Samsung's hybrid NX Series camera: point-and-shoot with DSLR-like image sensor

While we still prefer the Micro Four Thirds approach (we love lens selection, so sue us), Samsung's conceptual NX Series is still looking pretty boss for those needing a true (or close to true) point-and-shoot frame. Announced here at PMA, this new "hybrid" camera maintains the slim stature of a standard pocket cam, yet includes an APS-C sized image sensor that is traditionally found on DSLRs. In layman's terms, that means this camera will boast a larger surface area "to gather light and produce higher-quality images than comparable digital camera systems." In order to keep things thin, the electronic viewfinder (EVF) replaces the DSLR mirror box, but details beyond that are scant. The good news, however, is that Sammy plans to commercialize the NX line and have 'em shipping by the second half of this year. Is the P&S-DSLR gap finally being bridged? Guess we'll find out (not so) soon enough; per usual, the full release is just after the break.

Update: It looks like the NX-series does have interchangeable lenses -- a press shot we just received shows what look to be a couple different zooms.


NX Series Offers APS-C Image Sensor, Bridges Gap Between Compact Digital Cameras and DSLRs

SEOUL, KOREA – March 2, 2009 – Samsung Digital Imaging Co., Ltd. used PMA 2009 as the global launching pad for the NX Series, the company's revolutionary new family of hybrid digital cameras. A new concept digital camera, the NX Series offers the performance and image quality of a DSLR and the portability and convenience of a compact point-and-shoot. With the NX Series, Samsung will become a global leader in the new hybrid market.
Samsung's new NX Series bridges the gap between a DSLR and compact point-and-shoot digital camera by combining the benefits of both in one new model. Like conventional DSLRs, the NX Series utilizes an APS-C sized image sensor providing a much larger surface area to gather light and produce higher-quality images than comparable digital camera systems. Unlike a DSLR, the NX Series does not feature a mirror box and employs an ultra-precise Electronic Viewfinder (EVF). The use of an EVF has allowed Samsung engineers to significantly reduce the size and weight of the new camera system by decreasing the distance between the lens and image sensor (flange back) by approximately 60% compared to traditional DSLRs. In addition to utilizing the EVF, consumers can also take advantage of the camera's Live View functionality to frame their shots on the NX Series' high-resolution screen.
Samsung has recently intensified its focus on the digital imaging market and established a separate company dedicated exclusively to digital imaging in Samsung Digital Imaging Company. The new company was formed to focus on the development of its digital still cameras around world's first and best in class features, design, and easy-to-use interfaces, and will work towards achieving the company's stated goal of becoming the world's leading digital imaging company.
"We estimate that the hybrid digital camera market will be over 20% of the global digital still camera market by 2012," said Sang-jin Park, CEO of Samsung Digital Imaging Company. "With the release of the NX Series, a digital camera that combines the strengths of a DSLR and compact digital camera, Samsung Digital Imaging will become a global leader in the new hybrid digital camera market and achieve the company's goal to become the global leader in the digital camera market by 2012."
Samsung Digital Imaging Company also creates a much more efficient vertical alignment between related Samsung affiliate business units including semiconductor, LCD panel and consumer electronics. This new vertical alignment will create competitive advantages for Samsung by fostering greater collaboration between Samsung affiliate business units and allowing the company to develop and deliver highly-innovative digital imaging products that set the standard for the industry, including the newly unveiled NX Series.
The first model of NX Series will be available in the second-half of 2009.