Monday, April 14, 2014

Hey Canon! You might not be the future of Photography! Samsung may be the future!

I was in a "Best Buy" the other day for the first time in a VERY long time. Apparently the Apple Store concept is an influence on more than just Radio Shack. It wasn't nearly as loud, crowded and dirty as I remember. 

The Samsung Cameras had a totally separate and attractive display that had a permanent look about it and was not that far from the Samsung Phone displays. It is quite separate from the ubiquitous, and incredibly ugly, tethered Canikon display.   One appeared modern and able to keep up with changing times, while the other seemed sad, neglected, dusty, and out of touch.

The Samsung display offered examples of what seemed to be the entire Samsung camera line from simple P&S to the more complex enthusiast cameras.  While they were tethered, they were attractively offered, had all their lenses attached, and could be held and played with.

It would appear that Samsung is using it's dominance in Android phones to promote their other consumer lines.  And this may be the act that is far more important than merely producing a camera that is considered "good".   This may be how photography is defined and viewed in the future.

Samsung is a major player in the smartphone industry. Smartphones have probably been the single most important influence on personal computing and communications since the advent of the generic PC itself. I think the attitudes and usage standards that people are getting used to with their smartphones will spill over into other personal portable electronics, or subsume them completely.

This will without a doubt eventually affect how we perceive 'good' cameras. I'm not one of those people who believes that cameras outside of smartphones will disappear completely, but I do predict that they will be heavily influenced by the smartphone. 

We can already see this happening. My new Olympus E-M10 can connect to my Droid Bionic smartphone. It can use the phone to add GPS location data and upload the photo to an online storage service. AND the smartphone can act as a remote control for the camera. That camera is also only a small bit larger than my smartphone.  

The old guys, like me, with our Eugene Smith, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Ansel Adams approach to photography are creeping ever closer to retirement or even checking out completely.  Our greater disposable income will be less and less able to influence the direction of photography as time wears us down!

Samsung is in the catbird seat to leverage their influence in the smartphone industry into achieving influence in the Photo industry via highly integrated photo/communications/computing systems.   In another forum, a user asked why aren't Samsung cameras more popular than they are?  Maybe a better question is why can't Canon and Nikon see the future and respond better to it?  Everyone involved with photography needs to understand that they are about to live thorough a pivot point in their industry.

Canon and Nikon need to keep an eye out on who is creeping up on them in this race!  In fact, you might say Canon and Nikon see this as a conventional motorcar race full of left turns.  All they have to do is build the fastest car.  I suspect Samsung sees what is happening is closer to building a whole new racetrack where a different kind of race can be run. I suspect we will be seeing some interesting changes in the next 10 years.


  1. "Hey Canon! You might not be the future of Photography! Samsung may be the future!"
    Hi !
    I heard someone telling SONY something similar about SAMSUNG ..regarding the rest of the Electronic stuff ..!:)

  2. Yes, since Sony does make smartphones, they MIGHT be in a better position than Canon or Nikon. But I wonder if Sony is trying to do TOO much? For instance, while I love my Sony digital eReaders, is that REALLY a good use of Sony's resources?

    I wonder if they are in so many product lines that they can't really build any sort of internal synergy unless someone like Samsung, or maybe Lenovo,comes along and does it first. Will they always be in catch up mode?

  3. While I like your article I kinda disagree with the prediction of samsung rising to the top, because in the mirrorless market where samsung competes, sony is the most innovative player in the camera market while samsung cameras don´t have nothing new,neither are much appealing as some sony cameras are like the a7/r or a6000 or rx100III etc,

    1. Innovation in technology is only one part of the equation. One spoke in the wheel, so to speak!

      The other spoke, the one I am writing about is innovation in marketing. And Samsung has them beat by a wide margin.