Another unique feature is the sensitivity priority setting. In this mode, the user sets the required shutter speed and aperture, and the metering system then sets the ISO sensitivity to produce the correct exposure. The hyper-program feature also operates in this mode, enabling the user to override the selected ISO setting. The range of the selected ISO settings in this and in auto ISO mode can be pre-set by the user in the Fn menu, which is another immensely useful feature.
The viewfinder is especially good. Some modern DSLRs have rather small, dark viewfinders, but the GX-10’s pentaprism design is more like the large bright finders found on classic 35mm film SLRs, with 95 percent frame coverage and 95 percent magnification. The 11 target points of the AF system are bright and easy to see even in bright sunlight, and fine lines of the targeting reticule are unobtrusive. There is a fairly complete data display along the bottom frame of the viewfinder, although I did find it a little dim and difficult to read in bright sunlight. Possibly some sort of automatic brightness adjustment would be a good idea?
The LCD monitor is 2.5 inches diagonally, with 210k pixels, not the largest or sharpest around, but it’s certainly sharp and bright enough for image review and menu operation, and has a nice wide angle of view, approximately 140 degrees. If the menu system differs from that used on the K10D then I’d be interested to know which is better, because the Samsung version is very good. There is a separate function button for quick access to drive mode, ISO, white balance and flash mode, and then the large main menu system for everything else.
There are eleven menu pages in all, giving control over most aspects of the camera’s operation, from the obvious basics like file format and image size, to the units of the colour temperature dial-in and extended bracketing settings. Picture adjustment parameters include vivid or normal colour, and well as saturation, contrast and sharpness with seven adjustment steps for each, and colour space selection (sRGB or Adobe RGB). If you have a particular set-up that you use a lot, you can save it under the User setting on the main exposure dial. It’s not quite as quick or as versatile as the multiple programmable modes of the Olympus E-400, but it’s enough to cope with most demands, and is not difficult to use. Interestingly the GX-10 also incorporates some features in the playback menu that one wouldn’t normally expect to find in a professional DSLR, including the digital filters previously seen in most Pentax compacts, although thankfully the frame composites have been left out…
Performance is one area in which the GX-10 excels. Like most DSLRs it starts up and shuts down almost instantly, even when the sensor cleaning system is set to operate on startup. The AF system is also very quick, certainly on a par with other high-end DSLRs. The AF sensor system uses 11 focus points, 9 of which have a cross-shaped configuration for quicker and more accurate focusing on certain shapes and textures. Many systems use simpler bar-type focusing sensors, so this is another bonus for the GX-10. I also found that the AF system exceptionally well in low light, in fact even in almost total darkness. The camera has the ability to pulse the pop-up flash to act as an AF assist lamp, but with the exceptional low light ability this feature is almost redundant.