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Samsung betting on mirrorless cameras


Samsung Electronics said yesterday it aims to capture 50 percent of the global market for mirrorless digital cameras with interchangeable lenses this year. Its rivals in the market include Olympus and Panasonic.
The Korean company said it will launch interchangeable lens NX 10 cameras in Korea this month and in North America and Western Europe in early March, betting on the growth of the nascent market segment.
But it remains to be seen whether runner-ups will be able to jumpstart the market, which is neglected by top-tier firms such as Canon and Nikon, market watchers said.
"We plan to grab 50 percent of the mirrorless camera market here and overseas this year," a Samsung executive told The Korea Herald on the sidelines of a news conference announcing the Korean launch of the NX 10.
Samsung, which is weak in the DSRL camera business, is betting heavily on a new product category of "mirrorless cameras" that combine the features of DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras. The NX 10 is lighter and smaller like a compact camera, as it there is no mirror box and optical viewfinder as in a DSLR camera. Unlike point-and-shoot cameras, the new product features a large image sensor and interchangeable lenses, which allow the product to offer good image quality similar to a DSLR cameras, Samsung said.
Samsung was optimistic about the growth of the nascent market segment, projecting that the market would expand to 9 million units in 2015 -- equivalent to that of DSLR cameras.
The mirrorless camera market is expected to grow from 1 million units in 2010 to 5 million units in 2012, Samsung said.
"We plan to concentrate our resources on mirrorless DSLR cameras for the time being," an Samsung executive said at a news conference.
He also downplayed speculation that the company may give up its DSLR business and sever ties with Pentax, which Samsung heavily relies on for its DSLR cameras.
"We have maintained close ties with Pentax, our strategic partner," the executive said.
Samsung Electronics also seeks to raise its share in the global market for point-and-shoot cameras to 15 percent this year, from 12 percent last year.
"We expect a 15 percent share in the global compact camera market, "Park Sang-jin, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company, said.
Samsung sees camera one of its growth areas, aiming to become a top-tier brand in digital cameras by 2012.

By Jin Hyun-joo

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