Japan's Pentax said on Wednesday it has tied up with a unit of Samsung Electronics to jointly develop digital single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, aiming to pool resources and cut costs.
The deal will allow Samsung to make an into the fast-growing market for digital SLR cameras, which are generally more expensive and offer better performance than simple point-and-shoot compact models and use interchangeable lenses.
It also marks the latest alliance between traditional camera makers and electronics firms in digital SLR models following similar deals between Olympus and Matsushita , and Konica Minolta and Sony.
Pentax said it and Samsung Techwin Co. Ltd., a digital camera unit of Samsung Group, would work together on developing entry-level and middle-range digital SLR models that sell for under 200,000 yen ($1,746). Each company plans to market the cameras under its own brand.
"In the digital era the pace of innovation is so fast," Pentax Senior Executive Officer Ko Torigoe told a press conference. "We have embarked on this joint development to increase our speed."
Their first joint effort will be a camera, based on a current Pentax model, that incorporates some Samsung technology and which will be launched next spring. A jointly developed camera would not come until next autumn, Pentax said.
Pentax is concentrating on digital SLR cameras to shift its focus away from compact digital cameras, a segment of the market that has been flooded with dozens of electronics makers, pushing down prices.
Pentax said the alliance with Samsung could expand to eventually include procurement by Pentax of key parts such as memory chips, image sensors and displays from companies within the Samsung group.