Some strange conjecture about a future collaboration between Samsung and Nikon.

Wiring Harnesses. 

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. 


  1. True to form, I read all of your postings on Feedly. So you can count me in your statistics. I read everything you post (including the "navel gazing" posts).

    I enjoy you blog very much.

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    Keep up the good work.


    Tom Devlin

  2. Nikon has used various sensor manufacturers to fabricate Nikon-designed or -customized sensors. With Aptina's new owners pulling out of the camera-sensor business, and Toshiba's camera-sensor business being acquired by Sony, it seems that Sony holds a disproportionate amount of production for camera sensors. A Samsung presence in the business would be good. I have read that Canon is planning to sell its newer sensors to other camera makers, which (jokes about Canon sensors aside) could be a good thing. And there have been rumours about Nikon possibly using TowerJazz sensors in upcoming cameras.

    It has been speculated that Nikon has not yet released a new mirrorless system because it is having problems acquiring enough sensors to create an adequate supply of cameras. A virtual Sony monopoly on sensors definitely won't help matters. I hope that Samsung establishes itself as a real presence in the sensor business.


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