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Rumor Bomb! Nikon Acquires Samsung NX Technology? Hero 4 Session Review, & Lumu Power {Daily Roundup}

By Anthony Thurston on December 2nd 2015

Welcome to our roundup series where we will hit on several gear news and rumor topics each day. This gives you a chance to get caught up on all of the day’s news and rumors in one place. Make sure to check back daily for the latest gear news, rumors, and announcements.

My Samsung/Nikon Suspicions Confirmed

samsung-nx1-initial-thoughts

Yesterday, I referenced a new rumor regarding Samsung’s camera business that was said to affect Nikon and Sony. I gave my guess/opinion that it might have something to do with Nikon buying Samsung’s camera business. Well, it seems as if that was correct.

According to the latest report this morning out of Mirrorless Rumors, the big rumor bomb they teased was, in fact, that Nikon has purchased all of Samsung’s NX technology; including sensor technology, video technology, and processing technology. But the other big piece to this is that Nikon will enter into a sensor partnership with Samsung.

If this turns out to be true, it is really significant for several reasons. First, it removes Nikon’s reliance on Sony for sensors (and means they no longer have to wait for Sony to release cameras with those sensors first). Second, it shows Nikon is serious about rethinking their mirrorless strategy and launching a professional mirrorless line.

This acquisition is supposedly the reason why Samsung has started shuttering its camera business around the world because the sale has already happened. If it will be made public is not known, but the rumors say that a big announcement is expected from Samsung at CES in January, and this would very well fall into that category.

Time will tell. But if this is true, this is huge news for the camera world, and the mirrorless world specifically.

GoPro Hero 4 Session Review

Despite the dispute between Polaroid and GoPro over the design of the Hero 4 Session, there is no denying that it is and will be a huge gift item this year during the holiday season.

Today, we have a great review on the Session from MKBHD over on YouTube. Marques goes into some good points about the Session, its features, and video quality. If you have been thinking about picking one of these up, or buying one as a gift for a friend or family member, then check out the review below.

Lumu Power – Mobile Light Meter


The team behind the Lumu Mobile Light Meter is back with another Kickstarter, this time called the Lumu Power. Lumu Power a light, exposure, flash and color temperature meter for the iPhone.

lumu-power

Needless to say, this could be a very useful device for photographers and videographers looking to match lighting, exposure, and other important elements to a scene. Below you can find a complete listing of the tech specs:

Exposure
– Measuring range: EV -4 to 20 at ISO 100
– Accuracy: +/- 0.1 EV
– Light receptor: fast-response Silicon photo diode, CIE spectral luminous efficiency
– Hemispherical Diffuser, Cardioid-type responses

Color (Temperature)
– Light receptor: True Color Sensor, CIE 1931 Color standard Human eye perception
– Sensitivity: Visible light
– Dynamic range: 1:1,000,000
– Accuracy: < 0.6 deltaE, Repeatability: < 0.2 deltaE
– Flat Diffuser, Cosine-type response

Illuminance 
– Measuring range: 0.15 – 250,000 lux
– Accuracy: +/- 3%
– Flat Diffuser, Cosine-type response

Other
– Power source: iOS device
– Materials: Housing: Stainless Steel, Diffusers: Polycarbonate Lexan
– Compatibility: iOS devices using Lightning Connector, running iOS 8+

Assuming the project is funded, and things go according to plan, the team over at Lumu hope to have these new Lumu Power units shipping come July of 2016. If you would like to get more information about the Lumu Power, you can check out their page over on Kickstarter here.

What are your thoughts on today’s roundup? What news/rumors did we miss? What would you like to see covered in future roundups? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. robert garfinkle

    and RUMOR confirmed A BUST!!!! On NikonRumors today – verified false.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Honestly, a denial from Samsung doesn’t really mean much. At any rate, we will know more after CES at the beginning of January – one way or the other.

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    • robert garfinkle

      fair enough. yeah, corporate secrets / dealings are not typically shared to public anyway…

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    • Dave Haynie

      Well, it is and isn’t. The Samsung representative said: “Media reports that Nikon is allegedly buying our NX technology are not true.” That was always the more far-fetched part of the rumor. They did not discount that Nikon might be making a strategic partnership deal with Samsung, which is the one with more meat on the bones.

