Samsung outs its Micro Four Thirds competitor: Let the games begin

In a magazine interview, a Samsung exec announces Samsung's competing standard for interchangeable-lens snapshot cameras.

The bits have barely dried on the press release for Olympus and Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds standard for interchangeable lens point-and-shoot cameras and a competing announcement has already emerged from an unexpected source: Samsung. In an interview with the U.K.'s Amateur Photographer magazine, Samsung Techwin Executive Vice President Byung Woo Lee revealed that company's plans for a similar standard based on APS-C-size sensors--albeit not until 2009.

I suppose it's not that surprising that the announcement comes from Samsung. It certainly wasn't going to come from any Canon- or Nikon-driven initiative, since both of those companies tend to be notoriously proprietary about all aspects of their products, and don't really need to play well with others. So, I'd bet we'll see closed-system, interchangeable lens versions of Canon's G series and Nikon's Pxxxx series sometime in late 2009 (or at worst, late 2010). Olympus and Panasonic have Micro Four Thirds (MFT), which leaves Sony, Samsung, Hoya Pentax, Kodak and Fujifilm to either jump on the MFT bandwagon--and therefore commit to using the Four Thirds sensors, which they don't currently use--or come up with a competitor.

Sony has a pretty bad history with its attempted "standards," and I predict it will propose yet another one that no one will want to support, for whatever reason (like insisting that the cameras use Memory Sticks). I really want to be wrong about this prediction.

Of the rest, I think only Samsung and Fujifilm really have the financial wherewithal and marketing muscle to drive something like this. But then, who's left to follow except Pentax and Kodak? Furthermore, while APS-C-size sensors are by far the most popular on the market, APS-C actually refers to a range of sensor sizes, not a particular one, which makes the whole concept of lens standardization somewhat problematic.

So, while interchangeable-lens snapshooters are definitely in our future, don't expect anything close to a universal mount.

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