Is Samsung shutting down their camera business?

A reader sent me a link to this article on a Korean website claiming that Samsung will shut down their camera business. The article quotes an "industry insider" as a source of the information and continues to say that since the NX500 announcement, Samsung have not announced anything new and have basically abandon all marketing activities. The camera devision reportedly lost money every single year since they started with the NX product line.

The Samsung NX1 and NX500 are currently $200 and $150 off.

Flashback from 2010:

In an interview with AP, Samsung's vice president of camera business Jeong Wook Kim said that Samsung is "determined" to be #1 in the mirrorless camera market by 2012 and be "the best selling camera brand" by 2015.

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  • Jeffry De Meyer

    That would be horrible, a world with only sony doing anything inovative would suck.

    • The big guys (Nikon and Canon) will catch up, they are just slow.

      • Kevin

        they are clever.. they have a big userbase and people with at least a two digit IQ know that it´s not only the sensor or the gimmicks a cameras has.. it´s the overall SYSTEM that counts.

        i have a sony camera now too, for 2 years, but what did i buy except the camera and the kit lens…? nothing!!

        when i compare that to what i spend on my nikon gear…..
        i guess it´s a factor 1:20.

        • Lol so how many IQ points makes someone buy an interchangeable lens camera which has no lenses of interest to them?

          • Kevin

            the sony is my travel camera… i have no need for more lenses… you dumbo. 🙂

          • Ethan

            You claim to have $12k in Nikon, yet complain about Sony lens pricing?

          • You are a connoisseur of cameras and you shoot with zooms? Lol

        • Ethan

          So you have 20 lenses? Show them

          • Kevin

            20 lenses??….. what are you brabbling?

            i wrote i paid 20 times more for all my nikon equipment compared to my sony equipment.

        • Marcelo Tezza

          Interesting the two digit IQ that you seems not to have…

        • So you have an IQ of 99 or less?

      • ppd

        well too slow to some of us, we cannot wait forever.

        • Samuel

          Yes we can. Having a slightly better camera every 6 months is not that important.

          • Canon and Nikon will only fall further behind. they are “old school” Japanese mentality, and will debate changes so long that change never comes.

          • I don’t think so – they have huge potential and resources and will not quietly just go down without a fight.

          • That is not way older conservative Japanese companies think. Everything is slow, meetings to schedule meetings to schedule meets.

            Something that takes a western company a week to decide can often take months or years for most large Japanese comapnies.

            Canon and Nikon still think thus way. Newer companies such as Sony are a little faster, but not as much as many people want to think.

      • Pancanikonpus

        canikon loves incremental release lol… they known existing users cannot affordable to quit due to hold up lenses, like it or not, this is their ‘they sell, you buy approach’.

  • Oberoth

    That would be a massive loss to the photography world, the NX1 with a thing of beauty.

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      And a user interface that fits in this century

    • ppd

      well said, 100 percent agreed.

    • TinusVerdino

      They’ll sell it to Ricoh who will put their brand or Pentax on it.

      • Joe

        Ricoh/Pentax is only for old farts that hate video mode and want a flipping mirror.

        • TinusVerdino

          So why are you not shooting with one?

          • Joe

            I shoot with the NX1, GH4, A7r and VG900.

          • TinusVerdino

            Then you must be a different kind of old fart.

          • Joe

            You must be a Pentax fanboy.

          • TinusVerdino

            I’m getting a much clearer image about what kind of old fart you are, but of Ricoh were to take over the NX-line you would have to join ranks.

          • Joe

            Ricoh only makes DSLRs with the flipping mirror for Pentax fanboys.

          • TinusVerdino

            That’s a pleonasm, and they don’t just make DSLRs.

          • Joe

            They make office machines also.


            Don’t give a cr@p about what you thing about Pentax. People like Michael Reichmann disagree with you and their opinion really matters to people.
            You can even call me a zombie as long as you let me shoot my 645Z. An old fart? So be it… (I’m 42)

            I am a big guy (6feet 8 inches) and I can’t use your GH4. It’s a toy. I like the A7II / A7RII and will probably get one (at my height, articulating screen is a must – people don’t like being photographed from above), but the Sony has many-many buttons cramped in a small body.
            As for Samsung, I never got to touch an NX1, but I hated all their compact mirrorless in the NX series. I hope they don’t go under however and they find a way to keep their brand alive (anyone remember Samsung Cars ???)…

          • Joe

            I used the Pentax 67 for many years during the film days before I purchased three APS-C Pentax but today I prefer to shoot 4K video with my GH4 and NX1 . For stills I shoot 36mp stills with my A7r .

    • SamsungR&D

      NX2 would have come with 42mpx APS-C and 4 stop IBIS. But we have just been fired.

      • Joe

        Did you get your cookies posting that ?

