New York — Samsung will enter the digital SLR market thanks to a partnership with Pentax.
The deal, announced yesterday, will let Samsung tap Pentax’s interchangeable lens technology and will give Pentax access to core components manufactured by Samsung. The first product, to be marketed next spring under both brands, will be based largely on Pentax’s existing d-SLR models with several yet-to-be-disclosed Samsung technologies built-in.
Samsung is the third electronics company to partner with a camera firm to break into the hot-selling d-SLR category. Panasonic and Olympus announced a partnership last year, followed by Sony and Konica Minolta this year.
“The SLR is the only place you can make money” in the digital camera market, said Chris Chute, senior analyst, IDC. Given Canon and Nikon’s dominance of the global SLR market (58 percent and 30 percent, respectively), smaller firms have to band together to survive, Chute added.
The move also lets smaller camera companies expand the number of camera models and brands that accept their interchangeable lenses and related accessories, Chute said.
“It’s a reactive move too — when one company partners to make SLRs, they all have to,” Chute observed.
According to IDC, 4.5 million digital SLRs will be shipped worldwide this year, up from 2.5 million last year. The growth curve won’t be as dramatic, or enduring, as digital point-and-shoot cameras, Chute said. “The prosumer market is limited. We expect growth to level off in 2008.”