Does anyone else remember when Samsung did the “Ditch the DSLR” event many years ago in an effort to win market share and convert the world over to mirrorless cameras? I do. At the time I too probably didn’t give them enough credit. But in retrospect, Samsung was an absolutely brilliant acompany when it came to cameras and envisioning the future. The problem was that we as consumers just weren’t ready for it. We were also just not able to get on board with an electronics company with no real major partners besides Schneider giving us cameras.
To understand my previous statement I want you to look at both Sony and Panasonic. Panasonic teams up with Leica and Olympus. Sony bought out Minolta. Samsung started in the digital camera world with DSLRs and using the Pentax K mount. And for the life of me, I don’t understand why they didn’t buy Pentax. And as I think about it more closely, I also wonder what the photo world would look like with a Samsung purchase of Ricoh/Pentax’s imaging divisions. A Samsung GR would totally be something for folks to get used to, but I also think Ricoh by Samsung is a great way to brand a camera. Samsung would also be able to find a way to get into the medium format, full frame market, etc even more. The company made their own sensors and lenses–unlike a number of the Japanese companies.
Yes, Samsung made their own sensors and lenses. These days, most manufacturers make their own lenses. But almost everyone gets sensors from Sony. Panasonic has been known to make their own sensors and so too has Canon. For that, they should be respected even if they have varying degrees of success.
What’s more, Samsung actually innovated. They were one of the first companies to put WiFi connectivity into cameras and make it work pretty darned seamlessly. They were also the first camera to put an Android operating interface into a camera. Their implementation was pretty lackluster and they weren’t able to keep up with updates, but they did it despite a number of bugs and issues that plagued the cameras. Today’s Samsung is much different. They make very refined products for the most part and they’ve got some longevity. To that end, it would make a lot of sense for Samsung to return to the camera market.
The key here is that there needs to be more variety and less monopolies in the photo market right now.