        • SamsungR&D

          Nah, your mom makes my cookies.

  • Kevin

    i predicted that a long time ago… well 19 month ago.

    the camera biz is only peanuts for samsung.
    they have no chance to become a big player in the shrinking camera biz.. and they can make money more easily.

    they have nearly no userbase in the DSLR world and i doubt their R&D money for developing cameras and lenses produce any profit.

    • Ornery

      I predicted this 20 months ago.

      • MdB

        Pretty sure Samsung said they would shut it down if they didn’t make a profit. The NX1 has been praised (at least with the S lenses) but hasn’t actually gained much market traction, it’s like a good film that gets lots of critical acclaim but nobody pays to go and see.

      • Rick

        I predicted this in 1951

  • FountainHead

    There are very few industries that are large enough such that if you can’t be the #1 or #2 player in at least one large segment, it’s not worth playing.

    Samsung is not #1 or #2 in any photography segment.
    Game over.

  • Good decision. Samsung can’t make cameras.

    • ppd

      have you ever tried the great NX1?

  • Philipp Moers

    If I will close my department, would I put so much effort to release FW updates for NX1? Do you know how expensive sw developememt actualy is?
    And NX1 sells better than expected…

    There is an identical discussion on dpreview forum.
    Sounds like a big troll is around the corner…

    Just my 2 cents

    • Gov

      Well….if you are restructuring and unsure you may want to keep getting out FW updates in order not to lose customers who are going ot be suspiscious because of the radiosilence. And you buy time to see how things boil down.

      Smasung has said they have no plans OFFICIALLY stop with camera’s if I am correct. Officially there is nothing there. But how is that really? I think their message, answer to the rumours is not unequivocal actually.

      Look what happened in 2015. We have GX8 (with a new sensor, Dual IS, weathersealerd, 4K, fantastic EVF), G7 (what a gem at that price), GM5 (so small and with an EVF), EM5 MakrII (with HiRes), EM10 MarkII, we have quite a bunch of new mFT glass. We have 100-400 Leica in the pipeline, we have Oly 300 F4 in the same pine, we have a drone company making a mFT cam for its drones, we have JVC 4K mFT cams….
      Oly HiRes mode has been announced to become handheld usable.
      Undeniably a lot is going on there.

      Sony: A7II, A7IIR and now A7IIs has been announced. These have new and better sensors, higher pixelcounts, IBIS is now in their bodies and it works really well. How about their Zeiss lenses. Expensive but so good. A great great great 90 mm macro.
      Inspite of all the mFT development Sony is clearly drawing the most attention to them.

      Fuji is easy on its way. Nice road map btw. a 100-400 mm from them too in 2016 Okey: it is not as vivid and diverse as Sony or mFTs, but is reliable and it lens lineup might not be the one with the most lenses but mFTs has quite a few that are very similar (25 mm f1.4 f1.7 and f1.8… 45 mm f1.7 f1.8 and 42,5 mm f1.2). To my mind the Fuji lineup is getting complete with very well thought out lenses.

      Samsungs FW updates pale in comparison and if they are not doing something really good and quiet behind the curtains, they are losing more and more time.

      At least from waht we know, ebven without Samsung pulling out, it still looks bleak to my mind.

  • Robert Stofa

    I think I’m gonna fwd this to samsung in an email and just ask them.. lol

  • Of course they lost money, Samsung was doing a terrible job until the NX1, they had laggy cameras, they were not good in any area, they didn’t have any edge.

    But when they finally do it right you can’t expect that everybody will simply forget how irrelevant it was or that now everybody will shift their eyes to Samsung. It takes time to make such turnaround, now that Samsung is heading into the right direction, they need a bit of patience – and cash – the keep delivering better products and once people know you for that, then you will start to earn some.

    But I thought Samsung didn’t bring anything new because they were reorganizing their business and also because they have been very active with their firmware update, something that has being praised by a lot of people.

  • D800GUY

    I would say they will keep the business going at least for little while, sell enough units until R&D costs recoups…and then sell their division to someone else. Despite having very little market share, their products are still intellectual property worth making money off from. The NX1 and the latest 2.8 lenses are really good. Hope they will continue, because only competition can push the game forward. If it wasn’t for Olympus/Panasonic with their mirrorless and then later Sony, Canon and Nikon would’ve never tried to innovate beyond single lens reflex designs.

  • Jocke Jockjock

    Wrong strategy by Samsung. Cameras maybe ok but lenses suck.
    Consumers have their phones to shoot with. It’s only serious
    shooters that would buy. Means they would need lenses at least
    as good at the best on the market but at lower price.
    And full frame or very low price, ie. impossiby low.
    Why would someone buy a Samsung when you cannot get
    pro quality lenses? So why not make cameras for CaNikZei?
    Sony realized this and teamed up with Zeiss.

