The 14.6-megapixel Samsung GX-20 digital SLR is the result of a partnership between camera specialist Pentax and electronics giant Samsung that delivers impressive results.
Raw and JPEG
While the GX-20 offers a boost in resolution over its predecessor, do those extra pixels really help? it’s true that good results are achieved from both Raw and JPEGs, so long as you are prepared to do a little correction in post-production, the Raw files will reward you better. Noise is a little better controlled and colours are subtler, meaning that lovely rich tones are simply achieved with the slightest of post-production. Having said that, JPEGs straight out of camera are eminently usable.
The GX-20, much like its predecessor, exhibits a tendency to underexpose by around half a stop. However, a result of this tendency is that highlights are well preserved – this hints that the underexposure may well be a conscious decision by Samsung, as highlights are more difficult to correct in post-production as opposed to shadow detail.
Noise control is generally top notch – very little noise makes an appearance up until ISO 1600, and even at the highest ratings of 3200 and 6400, the noise is by no means destructive. Also, Raw files exhibit an even greater control of noise, making even ISO 3200 usable for larger prints.
Tone And Contrast
Tones are sometimes lost due to the aforementioned underexposures, but, once restored in post-production, are generally pleasing.
Colour And White Balance
The white balance on the GX-20 is excellent – there was not one single instance on test when I felt compelled to take it into my own control, and so minor are the adjustments that may need to be made that, if you were to solely shoot Raw, then you may never need to do them in-camera. Due to the camera’s tendency to underexpose, colour can seem a touch flat on first glance but, once again, this is something quite easily corrected in post-production.
Sharpness And Detail
Thanks to the increase in the resolution of the sensor, the GX-20 is capable of capturing a large amount of fine detail allowing cropping without losing too much of the image. Said detail is generally preserved well throughout the frame, with sharpness maintained towards the edges of the frame, and on the whole sharpness is pleasing throughout the shot.