      And of course, Samsung’s official word was that they were not “pulling out of the camera market”… a week or two before they pulled out of the camera market, at least in several European countries. So they’re not necessarily a reliable source.

      Of course, who knows… maybe it’s a completely fabricated story, designed to get Sony a little nervous about Nikon jumping to Samsung for sensors. I agree with Anthony — we’re probably not getting any real answer until CES.

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  2. Andy & Amii Kauth

    Very cool rumor.

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  3. robert garfinkle

    Hmmm, on a lighter note.

    Could we see a Galaxy Nikon 6?? combo phone / camera with N-coated technology. A great feature for mobile :)

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    • Matthew Saville

      I tend to agree, especially the Japan / Korea thing.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Some of their arguments a specious, but some are pretty reasonable. But one thing: Samsung’s the only company in Korea using large format sensors. Other than Leica, who’s probably going to stick with European-based CMOSIS for the forseeable future, all of the customers are Japanese. If Samsung really wants to be a powerhouse in larger CMOS sensors, and can’t get their own cameras moving, they have a big problem. They need a high volume customer.

      Would Samsung sell off the sensor division? Nope. But there’s plenty of precedence for splitting a division, particularly in the chip industry. AMD sold their low-end GPU piece off to Qualcomm. SGI spun out the low-end MIPS processor business to a newly recreated MIPS, Inc. And of course, it doesn’t have to be a full buyout. It could be a strategic partnership. And it could just be blue smoke :-)

      Samsung selling to Nikon wouldn’t be a reason for Samsung to not pull out of markets. Nikon is certainly not about to sell Samsung gear under the Samsung label. And in fact, it would never be the case that Samsung labelled NX systems were being sold along side Nikon labelled NX systems.

      Does the NX mount make sense for Nikon? Depends on their strategy for mirrorless. So ok, do they keep it a hobby only with the 1″ cameras, or do something else? Do they go all-in and introduce a new lens mount with full-frame capability — Nikon’s first since 1959? Doesn’t seem like Nikon. Do they do something in-between? You could make any of these arguments, but only Nikon can answer. Also, add-in that Nikon buying out the NX line doesn’t guarantee they’ll do anything with it — that could be a false, or it could be their way of getting Samsung out without having to pull the plug themselves, part of what Nikon had to do to get exclusives.

      And yeah… it could well be made up. I like to look at rumors and decide if it makes any sense that they could be true, because that’s just more fun than saying “no way” and leaving it at that.

      And here’s a thing: if true, we also don’t know who’s paying what… maybe there’s not that much money changing hands. Samsung absolutely needs a volume buyer for their big sensors. They don’t have one. Nikon would benefit from a company that’s not directly competing with them and hold back new sensor technology any time they feel like it. Maybe they have a place for the NX, maybe it’s just something they get anyway, to help Samsung save face — most of the NX sales are in Korea, after all. Samsung could also greatly benefit if they could sell “cameras by Nikon” into the smartphone market…. another place they’re routinely beat up by Sony (in fact, quite a few Samsung phone models have Sony chips or a Sony/Samsung random choice). All conjecture, but it makes a certain sense.

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  4. Matthew Saville

    Historically speaking, Nikon has almost always gotten it’s hands on Sony sensors first, and has produced much better image quality with them. To my knowledge the A7R II is actually one of the very first Sony sensors that didn’t appear in a Nikon camera first.

    Also, as far as I know Samsung has no full-frame sensors yet, but IIRC has recently invested in something or other along these lines, in a very big way.

    All in all, it may be that Nikon and Sony had some sort of contract that is expiring, and they’ve decided to go their separate ways because Sony thinks they’ve established their FE / E system enough to survive without selling sensors to others. Who knows.

    The real unknown is, if Nikon switches entirely to Samsung sensors, how will this turn out. Samsung’s 28 MP APS-C sensor is pretty stellar, its two iterations performing up there with the best Nikon 24 MP DX sensors. Either way, it sure beats a Toshiba sensor, apparently. ;-)

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    • adam sanford

      Matt, it’s an unpredictable landscape but I will challenge one of your scenarios above.

      As a very profitable part of the business, Sony just spun off its sensor division, effectively giving them license to run riot and sell, sell, sell. Separating Sensors from Cameras would imply that Sony is more concerned about sensor sales and less concerned about protecting strategic advantages in the camera market.

