Of course it also has a full range of manual exposure modes, with shutter speeds of 30-1/4000th of a second available. The range of metering modes is a bit limited, with only spot, centre-weighted and multi-zone, and the AF options are even more so, with only wide area and spot area, but at least contrast, saturation, sharpness and flash power can be manually adjusted.
Commonly-used adjustments such as ISO, drive mode, flash mode and white balance are found on a separate menu under the ‘Fn’ button. The only other major adjustment is exposure compensation which has its own button. There are menu options to customise a wide range of other parameters, but those are for more advanced users.
Overall performance is good, although there are many other more expensive cameras that beat it easily. It starts up in about a second, and in continuous mode it can shoot five frames in about three seconds, and after that slows to an average of about one frame a second but can shoot at this rate until the card is full. The GX uses SD cards for storage rather than the faster and more professional CompactFlash cards, but if you’re coming to it from a compact camera you’ll probably have more than a few SD cards anyway.
Not surprisingly the picture quality is identical to that of the Pentax *ist DL2, with good dynamic range, outstanding colour reproduction and very good noise control. The GX has a maximum ISO setting of 3200, and although shots at this setting are quite noisy they are useable. Shots at 1600 ISO are very good, and lower than that are pretty much noise-free. For more advanced photographers it has the crucial RAW mode, so you can really get the best out of it.
Like its identical twin the Pentax *ist DL2, the Samsung GX 1L is a well-priced entry-level DSLR that combines the ease of use of a compact with the performance and picture quality of an SLR. It may lack some more advanced features, but it has all the important ones. Experienced users may find its simplicity a little restrictive, but it is a perfect camera for the beginner who wants to learn, or for those making the switch from compact to SLR. It also gives you access to a vast range of Pentax lenses and accessories.