14.6 Megapixel CMOS sensor with integrated Shake Reduction
Double dust-removal system
ISO from 100 to 3,200, up to 6,400 expanded
11-point TTL phase-matching autofocus
3.0 fps, unlimited JPEG or 9 RAW frames
2.7 inch, 230,000 pixel LCD screen with Live View
SD / SDHC memory card
Weather and dust resistant body
(From company literature) A 14.6 mega-pixel dSLR, the GX-20 extends the range of Samsung's acclaimed GX-Series and boasts an impressive feature set that will garner the attention of any professional or photographer or enthusiast.
The GX-20 improves on many of the advanced qualities of its sibling dSLR, the 10.2 mega-pixel GX-10; however a host of new features and firsts truly set this camera apart from any other GX-Series model previously introduced by Samsung. The GX-20 is highlighted by its proprietary, high-performance CMOS sensor. The Samsung CMOS sensor is equipped with 14 mega-pixel resolution, can capture 14-bit Raw images and maintains outstanding noise performance, even at a high ISO setting of 6400. The GX-20 also incorporates improved sensor-based shake-reduction as well as a double dust-removal system, which is designed to prevent miniscule specs of dust from ruining a perfect image.
"This is an exciting time for Samsung," said Stewart Henderson Vice President Marketing, Samsung Opto-Electronics America. "The dSLR market is one of the fastest growing segments of the imaging industry, one which Samsung has served quite well over the past few years with our previous GX-Series dSLRs. With the introduction of the higher-end, professional-grade GX-20, Samsung can now address the needs of the more advanced photographer with a dSLR bearing an impressive list of state-of-the-art photographic technologies."
Designed for the advanced amateur and professional photographer, the GX-20 is the fourth model in Samsung's rapidly growing dSLR range. The premier model of the GX family, Samsung's new GX-20 takes performance to a whole new level with an array of new and improved features, all which will allow users to capture images of uncompromising quality in any environment or setting. Photographers of all skill levels will appreciate the GX-20's large 2.7 inch Live View LCD screen, which allows users to check composition and focus directly on the LCD in real time.
The GX-20's improved sensor-based shake reduction system, dubbed Optical Image Stabilization, helps photographers overcome the detrimental effects of hand shake and helps minimize blur in situations where the camera is unstable or in low-light conditions. Because it resides in the camera body, as opposed to the lens, the OPS feature works with a wide range of lenses, including Samsung's Schneider D-XENON family and the full range of Pentax, KAF2, KAF and KA mount lenses.
Samsung's full range of optics include two zooms, the 18-55mm and 50-200mm Schneider D-XENONs, as well as five new Schneider D-XENON lenses (introduced in 2007). The new Schneider D-XENON lenses are available for use with the entire GX-Series of dSLRs and consist of a 10-17mm, f3.5-4.5 fish-eye zoom, a 12-24mm, f4 ultra-wide zoom, a 16-45mm, f4 wide zoom, a 35mm, f2 fixed focus and a 100mm, f2.8 macro lens.
Additionally, the GX-20 features a Pentaprism viewfinder that yields a 95 percent wide field of view and provides photographers with a bright and accurate view of their subject, allowing them to properly frame and fine-tune out-of-focus areas. Furthermore, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second, shooters can rest assured that they'll never miss the perfect shot, especially when it comes to fast-moving events.
The GX-20's revolutionary new double dust-removal system is designed to prevent dust from threatening the quality of images captured with the GX-20. Samsung has incorporated an advanced dust-removal system that can be set to automatically vibrate the CMOS sensor when the GX-20 is powered on or engaged independently by the shooter and has also manufactured the GX-20's proprietary sensor with a special dust resistant coating, further eliminating the possibility of unwanted specs or blemishes ruining an otherwise perfect picture. As if that weren't enough, the GX-20 boasts a specially designed body that was made to stand up to the elements. Every button, gap and other potentially vulnerable area on the camera's body has been fortified with special seals and silicone to protect against damage from water, sand and a host of other elements.
