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DCRP Review: Samsung GX-10
by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: March 8, 2007
Last Updated: May 8, 2008

This is not your typical DCRP review. Since the Samsung GX-10 is basically the same camera as the Pentax K10D, this article only points out the differences -- most of which are cosmetic -- between the two models. Hey, why reinvent the wheel if you don't have to? Therefore, you'll want to read the K10D review as well, which covers all the camera features in detail.

The GX-10 ($999) is Samsung's third digital SLR. Like the other two (the GX-1S and GX-1L), the GX-10 is based on a Pentax camera -- in this case, the Pentax K10D. The differences between the GX-10 and the K10 are subtle changes in the user interface (menus and buttons), RAW support (the GX-10 only supports one RAW format: DNG), and the software bundle.

Both cameras have a solid, weather resistant body with a large right hand grip, a 10 Megapixel CCD, optical image stabilization, dust reduction, and manual controls and expandability that you'd expect from a digital SLR.

Read on to see what differences their are between the GX-10 and the K10D!

Bundle Differences

Like the K10D, the GX-10 comes in two kits: one is body only, and the other includes an 18 - 55 mm lens. Here's what you'll find in the box:

Both the kit lens and the battery are the same as the Pentax versions -- just with Samsung branding. Everything's interchangeable (except for the battery grip), so you can use Pentax parts in the Samsung camera, and vice versa. The 18 - 55 mm kit lens, which Samsung labels as a Schneider (it's not), isn't the greatest, with noticeable vignetting in many photos.

The one Pentax item that you cannot use with the GX-10 is the battery grip, which doesn't fit perfectly on the GX-10 (due to its slightly larger grip). Samsung plans to offer one that does fit, but I don't have any details on it just yet.

The chart below lists all the compatible GX-10 accessories, with both Samsung and Pentax model numbers:

Accessory Samsung model # Pentax model # Why you want it
Lenses Varies Supports all K-mount lenses (even really old ones) with a 1.5X crop factor. They can say Samsung or Pentax on them -- doesn't matter
External flash SEF-36PZF
SEF-54PZF

AF360FGZ
AF540FGZ

Get more flash power and less chance of redeye
Wireless remote control None Remote F Take photos wirelessly...
Wired remote control None CS-205 ... or while tethered to the camera
Batteries SLB-1674 D-LI50 You can never have too many of these
Battery grip Coming soon D-BG2 * Doubles your battery life while adding a grip for shooting portraits
AC adapter SAC-82 D-AC50 Power your camera without draining the battery
Camera case None O-CC55 Protect your camera from the elements
* Not compatible with the GX-10

Again, you can use any of those accessories except for the Pentax battery grip with the GX-10.


Samsung Digimax Master

Samsung includes different software with the GX-10 than Pentax gives K10D owners. Here you'll get Digimax Master and Digimax RAW Converter. The former is a Windows-only photo viewer (Mac users can use something like iPhoto), which is actually pretty capable. I also found it to be both easy-to-use and responsive -- much more so than what Pentax gives you. The main thumbnail view is pretty standard, as you can see above.

If you double-click on a thumbnail image you can edit it:

There are all kinds of options available when you're editing JPEGs -- you can see them listed on the left side of the above screen capture. Basics like image rotation, cropping, and resizing are here, and there are auto enhancement, redeye reduction, and color editing tools available as well.

Digimax Master can also be used to edit RAW images and save them as JPEGs. You can adjust white balance, exposure, color saturation, and sharpness here.


Digimax RAW Converter

For slightly more advanced RAW editing you can use Digimax RAW Converter, which is also Windows-only. This gives you a few more RAW editing tools, including tone curve adjustment, vignetting and purple fringing reduction, and noise reduction.

Since the GX-10 uses the DNG format (developed by Adobe), they open up in Photoshop just like any RAW file. The K10D supports DNG, as well as Pentax's proprietary RAW format known as PEF. While DNG files are larger in size compared to PEF, the cameras actually shoot faster using the former, as the files don't need to be compressed on-the-fly.

