Samsung NX: When it becomes clear a company has quit their customers.

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As I have noted previously I do not do emotional allegiances to for profit entities. As pointed out by Ezra Dyer in a recent Car and Driver article there are times I wish I could. I may appreciate a good feature/price combination, but I am always evaluating. Exhausting at times. Brand loyalty saves time and thought. Just replace the widget with next year’s widget when the next branded widget is released and fight the man, woman, or child that says otherwise. Then repeat next product cycle.

Evaluating what? Glad you asked. Let’s take a look at, oh let’s say photography gear. With every press release it causes me to objectively consider the pros/cons of the new option. This takes time. If I were just subjectively looking for reasons to convince myself what I had was superior that would take far less time and energy.

This time reconsideration was not brought about by a new press release, but by a sudden unpleasant and unexpected example of indifference from the company in question.

Still a great product:

One thing does not change. I have owned quite a few brands and I still believe Samsung truly released a great system with top notch features, great performance all priced reasonably all other things being equal. Despite no official release from Samsung on the subject there had been huge indicators that all was not well in NX-ville. Non-existent imaging trade show booths. Pulling out of markets and stopping production. Try and find a new NX1 at the major online retailers right now. Abandoning of websites and social media pages. No need for rumors. Even still I stood firm as noted in a recent blog post.

What changed?

The title of that blog post was “Samsung may Ditch the Mirrorless, but I am sticking with it.” I was ok with (granted ok may be strong) Samsung abandoning the camera system, but knowing how large of a company they are I made an assumption in error. I assumed they would minimally service the remaining customers and leave a bit of the house intact. Not for warm and fuzzy reasons. It is a for profit entity at the end of the day. PR can make or break a company. My thinking was why would they risk the bad press of a virtually mobilized angry band of cheesed off photographers? Have they not heard (or seen the comments sections of) Canon and Nikon adherents going at it? Light gatherers can be an angry, unbalanced bunch. Having made my peace with my collection of NX gear I slapped one of my all time favorite lenses on one of my all time favorite cameras when I hung out with my father and my son Saturday.

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All is well. I got home and wanted to share some of the pictures so I went to sync my phone to my NX1 like I had done many times before. Fast forward through an hour or so of gnashing of teeth and drained batteries and I hit the interwebs. Did not take long to realize that Android 6/Marshmallow update that came through the evening before on my phone had hobbled the connectivity between the two. Grabbed a device with an earlier Android version and sure enough it connected right away. At that moment my pupils dilated and your mild mannered narrator saw shades of red not occurring in nature. Not a word was uttered, but it was abundantly clear that Samsung had completely left the camera factory building without a single word to their customers. No point in getting upset with a corporate entity. Check please.

Not a gambler:

Two times in my adult life friends talked me in to a casino bus trip and both times I was legitimately stoked, until three truths set in as the bus pulled off. 1) I do not like buses. 2) I do not gamble. 3) I do not drink. Logic and gambling are mutually exclusive for me. Casinos exist to take your money. It is a mugging with complimentary drinks, harsh lighting and a concierge. Sticking with Samsung had now become worse than gambling. Today I am happy, but in light of these developments it was clear that I would eventually have gear that I could not replace, get repaired, or sell. I am highly risk averse. This gear belongs in the hands of folks who are capable of enjoying it’s light gathering goodness without the voice of the old dude at the door from Poltergeist II whispering “Your gear’s gonna die!”

Not all…

Held on to three items. I hold pricey, DSLR-ish gear to a very high standard, but I kept this demi system that punches well above it’s weight class…

  • NX300: I already bought, sold and re-bought this (exact same) camera so I saw no reason for round 2. Plus this camera is awesome, and compact and jacket pocketable when coupled with…
  • NX 30mm f2.0: I know of no other lens this size/price for an APS-C system that is this capable built in lens all in one or otherwise. Period. May exist, but I am not aware of it.
  • NX 16-50mm PZ: Dark magic. Must be dark magic. No other explanation for a lens this inexpensive, this small, and with this mediocre of a paper spec producing shots as sharp as it does.

If I had traded them I could not think of a single compact lens/camera alternative that would replace them for me. Yes, the a6### cameras are brilliant, and I respect Sony having owned both an A7 and RX100II. But the comparable APS-C lenses are either a bit larger or a bit slower. I also like the Ricoh GR and was impressed when the very talented Zun Lee walked me around his last year at the excellent Image Deconstructed Workshop since relocated to Colorado with Ross Taylor, but I am not a fan of having a fixed lens and no articulating screen. Plus on a small camera my personal preference is a touch screen over an EVF. On the small camera side of the game I am actually willing to gamble. Your mileage may vary.

But the high end stuff (NX1, 85mm f/1.4, 16-50mm S, and 50-150mm S) had to go. I highly recommend finding a good local camera shop if you can find one. Good fortune struck when I walked in to Southeastern Camera Carrboro (where I had purchased the NX1 used) and  I crossed paths with the original owner who ultimately bought the gear back upping my trade price significantly. Again, I have no issue with the gear itself so I am glad they found a good home while funding my next chapter.

What next?

With a recent release I am heading home to the first SLR brand that I learned on, my Dad’s gear, many years ago, like my previously owned k-3ii, but this time in digital full frame strength.

Ordered and more on that decision and next steps, lenses of choice and such when it comes in.

Until the next extended rant.


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