    • Thom Hogan

      Actually, in almost every instance, I’ve found the Samsung lens to be better optically than the equivalent Sony E lens. Started with the 16mm, but it seems to be pretty true across the line.

      As for “pro quality”, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that, but I also would guess you’ve never used the f/2.8 Samsung zooms.

      • Nosfar

        yes the zeiss sticker on sony lenses is worth nothing.
        the quality of many sony lenses is sub par.

      • MdB

        Yeah no.

    • Geoff C. Bassett

      Have you touched the 50-150? I use it, the thing is beautiful! Sharp, fast focusing, great range, balances perfectly with the NX1. Here’s a shoot I did with it:

      The sony has a terrible grip, and f4 zooms. People ragging on Samsung lenses obviously have never used their S-line.

      Samsung needs to do 3 things for these to be used by pros:

      1) Better low light AF
      2)AF-C in viewfinder
      2)Second Card Slot

  • RIP_samsung

    Finally 😉
    samsung has no clue how to make cameras.
    And they have no clue how to make lenses.
    And they offer for entry level camera $550 flash ;-))))))))))))))))))
    Primitive flash.
    RIP samsung. It takes really stupid designers to make distance (flange) of mirrorless camera that far from sensor. It’s totally idiotic. if for some type of lenses you need little longer flange, you just make lens barrel longer.
    and for wide angle lenses, whit fuji like flange, you have freedom in symmetrical desing. The lenses? they made very poor quality pancakes, with plastic aspherics that cost 2 dollars per piece, avoided ED glass, avoided HR glass, and still charged for the crap like that $399.
    They took Metz flash, put samsung logo on it, doubled the price and here is samsung flash ;-))))))))))))))))))
    there were some “samsung witnesses” ( same type of jehova witnesses) who claimed that the samsung pancakes are better then Zeiss Otus . Yes there were individuals like that on the forum. Now their “equippment” will sell for $1 per kilo ;-)))))))))))))

    • RIP_samsung

      and do you remember when two years ago samsung declared that they would be number 1 camera maker in the world? They after they took medication, they corrected that statement and said they would be the best mirrorless camera maker in the world, thou they mentioned that one day all cameras will be mirrorless.
      They were also claiming that their lenses would match “Japanese and German companies”. ;-)))))))))))))))))
      samsung are you serious? You would match German lens companies? Perhaps in lens hood manufacturing

      • RIP_samsung

        Samsung manufactures the most sexy camera in the history of cameras. It’s galaxy camera.
        It’s nearly as sexy as M. Albright and A. Greenspan.
        Samsung how many of these sexy cameras did you sell? and how many did you give away for free?

      • ppd

        hey, actually they make one of the best lenses ever out for any mount out there.
        those German optics are really overrated. people worship for anything from Germany or Europe, but many Asian companies beat that if they can sell it at German price. Many Samyong primes beat expensive German Zeiss ZF/ZE line primes at one fourth of the German lens rivals.
        Panasonic, Sony and Samsung really have the best lens manufacturing tech and money to improve it further, however, they do need some silly German brand names to sell their lenses since there are many super prejudiced old farts that hate anything camera optics related from Electronics company,or Asia.
        it is all prejudice and your German worshiping mind that makes it look bad, but if you blind tested, chances are you may find Samsung S line zooms and high end primes actually better than overpriced European brand lenses.
        Samsung, Tamron, Sigma, Samyong all are great, but sadly reviews and the camera market are both consisted of many many over 50 white beard old farts with strong prejudice against Samsung, Sony, Sigma, Smyong,etc.
        If see it as it is,without any silly anything German Italian are great kind of view, you may find the NX system really refreshing and innovative, more so than anything from German camera optics related brands.

        • Very valid point you make how 25 year old consumer electronic company from developing country with no experience in design or manufacturing of optics can produce something of greater quality for less than Zeiss who has specialized in optics for over hundred years.

    • RIP_samsung

      hey samsung, and how many wide angle zooms did you sell? I talk about the zoom that was glued by creazy glue inside, and after one month of light usage the lens split in half? do you still use creazy glue or you got better glue?

      • Russell Hall

        My NX 12-24 simply broke in half when I was putting the lens hood on it. On investigation it was clear the design was pathetic and no way fit for purpose. Worse, Samsung denied all responsibility. So I did not invest any more in the NX system. So, memo to Samsung: If you screw your customer’s trust in your brand, expect the brand to die.

  • SH*T666

    Probably they are only thinking about shut down the NX line and begin the production of a new line with a shorter flange distance. Maybe they are planning going FF right now.

