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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Samsung > arrow Samsung GX-20 Digital Camera Review
Samsung GX-20 Digital Camera Review

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Digital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker

 

The most notable quality of the Samsung GX-20 is its unpretentiousness. It is a smart, well-designed, functional DSLR that doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. Having said that, it doesn’t need to.

The GX-20 looks like a professional DSLR should: it has fairly typical button and dial controls in the all of the appropriate places, making it both ergonomically functional and user-friendly. There are approximately 27 buttons, switches, and dials on the 142 x 101 x 71.5mm black body but despite this, the unit remains surprisingly logical and uncluttered.

The GX-20 also feels like a professional DSLR. It has enough weight behind it to rest securely in hand and yet, at just over 800 grams, remains relatively lightweight for a DSLR of its magnitude. Its rubberised handgrip allows for a solid three-finger hold that frees up the index finger to operate the shutter and on/off switch and the overall design is functional and most importantly, comfortable.

Now to the grunt: the GX-20 operates using a Samsung powered 14.6 mega pixel CMOS sensor that produces high quality, sharp images with solid colour reproduction.

Dual dust removal uses both a vibrating sensor and an anti-dust coating over the body to ensure the mechanics stay as clean as possible at all times and built-in optical image stabilisation can be switched on and off as required to visibly reduce the amount of blur in images. This allows for slower shutter speeds to be used in hand-held shooting situations.

Even when shake-reduction is turned on, the intuitive GX-20 displays a blur icon in the viewfinder to warn you if blur may be an issue in the current conditions.

The unit itself is both water and dust resistant thanks to the aforementioned anti-dust coating although as a result of this, the battery and SD/SDHC memory card slots open only via small turning latches that prove quite fiddly. However, if this is the trade off for a water and dust resistant unit that can withstand varying weather conditions, so be it.

A clever, yet understated, feature on the GX-20 is the RAW button on the front of the camera body, which allows for an immediate switch to DNG RAW format during shooting. This means that when working in JPEG, an immediate switch can be made if an important or difficult moment is to be caught and greater editing flexibility will be required in post-production. Auto focus can also be achieved either by half depressing the shutter or using the separate AF button the back of the unit

The ample-sized 2.7 inch LCD is quite susceptible to fingerprints and oil or make-up from the face and as a result, requires regular cleaning. The picture overall however, is bright and clear with a readable font size that makes navigating and understanding the menus hassle-free.

It is always easy on the GX-20 to preview your current shooting information. The LCD panel on the top of the camera constantly displays the selected settings and the info button will immediately bring up these details during shooting as required also. When initially switched on, the GX-20’s current settings are displayed automatically on the LCD for three seconds as well.

Live view is available for those who enjoy the option of composing via the LCD but the preview provided on screen does flutter slightly and suffer considerable lag.

The 10-option mode dial on the GX-20 has replaced the standard utilities of Shutter (S) and Aperture (A) with more complex functions including shooting with different exposure rates (SV), using automatic ISO setting (TAV), expressing the background out of focus (AV) and personalised exposure settings previously saved (USER).

Although the letters used to represent the functions don’t necessarily have an obvious relationship to the function they control, once they are understood it allows the user greater and more efficient flexibility and control over the final look of the photographs. This does require the user to take the time to understand and become familiar with each function and in what shooting situations it is best utilised in order to really get the most from this unit.

As expected, the GX-20 offers a histogram with each shot preview (not live) and also indicates areas of over and under-exposure. These features assist the photographer in understanding what adjustments need to be made throughout shooting and help to do so efficiently. The over and under-exposure warnings cannot be switched off however, which is slightly agitating, especially as they flash repeatedly during, and over the top of, the preview.

In summation, it is fair to suggest the GX-20 is not an entry level unit. It has clearly been designed with the intermediate to advanced user in mind who is familiar with the general controlling, functions and handling of a DSLR. The lack of scene modes and the detailed menu/function information help to define the target customer as an experienced camera user medal-gold-r.jpgcapable of fully controlling the GX-20 as opposed to it automatically controlling the look of images with point-and-shoot operation.

Having said that, if you are a beginner who is enthusiastic and extremely patient, you may also consider the GX-20, but generally speaking those with previous experience are probably best-suited.

Overall, the Samsung GX-20 is well-priced and well-put-together. It is an attractive, solid unit, both in terms of its build as well as its performance, and it is unlikely to disappoint. Highly recommended.

* Tested with the Samsung 18-55mm lens

 

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $1,759
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 14.6 Mega pixels
Image Sizes 4 sizes
Lens PENTAX bayonet KAF2 mount / Schneider D-XENON, D-XENOGON, SAMSUNG lens
Resolution Settings 14.6M (4672 × 3104), 10M (3872 × 2592), 6M (3008 × 2000), 2M (1824 × 1216), RAW: 14.6M (4672 × 3104)
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Auto: 1/4,000s ~ 30s (No step), Manual: 1/14,000s ~ 30s (1/3EV or 1/2EV step), Bulb
ISO 160 to 2500 and Auto
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size Low-temperature polysilicon TFT colour LCD Monitor, 2.7" (Approx. 230K pixels), Brightness & Colour control, Wide angle view
Viewfinder Pentaprism, Natural-Bright-Matte II Focusing Screen / Approx. 95% field of view.
Flash Yes, 1/180s, Red-eye reduction
Hot Shoe Yes
White balance 8 options plus Manual and Kelvin
Self Timer Self-timer (12s, 2s)
Storage Type SD (up to 4GB guaranteed), MMC (up to 2GB guaranteed), SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
Storage Included [Mb] No
Image Formats RAW (DNG), JPEG (DCF), EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
Connectivity USB 2.0
Power Source DC 8.3V, 2A (100 ~ 240V)
Battery Options LLithium ion battery: SLB-1674, Charger: SBC-L6
Dimensions 142.0mm × 101.0mm × 71.5mm
Weight 727g (Body only), 806g (Memory card & Battery included)

 


 

 
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