Rumours of Samsung's development of a hybrid system camera DSLR alternative prove on the mark
It has been rumoured since Photokina last year, and today Samsung has formally announced here at the PMA show in Las Vegas that it is to follow Panasonic and Olympus in developing an alternative to the 'traditional' DSLR, in the form of a hybrid system camera. Like the Micro Four Thirds system Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1, which has been on sale since the end of last year. Samsung's new NX-series cameras will feature a large DSLR-sized image sensor, APS-C format in the case of the Samsung NX, compact interchangeable lenses, and instead of a mirror and pentaprism reflex viefinder, the camera is fitted with a high resolution electronic viewfinder. Olympus is widely expected to reveal more detail of its plans to produce hybrid system cameras and lenses, which share the same Micro Four Thirds system platform as the Panasonic Lumix G-series.
Samsung is following the example set by Panasonic and the G1
It seems that Samsung shares the enthusiasm of its fellow giant consumer electronics rival, Panasonic, for the potential of an evolution of the DSLR that is smaller, lighter and reliant on an electronic viewfinder. It may also explain why Samsung's own DSLR developments seem to have stopped in the last year since the launch of the Samsung GX20 at PMA 08. Both manufacturers share a prediction that up to 20% of the digital camera market aspires to a system camera but stops short of investing in a DSLR for various reasons.
While Panasonic evolved an existing DSLR platform, the Olympus-inspired Four Thirds DSLR system, into the Micro Four Thirds hybrid system platform, it looks like Samsung has started from scratch with its new NX platform. There is no mention of backwards compatibility with existing Samsung K-mount lenses via an adapter, though if technically possible, these will undoubtedly be produced by independents at least.
Samsung has, until now, worked closely with Pentax in producing DSLRs and lenses. It will be interesting to see if that partnership continues with the advent of the Samsung NX system.
Samsung says the first NX camera bodies and lenses won't ship until the second half of this year, which suggests that the target is for availability by Christmas.
I'll be interviewing Samsung's digital camera commercial director, Rob King, later this week here at PMA and should be able to tie up any loose ends concerning Samsung's NX system strategy. Watch this space!
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PMA 09: Samsung's green light to hybrid system camera platform
DPNow PMA 09: Samsung's green light to hybrid system camera platform
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