Interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) are the way forward according to most manufacturers in the market, and Samsung is the latest company to announce its vision for the fledgling format with the release of the NX100.
At Photokina 2010 in Cologne, Germany, Samsung announced its latest NX camera along with its vision of where the system is going. Seungsoo Park, vice president of the Sales and Marketing Team in Samsung's digital imaging business, was very positive in regards to the company's ILC strategy.
"This is a brand new category and the NX100 is not the last camera. This compact system category will have different segmentation, and we will expand our line-up based on our segmentation," said Park.
The first ILC from Samsung was the NX10. While met with praise from the photography community, it still appealed more to photographers looking for a digital SLR feel, given its SLR-like form factor. Park said that the latest camera, the NX100, was designed for a completely different type of photographer.
"The NX100 is a stylish, compact camera. With the one form factor [the NX10], we cannot satisfy all of the market."
While the ILC category might be in its infancy, it's not lacking in competition; Olympus, Panasonic and Sony all have their versions on the market. The two big names in digital SLR photography, Canon and Nikon, have been notably quiet, particularly given the Photokina trade fair is a time when companies reveal prototypes, new releases and future directions for their brands.
According to Park though, it's not other companies in this segment that pose a threat to Samsung. "Our competition is legacy. We are the newcomer, and the customer's mind is our competition," he said. "How can we win it? By introducing technology that appeals to the consumer."
Samsung also predicts that in 2011 it will capture 15 to 20 per cent of the ILC market, but admits that this could all change if Canon or Nikon enter the segment.
Also crucial to the NX vision is Samsung's approach to connecting all facets of its business, with the imaging division integrated more closely into the rest of the business. "Up until now, the industry was focusing on capturing," Park said. "Because they focused on capturing they developed higher megapixels, more superzoom power, OIS [optical image stabilisation] and so on. We found that ... the consumer is really looking for new solutions."
Sharing, storing and accessing images easily among other Samsung products is something the company is keen to pursue. Integrating photography into the rest of a consumer's electronic lifestyle isn't unique to Samsung; other manufacturers such as Panasonic share similar approaches, with connectivity options such as Viera Link.
The future is 3D?
With the exception of Olympus, all other players in the interchangeable lens market have a 3D imaging solution — whether that's Panasonic's dedicated interchangeable 3D lens, or Sony's firmware update for the NEX to give it 3D sweep panorama capture. Park said Samsung understands that 3D is a big trend at the moment, but that the strategy for the NX cameras currently involves making them easy to use and delivering high performance results. "We will surprise the industry with a totally different approach [to 3D]," he said.
Alexandra Savvides attended Photokina 2010 as a guest of Samsung.