Sigh. Over the past few days a rumor has caught fire that Samsung was selling its NX sensor tech to Nikon who apparently was tired of working on the mirrorless mount on their own, and wanted to compete with Sony faster. This rumor was first started by Mirrorless Rumors, and then basically got picked up by everyone. We chose not to report on the rumor because let’s face it: most rumors turn out to be false. But right now there is just too much swirling around Samsung to believe that everything everyone is saying is false. The thing is, I don’t know what to believe anymore because not only are rumors contradicting one another, so is Samsung.
Before this selling to Nikon thing caught fire, a different rumor was all over the place: that Samsung was bailing on the mirrorless market altogether. This rumor came to be in early September and was in full swing during the Photo Plus Expo, a convention where Samsung has an enormous presence, but nothing new to show. Though Samsung stated to Resource Magazine and other outlets that they do “not comment on rumors or speculation,” clearly something was amiss. If they were getting out of the camera market, you would assume there would be no new products for a very long time. This is the case, as Samsung hasn’t released anything since the beginning of 2015. However, you would not expect them to be leaving the industry if they were dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars into a convention presence like they did.
Confusing, contradictory, and frustrating.
All this, plus the fact that Imagine Resource managed to squeeze a comment out of Samsung (who always says they won’t comment on rumors or speculation) thusly:
“Withdrawing from the camera business is not true and there is no official plan to stop production of cameras and lenses. Samsung continuously analyzes the varying needs and requirements of consumers in each market and region very carefully. However, we do not officially comment on rumors or speculation.”
Right. Not officially, except that you totally just did right before you said you wouldn’t. Fine. Whatever. But it makes sense that they would not bail on the industry, because they’re actually doing pretty well. They are the second best selling mirrorless brand in the United States behind Sony, so why would they leave?
So then we get the aforementioned rumor that Samsung is not leaving imaging, but merging with Nikon:
“The past weeks we had long chats with our Samsung sources about the recent shut down rumors. And they told us the reason why Samsung is stopping the camera sales: Nikon acquired all the Samsung NX tech! That acquisition could (I said could!) be made public in January at the CES. As we have been told Samsung will have a major press announcement there.”
Now we fast forward to today where UK-based Amateur Photographer is claiming a Samsung rep actually answered a question regarding the supposed merger of Samsung and Nikon, (a day after they were told that Samsung doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation) and either Amateur Photographer is lying (doubt it) or someone at Samsung has no idea what “not commenting on rumors or speculation” means and they just keep saying it like it’s a protection spell straight out of Hogwarts.
“Media reports that Nikon is allegedly buying our NX technology are not true.”
Nikon actually seems to know what “not commenting” means and has said they won’t make a statement on the issue.
So here is the deal: we know Nikon wants to compete in the mirrorless space, they just aren’t sure how to do it yet. We know Samsung has a very nice image sensor and despite being the second best selling mirrorless brand in the US, they have yet to make a real dent in the professional/pro-minded segment mostly because the Samsung NX mount is so fringe. We know Samsung isn’t going to get out of imaging because they do in fact make a lot of money there. We know Nikon already buys its current sensor tech from a competitor, Sony, so buying sensor tech from another competitor wouldn’t actually be crazy.
Except that this whole conversation is so full of loopholes and contradicting rumors that it’s making my head spin. Is Samsung bailing on high end mirrorless? On cameras altogether? Probably not. Is Nikon buying Samsung’s sensors? Maybe? If so, that technically isn’t “leaving the imaging space” so the statement made to Imaging Resource isn’t actually untrue if the two companies were to make a merger.
All I know is that at CES this year, Samsung does have a presence for its imaging division, and they do plan to say something. Whatever that something is, it’s probably a mix of the rumors that we are hearing. I just honestly don’t know what to believe anymore, since it appears Samsung has no problem talking out of both sides of its collective mouth.