Saturday, March 14, 2009

No More "Collaboration" between Samsung and Pentax?

Further to the recent interview with Hoya Senior Official at the PMA, there are more news about Samsung and their way forward on their camera business in the near future:-

http://www.koreaherald.co.kr/NEWKHSITE/data/html_dir/2009/03/10/200903100030.asp
(by the Korea Herald: "The Nation's No.1 English Newspaper", as claimed)

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0903/09031301_samsunginterview.asp
(by DPR)

After reading all the above three articles with two interviews (one with Pentax/Hoya, and the other with Samsung, respectively), we have got known to one clear fact and the officials of both companies told the same thing:- Pentax and Samsung has not collaborated in the latest NX project, no even for the part on the optical system and lenses. Even worse, Pentax have not even had *any* involvement to just make a "K-mount adaptor" for the NX system, as told by the Samsung official, although he said there would probably one.

Well, if Samsung really intend to make a K-mount adaptor, it is really ridiculous that they should ignore Pentax(Hoya) totally. In fact, the Hoya senior has told us that Samsung had been keeping their secret well and even Hoya/Pentax knew nothing about the NX until they saw the press release at PMA! So, that must a good "collaborative" way to treat (cheat?) one's "partner"!

Now, Hoya have told that they would do things by their own in the coming seasons and the same happens for Samsung for what they are to offer and with the highest priority, i.e., their NX system. Practically saying, their informal partnership has just come to an end, I would say. They are actually separated (not even could use the word "divorced", as they had never married).

Nevertheless, Samsung are actually very unwise for not seeking any help from Pentax when they come to the camera business, especially for the optical related areas. In fact, they are just rather over-ambitions and over-optimistic than real as shown in their latest DPR interview. Once again, I predict at this moment that it is very hard for them to succeed with their new NX system, for quite some reasons, say:-

- Samsung has no expertise in making lenses and optics. If they really want to formulate the NX specifications all by themselves, they bear high risks (nor they have enough technical knowhows, really);

- Hybrid camera and mirrorless DSLRs are still an unexplored area in market which is not proven for the actual market size and profitability. Although Panasonic have been able to gain some (maybe momentary) minor success, I don't think they have been able to make their business profitability so far, neither;

- Where is the brand attractiveness of Samsung for being a "DSLR" *system* maker (nor for "their" lenses nor for "their" bodies, really) and a video camera/equipment maker? They are not Canon nor Nikon as they in the SLR field, nor they are not JVC, Sony, Canon or Panasonic in the video equipment field. Do they really have the charm, and/or all those leading edge technologies that are mature enough, as required for such a high-tech "hybrid camera"?

.. and so on.

As I and some people predicted years ago, the relationship between Pentax and Samsung will not last long, nor they could "collaborate" well to make something that are really great and seek much market share and be profitable (A more recent example here). Actually, I told all my predictions on day one since they told the world they would "collaborate", but I just talked about "pessimistic" things - but which have now all happened one by one during these years!

In fact, there was sign of the "deteriorating" relationship between the two in the Photokina last year, already. A Pentax senior official just told us that, "Pentax and Samsung Partnership Not Perfect".

As a super die-hard (although not the "blinded" type) Pentax fans and supporter, I think the broken relationship between Pentax and Samsung yet might be a good thing for Pentax. I think if Pentax did not use the Samsung sensor in their K20D, they might have made a better DSLR than the K20D, which is somewhat buggy and problematic. In contrast, Nikon also had no sensor of their own (almost). They have been relying heavily on Sony in making new DSLRs for supplying sensors, but Nikon have still been able to get huge success and have acquired considerably very large amount of market share for their DSLR business.

In fact, as long as the avaiability of sensors is concerned, there are still other choices outthere, say, Kodak, Fuji(film), Cypress and Philips etc. So, why stuck with Samsung - I don't see that the sensor used in the K20D is anything mature and proven enough that could be put into a popular product, frankly (just read my Blog for all those K20D problems that are related to its sensor).

Now, both Samsung and Hoya have told the world that they will go their own ways in the (near) future and will give us some new products within this year. Let's wait and see what will happen and finally who will be the one who can succeed (or fail at last).

26 Comments:

eh said...

Well obviously the NX project could only involve a big electronic company like Samsung or Panasonic, or even Sony. Traditional DSLR companies are not really interested in a competing product. I note that you said Samsung seems overoptimistic. I think so but time will tell. The critical parts of an EVIL system are the EVF and the AF. It's there that we will see if the NX system has a chance against the m4/3. One positive advantage is the use of an APS-C sensor. As for the lenses... Wait and see. It's still too early to make correct predictions.

