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.

what to believe samsung nikon business

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.

  • Matthew Housewright

    Well here I am debating about the Samsung nx500 vs. a Nikon 1 J5 and not knowing which to choose and then to find out all these rumors are going around seems to complicate matters more. I was hoping, without knowing, that support(aka firmware upgrades) would be better with the nx500 vs the Nikon line, and the feature set of the nx500 would have a lasting impact on my purchase(aka somewhat more “future-proof”). Maybe I’ll just let the wife buy the one that feels right in her hands vs. the one that has all the stuff I know how to do..I had no idea till this month all the things that go into a sub-pro/amature camera…

    • Dave Melges

      I would be really curious why you’re not considering the Sony a6000.

      • Matthew Housewright

        Really the Sony a6000 is higher on my list vs. the nikon. I do have a concern that the larger grip might be problematic for my wife’s small hands though. Still debating on what to get.

        • Dave Melges

          I would definitely recommend having her pick one up and hold it. I’ve never seen a camera that makes more people lust after it after they’ve shot it for an hour, lol.

          Primarily I’m talking about Canon Rebel and Nikon under a grand body owners. But surprisingly, a lot of people shooting cameras like the 70d jump ship after trying the a6000.

          Interestingly, one of the few complaints I hear, coming from people with larger cameras of course, is that it’s too small….but it’s one of those cameras you quickly adjust to. For all of the Sony smaller bodies I’ve had to re-invent my grip (because I have larger hands) but that newer grip has become my favorite.

        • Dave Melges

          This is one of my favorite a6000 pics by the way, my girlfriend showing a little girl how to shoot it 😉

          • Matthew Housewright

            Awww!! That’s just too cute! How often do you find yourself using the viewfinder over the screen. I think that’s one of the main selling points of the a6000 is that it’s one of the few with a viewfinder..

          • Dave Melges

            Almost 100% of the time. That’s my definition of a shooters camera, live view, in the viewfinder. The ability to see the shot, not just composition but also exposure and white balance, exactly the way it’ll turn out, is invaluable.

            The LCD is good, but the EVF is what makes the camera such a weapon.

  • Dave Melges

    My personal Christmas wish goes a slightly different direction, but would have a much larger and more beneficial (to photographers everywhere)….effect.

    Samsung should simply change their mount to Sony E.

    If they sell to Nikon, let’s be honest, that would just be about Samsung getting some cash from their efforts to offset the losses, and Nikon would just be gobbling. There’s nothing Samsung has that Nikon really needs to get into mirrorless. The idea that Nikon “doesn’t know just how to do it” is silly, Sony is SHOWING them exactly how to do it.

    If Nikon OR Canon wants to make a real effort at REAL future cameras…not just endless spec upgrades on dinosaur SLRs, they’re going to have to make a LEAP. Buying Samsung would be about creating a PARALLEL line of cameras, it wouldn’t be a leap at all, they wouldn’t be risking anything but the money to buy Samsung. They wouldn’t be risking their market share, they wouldn’t be risking their place in line….

    Sony is just going for it. Balls to the wall, pedal to the metal, going for it. And they’re pulling away from the pack right now. You can’t catch Sony, technologically, by playing safe…..Canon and Nikon need to make a REAL move. Not token, parallel lines of cameras.

    And Samsung….whether they’re shutting down cameras or selling to Nikon, either one is admitting defeat. Cut your losses and run…..makes perfect sense…but if they don’t WANT to run just yet, they DO have another option.

    Adapt to Sony E mount. At this pace Sony E mount could be the best selling interchangeable lens system in the world by the end of 2017, and all it needs is one other player making the move. And Samsung has some deeeeeeep pockets.

    Sony is crafting the future…any move that gets that future here quicker, is better for all of us.