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      And just dump the amazing recent ones they made?
      If it wasn’t for the a7r2 people would still be ooohing and aaahing over the nx1 and the amazingly sharp and fast lenses that were launched with that camera

      • SH*T666

        Amazing NX1, yes, and excellent lenses indeed, but maybe Samsung needs to change the paradigm and develop cameras with shorter flange lenses, Samsung´s Achilles´ heel. This is not important in a real pro camera like the NX1 is, but Samsung should think seriously about making more compact lenses for amateur cameras.

        • Jeffry De Meyer

          Samsung lenses are tiny the 16 20 45 and the kit are tiny. the 18-200 is slightly bigger than my kit nikon 18-55
          It is not that much bigger than the lens of my point and shoot.

  • Marco –

    The nx1 will be the best apsc camera for at least another year, possibly 2, so samsung can take it slowly.

    • Kevin

      a featurelist does not make a good camera…..

      • Marco –

        Ok. Do you own and/or extensively used it? If so, what didn’t you like about it and which camera do you prefer to it? I extensively used most of the direct competitors and none came near.

        And please don’t start talking about lack of native lenses…

        • Nosfar

          lack of native lenses.
          handling is crap.
          too many small bugs to mention.
          no i don´t own it.. but i work in a camera store and that is what i get as feedback.

          • Yawn

            Same here, I tried one and I walked away puffing. Too many stupid bugs, bad af, sluggish operation, generally terrible user interface.
            It was worse than the various Sony A7* I tried, which belong to the same class of “good on paper, bad in fact”.

          • Marco –

            Nx is definitely under attack by ppl fearing it. You are totally unaware of the latest advancement obtained by fw updates. The nx1 scored higher than any other aosc camera on dpr even with previous, much worse, fw. Now it simpky shines. I simply hope samsung stays in this business to kick away all the other old, crappy cameras that are considered so good by most

  • Eno

    I remember several times Samsung stating: “we will be number 1 in mirrorless market”.

    If the rumor is correct, they will indeed be the “no 1″…. who has exit the mirrorless system. Sad but at the same time funny. 🙂

      • Boyben

        Samsung suddenly stopped bringing all cameras and lenses into New Zealand at the beginning of this year and I could never find out the reason why.
        Hope we get a response from Samsung regarding rumor
        soon, to put us NX1 users out of our misery.

    • amaas

      Ricoh has already exited the mirrorless market, twice (K mount mirrorless and GX-M mirrorless mount module)

  • BP2012

    It’s a pitty if it’s true. NX1 is overall the best mirrorless camera these days. Better in video than Sony and Panasonic and better in stills than Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus.

    • MdB

      Oh I do like a good chuckle, thank you!

      • BP2012

        Ok, a little education won’t hurt. Let me clear myself, I’m not NX1 user but I was in situation to use it for video production in period of few weeks in june . NX1 has best 4k video (final results after postprocessing) then any mirrorless camera available in this moment. If you don’t beleive me I recommend you to read this That guy is certainly not a Samsung fanboy.
        While I was in possesion of NX1 I was able to test it also for still photo abilities and found it has better IQ and DR then my Fujifilm X-T1. IQ could be better because of better optics 16-50mm f/2-2.8 vs 18-55mm f/2.8-4 but DR is strictly camera/sensor characteristic.

        • MdB

          Wow, a comparison (from EOSHD of all places) to a 1080p camera for video and some antecdotal evidence from you that it has more DR than your Fuji it the best Mirrorless in the world.

          Way to skew the ‘results’.

  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    Samsung IS the #1 camera maker in the whole world. Only most of those cameras are attached to a smartphone, a phablet or a tablet. Since their mobile business is not doing that well nowadays, and their money loosing camera division was merged into their mobile division some time ago, guess what easy measure their bean counters are going to do to prop-up the bottom line? This is something that has been brewing for a while now: their retreat from lesser markets started before the NX1 and NX500 came to market, and they never broke into the Japan market, which is the highest per-capita camera market in the world. Not everything is lost, though: We can look forward for an interchangeable lens Galaxy S smartphone with a 1″ sensor that will beat Sony’s RX series and Nikon’s Series 1.

    • Thom Hogan

      A quick search will tell you that Samsung, Omnivision, and Sony have been fairly closely bunched in terms of image sensor sales for several years now. The Samsung and Sony numbers aren’t always trustworthy as they can be finessed by internal “sales.”

      But Yole, probably the most trusted source for CMOS sensor numbers, has the most recent numbers at 27% Sony, 19% Samsung, 17% Omnivision.

      • CaMeRa QuEsT

        Thom, since they are the world’s #1 maker in volume of smartphones, phablets and tablets, ergo they are the world’s #1 maker in volume of cameras. There are usually 2 cameras per device nowadays, they use so many sensors they need to buy from other suppliers. I am not talking about sensor sales here, I am talking about complete, functional cameras.

