Samsung shuns point-and-shoot cameras, switches factory to pricier mirrorless types

Samsung's main camera plant in China is being converted to produce high-end mirrorless cameras instead of cheaper compacts. That's a steel-and-concrete sign that the manufacturer is trying to boost digital imaging profits by focusing on cameras with higher margins, and it implies a level adaptability that other companies can only dream of. To drive the point home, Samsung's imaging chief Han Myoung-sup told the WSJ that "low-end compact camera offerings will gradually be reduced" to make way for the "mirrorless segment." A wise move? Well, Sammy's latest NX range of interchangeable-lens (ILC) mirrorless models start at around $700, which is at least twice the going rate for a decent point-and-shoot. While that higher price point may seem off-putting, demand for mirrorless cameras is actually expected to explode by 60 percent this year, according to IDC projections -- while sales of compacts are retreating in the face of ever more powerful smartphone snappers. Ultimately, Samsung's business plan could be good news for us end-users too, if a newly expanded NX range brings the entry point for ILCs down by $200 or so -- although that could just be wishful thinking on our part.