About the K20D sensor. I don't agree with your analysis. Going with Samsung did differentiate their product substancially. By going with the same Sony sensor as Nikon they would have an also-ran product that would look inferior on almost all points against a D300 or even a D90. With the 14.6MP they could enjoy for a few months being the top APS-C sensor for resolution. The sensor is not perfect but it was a huge upgrade from the K10D in almost every respect. The only negative side was maybe the inflated price as they could not benefit from the economy of scales of a sensor used by multiple companies. I really hope they will keep this sensor with the good tweaks of a second generation for their next camera.

PeterZheng said...

Hello Rice,

Samsung's CMOS sensor has a well technology, although you maybe complain " if Pentax did not use the Samsung sensor in their K20D, they might have made a better DSLR than the K20D".

However, you have seen that in the K20D, Samsung CMOS as the first time enters into the DSLR, which is successful.

If K20D is like D300 sensor as one 12-MP, then will be an even more disadvantage at K20d.

in the CMOS sensors, Sony has not one obvious advantage,Sony sensor's advantage is CCD (but Kodak's CCD better), Sony semiconductor turn to the CMOS sensor after 2003 starts up only. In IEEE2005, Samsung CMOS sensor's aperture ratio already has 55%! Also, as a backside exposure way's CMOS sensor, several companies are developing, first some applications in cellphone camera.

The CMOS sensors of DSLR, Canon has the more seniority.

If only depend on one Sony, then the competition will be lacking.

PeterZheng said...

In the near future of times, as a APS-c or a 35mm CMOS sensor, which you can buy that only Sony or Samsung. Canon did not sell his sensor.

Kodak’s 14n had one 14MP CMOS sensor, but this one CMOS technology came from an Israel company. This Israel Company has sold to Samsung semiconductor in 2007.

PeterZheng said...

as one potential relief pitcher, in 2005-2006, Cypress very want to enters into APS-c and 35mm sensor's industry, but not succeed.

RiceHigh said...

The 12MP Sony CMOS sensor used in the D90 actually exceeds the Samsung's one used in the K20D in many ways: noise, image quality (just see the DxOMark.com), LiveView usability and also support video recording too.

I believe Samsung has a long road to run before they can catch up Sony (which may never happen).

PeterZheng said...

Rice, DxOMark's noise or DR of test is just one gray level way, and not color way to test. Also, in the noise reduction's technology that Nikon has been better than Pentax.

K20d sensor is 5-micron, but D90 sensor 5.5-micron. If you take watching Canon 450d and 400d, there a 5.6-micron is better than a 5.1-micron.

Samsung's CMOS sensor used to the K20D, which was just first time in the DSLR.

PeterZheng said...

Other, also you take watching D300 vs D90, as well as D90 vs Sony a700, them were all a same sensor. however, dxomark's data was obvious different.

Stphen Song said...

Do you really know the inside story or it is just your personal idea? yes, it is a blog but you don't know exactly what's happening inside. of course I don't know either but I think we should try to be objective about things until we know the fact but you seem like s spokeman of Hoya or Pentax and when I read your article, it sort of makes me feel uncomfortable. I think your article can be bias or mislead the readers.

Stephen Song from Korea

Anonymous said...

Ricehigh, your statements are almost all speculation with no insider knowledge.
"Samsung are actually very unwise for not seeking any help from Pentax when they come to the camera business"
How could you have any idea about the wisdom of a major global corporation like Samsung!!!

RiceHigh said...

Well, Stephen and Anonymous, we are all not "insiders" of course and what we are commenting are based on the things as told by the "insiders", or using your term, "speculating".

But if we trust what Pentax and then Samsung have disclosed, Samsung just tried to go all by themselves in the NX project, including for optical part of the system, Pentax was never consulted or just be informed about anything of the project. So, I just quote what both companies have told us. And IMO Samsung is unwise and disloyal for trying to keep Pentax in the dark for the NX project, nor this shows how good their "partnership" and relationship are now, but the reverse is true.

Anonymous said...

ALL Samsung lenses are from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.
1. Lenses which assembled in Korea from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.
2. Lenses which assembled outside of Korea at
Schneider-Kreuznach's plants.

I don't see any problems at all.

There are several manufacturers of lenses in Korea. Good lenses.

Anonymous said...

Sony 12 MP CMOS sensor is worst CMOS sensor in terms of colour, contrast, noise.
Samsung 14.6 MP sensor is really cool.

RiceHigh said...

> ALL Samsung lenses are from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.
1. Lenses which assembled in Korea from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.

All current "Samsung" and "Schneider" lenses look exactly alike as Pentax counterparts, with the same specifications for each lens. The countries of origin are the same, e.g., made in Japan for the "Tamron" (OEMed) DA 18-250 and made in Vietnam for most of other lenses.

All the above suggest that those lenses are merely rebadged Pentaxes, nothing else.

> 2. Lenses which assembled outside of Korea at
Schneider-Kreuznach's plants.

Ditto. I think there is no "Schneider" lens plants at Vietnam, but only Pentax's.

RiceHigh said...

