The Samsung Galaxy NX is the first mirrorless camera to sport built-in cellular tech. Other mirrorless cameras have offered WiFi for connecting with your smartphone; however, the Android-powered Galaxy NX will let you share high quality images from virtually anywhere thanks to its 3G/4G LTE antennas.
The Galaxy NX features a 20.3MP APS-C sensor and offers 1080p HD video. The camera runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and is capable of using more than just camera apps – with a full range of Android apps available via the Google Play Store.
Samsung Galaxy NX Key Features
- 20.3MP APS-C sensor
- Raw or JPEG capture
- 1080/24p video
- ISO 100-25,600
- 4.8-inch HD LCDSVGA display
- 1/6000s max shutter speed
- 8.6fps still image burst
- 4G LTE and 3G HSPA+ connectivity
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, GLONASS
- 16GB internal memory + microSD slot (up to 64GB)
- Adobe Lightroom included
We all knew something like this was coming whether or not it was needed. Samsung pushed the original Galaxy camera out last year. While I can’t say how well it has sold, I have yet to bump into anyone using one. And then, earlier this month, Samsung introduced the Galaxy S4 Zoom, which sports a 10x optical zoom attached to a Galaxy S4 smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Zoom seems to be more of a reasonable comprise for me – as a dual-purpose phone and camera.
Back in 2010, Samsung said its goal was to gain 50% of the market share for mirrorless cameras that year, which I’m pretty sure it missed. Samsung still seems to be quite the step-child in the mirrorless camera market. At first blush, I don’t really see this camera doing much to change that perception.
As a company that competently challenges Sony in so many other areas of the consumer electronics industry, its digital camera line never has seemed to gain traction. That’s not to say that Samsung doesn’t make good cameras; however, Samsung has yet to really put its brand in the forefront of consumers’ minds when digital cameras are mentioned.
Perhaps these cellular-connected cameras are Samsung’s way to differentiate itself in the marketplace. Of course, it remains to be seen if that’s a good differentiation or not. The iPhone shows no real sign of slowing down as the camera of choice for instant sharing of photos and videos.
Are consumers willing to pay an extra monthly fee to add a mirrorless camera to their cellular data plan? Is Samsung willing to subsidize that cost? I think the answer to the first question is a strong ‘no’ and the answer to the second question is: ‘Samsung should.’
If Samsung wants to ever have a chance of going up against Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon and Canon in the mirrorless market realm, it has to produce a product so enticing to customers that doesn’t just add features, but adds value. Right now, Sony and the Micro Four Thirds consortium are producing the best bang-for-buck cameras in the mirrorless segment. Samsung has to step up its game much higher if it wants to grab some of that market share, and the all-important ‘buzz’ from reviewers and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Saying to customers, “Buy this camera and then pay a little more per month for your cell phone bill” isn’t going to move these cameras off the shelve. But if Samsung were to say “Buy this camera and you’ve got free 4G LTE and 3G connectivity to upload images”, then Samsung has added a ton of value and usable features to its product.
Will Samsung subsidize data usage for customers? I doubt it. Should Samsung do so? Yes, if they want it to sell.
Of course, there is a market for the Samsung Galaxy NX. The question is: just how big is it?
No word yet on pricing or availability, although if the rumored price of $1300 turns out to be true, I think the market might just shrink a bit more.