The GX-10's manual is basically the same as the one included with the K10D, though I think the latter is more user friendly (better layout). The manual covers every camera function imaginable, though finding what you're looking for can be difficult at times.

Design Differences

There are very slight differences between the K10 and the GX-10 in terms of design. Here they are side-by-side:

The only noticeable difference is the button style and the font used on them. The font on the K10D is noticeably larger than the one used on the GX-10, so if your vision isn't all that great you may wish to keep this in mind.

One thing you can't see in these shots is the slightly larger grip on the GX-10, which is what makes the Pentax battery grip incompatible.

Here are closer shots of just the GX-10 for you. You can change the view by mousing over the link below the photo (note that this may not display probably in Safari due to a bug in the browser).

Front Back Side 1 Side 2 Top Bottom

The menus and screens are different on the GX-10 as well, and the table below shows you what I'm talking about:

Samsung GX-10 Pentax K10D
Info displayed on LCD while shooting
Function menu
Adjusting the ISO and Auto ISO range
White balance fine-tuning
Record menu
RAW editing in playback mode
Image playback

Dare I say that the GX-10 menus are more attractive? The ones on the Pentax just scream "outdated" to me.

Menu Differences

Now that the GX-10 has the same firmware as the K10D (more or less), their feature set and menu options are identical. The menus do look different, and some of the items are presented in a different order. Here is how they are listed on the GX-10:

Capture menu

  • Image tone (Natural, bright) - the latter cranks up the contrast and sharpness
  • File format (JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG)
  • JPEG recorded pixels (10M, 6M, 2M)
  • JPEG quality (Super fine, fine, normal)
  • Saturation (Low, normal, high)
  • Sharpness (Low, normal, high)
  • Contrast (Low, normal, high)
  • Exposure mode (same as on mode dial) - for use in "user" mode only
  • User registration - saves current settings to User spot on mode dial
  • Color space (sRGB, AdobeRGB)
  • Extended bracket (Off, white balance, saturation, sharpness, contrast) - just like exposure bracketing but for the items listed; camera takes three shots in a row
  • Multi-exposure - lets you take a bunch of photos which are combined into one
    • Number of shots (2-9)
    • Auto EV adjust (on/off)
  • Memory of settings (Flash, drive, white balance, sensitivity, exposure compensation, extended bracket, playback display, file number) - what settings are saved when the camera is turned off
  • Optical Picture Stabilization (8 - 800 mm) - only shown when using a lens that doesn't transmit focal length to the camera
Custom menu 1
  • Link AF and AE points (on/off)
  • Superimpose AF area (on/off) - whether selected focus point is shown in the viewfinder
  • AF in remote control (on/off) - whether autofocus is used when shooting with a remote control
  • AF button function (Enable AF, cancel AF, center of AF point) - what this button does
  • AF by press halfway (on/off) - whether halfway pressing the shutter release locks the focus
  • EV steps (1/2EV, 1/3EV)
  • Metering operating time (3, 10, 30 secs)
  • AE lock when AF locked (on/off) - whether metering locks when focus does
  • Program line (Normal, high speed, depth-of-field, MTF) - for use in auto and hyper-program mode
  • Auto EV compensation (on/off) - whether to compensate automatically when proper exposure cannot be determined
  • Fine-tune when auto WB (on/off)
  • WB when using flash (on/off) - whether to fix white balance when using the flash
  • Color temp unit (Kelvin, mired) - that's 100K or 20K increments
  • Noise reduction (on/off) - for long exposures
  • ISO warning (Off, 400, 800, 1600) - a warning in the viewfinder turns on when this value is exceeded
  • ISO Steps (1EV step, as EV steps)
  • Flash in wireless mode (on/off) - lets you use the built-in flash as the master for wireless flashes
  • Reset custom 1 - back to defaults

