New camera category on way from Samsung ? Samsung takes wind from Micro Four Thirds with APS-C ‘hybrid’ system ? New category to short-cut Koreans to top digital position

Global giant Samsung is set to introduce a new interchangeable lens ‘Hybrid’ digital camera system in Spring 2010, in a move aimed at propelling the company to the top of world’s digital camera sales. Speaking exclusively to Amateur Photographer at the IFA show in Berlin, Samsung Techwin Executive Vice President Byung Woo Lee (pictured above with UK camera director Rob King) says the first model in the as-yet-unnamed system will carry the company’s own 14 million-pixel APS-C sized CMOS sensor and a new lens mount. ‘Many people find DSLR cameras too heavy and big to carry,’ Lee explained, ‘so Samsung will introduce a new hybrid system that will be small and light like a bridge type camera, but with interchangeable Samsung-made lenses.’

News of Samsung’s plans are sure to be met with interest by Four Thirds system members Olympus and Panasonic, coming only three weeks after the announcement of the Micro Four Thirds system which is based on similar principles. Keen to emphasis that Samsung’s system is unrelated to Micro Four Thirds, Lee told AP that the company has been working on this project for some time, and is already producing prototype lenses.

Like Micro Four Thirds, Samsung’s hybrid system will use electronic viewfinders (EVF) and a compact camera style live rear LCD screen for framing. The focusing system will use a video type automatic process, and lenses will be smaller than the company’s current GX series optics. ‘We have extensive experience in lens manufacturing from other areas of Samsung’s business, as well as from our compact camera ranges, and we have been manufacturing camera bodies since the 1970’s, so these will not be new areas for us to deal with.’ Lee explains. ‘Although we want to make the new system affordable, we are concentrating on achieving professional quality with this system. The most important point is that this is very successful in the market. A difference between Samsung?s system and Micro Four Thirds will be that Samsung will have a much bigger sensor.?

Lee admitted that competing with Nikon and Canon in the DSLR market is extremely challenging, and mentioned that all other manufacturers are finding it difficult to make an impression. ‘Samsung is still in the early stages of its DSLR project and in this field we have a long way to go to gain a good market share. With the hybrid system we will create a new camera segment which we will be able to dominate.’ Although many details are still to be decided on Lee predicts that the new system will be ready for sale in the spring of 2010.

The ?Hybrid? system will run alongside the current GX DSLR series.

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