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I'm afraid Samsung has lost its way

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by stratokaster, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
    Just a year ago I was pretty sure that Samsung's camera division was going to kick everyone's arse. They had two very serious compacts (EX1/TL500 and WB2000/TL350), both offering very nice alternatives to established market leaders (Panasonic LX3/5 and Canon S90 respectively). Their NX system looked very promising. The management of the company was publicly proclaiming that they're going to become the second largest camera maker by the end of 2015. All was well in the land of Samsung.

    Now I'm afraid they have lost their way. The EX1 and the WB2000 are both gone without any replacement. Their SLR-style NX cameras are also discontinued and NX-series lenses are very difficult to find in stock recently. As far as I understand, the NX20 was supposed to be unveiled yesterday at CES, but it was not there. Instead, we got a lot of cheapo point and shoot cameras with Wi-Fi and other gimmickry.

    My question is: what happened? Is somebody in the company management asleep at the wheel?
     
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  2. Phoenix

    Phoenix SC Top Veteran

    508
    Dec 28, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    Hmm..could be they're trying to keep everything close to their heart and release everything all at once?, or they could be be planning planning something big for photokina?. I remember recently some rumours and some leaked images of what they're planning, there were leaked images and rumours of medium format body as well. Maybe they're following Fuji's steps by keeping a very tight lid until the release date or near it like the Fuji X-Pro 1.

    Either way, I hope Samsung get their act together as like many I'm excited and curious to what they have to offer to back up their statement that they are pushing to be the second largest camera maker by 2015.
     
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  3. Naveed Akhtar

    Naveed Akhtar SC Regular

    186
    Dec 8, 2011
    London, UK
    samy can't compete against japenese manufacturers

    Yes their offerings were strong on paper, but seriously I was put off by EX-1's IQ and once Oly launched XZ-1 .. everything got changed, no one remember anything about EX1. I heard on DPR Forum, no one even stock Samy in Japenese market. Even globally Samy couldn't penetrate into camera world as well, call it monopoly or maybe more :-?? They have to sell their existing products before launching new one, isn't it!
     
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  4. Naveed Akhtar

    Naveed Akhtar SC Regular

    186
    Dec 8, 2011
    London, UK
    Also, Sony and Samy are strong on electronics department and as chip manufacturer, sensor side of the camera, but their optics are not upto par of more traditional producers .. canikons, oly+pany!
     
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  5. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Naveed, I'm gonna have to disagree with you there - the optics of the EX1 and the NX system have been consistently great, and in all fairness I don't think the XZ1's optics (or the LX5's or G12's etc) are really better than the EX1's, just different specs (each manufacturer chooses to have the best specs at a slightly different point - for the EX1 it's fastest lens with a 24mm wide angle, the XZ1 fastest or joint fastest across its range, but with less wide angle and more tele).
    Similarly, the NX system's optics have gained considerable praise and, as far as I'm aware, have been rated more positively than Sony's NEX lenses. I don't know if they can compete with m43 lenses, but given the NEX's enormous success, the NX optics won't be the problem.

    If anything technical has been holding these cameras back, it's been the speed of their electronics (particularly write speeds) and in the NX system's case, especially the NX10/11 and NX100, the sensor which was not up to par with Sony's sensors. Also their noise reduction in jpeg files is often too strong and, in several cameras, can't be turned off which is a shame.

    The real thing that's costing Samsung, is a lack of promotion - they make some truly wonderful cameras, but in people's minds they're still not a serious camera company (when I announced to my photographer friends I was getting a Samsung, they all laughed and said I should go Canon or another big name, but when I showed them my camera, each and every one of them has been thoroughly impressed).
    If they don't push on with new NX products and an EX1 replacement, that perception isn't gonna change though. I've never seen any ads for Samsung EX1 or NX system, definitely not on TV and I'm pretty sure not on the internet either, so many people in the market aren't made aware that Samsung even is active in this segment!
     
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  6. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus SC Top Veteran

    578
    Jul 6, 2010
    I'm very much in agreement with what you write. I too was surprised at no NX20 announcement, and seeing the potential that the sensor in the NX200 has, I was looking forward to a camera that I might find a bit more user friendly.

    Do you get the impression, as I do, that Samsung are more followers than innovators? I also get the impression sometimes that the camera division are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and if they don't come up with something that sells a lot, their days are numbered.

    I think they produce very capable, efficient, no-nonsense cameras and the NX200 sensor is certainly a really good one. Their product range is somewhat unexciting and often hardly attention grabbing, but everything I've used has been of a high quality. I've been particularly impressed with the 18-55mm kit zoom, which I think is probably the best lens of that type I've ever used.

    Maybe they are just lying low and thought that they would get lost in all the fuss over the Fuji and Canon, and they are waiting for a time when they have the stage to themselves. They do seem to be reasonably quick at getting product into the shops after announcement so maybe we haven't lost anything. Maybe they are poised to take over the Olympus camera division, who knows.

    I do however hope that my NX200 doesn't become a collectors item. Its far too good a camera to suffer that fate.
     