        • Thom Hogan

          Maybe you should take logic 101 next semester.

          The current Samsung smartphone market share is 21.4% worldwide according to IDC. Yes, they’re #1 in market share (if you don’t count “other’). But that doesn’t mean they have more than half the market.

          I’ll stick with research rather than “we’re number one” logic. In the most recent half year data from multiple sources, Samsung is either #2 or #3 in image sensors, depending upon the data source.

          And as applies to this thread, Samsung is behind a ton of other companies in larger-than-smartphone sensors.

  • Thom Hogan

    The real issue for Samsung has to be sensors. Their camera volume doesn’t justify the sensor R&D and production costs. It’s basically been a no-win situation for them:

    (a) Go it alone and they don’t have enough volume to pay for the fab time necessary to get sensors produced and yields raised.
    (b) Use someone else’s sensors and they are just another follower, as they wouldn’t be pioneering things like they did with APS BSI.
    (c) License their sensors to others who have established volume (which pretty much means Canon, Nikon, and Sony) and you just enable your competitors.

    In essence, Samsung’s position today is a marketing failure, not an engineering or design failure. Their cameras have always been competitive, and the NX1 is very very good.

    • Nosfar

      the NX1 is a pain to use as it seems.
      from the few customers who decided to buy a NX1 i hear a lot of complains.
      image quality is good no question.

    • ppd

      I disagree.the real issue for them and all electronics companies making cameras is the strong prejudice from the high end camera market and review community. The camera market is mostly consisted of old men and as they dominate it and rate systems with their strong bias towards old mechanical camera brands, Samsung,Sony, Panasonic, Olympus,etc cannot score well there regardless of the actual camera quality or lens quality.
      it is all about prejudice against them from silly brand worship crowds. I think Panasonic may follow Samsung on this decision.
      But I honestly pray this is not true, just a rumor.

      • Thom Hogan

        Okay. Then poor marketing has caused them to not have enough volume to justify sensor expenses.

      • WHAT?! I think Sony’s sales contrition that statement greatly.

    • Gov

      No. First of all this rumour seems to come from one person that spreads it everywhere, also on dpreview. I wonder what is true.

      However, simply one very important thing has plagued Samsung from day 1: what is their USP? Never was there and never has been there.

      Sony: small APS-c bodies with the best sensors mostly and now the only oen with a FF ILC. Excellent IQ, not so excellent lenses many times. But from a marketing POV they are doing fine.

      Oly: IBIS and very good IBIS too, also a very versatile cam always with lots of choices. A menusystem that I find abhorrent though. And a load of really good to excellent lenses

      Panny: front runner in video, shares the same rather big lens roadmap for an ILC with Oly. Always been the best at S-AF and now DFD seems to be easily the very best CDAF system for tracking too…

      Fuji: other sensor, style, good lenses. Renowned name.

      Samsung……???? NX1 has a lot of very good features and it is probably a great cam, but what makes it standout. Moreover: one good cam does not make for a good camerasystem. They were really stubborn and stupid with their NX-xxx series never getting an EVF nor let you add one…Just…How dumb can yoy be.
      I don’t think any cam until NX1 was really good. The sensors were no better than mFTs for instance. AF: not there. Not like mFts either.

      To top it off they make two great lenses: 16-50 f2 to f2.8 and 50-150 f2.8…Which are so heavy and big that they barely get you any size reduction over your current D7200 with its lenses.

      So I have a smal body and for the FL a large and heavy lens?

      Compare the the 12-35 and 35-100 f2.8 mFTs lenses….THese two combined (!) weigh about the same as just the 16-50 NX1 version. Yes it is faster, we know. But who cares with such minute differences? It is just not enough, not too many will take notice and need to have these at all.

      Sony and Fuji showed the way here: make F4 lenses or f2.8 to F4, reduce the size and weight so they do not seem honking bog on that small ILC body…

      Samsung has made a number of silly mistakes. Never seemed to really push it like others have done and simply never found a niche which the other did.

      The sensors are the least of their problems, the whole concept was a failure and sadly it may be that NX1 is too little too late…

      • Thom Hogan

        Samsung’s usual USP is “it’s a Samsung.” When that’s not enough they typically use “has all the features of competitor X plus some.” Early on in a new market they tended to do feature/performance match with price reduction. But not in the camera market for some reason.

        One problem for Samsung was that they tried to copy Sony in the camera market. The problem with that is that Sony was a distant third. They needed to copy Canon/Nikon and unseat them, and it wasn’t until the NX1 that they had anything that really might be useful for that. Too many people, including Samsung, believed that DSLRs would just disappear once mirrorless started. Hasn’t happened in six years, probably won’t happen for many more.

