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Samsung could partner with Olympus for its next Galaxy camera phone

Samsung Galaxy S21
(Image credit: Samsung / Olympus)

Samsung is rumored to be partnering with Olympus for the cameras on its next smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy S22.

The latest possible camera collaboration, which would follow the recent one between OnePlus and Hasselblad, has been branded as "reliable news" by Ice Universe, a source who has proven to be accurate with previous Samsung Galaxy rumors.

The comment, picked up by Gizmochina, followed earlier speculation from Twitter tipster Yogesh  saying that "Samsung and Olympus held talks about a possible partnership" and that the fruits of this tie-in could be seen "on a special edition Fold or we could see this happen on 'H3' (S22 Ultra)".

Of course, this potential Samsung-Olympus partnership is very much at the rumors stage, and talks between the two companies don't necessarily mean we'll see anything come to fruition.

There's also the possibility that separate rumors about Samsung's next Exynos chip, which apparently has the codename 'Olympus', may have contributed to the growing speculation about the collaboration.

But the additional confirmation from Ice Universe, which has previously correctly predicted Samsung features like the Galaxy S21's flat screen, lends some credence to the whispers, and the tie-in would certainly make sense in theory. 

Olympus

(Image credit: Olympus)

Dream team?

There's been a growing trend of collaborations between phone manufacturers and camera brands in recent years, including Huawei and Leica (from 2016) and the more recent OnePlus-Hasselblad partnership.

Olympus is certainly ready to enter the fray, in theory. The photography brand recently started its new life under OM Digital Solutions, following its sale from the broader Olympus brand in June 2020, and the new company recently made noises at the CP+ camera show about its openness to working with other partners.

Back in 2012, there were also rumors that Samsung and Olympus might form a cameras partnership, following speculation that Olympus was looking to sell its camera division after an accounting scandal rocked the company.

Eight years on, those rumors eventually came to fruition after Olympus sold its imaging division to a Japanese investment fund, which has led to the creation of OM Digital Solutions. This new company has inherited Olympus' imaging expertise and its portfolio of patents, but what might it contribute to a Samsung Galaxy Fold 3 or Galaxy S22 camera?

Despite its heritage in film cameras, Olympus actually did more than most of the traditional camera giants to bring computational photography to its Four Thirds cameras, with software features like in-camera focus stacking, live ND filters and Starry Sky AF all very useful and popular tools among photographers.

How exactly this might mesh with Samsung's own processing and hardware is up for debate, and it's possible the companies might take the less exciting 'color science' route. But the combination is certainly a potentially exciting one that is arguably more interesting than the recent OnePlus-Hasselblad tie-in, so we're very much looking forward to hearing if the speculation has any official foundation. 

Mark Wilson

Mark is the Cameras Editor at TechRadar. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won the Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.