Is Samsung Getting Out of the Camera Business?

The camera market is in a constant state of flux these days thanks to a still volatile economy and the popularity of disruptive, non-traditional imaging forces including smartphone cameras, GoPros, drones and a host of other wirelessly connected, social sharing-focused digital doohickeys. So it was not a complete surprise when a rumor started making the rounds of the photo blogs recently that Samsung was planning to exit the camera business.

For the record, the Korea-based company makes some excellent digital cameras including two mirrorless models that we gave very positive reviews to recently, the flagship Samsung NX1 camera and the smaller and highly portable NX500.

But while we really like Samsung’s cameras, the level of interest for these models among Shutterbug readers hasn’t exactly been “through the roof.” To be honest, Samsung camera-related news and reviews tend be among our lowest trafficked stories on (That’s mostly anecdotal analysis, for sure, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.)

All of which is to say this is why the Samsung rumor seemed like a possibility to some industry observers. The camera business is an extremely competitive market, after all, and profit margins certainly aren’t what the used to be.

The bottom line, however, is that this rumor doesn’t appear to be true. We contacted a Samsung spokesperson and asked him if the company planned to stop making digital cameras and we received the standard non-denial denial: “We do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

We were, however, able to independently confirm a more detailed denial from Samsung that appeared on Imaging Resource. Here is that official statement from Samsung, in full:

"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."

Imaging Resource speculated in its story that this quote leaves the possibility open that Samsung might be stopping production of its point-and-shoot cameras, which really wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Smartphones have almost completely killed the point-and-shoot market on their own.

“We obviously don't have any confirmation from Samsung on this, but our analysis is that they've decided to exit the fixed-lens camera business, in favor of focusing all of their future efforts on interchangeable-lens cameras. And frankly, we'd call that a sound plan, given how moribund the point-and-shoot market has become since the arrival of smartphones,” Imaging Resource wrote.

Sounds like a reasonable explanation to us.

To further squelch this Samsung exiting the camera business rumor (in the short term, at least), it’s worth noting that the company remains the title sponsor at two major photography shows next month: the PIX 2015 show in Seattle, WA and PhotoPlus Expo in New York City. And, by all accounts, the company appears to still be developing its NX lens line while continuing to roll out firmware updates for its cameras.

All rumors, denials, and speculation aside, we sincerely hope Samsung cameras aren’t going anywhere. The company’s NX line offers excellent image quality and features one of the easiest interfaces to use, particularly for sharing images wirelessly.

It’s just the kind of thing the photo industry needs to stave off the smartphone invasion.