      TL/DR version: If Nikon-Sony sensor arrangement ends, it will only be because Nikon chose to end it. Nikon is making Sony a ton of money right now, so I don’t see Sony walking away from future deals.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Yep, there’s also that to consider. From a business perspective, Sony would be foolish to want to dump Nikon as a sensor customer, unless they’re absolutely certain that they’re going to steam-roller over Nikon in the very near future. Which is not gonna happen.

      Plus, there’s the small fact that Nikon and Samsung are Japanese and Korean companies. That’s oil on water.

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  5. Mark Romine

    I’m a Nikon shooter but not a fanboy. Therefore, I have no qualms about jumping ship if I can move in another direction to something that is significantly better then what I’m shooting currently. I know nothing about Samsung sensors but I do know that currently Sony is making incredible sensors so good that this move by Nikon might push me all the way to being a Sony shooter. I’m already incredibly interested in Sony mirrorless technology and if this rumor proves to be true and Nikon parts ways with the Sony sensor then I might just part ways with Nikon.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That is a fair reaction Mark, though, if you do some research on Samsung’s sensor (specifically the one in the NX1) you will see that they are in every way as good as, possibly in some ways better, than Sony’s. The difference is Sony is pushing FF sensors, while the current Samsung sensor we know about is APS-C (though there are rumors of an unreleased Samsung FF sensor floating around).

      So, while it may seem like a reason to jump ship, you may find that you would be as happy, maybe happier, with a Samsung sensor in the long run.

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    • Mark Romine

      @ Anthony

      If it would indeed be full frame. Either way I’m immensely happy with what I’m shooting. It would take something pretty significant like a FF mirrorless body that accepts my current Nikon lens line and with quality as good as the sensor in the D750. Oh, and have AF as good as my D750.

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  6. Allen Toulouse

    As someone who invested in a Samsung NX500, I have no idea where this deal situates me. Is the NX line of cameras finished? There would be the benefit of Samsung’s mirrorless tech being incorporated into Nikon’s lineup, but it is such a disappointment to have jumped into a potentially sinking ship. If the NX camera line is done, I hope the already affordable lens get further discounted because there is a 30mm, 45mm and a 60mm macro I am hoping to acquire.

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Hi Allen, at this point it is unknown what this could mean fo the NX line as it is now. Nikon could rebrand it and keep it mostly as is, which would be good for you. They may also shut it down and just use the tech to start their own line. Its up in the air (assuming the rumor is true).

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    • Dave Haynie

      Right. This could go either way. Nikon might have bought the whole NX line simply to take it off Samsung’s hands as part as a “we get all the best sensors” deal. Whether Nikon bought all of Samsung’s big-sensor tech or whether they just bought into it, the only reason for Nikon to spend money on some kind of strategic deal is to get what they can’t get from Sony. So they could have no plans to keep the NX line.

      Or they’ll relaunch the NX line as a Nikon product, much as Sony did when they bought Konica-Minolta’s camera works. That gives them a pretty strong mirrorless system ready-made, though one that doesn’t seem able to transition to full frame. But that may be what they want…. that still keeps the pros on F-mount DSLRs, but maybe gets them more interested in more compact mirrorless line from Nikon (not that the NX1 can really be described as “compact”). Kind of mid-ground between the Nikon 1 and the DSLRs, only with much more range than Canon’s done with EOS-M.

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    • adam sanford

      Dave is spot on. Nikon rebranding/supporting the NX brand does them no short-term favors to get into FF mirrorless.

      If anything, it gives Nikon a compelling reason to stay in APS-C mirrorless — they’ll have a new system with 25 lenses that they will not want to abandon someday in a future FF mirrorless push.

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    • Dave Haynie

      Right, Adam… the big question is, what do they really intend for mirrorless. Maybe it’s forever just the Nikon 1, and they’ll defend that to the end. Maybe there’s some strategy for professional mirrorless… but if that’s not an F-Mount, it’s a huge problem. Or maybe they seem room in-between for something else. And that’s of course assuming Nikon actually wants the NX and aren’t just taking it as part of the deal because Samsung doesn’t want it anymore. Or maybe it’s all false… should be interesting.

