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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!
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:
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.
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|
|Adjusting the ISO and Auto ISO range|
|White balance fine-tuning|
|RAW editing in playback mode|
Dare I say that the GX-10 menus are more attractive? The ones on the Pentax just scream "outdated" to me.
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:
Custom menu 2
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 GallerySee 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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