Custom menu 2

  • Auto bracketing order (Normal->Under->Over, Under->Normal->Over, Over->Normal->Under)
  • Green button in TAv and M (Program line, Tv shift, Av shift)
  • Use aperture ring (on/off) - whether photos can be taken when the aperture ring [on select lenses] is not set to auto
  • e-dial in program mode (Tv/Av, Av/Tv, exposure comp/program shift, program shift, exposure comp, off) - what the front and rear dials do in hyper-program mode
  • e-dial in Sv mode (None/ISO, program shift/ISO, ISO/program shift) - same idea
  • e-dial in Tv mode (Tv/none, Tv/exposure comp, exposure comp/Tv, Tv/ISO, ISO/Tv) - and here too
  • e-dial in Av mode (None/Av, exposure comp/Av, Av/exposure comp, ISO/Av, Av, ISO) - and one more time
  • Set RAW button (One-time, continuous) - how the RAW button on the side of the camera works
  • Remaining count (Normal, continuous) - always display the number of shots remaining on the memory card
  • Release shutter when charging (on/off)
  • Preview method (Optical, digital)
  • Initial zoom (1.2X, 2X, 4X, 8X, 16X) - initial setting for the playback zoom feature
  • Auto image rotation (on/off)
  • Save rotation info (on/off)
  • Illuminate LCD panel (on/off)
  • Reset custom 2 - back to defaults

 

Setup menu
  • Format card
  • Beep (on/off) - you can then turn the AF, AF lock, RAW+, self-timer, and remote control sounds on or off
  • Date adjust
  • World time - choose home and travel time zones
  • Language
  • Guide display (Off, 3, 10, 30 secs) - shows you what mode you're in when you turn on the camera or use the mode dial
  • Brightness level (-7 to +7 in 1-step increments)
  • Video out (NTSC, PAL)
  • USB mode (Computer, printer)
  • Auto power off (Off, 1, 3, 5, 10, 30 mins)
  • Folder name (Standard, date) - the latter organizes your photos in date-based folders
  • Sensor cleaning - locks the mirror in the up position so you can manually clean the sensor
  • Dust removal - shakes off the dust; also lets you decide whether this feature runs on startup or not
  • Reset - returns camera to default settings
Playback menu
  • Exposure warning (on/off) - over and under exposed areas of your photo will blink
  • Quick View - post-shot review
    • Display time (Off, 1, 3, 5 secs)
    • Histogram (on/off)
    • Exposure warning (on/off)
  • Digital preview - what is shown when you use the preview feature
    • Histogram (on/off)
    • Exposure warning (on/off)
  • Digital filter (Black & white, sepia, color, soft, slim, brightness)
  • Slideshow

The only difference I can spot in terms of menu options are 1) there's no choice of RAW formats and 2) there's no option for a battery grip. Otherwise it's all the same, just in a different order.

Performance & Photo Quality Differences

With the same sensor, image processor, and firmware, the GX-10's photo quality and performance is identical to that of the K10D. In terms of photo quality, this means that the GX-10 has mediocre straight-out-of-the-box JPEG quality (which can be fixed if you tweak some settings), and great RAW image quality.

For all the details on image quality, check out the K10D review.

I do have a separate gallery of pictures that I took with the GX-10 during my time with it. Click the image below to see them:

Which One to Buy?

Since the Samsung GX-10 and Pentax K10D are 99% identical, is there any reason to buy one over the other? Not particularly. Yeah, the K10D is the only one with a battery grip, but that should change shortly according to Samsung.

My advice is to buy the one you can get the best deal on. Right now, that's the K10D, but since the GX-10 is just now hitting the market, that may change.

For my concluding thoughts about the K10D/GX-10 twins, check out -- you guessed it -- the K10D review.

Photo Gallery

See how the photos turned out in our gallery! For more samples, see the K10D gallery too.

Feedback & Discussion

If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal recommendation or technical support.

To discuss this review with other DCRP readers, please visit our forums.

Want Another Opinion?

CNET is the only other site to review the GX-10. You may also want to read some reviews of the K10D, so check out Digital Photography Review, CNET, and Luminous Landscape for those.

 

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