        Okay, so the problem I pointed out is this: when you don’t get marketing leverage that nets you volume, you have a real problem justifying sensor costs, both R&D and on the fab. You simply don’t have the volume to justify the continued costs of small volume production. There’s plenty of sensor demand out there, but it’s in smaller sizes and you’ve got to pay back those fab costs fast because you need new ones a couple of years down the line. Simply put, it’s better for Samsung to concentrate on trying to win back market share in the small sensor market than to continue to use the fabs for large sensors inefficiently.

        • Gov

          Oh but I agree here. They are at a huge disadvantage compared to Sony. Sony sells APS-c to themselves, Nikon and Fuji. They sell FF sensors to themselves and Nikon and there will be little doubt the Pentax FF will be using the 42,x MP Sony FF too.

          They also sell 1″sensors to everyone and that includes Samsung. Even Nikon now has used that very good sensor in their J4.
          When we look at the recent development at Samsung, a loss of tens of billions of dollars on the stockexchange and its restructuring these things are at least a target to research for the company to cut their costs down with 10%.

          But this is the endresult of having no USP. Poor marketing doesn’t help of course, but Panasonic is not doing good marketing for its lineup either yet it seems to sell fine and an indicator may be the fact that its most expensive body, the GH4, with little pricecuts over 1,5 years, is still their bestseller.

          I am not too impressed with Olympus marketing machine either. Fuji? Anything on the tele? Not over here. The only company that is visible in The Netherlands is Nion and it is Canon. Sony seems to be a distant third. The others..forget it…nothing much.
          Again: I think NX1 is a much better propostiion than any previous model. NX500 however is the same disaster again. No EVF and 4K mode that is not usefull, too criplled..Let’s hope Samsung somehow keeps NX alive. And may be some help could come if they start selling their new sensors to other companies.

          • Thom Hogan

            It’ll be interesting to see if Pentax uses the 42mp sensor. My guess is no, they’re using the 36mp sensor. Word out of Tokyo is that the yields on the 42mp sensor are low and disappointing. Beyond that, there’s the issue of how AF is done. I doubt that Pentax will use on sensor AF on a DSLR.

            The 20mp Sony sensor is using is on the J5, not the J4. The delay on a V4 seems interesting, and I wonder if it’s because of a new sensor to be used (could be the stacked BSI of the RX100IV, but Nikon may be moving away from Sony, too).

            Panasonic has the reasonably large and modestly successful pro video group to hide the still camera stuff in since the re-org, which lowered some of their overhead costs. Had they not made that re-org, I doubt they’d still be doing still cameras.

            The real issue is this: with two giants battling to keep their 75%+ market share, at what volume of unit sales is it unprofitable for everyone else? At the moment, it’s probably unprofitable for half the remaining Japanese companies when all is said and done, and that will get worse if the market continues to shrink and Canon/Nikon use their size leverage to put pricing pressure on everyone.

            Samsung certainly has a relatively small ILC presence after five years of trying. Virtually all of their sales are in Korea, the US, and a few parts of Europe, with almost none in Japan and few in Asia where mirrorless is actually more prominent against DSLRs.

            So the question is simple: do they do what Fujifilm and Ricoh/Pentax are doing and tolerate a “hobby business” that’s not likely to bring any substantive profit to the company overall, or do they close it down, or do they put renewed efforts into trying to establish it?

            To me, the NX1 seemed like the last one (renewed efforts), and it didn’t get traction, which seems leave only the first two options.

            That said, Samsung is nothing if not a copy cat ;~). They’re looking at the A7 “success” and wondering whether they should do full frame. The problem with that, of course, is lenses. And that’s the other area that’s hurting them: they are putting lots of R&D money into sensors and a fair amount into lenses and getting no return on them. To mimic the A7 they’d have to do the same again. Still, if they did it quickly, they might beat everyone else other than Sony to full frame mirrorless. That might be an easier sell. On the other hand, it’s a more expensive sell and smaller market overall. So it’s easy to see how they talk themselves into just leaving the market. Lots of cost and lots of risk with an unknown level of reward even if they do “succeed”. Hard to put money on that.

            Indeed, one way I look at the camera business is with a venture capitalist hat on: who, if anyone, is going to create better than market rate results? Canon and Nikon could if they knew what the future of cameras was really going to be like and jumped there quickly. Sony probably could, too, given their vertical integration. Panasonic? No. Olympus? No. Fujifilm? No. Pentax? No. Samsung? No. Sigma? No. Leica? Maybe, as they’re small and it only takes one real tangible product with traction to change their bottom line.

            It’s even entirely possible that NO ONE generates better than market results, which is what a lot of the big financial analysts I talk to are thinking at the moment. It’s why Nikon is the stock that’s got the biggest short margin on the Nikkei at the moment.