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    • Jean-Francois Perreault

      I’m still thinking Nikon didn’t buy anything.
      My guess is they just switched to Samsung instead of Sony and got an agreement making them the sole users of the Samsung sensors, hence the reason why Samsung is pulling out of the camera market.
      So Samsung will simply not compete with Nikon cameras, they will provide Nikon with sensors and Nikon will be able to dump Sony.

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  7. Max C

    Finally, Nikon can make a good camera with video. As of now, no one who consider buying a camera to shoot video , looks at Nikon brand.

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  8. Mac MacDonald

    As a HUGE Nikon fanboy, I must say this pleases me. Pleases me greatly. I’m tempted to get a NIKON tattoo, Nikon bumper sticker, and rescue another dog, just so I can name him Nikon.

    But seriously, this is awesome.

    #nikon4life

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    • Anthony Thurston

      Don’t get too excited now. This is JUST a rumor at this point. That said, I agree, if this is legit, its huge news for Nikon fans.

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    • Mac MacDonald

      I’ll just book the tattoo appointment and cancel if the rumor falls apart. :)

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  9. Jean-Francois Perreault

    As usual (hmm) I was completely wrong about that Nikon/Samsung rumor ;)..:(
    Next time, I’ll make a Costanza out of myself and say the opposite of what I think :P
    So…I should say this is the worst deal ever? :)

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  10. adam sanford

    Nikon-Samsung (if true) would be massive. Nikon would get a whole lot of sexy tech that they could ‘Nikon up’ into a proper mirrorless rig:

    * 28 MP backside illuminated APS-C sensor
    * 25 native mount lenses — no adaptors and heavy/oversized FF lenses required
    * 4K
    * 15 FPS with AF

    (And, yes — I’m arguing Nikon could simply rebrand the NX1 and NX500 into better/improved/slicker Nikon versions. It would work.)

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    • Anthony Thurston

      That also doesn’t even touch the benefit of not being tied to Sony and getting second-hand sensors from them. Plus the possibility of iterating on the 28MP BSI APS-C sensor design into a possible full frame version for a full frame mirrorless rig.

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    • Mac MacDonald

      I’m so excited about all of this I don’t know whether to sit or stand, laugh or cry, run or skip. Poor old Canon, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Nikon and Sony have decided they will own the camera market with Fuji and Panasonic picking up the non-conformists.

      Happy dance time.

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    • adam sanford

      Mac, I agree with you that this would be a good move, but there are two things to consider:

      1) Despite having a very wimpy mirrorless offering in the EOS-M, this move (if true) somewhat implies Canon got the sensor-size call right. With this move, Nikon would be formally fessing up to screwing the pooch with the CX sensor size call. :-P

      2) This might *not* be a good thing for Nikon folks wanting FF mirrorless. Why would Nikon make such a product if they just paid a boatload to invest in APS-C mirrorless?

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    • Dave Haynie

      It certainly would be big news.

      Nikon teaming up with Samsung makes serious sense for Nikon. Clearly, Sony’s going to use their best sensors for awhile before offering them on the open market. There was some idea that Sony was really trying to be the Intel of cameras sensors, but Intel is Intel specifically because they’ve kept competition with their customer to a minimum, thus maximizing their chip business. Sony’s too rooted in the CE business, I believe, to not take advantage of their in-house sensors as a competitive advantage.

      Samsung, on the other hand, while also a CE company, is more a full service mass market semiconductor and parts firm, second only to Intel in most years. There’s no obvious reason why Nikon couldn’t just buy Samsung sensors for their cameras. On the other hand, in taking over the whole NX line, they’re getting Samsung out of any competition with them, and certainly getting control over new sensors for some period of time. That all makes sense.

      The only real question — if it’s all true — is what about the NX. Yes, slapping Nikon stickers on those would immediately have them selling better, both from the Nikon name and the reputation, the belief that the NX mount would be around forever. Of course, that’s also setting Nikon’s mirrorless aspirations in stone, at least as far as APS models go. Doesn’t way what they do about Full Frame Mirrorless — perhaps this IS the decision, that’s there’s nothing to do.

      This also improves their video profile a bit, though the NX1’s 4K in HEVC is currently a problem, as that’s not compatible with any professional video workflows at the moment — you have to transcode to something else. Even if you had native HEVC editing, the overhead of moving to 4x the image area and 4x the decoding overhead versus HD/2K in AVC, that’s probably too much for most users to accept right now.

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