Samsung, who has carved up the smartphone and TV markets in Australia much to the angst of Sony, is now set to go after the struggling Japanese company’s photographic business with a new range of mirrorless cameras.
As Nikon, Canon and Olympus battle it out at the top end of the digital SLR market, Samsung has set their sights on Sony and Panasonic, two Japanese Companies who are currently banking on their photographic divisions to deliver them the profits that they are failing to make in the TV market.
Currently Samsung, is the fourth-largest camera manufacturer by market share after Canon, Nikon and Sony. They now plan to boost market share with a new range of cameras that have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity.
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These cameras allow users with one click to deliver content directly to a TV, tablet or smartphone screen. The ‘All Share’ technology now being built into Samsung camera’s eliminates the need for cables or the transferring of SD cards to other devices.
Last year shipments of compact cameras where Sony have been strong in the past declined, while mirrorless cameras are projected to increase 60% to 6.43 million units globally.
According to market-research firm IDC, shipments of more expensive digital SLR cameras will rise 18% this year to 16.76 million units worldwide.
Now Samsung wants to increase their share of this market in Australia with the Company set to launch a new range backed by a new marketing campaign.
Samsung Australia’s director of audio visual, Philip Newton said recently that the new range of mirrorless cameras allow consumers to get a better home video and picture experience by allowing users to send images directly to a Samsung Smart TV.
“Our low-end compact camera offerings will gradually be reduced, as we are now concentrating on the mirrorless segment,” said Han Myoung-sup, head of the company’s digital imaging division.
Mirrorless cameras were originally introduced to Australia by Olympus with their Pen range and Panasonic with their Lumix range. Then Nikon entered the market with their Nikon One offering.
The cameras are capable of producing high-quality images.
Missing is the mirror-based viewfinders of single-lens-reflex cameras, which are generally the choice of professional photographers.
By removing the complex and bulky mirror system, the mirrorless cameras have smaller bodies than SLRs, but tend to have better image quality than standard compact cameras.
In an effort to ramp up production of their new mirrorless cameras Samsung has moved to convert their camera plants in Asia.
“Our main camera plant is in China, which makes everything from compact to high-end cameras. We have started converting the compact manufacturing lines there to mirrorless from this year,” Lim Sun-hong, Samsung’s vice president of digital imaging business told the Wall Street Journal.
Like they have in the TV and smartphone markets, Samsung is not prepared to take third or fourth spot in the mirrorless camera market. The Company wants to be #1 by 2015.
Currently they have 5% share; however, they aim to increase this to 20% by 2015, Samsung said it initially will focus on Asia Pacific and markets in Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to get their share.
Analysts said Samsung will face challenges from rivals such as Sony, Panasonic and Olympus.
“Samsung has a good chance, especially since they are embracing Wi-Fi connectivity,” Christopher Chute, an IDC analyst told the WSJ. But “the risks are that camera vendors with traditional-camera brand equity will come in and dominate the market.”