Mirrorless is the future, suggests Samsung imaging head


posted Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 1:31 PM EST

Samsung's logo. Click to visit the Samsung website!An article published today by the Wall Street Journal offers an interesting insight into the future of the camera market, as Samsung sees it. WSJ correspondent Jung-Ah Lee interviewed Myoung Sup Han, Senior Vice President and Head of the Digital Imaging Business at Samsung Electronics, and uncovered an interesting fact: the company is in the process of converting production lines at its main camera plant in China. Lines that once produced fixed-lens cameras will instead turn out compact system cameras, as the company aims to expand its presence in the more profitable mirrorless market. As the changeover proceeds, Samsung's presence in the compact camera market is expected to gradually contract.

It will be interesting to see how the strategy plays out for Samsung, and whether it can grow its overall market share in the process. Its brief foray into the DSLR market wasn't a success, with the last Samsung DSLR model having been discontinued several years ago, but that likely had something to do with the nature of its tie-up with then-partner Pentax. Samsung's DSLR products were all very straightforward rebadges of existing Pentax products, and weren't widely available in markets where Pentax itself had a significant presence. That's a night-and-day contrast with its mirrorless efforts, where Samsung has expended significant energy on creating a new product line from scratch, and getting it out in front of the buying public. Given that Samsung is also a major player in the camera phone business, which has had a significant impact on compact camera sales, it's perhaps uniquely positioned to scale back its compact camera operation in favor of mirrorless...