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  7. stratokaster

    stratokaster SC Top Veteran

    886
    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    Pavel
    I think this is pretty much the case... There is even a pattern:

    In 2008 Panasonic launches the G1 - 1.5 years later Samsung launches NX10.
    In 2009 Panasonic launches GF1 - 1.5 years later Samsung launches NX100 which is basically a cheaper plasticky version of the GF1 but with the same set of advantages and shortcomings, including its low resolution optional EVF.
    In 2010 Sony launches NEX - 1.5 years later Samsung launches NX200, which is obviously NEX-inspired.

    In fact, they sell a lot of PnS cameras, but this market is shrinking rapidly.

    I think Samsung lacks perseverance of better camera companies. Their photographic history is littered with abandoned product lines, they seem to discontinue unsuccessful products way too quickly. I sure hope they don't discontinue the NX line!
     
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  8. junyo

    junyo SC Rookie

    18
    Aug 8, 2011
    NEPA
    This. I have a few Samsung products, and for such a huge company they seem to just abandon products if they aren't an immediate success. I love my TL500, but Samsung pretty much dropped that concept like a hot rock.
     
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  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    olli
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  10. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    thanks for the link!
    Good to know they're still ambitious, although it sounds like we won't see that NEX-7 competitor for a while...
     
  11. Naveed Akhtar

    Naveed Akhtar SC Regular

    186
    Dec 8, 2011
    London, UK
    I like disagreements, so no problem. Here is the link of a sharpenss comparison on dpreview:
    Olympus XZ-1 Review: 11. Compared to (Raw): Digital Photography Review

    XZ-1 is consistently sharper. If wider 24mm lens is really needed I would keep my LX5. I am not a pixel peeper myself, but EX1 is really so soft, it is giving me impression if its slightly out of focus. This is seriously not acceptable. I wish if I could test all the three cameras LX5, EX1 and XZ-1 myself to prove the point. However, I used LX5 and is excellent and fuji X10 and is awesome too (just sold it for WDS as I found it twice in my photos) but now using XZ-1 and at base ISOs and RAW, it is simply brilliant, nothing comes closer to it.

    Check this one low light shot for a real world take on this, took handheld:
    Jerusalem 12/2011 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
     
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  12. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    yeah, DPR's sample was soft, that happens sometimes with all cameras / lenses, maybe except for the ones costing several thousands of dollars / euros. They even mention the lens defect in the review: Samsung TL500/EX1 Review: 9. Compared to (RAW): Digital Photography Review

    However, unlike with the Canon S100 review, where they went through five (!) different cameras because they were getting soft results, they just made a small mention of the EX1's lens defect and left the resulting images in the camera comparison tool. DPR's Samsung forum has quite a few members who see this as evidence of a lack of interest in Samsung's products from DPR; I'd like to think DPR just realised they could improve their tests' relevance by asking for different samples and discussing their findings, and did so on the newer review.

    Either way, the Samsung EX1's lens, provided it doesn't have a defect, is capable of truly excellent results. The DPR review probably cost them a whole lot of sales though...
     
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  13. Naveed Akhtar

    Naveed Akhtar SC Regular

    186
    Dec 8, 2011
    London, UK
    Thanks Bartjeej .. I agree they shouldn't have posted that review until they didn't find a good sample. As it was otherwise misleading.

    Do you know any other review site where I can see sharp results from EX1? The blame also goes to the Samsung QA and marketing department.

    And you are right, if the results are otherwise good from Samy, then this bad review at least lost one potential Samy buyer i.e. me!
     
  14. Naveed Akhtar

    Naveed Akhtar SC Regular

    186
    Dec 8, 2011
    London, UK
    I searched and found couple of good reviews on EX1 including SeriousCompacts one. I was completely mistaken on that, due to DPR bad sample on review. It looks like a good serious compact, now :smile: as optics is all that matters, there are still some complains about it being bit slow, have you noticed it any slower than lets say LX5? specially on RAW!
     
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  15. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    that's definitely a point, for some reason Samsung insists on their own RAW format which doesn't have lossless compression like DNG, so even for the 10mp EX1, a raw + fine jpeg file is something like 25MB, which means write times are longer than necessary (I once did a test, the time from prefocused shot to writing to being able to focus again to the second shot, was just under 2 seconds, provided your 2nd focus isn't at a much different distance than the first. I'm using a class 10 card with 30mb/s write speed, so I guess the camera's own write speed is the bottleneck here). I do believe the LX5 is a bit faster than this.

    On the 20mp NX200, the raw+fine jpeg files are around 50MB, so they still haven't learned from this, although I know plenty of Samsung users complain about it.

    I also read that the LX5's autofocus is a bit faster, although to be honest I find the EX1, with the most recent firmware, fast enough in most cases. I do wish it was possible to make the focus square really small, like you can do on the LX5, though!

    And yes, Samsung's marketing department is not exactly an example of pro-actively changing people's perception or showing off their products in a way that lets everyone know Samsung is a serious contender!
     
  16. Digital enthusiast

    Digital enthusiast New to SC

    2
    Mar 16, 2012
    UK
    Thanks for link too. I love my EX1 and it would be great to see an EX2 someday…