> Sony 12 MP CMOS sensor is worst CMOS sensor in terms of colour, contrast, noise.
Samsung 14.6 MP sensor is really cool.

Who said that? What's the proof? DxO Labs tells something totally different. The D90, which has the Sony 12MP CMOS sensor, has the best image quality and highest scores as tested, see their website: DxOMark.com

Anonymous said...

Rice, you understand NOTHING. DxOMark is like 3D mark for videocards. The method of DxO is absolutely rubbish for real pictures.
The end pictures of A700/D300/D90 are no good at all with complex scenes to shoot. Especially, skintones. Colour is worse than CCD and outstanding Samsung sensor (Samsung offer very special colours like mix of Sigma, Fuji and CCD). If you want I will explain why DxO is really PR soft with no any sense.

RiceHigh said...

So, if scientific lab measurements are "rubbish", tell us (not only me) what's your claim based on! The best sensor on Earth is the Samsung's one used in the K20D just because *you* say it? And, mind you that it is also a CMOS imager.

Anonymous said...

Who understand quantum physics understand that DxO is PARROTmeter.

Anonymous said...

No. Samsung is not the best sensor, but better than Sony CMOS 12 MP.

Anonymous said...

They make measurements under naked RAW files without influence of convertor and lenses.
Who cares about NAKED sensor data and in which way the camera-makers solves problems?
Here is the method
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/eng/Insights/More-pixels-offsets-noise!/Comparing-the-SNR-of-cameras-with-different-resolutions

Under such methods the best sensor must has 1 pixel.

DxO makes normalization for 8МP (they said about it at the site).
In such case Nikon D90 with 12 MP shows SNR=60Db. After normalization of DxO we see SNR_ref_12М = 60DB + 10log_10(12Mp/8Mp) ~ 61.8dB.

OK. Let's make 1 pixel sensor with SNR=150 dB.
SNR_ref_1pixel = 150db + 10log_10(1/8000000) ~ 81dB.

81 is higher that 61.8. It means that 1 pixel sensor is much better than D90's sensor.

Nothing to discuss at all. Forget DXO ratings.

Anonymous said...

Why does man of modern times trust ANY pseudo-scientific DATAS, Programmes, Sites, Words, Diagrams and Sects? It's absurd. Force to work your own eyes and brain.

Anonymous said...

ALL Samsung lenses are from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.
1. Lenses which assembled in Korea from parts of Schneider-Kreuznach.
2. Lenses which assembled outside of Korea at
Schneider-Kreuznach's plants.

I say about P&S cameras and SLR camera from yesterday. DSLR lenses are Pentax made.

RiceHigh said...

> DxO makes normalization for 8МP (they said about it at the site).

They do the *right* thing for doing normalization for different pixel size for the noise, for the first time than others. With the same S/N ratio, the smaller the pixel size, the noise (grains) are actually less visible.

> In such case Nikon D90 with 12 MP shows SNR=60Db. After normalization of DxO we see SNR_ref_12М = 60DB + 10log_10(12Mp/8Mp) ~ 61.8dB.

Correct.

> OK. Let's make 1 pixel sensor with SNR=150 dB.
SNR_ref_1pixel = 150db + 10log_10(1/8000000) ~ 81dB.

WRONG *Assumption*! Why are you assuming the SNR is 150dB, but not 100dB (say), which will give you 31dB then. So, what is your "conclusion" if it is just 31dB?

I am not even to mention about your preliminary flaw of such an imagined "1-pixel sensor", which is impractical to make for its large area and will give you no colour! (at least four pixels is required for the Bayer layout to give you full colour information!)

> 81 is higher that 61.8. It means that 1 pixel sensor is much better than D90's sensor.

Since you don't understand other people's methodology and rationale of the normalization, you then made a wild assumption and drew up very wrong conclusion which is of no meaning at all. (and of course)

RiceHigh said...

> Why does man of modern times trust ANY pseudo-scientific DATAS, Programmes, Sites, Words, Diagrams and Sects? It's absurd. Force to work your own eyes and brain

It is "pseudo" only because you don't like the results. If a standard testing method cannot be taken as a fair reference, how come your own "eyes and brain" can be better? Just because it can have more room for subjectivity to add in your own preferences?

> I say about P&S cameras and SLR camera from yesterday. DSLR lenses are Pentax made.

So, you have gone off-topic then.

RiceHigh said...

> Who cares about NAKED sensor data and in which way the camera-makers solves problems?

These are NOT "naked sensor data", they analyse RAW files, which is what you will get when shooting RAW and what the in-camera jpeg engines get data from.

RAW image files are not the same as "naked sensor data", yet again another very serious mis-concept of yours.

Anonymous said...

K20D has a somewhat cheaper ADC. The dynamic range at low iso is lower then it should be.
Don't be so quick to "blame the sensor" on any failings.

Anonymous said...

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of DxO, Rice.

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