Another attractive feature for advanced photographers is the GX-20's superb Raw image format support. The exclusive one-touch Raw shooting button enables users to quickly capture 14-bit Raw images, which can then be quickly be viewed on the LCD screen. If the shooter desires, the Raw image can also be converted to JPEG format directly on the camera. The GX-20's intuitive and easy to use interface makes even the most advanced tasks easy to accomplish for just about anyone. The GX-20's continuous shooting mode is capable of capturing up to three pictures per second (pps). Depending on available memory, shooters can capture an unlimited number of JPEG images in continuous shooting mode and up to nine images in Raw format.
For accurate autofocusing in any shooting condition, shooters can take advantage of the GX-20's 11-point TTL, wide-area Auto Focus system. For added versatility and to compliment their shooting style, users have a choice of AF-single or AF-continuous. The GX-20 also features a TTL open-aperture 16-segment metering system for accurate exposures, as well as center-weighted and spot metering.
Samsung GX-20: US$1399.95 MSRP, available March 2008.
Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Total Spent: $700.00| Rating: 10
seals, in-body stabilization, front/back focus correction for up to 20 lenses, Pentax mount, sharp jpegs, great bundled software
some colors in out-of-camera jpegs are too much off (but correctible with bundled software), weight
Bought with the 18-55 kit.
A "better" twin of Pentax K20D. Why better?
1) Out of camera jpegs are sharper - as sharp as RAW and you can jack up the sharpening to +4 and still get no sharpening artifacts. Some colors (in particular those that fall somewhere between pink and orange but are neither) seem to be quite off, but you can correct it with software (if you don't want to shoot RAW:-)).
2) Great bundled software - Samsung Raw Converter - allows you to fine tune white balance separately for dark parts only after choosing the right one for the entire picture - helps a lot with landscapes when proper WB for sunlit areas often creates a bizarre cast in tree shadows. Another feature - "Fine Color Controller" - allows fine tuning of particular colors without affecting the others. Also works with jpegs, helping alleviate the problem described in cons and pt 1).
3) The menu layout is clear and logical, very easy to navigate - just choose the proper bookmark and scroll down the table. The camera remembers in which line you were in which bookmark, so you re-enter the menu where you left.
4) The Samsung brand is even more underappreciated than Pentax, so the body with the 18-55 lens costs significantly less (even without a promotional price cut) than the K20D body alone.
The rest of the characteristics is the same as for K20D: weather seals, full compatibility with probably all Pentax lenses and third party (Sigma, Tamron) with Pentax mount, focus confirmation with manual lenses (it would probably work with literally any piece of glass, e.g. a part of broken window), built-in image stabilization (2 stops efective) works even with lenses that don't transmit information about focal length to the body - you type in the focal length in the menu, easy to learn and use layout of the buttons on the body, the most important functions are easily and quickly accesible, including ISO (despite the lack of dedicated button - just read the manual), in-body front/back focus correction - settings can be saved for up to 20 lenses, image quality on par with Canon 40D or 50D... I could go on and on...
I can't say much about focusing speed with long telephoto lenses (I'm alluding to the criticism of K20D autofocus speed with a 200mm prime at Imaging Resource, the"sister site" of slrgear), as I don't have any (yet). What I can say from my experience is that with the kit lens (they're never too quick to focus, are they?) set to 55mm and f/8 I managed to get tack sharp pictures of butterflies around 3 feet away from me. So the body seems to be OK, just pair it with a proper lens.
The only drawback for me is the weight - don't expect to put the strap on your neck and carry the camera on your chest on long treks.
Some people may want to know (and complain about) the fact that (as reported by dxomark.com - a "befriended" site of slrgear?) at ISO 1600 and above noise reduction kicks in automatically and cannot be switched off (the same is true for K20D). It may lead to some loss of detail. Just to keep things in perspective, Nikon D90 compresses all RAW pics, which guarantees loss of detail - and no one cries about it just because it's Nikon. To me it doesn't matter - I don't use ISO 1600 - I might just as well use a compact which at ISO 100 has similar noise to dslr at 1600.
The bottom line is the GX-20 is in my opinion the best body for the Pentax system right now, before full test results for K-7 are available. And after we know more about the K-7 (GX-30?) given the expected price, the GX-20 will remain at least the best offer in terms of price/quality ratio.
It really is one of those very rare instances when you get much, much more than what you paid for. Highly recommended for those who know the quality of pictures depends mostly on the photographer and not the Canon or Nikon logo painted on the equipment.