I was reading an article over at Andrew Reid's website, EOSHD.com and it seemed both obvious (in retrospect) but also very prescient. Here's the original source for today's thoughts https://www.eoshd.com/2018/06/samsung-joins-forces-with-fujifilm-will-apply-new-tech-to-large-sensor/
If you read all the technical papers about the chip technologies used in the late, somewhat lamented, Samsung NX1 you would be amazed to see that, at the time, Samsung was bringing to market some incredible design and manufacturing prowess. The sensor in the NX-1 used fast copper interconnecting technology, was BSI before BSI was a buzz acronym, was based on 4.5 nanometer technology which surpassed other makers by orders of magnitude, and much more. The marketing problem was that Samsung lacked experience and panache at haptics, desirable industrial design and an ability to relate well to ( or to even understand ) their primary buyers.
They had the state of the art sensor but every previous camera they made had serious handling or firmware faults that crippled their ability to frame the sensor well. Kind of like dropping a modern, high performance car engine into a Yugo chassis and expecting people to applaud the performance of the motor alone....
According to Andrew's sources Samsung has continued to push serious money into sensor R&D ($13 billion thus far....) and could whip out an incredible full frame sensor at the drop of a hat. It seems that they are partnering with Fuji to advance the technology but that doesn't necessarily mean that Fuji will end up being the primary user of a full frame version of the joint sensor technology. They would have to re-tool their entire line of lenses to introduce a full frame camera wrapped around that sensor. It might happen; there might be a product extension down the road, but for some reason the first camera maker that popped into my head was Nikon.
They source a lot of sensors from Sony and like any other business it can be downright dangerous to find yourself wedded exclusively to one supplier. A new, state of the art sensor that can go toe-to-toe, or even surpass, the current Sony product line could be an important differentiator for Nikon at a time when proving their continuing tenure as a cutting edge photography company is vital. It would be interesting to see Nikon roll out a flagship mirrorless camera with a unique and powerful new sensor at its heart.
If Sony and Canon finally have a large and powerful competitor at the top of the innovation mountain it can only benefit consumers across all camera brands. My experience with Samsung showed me that while they were still immature as a maker of easy to use and easy to handle cameras their sensors were first rate. In fact, reviewing some of the work I did with their (ill fated and over engineered) Galaxy NX camera was a revelation. They had the sensor tech nailed down. It was betrayed by an odd fascination with infecting their late cameras with an Android Operating system...
And no one wanted their camera to automatically update Candy Crush (shutting down camera operation temporarily) just as they were about to photograph the final goal of the World Cup...
It will be interesting to see how Samsung caters to the existing camera market. It may be that they come back into camera manufacturing with a new understanding that the real money (for right now) is either in Phones (which they have covered) or in the high end of the stand alone camera market. Could be another game changer. Just some Monday Thoughts.
A nod to Andrew Reid for the topical awareness.