          • Gov

            Hi Thom,

            Nice info on the yields of that 42 Mp sensor…And there are more things that caught my attention. Like the Leica Mirrorless FF which apparantly almost completely made by..Panasonic. Including that FF sensor…Now if Panny has such a sensor first of all I wonder what pixelcount but most of all what performance it will be.

            Another sort of USP I forgot but now it pops up again is that m43 users can get Leica m43 glass. It won’t count for much but still. A 100-400 mm PanaLeica zoom seems might interesting too…

            Than we have JVC using a mFT mount, we have a dronemaker that made a mFT cam for its drone. With a rebadged 15 mm Leica mFT lens. It seems that that system is really the starkest contrast with Samsung in that it seems to get such broad support. As such, mFTs as a name finds its way in many ways via many brands it seems.

            Then we come to companies being small and large enough, which ones will have enough stamina to pull through. With Panasonic and Fuji joint effort on a organic sensor, with Ricoh buying Pentax some years ago it is not too far fetched to see some sort of more close coooperation, sharing costs etc in the future if that business model will poitn to some profit in the future. Japanese companies are different in that their goals seem to be much more longterm orientated than western companies.

            So the stock exchange s oen thing and it is important, if only as an indication of what marketeers think of a band and its viability, prospects. But when it comes to support and a system that seems to really be spreading in many ways and even upcoming markets (like drones) it seems mFTs really has caught on. How this all transpires for Panasonic and Olympus remains to be seen.

            Finally I thought Olympus was now actually making some profit on its camerabusiness, it might be just a quarter but it says something after so many moons with losses…

            Kind regards!

          • Thom Hogan

            Olympus reported a profit for one quarter. Many of us wonder if that wasn’t just exceptional micromanagement of numbers. It doesn’t seem to take into account high SG&A costs, for one. I guess the good news is that they had no new write-downs, but they’ve tended to do that as surprises in the fourth quarter.

            You’re missing something. 1″ and m4/3 have some traction because they’re the new “compact.” The lower sensor price actually allows them to make a profit, the bigger than compact sensor gives them image quality. It’s basically that the bar has moved up from compact sensors due to smartphones.

            At the other extreme is full frame. We’re nearing a point where APS/DX could get completely marginalized, especially given how Canon/Nikon have under developed that size. I think every camera maker (other than perhaps Fujifilm and Samsung, both of whom completely bet on APS) would love a situation where 1″ and m4/3 were the US$500-1000 options and full frame were the US$1500+ options. APS/DX is a little too disturbingly middle-of-the-road. Not best image quality, not lowest possible price.

            After all, in theory, it goes about like this:

            * Full frame top quality
            * APS/DX one stop lower
            * m4/3 two stops lower
            * 1″ three stops lower

            Do we really need things one stop apart?

          • Gov

            The market will decide, no doubt…

      • Otto

        Only aps-c system with usable pancakes? Seriously, 16,20,30 are tiny, 45mm is very small. And they are good, excellent even (30 and 45). 85/1.4 is also excellent but too big for me. Kit lens is also very good, much better than any other lot lens I had. Pancake and nx500 fit in a jacket pocket.

        USP of nx1? Highest resolution aps-c, fastest at 15 fps and best internal 4k (it seems, comes down to personal preference) with actual weather sealing.

        But it all matters little, people will buy what people like, and that’s actually a good thing, photography should bring one joy not anxiety 🙂

        • Gov

          No…USP of the NX-series. One camera does not make a system. I already noted that NX1 is something like an exception.

          Read IR review and you see that FW 1.0 had alot of problems, not in the least the 15 fps C-AF that simply did not work. Problems with even slowly moving people etc. Read it. FW 1.32 is better, but not consistent and simply not as good as DSLR counterparts. It seems to be what Thoms says: nice specs on paper, more than the competition. But failures here and there. A laggy EVF won’t help.

          USP…teh most important features were already to be found in the GH4 that simply stole the limelight. It had very good C-AF right from the start AND uniquely it was with CDAF. Which is nice as it seems to work well in low light too, where OSPDAF falls apart…

          Samsung does not live in APS-c land, it lives in ILC land which is precisely the problem. You have mFTs offering smaller and more complete system plus lenses with big support (how about Speedboosters). And we have Sony A7-series where every other ILC simply needs to reckon with. But Samsung NX1, with its size of its lenses even more so as it puts it in the same size and weight category as the A7 series…Which have FF sensors. On top of thatr, for exactly the same reason (size plus weight) there is little reason for D7200 and 7DMarkII users to switch. What is the size and weight advantage actually? It is so much less than the jump to mFTs for instance. When any of these DSLR shooters want something tha tis smaller, I bet they go for something capable and smaller and lighter. That means mFTs or Sony A-series seem to be nice options. Viable.

