Samsung NX system – is this the end?

Recently, DP review published an article which made quite an impact in online photo community and it regards Samsung NX1 being discontinued in Germany. Since this is their flagship mirrorless camera and got superb reviews all over the internet’s, the news was quite a surprise (some say it was expected). Soon, more countries announced this model will no longer be available and so it became clear something is happening.

To me, this was not such a big surprise. I live in a small mid-europe country called Croatia, and at one point during the spring when I asked new cameras for review, local Samsung office replied digital cameras will no longer be sold in Croatia. We are a really tiny market and if they are leaving it, there must be problems even on bigger ones. It is now obvious NX system did not meet sales figures Samsung was expecting and many suspect they might even shut down entire camera business.

What will actually happen at this point is still rather unclear, but I believe Samsung will exit the digital camera market alltogether. They must have been expecting to win a good share of the market in short time and that was rather stupid of them, if I might say. Photographers don’t buy cameras, they buy systems (cameras, lenses, flash units etc…).

For all consumer electronics, people change brands without a problem. Smartphone’s, LCD TV’s and home appliances are not a “system”. You can have Samsung Galaxy smartphone now, buy iPhone two years later and two more years later switch back to Samsung, Sony or whatever. It does not matter.

Above: Samsung NX10 from 2010 was a really nice camera to use, had (for the time) good image quality and was the first mirrorless with electronc viewfinder. I also remember it as the first one to include adjustable AF point size.

Photographers don’t buy cameras, they buy systems. We want to be sure that system will be supported for a very long time (10+ years). If not, once we stop using a camera or want to upgrade to better one it will be worthless together with all the lenses. Zero usability, insignificant resale value. Right now, only Canon and Nikon offer long lasting systems. Olympus and Panasonic are also quite good with theirs micro 4/3 system, and Sony for sure has a bright future with latest A7 models, good range of lenses and legacy lens compatibility via various adapters.

Above: NX300 was a real eye-cathcer.

Samsung NX1 was an outsider. Great camera but many people waited to see if it will catch up. Too many it seems… Also, at this price point you can get pretty much anything: D7200, 7D Mark II, even full frame cameras like 6D or D610 or A7 aren’t much more expensive sompared to NX1. So who would risk with Samsung, spend thousands of dollars or Euros on a new system from a company with no tradition in photography? Digital camera market is shrinking by each year and Samsung had to compete with Canon and Nikon with more than 50 years of experience in camera market.

Above: Samsung NX mini was one of the most recent experiments. It had yet another lens mount (impossible to attach standard NX lenses without adapter), smaller sensor and simple interface.

Anyway, from now available information NX1 is discontinued in many countries. It is probable NX line of cameras will be completely discontinued. Another rumor indicates Samsung might be joining forces with Nikon. Nikon would get Samsung’s sensor division, and cameras would be redesigned and rebranded as Nikon. Interesting idea which I consider somewhat probable since Samsung is not amongst exhibitors for CP+ show in February. They are listed at CES in Las Vegas though which starts on January 6, and that is the closest event when we might get official information on the future of NX camera line. If it turns out they are out for good we will lose a solid competitor and competition is always good. Time will tell.

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