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Samsung NX

Ilse Jurrien
PMA 2018 Report
Wednesday 4th, March 2009
Posted by: Ilse Jurrien

The answer to the question why Samsung hardly revealed any news during the Photokina 2008 could be the announcement of Samsung's new camera concept. At the time of writing this article, a few days before the PMA in Las Vegas kicks off, I have not yet managed to get hold of the Samsung NX camera. However, according to the information I received, Samsung may well be putting itself in the foreground during PMA. The new concept is likely to become a Samsung NX camera, a hybrid digital camera which could build bridges between the digital SLR and the compact camera. At first glance, the Samsung NX camera seems to use the best of both segments.

Samsung NX

Samsung NX camera concept
The small size of a compact camera, and the DX sensor with which the image quality of a DSLR becomes available, are used for the new Samsung camera concept. This seems to follow up Samsung's last year's casual announcement that the company was creating its own 'Micro FourThirds' system. This story was not received with great enthusiasm, and even less so because it came right after the mutual announcement of Panasonic and Olympus in regard to their new Micro FourThirds system. Samsung's announcement was therefore considered to be nothing more than a smoke screen.

Samsung digital camera division
Today, it turns out Samsung did not sit still at all. The foundation of a separate camera division (Samsung Digital Imaging Company) which will focus solely on digital camera business as of February 1st had already been revealed. Additionally, the development of the new NX concept has naturally continued, and during the PMA show in Las Vegas we will be able to hear about its features.

Samsung NX camera with DX image sensor
The most important factor is the image sensor type; DX. This image sensor format has been used for many years now, and is more or less considered as the standard for DSLR cameras; for both the amateur as well as the advanced photographer. The large format sensor ensures high image quality with excellent signal/noise ratios, even at high ISO values. And that is exactly where the compact camera has to give in. The megapixel race to provide the largest amount of pixels has become a dead end. And although the number of pixels doesn't actually matter so much nowadays; while 6 Megapixels deliver a perfect resolution to 95% of the users, the market (consumers as well as marketing departments) never stopped pushing the race. This has resulted in artificial attempts to keep up the pixel quality, but the difference in quality between the DSLR and compact camera has only continued to increase. Dynamic range, high ISO, lens quality and so on, are constantly under pressure in this ongoing race.

Samsung NX

Samsung NX - Micro Four Thirds system
With the arrival of the Micro Four Thirds system, the solution seemed to be within reach. Panasonic turned out to be able to deliver the first Micro FourThirds system based camera; the Panasonic LUMIX G1. A camera that was warmly received and proved to be an instant hit. Still the size of the camera wasn't what you'd expect from a 'Micro' type. There are still opportunities for those brands that can come up with something smaller. All hopes were set on Olympus and what they had in the pipeline. During the last Photokina 2008 show, Olympus demonstrated a compact design concept. With this model, Samsung tries to steer hope in a certain direction. However, with the introduction of the Samsung NX camera, the game is not yet over.

Samsung NX

Samsung NX hybrid digital camera
The Samsung NX hybrid camera lacks a mirror but does feature a high precision electronic viewfinder. In addition, the camera provides the Live View function. By leaving out the mirror and applying the EVF, it was possible to decrease the distance between the lens and the image sensor by 60%, keeping the camera compact and light weighted. Hopes are up high as far as Samsung is concerned. The expectations are in fact so high that Samsung even forecasts a 20% digital camera market share for this new segment in 2012. And of course, Samsung grants itself a leading role in this market.

Samsung NX Series digital cameras
It seems the 'sleeping' electronics giant has finally woken, considering the announcement of the Samsung NX. For years now, we have heard that Samsung is a brand to keep your eyes on. But the latest camera introductions and digital SLRs weren't convincing enough. Except for some interesting designs, Samsung did not succeed to stand out from the crowd. The Samsung NX puts an end to this. It seems we're on the eve of a camera revolution. The first Samsung NX cameras are expected in the second half of 2009.

Samsung NX

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The PMA show, or Photo Marketing Association, continues its yearly tradition of maintaining a network of photo imaging as well as the experience and know-how of the industry. The PMA represents 20,000 members from over 100 countries, who are all active within the imaging industry. As a reflection of the changes in the market, the PMA organization has also changed and has become more diverse. Nowadays, the member group consists of representatives coming from photo retail, manufacturers, commercial photo labs, professional sports and news photography, in addition to small album print suppliers and photo processing centers. The PMA 2012 Trade show focuses on an industry which is heavily affected by the unstable situation of the global financial economy. However, whether the latter will also stand in the way of the innovation and product introductions, remains to be revealed by the PMA International Convention & Trade Show in Anaheim Convention Center (California, US).