You may get a strong sense of déjà vu looking at these pictures of the Samsung GX 1L . Don’t worry, it’s not a glitch in the Matrix; you really have seen it before. I reviewed it back in July, but then it was called the Pentax *ist DL2. Samsung and Pentax have a joint development deal for digital SLR technology, and have launched their own versions of several key models including this one, the GX 1S and the new GX 10, which is actually a slightly re-modelled Pentax K10D.
The 6.1-megapixel GX 1L is Samsung’s first foray into the highly competitive digital SLR market. It was announced back in February, just a few weeks after the launch of the Pentax version.
I have to admit that I’m baffled by the logic of such joint deals. The GX 1L and the *ist DL2 are identical apart from the manufacturer’s name and a few cosmetic trim details. The Samsung is sold with an 18-55mm lens bearing the Schneider-Kreuznach name, but even that appears to be virtually identical to the SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm accompanying the DL2. Not a bad thing by any means since it’s an excellent lens, but still rather odd.
As I stated, the digital SLR market is very competitive, especially at the consumer end of the price scale, so surely these two cameras are competing with each other? The Pentax is available exclusively from Jessops for £349.99, and the Samsung is available online for exactly the same price. It’s hard to see how both companies can benefit from such an arrangement, but one has to assume that they know better than I how to run their respective businesses.
According to some reports, Samsung is planning to launch its own independently-developed digital SLR in the near future. Given the superb range of cameras it has launched recently, including the stylish and innovative NV (New Vision) range and the powerful Pro815 it certainly has the capacity to do so, so we’ll have to wait and see.