          And if those users, let alone FF DSLR users, want something smaller or similar in size with much better IQ Samsung loses out on the A7-series. Their system is simply too big. It is in the middle of nowhere.

          BTW I think mFTs. NX and Fuji need to get an enthusiast line out. Here Samsung could have done something very usefull, something that others systems lack to my mind…A lens lineup akin to the Oly 4/3 lenses like their 12-60 2.8 to f4. 50-200 F2.8 to f3.5 etc.

          So for Samsung environmentally sealed lenses with OIS and very good IQ, like

          16-70 F4
          70-200 F4
          200-450 F4.5 to f6.7
          10-20 F4 to f5.6

          No other ILC has such a lineup, although FUji is close. But this would bring Samsung three things:
          – Smaller and lighter lenses
          – A complete lense lineup that is distinctive from all others
          – Price would be much lower then their current topnotch lenses.

          Make those lenses, get your brains together and make an NX50 a la Panasonic G7. Get an NX600 WITH and EVF (and a good one!) and they are on their way. I think. But this should have happened in 2014.

  • Nosfar

    next company to leave the camera biz is panasonic…. remember i told you first!

  • Marcelo Tezza

    They have to change their minds, they seems to produce cameras for geeks and not for photographers, Sony is changing its mind, i know that they probably tried to get their geek consumers from their other products base like tvs cellphones and so, but they got it wrong and launched something significant NX1 too late. Hey, but thats not the end.

  • Martin Kozák

    Actually Samsung already quit as official camera reseller in some countries in Europe.

  • Yawn

    How many of those who say “the nx1 is great” have actually used it and are not paid by Samsung? I did it and it was a dog’s dinner.

  • ppd

    if true, it is really sad.

  • Emacs23

    The fact samsung put 16×9 sensor in their recent smartphones essentialy qualfies them as a company that have no clue in phtography.

  • TinusVerdino

    This might actually be bad news for Sony since they now will probably focus on components, trying to beat them over at dxo-mark.

  • AnthonyH

    So, at some point, we can expect the prices of Samsung cameras to drop like a lead balloon as they clean out stocks of unsold cameras. The real question is what will happen to Samsung lens prices–will they initially drop to clean them out of stock, then rise as Samsung camera owners try to grab good lenses for a lens mount with no future? Should people consider buying the cameras at fire sale prices, along with an adapter for their lens mount of choice like Nikon or Canon (good luck with focusing and apertures)?

    • CaMeRa QuEsT

      The real bad thing about Samsung folding its camera business is the eventual total loss of resale value for used Samsung equipment. It is bad already as it is right now, what with how limited the market for used Samsung gear is. It is the main reason why I have refrained from buying any of their wares. I can buy Nikon or Canon gear when they are at sale and I will still be able to re-sell them at a profit after I get bored of using them and want to upgrade, no chance with Samsung gear: you start loosing money the minute you pay for it, even if you get them at rock bottom prices.

  • Samsung sent me NX1 to test a while ago. It wouldn’t start. Sent it back, got a new one, and the lens broke. Entire front element seemed to fall off while shooting. Sent lens back. Third try I spent week using and just did not like the results or handling. Sent it back and said no thank you.

    • SH*T666

      Good joke. I didn´t know clowns are also allowed here…

  • Ian Kirk

    Probably true? Samsung have shown in the past with laptops etc that if a division is not profitable they will close it down. Cameras is a teen weeny part of their business and the whole camera industry is struggling.

  • Mike

    In 2010 the Fuji XT-1 and Sony A7 series didn’t exist. Both were unforeseen at the time and disruptive since.

  • SamsungR&D

    Just In: We have been disbanded.

  • Mistral75

    Another clue: the two new Samyang lenses announced this morning and dedicated to mirrorless cameras (21mm f/1.4 and 50mm f/1.2) won’t be available in Samsung NX mount, unlike the rest of their product line.

  • Cinekpol

    Totally expected. If anything – I’m surprised it took them so long.

  • Otto
  • Uncle Siam

    I have an NX1, It is a GREAT camera. The NX500 is even better for it’s class/price. Samsung makes a quality product and has staying power. The biggest thing they need to handle right now are lenses. They are not yet as proven when it comes to lenses and not having them compatible for use on non Samsung cameras is a death knell the same way it is for Canon lenses.

    The image quality of the NX1 and NX500 are fantastic using their mediocre lenses and even better on their S lenses but the real test is using the same lenses that the Nikon and Canons have access to.

    The hard up “pros”, Nikon/Sony/Canon fans will not readily back Samsung since they do not make a full size camera for the uberness that they must have.

    Samsung needs to copy Sony and get something like a Zeiss lens cooperation and more NX mount lens that will allow it to take advantage of its fast auto focus abilities.

  • Michael

    Just 3 more years Samsung. Hang in there. You are doing amazing work.

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