So long, reflex: Samsung’s Ditch Day calls curtains on the DSLR, persuades hundreds to go mirrorless


posted Friday, June 6, 2014 at 9:12 AM EDT


Compact system cameras have long struggled to gain popularity in the USA, or at least to the same degree as they've managed in parts of Europe and Asia. Part of the reason for that is doubtless down to photographers' familiarity with SLR cameras, but there's also confusion with a replacement that -- thanks to the more-common "mirrorless" moniker -- seem to be defined largely by what it isn't, rather than what it is. A couple of days ago, though, America's interchangeable-lens camera ownership shifted a little in favor of mirrorless, as hordes of photographers lined up in New York's Times Square to discard their DSLRs in exchange for a brand-new Samsung NX30.

The reason for the queues was pretty simple. Samsung, intent on building awareness of its products -- not to mention espousing the benefits of ditching that reflex mirror -- was giving away mirrorless cameras by the hundreds. The only proviso: You had to discard your DSLR camera in exchange for the new model, a decidedly small price to pay for anyone with an aged (but still working) DSLR on hand.

Photographers queued in their hundreds to get a free mirrorless camera on Ditch Day.

And it wasn't just the public that turned out en masse: Members of the press were also present to document the spectacle, including our own Eamon Hickey, who turned in the following report:

"Well, if there was any doubt, it's settled: offering people a shiny new $1,000 camera in exchange for any old DSLR will draw a crowd. Hundreds of photographers lined up in Times Square for Samsung's Ditch The DSLR publicity event on Wednesday -- the first man in line had been there since 10:00am the day before.

The first ditcher of the day (left) shows off his reward in this shot with Ron Gazzola (right), Senior Vice President of Marketing, Digital Imaging at Samsung Electronics America.

We saw several Nikon, Canon, and Olympus DSLRs traded in for new Samsung NX30 cameras. (And yes, most of the trade-ins we saw were fairly old.) We also had a chance to take a short walk with the NX Mini and found it -- on very brief first impression -- pleasingly responsive and comfortable to use."

In all, Samsung gave away cameras with a retail value of around a quarter million dollars at the event, and those who didn't manage to score a camera of their own left carrying rebates on a mirrorless camera purchase. Great news for all, and perhaps best of all, more publicity for -- and awareness of -- mirrorless cameras in the US market!

Samsung executives Jay Kelbley, Ron Gazzola and Jose Hernandez show off the mountain of DSLRs discarded in favor of a free Samsung NX30 compact system camera.

Were you at Ditch Day, and did you score an NX30 of your very own? We'd love to hear from you and see some of your first photos with the camera. You can get in touch through the comments section below...