With its 16MP ISOCELL 1/2.6-inch sensor, F2.2 aperture, 4K video, reflector integrated LED-flash, water-resistant body and hybrid AF-system, the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S5 looks like one of 2014's hottest options for mobile photographers.
However, it now looks as if the worldwide market release of the new device, which was originally projected for the 11th of April, could be delayed due to problems in the manufacturing process of the S5's new 6-element lens. The Korean website ETnews.com reports that currently only around 20 – 30% of the produced units are usable. The Galaxy S5's predecessor, the S4, used a 5-element design and it appears the new model's additional lens element causes problems because it has to fit in the same slim camera module dimensions as before.
The individual elements have to be thinner which makes molding and alignment a more difficult task. An industry insider commented:
“On a thin lens, even the slightest flaw results in a considerable optical distortion. To make plastic lens thinner, a more accurate mold technology is necessary.”
According to ETnews Samsung is being criticized for having brought this crisis upon itself. In the past, lens suppliers were in control of both the making of molds and the plastic injection process. However, some years ago Samsung decided to produce molds in-house and now provides them to its suppliers where only the plastic injection is carried out. When problems with molds are now detected at the lens manufacturers' sites it is a lengthier and more difficult process to solve them.
As you might imagine Samsung is working tirelessly on solving the issues but if the problems continue it might well be the case that the Galaxy S5 introduction will be delayed at least in some regions.
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