Home Cameras SLRs D-SLRS: Pro Vs. Enthusiast
Monday, March 31, 2008

D-SLRS: Pro Vs. Enthusiast

We compare each brand’s entry-level models with its pro offerings to see what we’re getting dollar for dollar

Labels: CamerasDSLRs

DSLRs Samsung GX-20
Samsung's new model, the GX-20, features the same Samsung-developed 14.6-megapixel CMOS image sensor as the Pentax K20D and a rugged body with excellent weather- and dust-proofing. It provides sensor-shift OPS (Optical Picture Stabilization) that works with all lenses (it uses Pentax lenses, plus seven Schneider lenses specifically designed for Samsung's digital SLRs), a double sensor-dust removal system, new 2.7-inch LCD monitor with Live-View capability, a RAW button that lets you switch from JPEG to RAW + JPEG shooting at a touch and more.

Samsung no longer offers an entry-level model; the only other D-SLR in the line, the GX-10, was the company's top model until the GX-20 was introduced.

Sensor Size23.4x15.6mm
Magnification Factor1.5x
ISO Range100-6400
A/D Converter14-bit
AF System11-zone
Metering System16-zone, CW, spot
Max. Shooting Rate3 fps
Dimensions5.6x4.0x2.8 inches
Weight25.2 ounces
Estimated Street Price$1,399

DSLRs Sigma SD14
Sigma offers just one D-SLR, the SD14. Its defining feature is its unique Foveon X3 image sensor. Conventional image sensors record just one primary color (red, green or blue) at each pixel site and then interpolate data for the missing colors using data from neighboring pixels and complex algorithms. The Foveon X3 sensor employs three layers (hence, the X3 name): the top layer records blue; the middle layer, green; and the bottom layer, red. Thus, all three colors are recorded at every pixel site, resulting in image quality well beyond what one would expect from the sensor's 2640 x 1760 horizontal-by-vertical pixel count.

Unlike previous Sigma D-SLRs, the SD14 can record images in JPEG format as well as RAW. Both RAW and JPEG images can be shot at three resolutions, but not simultaneously. Aside from the unique sensor, the SD14 is a solid camera with pro features such as a PC terminal for studio flash and an infrared cut-off filter that protects the sensor from dust, which can be removed easily for infrared photography.

Megapixels4.7 (per channel RGB)
Sensor Size20.7x13.8mm
Magnification Factor1.7x
ISO Range100-1600
A/D Converter12-bit
AF System5-zone
Metering System8-zone, CW
Max. Shooting Rate3 fps
Dimensions5.7x4.2x3.2 inches
Weight24.7 ounces
Estimated Street Price$1,249

DSLRsFujifilm FinePix S5 Pro
The 12.3-megapixel FinePix S5 Pro, while being the only consumer D-SLR in the Fujifilm arsenal, still holds up next to the Olympus E-3, the Sony A700 and the new Pentax K20D in terms of performance and features. It has a Fujifilm Super CCD SR Pro image sensor that contains 6.17 million, high-sensitivity S-pixels and 6.17 million R-pixels for extended dynamic range. A Real Photo Processor Pro ensures the full potential of the Super CCD.

The S5 Pro has a 14-bit A/D converter for great color and tonal range. It shoots up to 3 fps at full resolution and has a quick 11-area AF system. The camera has a unique Film Simulation mode that mimics the "look" of negative and slide films. Face Zoom mode lets you zoom in on faces during playback, so you can easily check focus and expressions, and Live View mode lets you preview the image for up to 30 seconds on the LCD monitor or a PC monitor when the camera is tethered via the USB port. When shooting at high ISOs, the dual-cycle noise-reduction algorithms keep photographs clean, even at ISO 3200.

Sensor Size23.0x15.5mm
Magnification Factor1.5x
ISO Range100-1600, plus 3200
A/D Converter14-bit
Metering System1,005-segment
Max. Shooting Rate3 fps
AF System
Dimensions5.8x4.4x2.9 inches
Weight29.3 ounces
Estimated Street Price$1,700



Canon | (800) OK-CANONwww.usa.canon.com
Fujifilm | (800) 800-FUJIwww.fujifilm.com
Nikon | (800) NIKON-USwww.nikonusa.com
Olympus | (888) 553-4448www.olympusamerica.com
Panasonic | (800) 211-PANAwww.panasonic.com
Pentax | (800) 877-0155www.pentaxslr.com
Samsung | (800) SAMSUNGwww.samsungcamerausa.com
Sigma | (800) 896-6858www.sigma-photo.com

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