Samsung GX-20 review

£597
Price when reviewed

The GX-20’s 14.6 megapixels mark it out in a section of the DSLR market that has largely settled on 12 megapixels as a standard resolution, but that’s not the whole story. This is one of the most flexible DSLRs we’ve seen. Not only does it include features that cheaper cameras are missing, such as white balance bracketing, but it builds on them. For instance, it offers three- or five-shot bracketing, giving you up to eight stops of exposure compensation in a single burst.

There’s an unusual sensitivity priority mode, in which you set the ISO you want and the GX-20 adjusts its shutter speed and aperture to get a balanced exposure. Stranger still is the shutter and aperture priority mode, in which you lock the exposure time and aperture and the GX-20 sets the ISO itself in order to get a good exposure.

The GX-20 offers both front and rear control wheels and a second LCD screen for displaying shooting information. You also get dedicated switches for exposure and focus modes. It shares its lens mount with Pentax’s range, so it will take any lens that fits a Pentax.

The GX-20’s body is chunky, and it compares badly to the neat lines of Sony’s Alpha range or the no-nonsense, comfortable design of the Nikon D3000 and D5000. It feels tougher than any other camera here, though, and those with a track record of broken cameras will appreciate it. There’s even a memory card slot release catch, and both the memory slot guard and battery compartment have rubber seals in the name of weatherproofing.

The GX-20 was reasonable in our quality tests. Its maximum ISO of 6400 sounds impressive, but we found images totally unacceptable at this setting. Still, at ISO 1600 our images were reasonably clear, if not to the superlative levels of the Canon 500D or Nikon D5000.

It’s disappointing that the only real difference between the GX-20 and last year’s GX-10 is a bump in sensor resolution. With the GX-10 standing at an acceptable 10.2 megapixels, Samsung would have been wiser to concentrate on making the body easier to use without losing any of its nifty features. Considering Sony’s A330 is cheaper, there’s simply no contest.

Details

Image quality 4

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 14.6mp
Camera screen size 2.7in
Camera optical zoom range 3x
Camera maximum resolution 4,672 x 3,104

Weight and dimensions

Weight 1.070kg
Dimensions 142 x 72 x 101mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included Lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 500 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range f3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 0.25m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 27
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 83
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Bulb exposure mode? yes
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 3EV
ISO range 100 - 6400
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 3.0fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD, SDHC
Viewfinder coverage 95%
LCD resolution 230k
Secondary LCD display? yes
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type Mini-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? yes
Software supplied Samsung Master, Samsung RAW Converter 2
Accessories supplied Shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable

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