The Unannouncement of the NX1100

In one of the stranger product launches to date, camera store B&H officially announced the long-rumored Samsung NX1100, a minor update to the previous NX1000 entry level model. As I write this, the NX1100 is still officially absent from Samsung's own Web pages. B&H sent out a press announcement and put up a pre-order page with all the pertinent specifications. You'll find that I've updated my camera database, as well.

What's different in the new camera? Good question. The biggest change seems to be making a 0 into a 1, though I do note that Adobe Lightroom is now included in the US$700 list price, which wasn't the case with the NX1000. That lack of significant change is probably why Samsung isn't coming to the fore and making a formal announcement of the camera.

But this brings up an interesting point: B&H currently sells the NX1000 for US$500, a 29% discount from this new model (Lightroom would cost you only another US$115). Amazon lists it from US$327 to US$413. The other day on Woot you could find an NX1000 kit for US$300. As I noted in my NX1000 review, the NX1000 is a very competent camera. In most ways I like it more than Sony's entry model, and so far Samsung has been better in lens quality, too. So why would someone interested in this type of camera buy an NX1100 instead of an NX1000? They wouldn't, nor has Samsung (or B&H) offered us any reason why we should.

This is a problem more and more of the camera makers are facing: unsold inventory sits in the wings when they introduce new product. One of two things happen:

  • The old product sits unsold. The new product is so much better in performance and features than the old that no one wants to buy the old technology except at a huge discount, which produces a loss for the camera maker.
  • The new product sits unsold. The new product isn't enough different than the old, so everyone scoops up the older one because it's just a far better value at its end-of-cycle price.

Cameras from compacts to DSLRs all are facing this same problem (Nikon is still selling the D90, which is as of today is two generations old). The problem is very visible with mirrorless cameras in the American market, partly because the US customer just hasn't embraced mirrorless products as fast as customers in other markets, especially Asia.

The camera companies are starting to condition a large portion of their customers to buy on the tail end of cycles, not the start. The Samsung NX1100 is one of the more egregious examples of that I've seen. Until someone at Samsung can convince me otherwise, I'd strongly suggest that if you're interested in this class of camera that you just skip the NX1100 and buy one of the remaining NX1000's instead. Use the money you save on one of Samsung's very good lenses.

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