Though not nearly as identical to the Pentax K10D as earlier models were to their Pentax twins, the Samsung GX-10 is similar enough to consider the same for review purposes.
On the upside, that means this 10-megapixel digital SLR turns out to be a very good camera for its £600 price: a feature-packed, well-designed and capable shooter.
Most of the variations between the two models are cosmetic, right down to the slight differences in grip on the otherwise identical 15-55mm kit lenses. Generally, all the controls on the K10D -- labels, menu text and buttons -- are larger and easier to read or manipulate.
Aspects of the GX-10's menu system show a little more thought. For instance, on the custom settings choices, the Pentax displays a '1' to show that the default is selected for a given option. The Samsung tells you the current value of the selection. In other words, if you've selected the RGB colour space, the K10D displays a '1' while the GX-10 indicates 'RGB'.
Like the K10D, the GX-10 has a dust-and-weather-sealed 710g body, with a build quality that's rare for its price class.
It also offers the same great set of features, with options you don't often see for less than £1,000: bulb and external-flash sync (at 1/180th of a second); a raw-format override button; a preview option that flips up the mirror to display a snapshot of the scene or an optical depth-of-field preview; colour temperature presets for white balance; and support for Adobe DNG as its native raw format. (For a more detailed listing of the GX-10's features, check out the Adobe Acrobat version of the manual.)
Unsurprisingly, the GX-10's performance results look remarkably similar to the K10D's. Its time-to-first shot and typical shutter lag of about half a second come in around the average, and difficulty autofocusing in dim light results in a 1.6-second lag in suboptimal environments.
At half a second, JPEG and raw shot-to-shot speed also fall in the middle of the pack, though its 3.1 frames per second continuous shooting clip elevates it a bit above the budget crowd. We also ran into the same occasional focus lock issues -- usually during close-ups -- where it would rock back and forth quickly for a few iterations, as if trying to decide whether it was satisfied. Most of the time, we fell into a rhythm with it, as you do with any good camera, but occasionally missed a shot waiting for it to catch up.