The exterior of the Samsung GX-1S is identical to that of the Pentax *ist DS2. As a result, one cannot help but wonder if it really was impossible altogether to make some kind of cosmetic adjustment, even if only for the purpose of telling the designs apart. However, this does make the GX-1S a particularly compact DSLR camera with a small mass, which ensures users will encounter no trouble whatsoever to carry this camera along often. The exterior is made of plastic, whilst the interior consists of stainless steel, a combination that keeps the Samsung 1S both light-weight and sturdy at the same time. Despite its small measurements, the Samsung offers a steady hold. It should be said, however, that the camera could have been just a tad higher; I found my hands just didn't quite fit inside the handgrip. This is something we run into frequently with cameras that do not feature a very high design. Upon taking the camera into your hand, the pink of your right hand tends to disappear under the camera, or at least a larger sized hand would.
Samsung GX-1S - Metal bayonet mount
The front side of the Samsung GX-1S features a metal bayonet mount. Although a lot of manufacturers have experimented with plastic mounts, the metal bayonet proves to be the one that is used most often. Apparently it simply is sturdier and better suited to deal with frequent changing of lenses. The mount features the metal contact points to transfer the information from the lens to the camera. When attaching the lens, you actually hear the contact points grind against each other, which at least tells you they really are making contact. On the left side of the lens mount, we find the button to detach the lens. The other side holds the switch for the manual or automatic focus. Unfortunately, Samsung have not added an extra mode for continuous or single focussing; users of a Samsung GX-1S will have to resort to the menu to adjust this. Somewhat cumbersome if you ask me.
Samsung GX1S - Battery & Memory compartment
On the left, an attractively designed small door provides access to the connections for the remote control, the PC and video out and the A/C power adaptor. The latter is optional, as is in fact the remote control. The Samsung GX-1S digital SLR camera features an actual door, which -in my opinion- is an excellent choice indeed, much better than a limp piece of rubber, as well as handier to use. Unfortunately however, the small door has not been equipped with a rubber seal to protect the connectors from water and dust. The small door to the Secure Digital card slot, found on the camera's opposite side, is another feature with an attractive design. It closes securely, and opens wide enough to ensure swift and effortless changing of the SD card.
Samsung GX-1S SLR camera - Functions
The camera's back side features only a minimal amount of buttons, which helps keep things pleasantly clear. Left of the monitor, we find the buttons to activate the flash, the button for the menu, the recycle bin, the information button and the play button. The viewfinder and a large eyecup can be found above the monitor. The viewfinder is equipped with a dioptre setting, a rather luxurious addition for a camera in this class. On the right side of the monitor, we find the mode dial, which also functions as a zoom button when reviewing your images. The four-way controller, with the OK button located in its centre, is found below the mode dial. This button enables you to browse through the variety of settings; everything pretty much speaks for itself.
Below this four-way controller, we find the function button, which allows you to adjust the transfer mode, the white balance, the sensitivity and the flash setting. On the far right, we see a small light, which will signal any action on the memory card. A button to open the door to the memory card is also found here.
Samsung GX-1S DSLR - Exposure programmes
From above, the Samsung GX-1S camera looks remarkably calm and clear. On the far left, we see the button for the different exposure programmes. Naturally, the camera also offers a variety of pictogram modes for -among other things- Portrait, Landscape, Macro and Sports. The fully automatic mode is marked in a very clear green colour. However, those keen on a little more control are likely to ignore this side and opt for the P, Tv, Av, M or B mode. Personally, I almost always use the Av mode; the aperture allows you to adjust the depth of field. That means you have a truly expressive tool.
Samsung GX 1S digital SLR - Flash
The built-in flash is located in the centre of the camera. It does not pop up all that high, which means a certain degree of caution is required when working with a lens hood on the lens. When working with the standard 18-55mm lens, it is best not to use a lens hood, as this would cause a dark circle in the lower part of your image when photographing in the wide-angle mode, caused by the fact that the lens hood will block out a part of the flash light. The user is presented with more flash options by a so-called hot shoe, on which a separate flash unit, preferably by Samsung or Pentax, can be mounted. On the right side of the viewfinder, we see an LCD on which the photographic information, such as shutter speed, aperture and image counter, is displayed. Above it, we find the button for the exposure correction. Manual exposure requires use of this button to adjust the aperture. The shutter release button is surrounded by the on/off switch, which also allows you to check the depth of field, a rather welcome function! The shutter release button itself feels pleasant to touch and offers a good pressure point.
Samsung GX-1S - Tripod mount
If the Samsung GX-1S digital SLR camera is turned upside down, we spot the standard tripod mount. This too is made of metal, which ensures it is sturdy and solid. Close to the handgrip, we find the lid to charge the batteries. The user has the choice between 4 penlites (either re-chargeable or non-rechargeable), or two CR-V3 batteries.