was the best bridge camera ever build if some people recall it. Google for “R1 camera”.

      So I doubt Samsung would go for this name.

    • R10 could be Leica’s next SLR, maybe even digital, but…

  • HotDuckZ

    Retro camera but lens not. 🙁

    • MJr

      Who knows. it could have M mount, or adapter at least. but that would need a convenient manual focus aid.

  • I think Samsung is really pushing hard. I like this company. Scrappy agressive and putting out competitive products. Better lenses than Nex and Nice layout and this new camera. WOW! I look forward to seeing what it does. Go Korea!

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