Samsung GX-10 Review
|Kit Lens:||3.00x zoom
|Viewfinder:||Optical / No LCD|
|Dimensions:||5.6 x 4.0 x 2.8 in.
(142 x 101 x 72 mm)
|Weight:||25.0 oz (710 g)|
A rebranded equivalent to the Pentax K10D digital SLR with some restyling of buttons and the like, the Samsung GX-10 is based around an APS-C sized CCD imager with an effective resolution of 10.2 megapixels, a 22-bit A/D converter (output is 8-bit JPEG or 12-bit RAW), and a new processing engine. This is coupled with a Pentax KAF lens mount compatible with K-, KA-, KAF- and KAF2 lenses, as well as screw-mount / 645-system / 67-system lenses (these latter with the use of an adapter). The sensor resides in a dust-proof, weather resistant body with a stainless steel chassis and full weather sealing that allow the camera to be used in dusty and/or rainy environments without fear of damage, and the sensor itself sits on a free-floating electromagnetically controlled platter that can move horizontally, vertically, and even rotationally. Courtesy of this system, dubbed OPS (Optical Picture Stabilization) by Samsung, the camera can offer image stabilization with every lens that can be fitted to the camera (although it should be noted that some older lenses that don't transmit focal length information to the camera body, the user must manually enter the focal length through the menu system).
As with several other manufacturers (pioneered by Olympus, and also including Canon and Sony), Samsung has equipped the GX-10 to fight a common problem of digital SLRs - that of dust adhering to the image sensor. Firstly, a vapor deposited "Super Protect" fluorine compound coating is said to protect against stains and repel dust adhering to the sensor in the first place. Secondly, courtesy of the Shake Reduction mechanism, the GX-10 can vibrate the sensor at high speed so as to shake any remaining dust off (with an adhesive strip positioned at the bottom of the mechanism to capture dust and prevent it returning to the sensor).
The GX-10 includes both a 2.5" LCD display with 210,000 pixels and a 140-degree horizontal / vertical viewing angle, as well as a pentaprism based TTL optical viewfinder with 96% field of view, 0.95x magnification, diopter adjustment from -2.5m-1 to +1.5m-1, and a Natural-Bright-Matte II focusing screen. Auto focusing is catered for by a SAFOX VIII phase matching system with 11 autofocus points, while auto exposure metering choices are 16-segment multi, center-weighted, and spot. Shutter speeds from 30 to 1/4000 second are possible, and there's also a bulb mode, while the shutter mechanism is rated for 100,000 releases. ISO sensitivity varies from a minimum of 100 to 1600 equivalent, and as well as the usual Program, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and metered Manual exposure modes that can be found on most digital SLRs, the GX-10 also offers two more unusual options. A Sensitivity-priority AE mode allows you to quickly select an ISO sensitivity in 1/2 or 1/3 steps, and have the camera select an appropriate shutter speed and aperture automatically. Alternatively, a Shutter & Aperture-priority AE mode allows the user to select a shutter speed and aperture manually, and have the camera automatically select a corresponding ISO sensitivity.
The Samsung GX10 offers automatic or preset white balance, with six options (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash), plus a manual white balance mode. A built-in five mode popup flash has a guide number of 15.6 (ISO 200/m) and covers up to a 28mm (35mm equivalent) angle of view, while a hot shoe caters for external flash strobes. Flash exposure compensation fro +1 to -2EV is on offer, and flash sync speed is 1/180 second. There's also a three frames-per-second burst mode which can capture up to 12 RAW frames, or an unlimited number of JPEG frames (for as long as you have sufficient card space / battery life, and presumably depending on card write speeds). Other features include a number of digital filter modes (4 x black and white, 3 x sepia, 18 x color, 3 levels of soft filtering, +/- 8 levels of "slim" filtering, and a brightness filter in playback mode), a two or 12-second self timer, and a zero or three-second remote control mode.
Images are stored on Secure Digital cards, and the Samsung GX-10 is compatible with the new SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) standard, which extends the maximum flash card capacity to a theoretical 32GB (4GB cards being the largest available at the time of this writing, although 8GB cards should be available in the last quarter of 2006), with sustained transfer rates of up to six megabytes per second. As well as support for JPEG compressed images, the GX-10 can store images in Raw format - either in the proprietary PEF format used by both Samsung and Pentax, or Adobe's DNG format. (The GX10 is also unusual in providing a dedicated button with which to quickly switch to RAW mode, a nice touch). Connectivity includes USB 2.0 High Speed data, and NTSC / PAL video connections, and power comes courtesy of a proprietary D-LI50 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery.
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