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This is my first camera review in quite some time, the main reason for that is simply that I have not been using anything that stood out from the others I have reviewed with more and more DSLR`s becoming more and more similar it takes a professional (which I am) to figure out the tiniest differences from one to another. All that changed a couple of weeks ago though when I got my hands on the new Samsung GX-20.
This camera came on the market in this country in January this year (2008) and for me brings with it something a little bit special, it's not even that it has new and amazing features although there are a few it is that it brings together all the different features offered into one fantastic camera.
WHAT`S NEW AND EXCITING?
The stand out features for me are firstly the massive 14.6 mega pixel image sensor which firmly puts to shame some of its 8 or 10.1 mega pixel rivals, secondly is the enhanced Digital Filter which allows a greater dynamic range of exposures and can also be used to add various effects or compensate for missing pixels after taking a picture. Turn to the back of the camera and you have the huge 2.7 inch LCD screen and the great thing with this camera is that it also comes with live view through the optical viewfinder.
The GX-20 also comes with an optical picture stabilisation system to rival cameras three times its price. (OPS) technology prevents blurred pictures by shifting the CCD to counter any movement of the camera's body. This being built into the body of a DSLR means that there is no need to splash out on very expensive anti-shake lenses therefore keeping photography as low cost as possible.
The GX-20 from Samsung also comes with a special water-resistant and anti-dusting body sealing which protects 72 different parts allowing you to use this camera in showers (not torrential rain), on the beach and in windy dusty areas without fear of destroying your expensive equipment. It also has the Dual Dust Removal System included which removes problematic particles from the sensor, resulting in perfect, blemish-free pictures.
This camera was released by Samsung to super seed their GX-10 and I can tell you it is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, it not only contains much more features and a better mega pixel but also feels like a real camera to hold whereas the GX-10 although fairly heavy felt flimsy and weak. I often felt that the GX-10 had to be treated very carefully so as not to upset its balance and that if you didn't take time and care over the lens changing you would be likely to break something but with the GX-20 those fears are well and truly gone, this thing feels unbreakable in your hands and really gives you the confidence to just use it.
I have heard people say that this camera is basically a Pentax k20d with a different body, I dismiss that as nonsense straight off. Having used the afore mentioned Pentax I find the differences between the two enough to be able to say that the people making this comparison have little or no idea what they are talking about. The Samsung GX-20 out-performs the Pentax at every stage and has included features that the Pentax does not have.
What I have to go on to say is that as with any DSLR camera if you do not have a wide selection of lenses then you will limit the camera and what it can do, as a professional I have more than 30 lenses and use them all (not all with the same camera) and find that unless I had at least ten of those lenses I could not take the pictures that I do. Samsung have thankfully increased the amount of lenses available in their range and of course there are other lenses out there that will fit this body. I would suggest that at least you would require a wide zoom lens (16-45mm F4 ED AL), a fixed focus lens (35mm F2 AL) and a macro lens (Macro 100mm F2.8) to get you underway, remembering of course when you buy the body at around £700 that the lenses will cost a good few hundred pounds each also unless you can find a good range of second hand lenses.
Once you have your lenses you are ready to take some fantastic shots with this camera whether it be in auto mode for those lazy times or whether you want to go at it in full on manual, setting all the apertures and ISO`s as you go then this camera can see you create near professional images with limited experience. The shooting and exposure modes (as listed below) help you get everything just right.
Continuous (Hi, Low)
Self-timer (12sec., 2sec.)
Remote Control (3sec.)
Remote Control Continuous
Shutter Priority AE
Aperture Priority AE
Sensitivity Priority AE
Shutter & Aperture Priority
If what you have heard already is not nought o convince you then you can add to this the white balance capabilities of this camera offering, Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash and Manual you will be able to find the correct balance for every shot be it in a studio or in the great outdoors. You can of course choose the Auto and let the camera do the work if you are not clued up on white balance or just cant be bothered with the hassle for a simple shoot.
This camera does have a built in flash but also has the capability to use external flashes which will give much better results. When using an external flash combined with this cameras ability to shoot continuously you will find yourself able to take picture after picture in any light without hesitation. Don't worry if you cannot immediately afford a better flash as the one on the camera will suit most amateur photographers just fine.
I have so far had two weeks with this camera and can tell you that I have taken just over 2000 photos with it including a model shoot, plenty landscapes and general family album snaps all of which have taken my breath away. The clarity of the image produced by this camera when used in conjunction with Samsung lenses is absolutely brilliant, surpassed only by very top of the range professional cameras in my opinion. My D1000 sports camera could produce better photos in the model shoot that I done but I doubt I have used another camera that could compare.
Available from most camera stores and many electrical stores now as well as loads of places online this camera is a must for anyone serious about photography but be careful where you buy because some places are charging around £700 for the body alone whereas some are offering a starter lens for that price. If you shop around you may even be able t find deals where two lenses will be included (known as the dual lens pack) If you can find one of these offering a starter lens and a zoom lens for less than £900 (I have been told they are out there) than snap it up!
14.6M, APS-C size Samsung CMOS Sensor
Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)
Dual Dust Reduction System (Dust reduction by shake & Special coating)
Sealed build with 72 different points (Semi water & dust proof)
Live view (Digital Preview)
2.7" Large wide Color TFT LCD (230,000 pixels)
X sync. terminal for external Flash
Enhanced Digital filter (HDR - High Dynamic Range & Pixel Mapping)
Professional RAW Converting S/W
Without doubt the best camera outside of the very expensive professional range that I have used in nearly three years of testing and one I would be happy to recommend to anyone at the top end of amateur photography or venturing into the professional area of photography. That said when used on auto mode anyone could take brilliant photos with this camera so even if you are just at a learners stage with DSLR`s then this camera could be a great investment to learn with and then keep with you for years to come.
Thanks for reading!