Pre-PMA 2008: We managed to get an early sample of the new Samsung GX-20 into our studio for a few hours for a brief 'hands-on' look at the latest model from the new kid on the DSLR block. Check out the pictures and a quick look at the differences between the GX-20 and its 'separated at birth' twin, the Pentax K20D, after the link...

Samsung GX-20 brief 'hands on'

The GX-20 is Samsung's fourth digital SLR produced in association with Pentax, and - slight styling and menu differences aside - is essentially the same camera as the Pentax K20D launched last night. Although pricing is obviously fairly fluid in this market the GX-20 is expected to sell for slightly less than the K20D. There's not a huge amount to say about the GX-20 that doesn't apply to the K20D, so we'll mainly stick to looking at the differences on this page.

As with the K20D this is a case of 'evolution' rather than 'revolution' compared to the GX-10 (which was a Pentax K10D doppleganger). The key changes are the new higher resolution sensor and, this being 2008, Live Preview.

Key features

  • 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

Side by Side: Pentax K20D

There are small exteral differences between the GX-20 and the K20D, but it's obvious that the cameras share the same DNA.

In fact the only differences between the K20D and the GX-20 are the menu layout and user-interface (where, on first impressions at least, Samsung actually appears to be the better of the two), the supplied RAW converter and the design of the buttons and body shape (the buttons are all in the same place and have the same functions). There may well be minor feature differences (Samsung's spec and press release are rather thin on detail) that we missed in the few hours we spent with the GX-20; we'll document these in depth when we get to the reviewing stage.

The new CMOS sensor (15.1 MP, 14.6 million effective pixels) is manufactured by Samsung but co-developed with Pentax and gives sensitivity settings of ISO 100-3200 (ISO 6400 is also available as a custom function). We're told that the internal (JPEG) processing is different on the two cameras, though how this will affect the end result will have to wait until we've had chance to test the cameras side-by-side.

In your hand

Like the K20D (and the K10D / GX-10) the GX-20 feels solidly built and fits the hand very comfortably with all the important controls in the right place and a large grip. The grip is actually slightly different on the GX-20 and the K20D, and which you prefer will be a matter of taste (and possibly the size of your hands).

More pictures