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10-14-2009, 04:34 AM   #1
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Samsung GX20, hate it

The more I use this DSLR, them more I hate its colors and white balance.
Almost each shot with good saturated colors need postprocessing or shooting in RAW.
Making shots of yellow leafes in their last days I especially noticed that. GX20 keeps making something unsaturated yellow-green instead or saturated yellow with slight red tint. Changing lenses and playing with picture settings don't help much. Different white balance settings do not have much effect on this.
My TZ5 compact on its auto mode is able to get exact same colors as I see (yet my previous compact had similar to GX20 problems with yellow rendering, and of course, purple is also difficult).
I don't think this is similar problem for all GX20, but I want to see.
Famous Pentax underexposure is also here. But guys, it is only here because of expremely poor measuring system in our DSLR. Compact see at least 640x480 realtime picture that allow him to adjust colors and much better deterimate exposure.
Yes, I can get much better picture with DSLR with good lens and postprocessing, but if I took photos stright out of the camera used in simple mode with kit lenses (like 18-55 and 55-200mm) my TZ blows them out.
Phase-detect AF also means that for AF is something approximate. As I constantly ruin some Tokina 24mm photos due to AF misbehaviour (could say that you are focused right and miss by 10 meters :-) ) I did few test and on 1.5m target I get 0.3m AF variation :-) So, today I focus on long end and zoom out, as it is parafocal lens.
I am waiting for something without mirror but with large CCD sensor and HD viewfinder as my primary camera. And I really hope that Samsung could do it right and allow me to use my Pentax lenses.
DSLR is fine as secondary camera with good focusing screen and big fast lens.

Last edited by tr13; 10-14-2009 at 04:48 AM.
10-14-2009, 07:59 AM   #2
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Could you post some samples of pictures you are unhappy with? Preferably with EXIF intact. Chances are, you could indeed get better results by setting white balance more carefully, and you just haven't learned to do so correctly yet. It's also quite possible your monitor is not calibrated properly (have you used a calibrarting device on it?) and that pictures actually look better on a calibrated monitor. But it's also certainly possible your camera is defective. Hard to say without seeing samples.

As for exposure, Pentax exposes according to ISO standards for exposure, and also to prevent highlight from blowing out. This is important as it allows the photographer to be in control of the results, but it does require you to know how and when to use exposure compensation. P&S cameras on the other hand tend to ignore standards and don't care about blowing out highlights, trying instead to produce the reuslt they think an untrained photographer might want.

For focus, if you are finding focus off by more 0.3 meters, youhave't focused correctly - the camera has obviously chosen to focus on something other than what you intended. The camera cannot read your mind, and even if you choose the focus point closest to your target, the focus "point" is actually a much larger rectangle than appears in the viewfinder, so the camera can indeed legitimately choose to focus on something else that is "close" to the selected point. Switching to sensor-based focusing doens't magically fix this. The reason you don't see issues like this often on your TZ5 is simply that its DOF is so much greater.
10-14-2009, 08:30 AM   #3
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Is there anything in your photo that is white or grey, or any blue sky? If you take a picture of something that is all color the camera has no way of knowing what that color is supposed to be. In needs something it recognizes, or at least thinks it recognizes to predicate the color temperature selection on. My guess (and this is absolute speculation) is that if it can't identify the light source it defaults to an assumed color temperature in between incandescent and daylight to avoid being too far off. It could perhaps look at the setting it chose for the last shot and the time since that shot. i.e. If the camera was certain that the last shot you took was under fluorescent light and this shot is being taken 20 seconds later, it may assume fluorescent if it can't identify something. Again, this is an uninformed guess about a possible maybe.
10-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #4

Lets be honest...

Most of our P&S cameras are tuned way better for straight out of the camera shots than our expensive DSLR's.

Tough to beat a TZ5, or my Sony H2, Fuji S6000 for straight out of camera Jpegs. My wife and I shoot the same family event, her with a 7 year old Sony P200 pocket cam, and me with the Pentax, ext flash, wagon full of lenses!. I come home and spend hours PPing the shots. She takes the card to costco... In the end she usually has a lot more keepers.

Sorry to hear of your color issues. My K20 has a red issue sometimes pushing towards magenta... so if shooting jpg I turn the saturation down 1 notch in camera, but overall I am happy with the colors from the pentax.

As to the underexposing... I shoot occasionally with a Nikon D80 and the D40, and I shot the K7 for a few minutes at the roadshow. I will take the slighty underexposed K20/K100 shots over the slightly over exposed shots of those cameras everytime. But that may be cause I am so used to working with it.

10-14-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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So, here are image crops.
First one is TZ5 photo, and leafs looked pretty close to it.
Second is best that I could do playing with preset white balance settings.
Third is normal auto white balance behaviour.
Last ones are just heavy reduced panarama crops, preliminary versions during learning to work with AutoPano. Have intentionnaly blown out hightlights, and saturation boost, later hightlights will be fixed.
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10-14-2009, 01:08 PM   #6
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Not sure what the panos are supposed to be demonstrating, and with the other pictures, it would have helped to shoot the *same* scene all three times. But still, it seems pretty clear what's going on. People habitually complain about how AWB doesn't remove enough of the orange cast when shooting under tungsten light, so camera makers keep tweaking the algorithm to be more and more aggresive about doing so. The flip side of this is, some of the orange color will be removed from pictures that really *are* that color. Not sure how you tried setting the WB in the second shot, but as it appears to have been an overcast day, the "cloudy" setting should have come closest. Looks like the TZ5 also pushed the saturation, and if you like that effect, you can always ask the GX20 to do the same.

I still wonder if you have calibrated your monitor or not, too.

In any case, color is a much trickier and subjective thing than people realize. We perceive color as a result of two things - the actual (local) reflectance of the object at each point in the color spectrum, and the color spectrum content of the light that is illuminating the object. Our eyes sort through this in their own particular way, performing their own form of "AWB", so that we can stil perceive local color in in strongly colored lighting, but also can perceive the color of the light if we try hard enough. It's a pretty mysterious - and again, subjective - process, though, that cameras cannot possibly match 100% all the time. So if one camera happens in some cases to match your subjective impression of how your eyes performed their own AWB, chances are the other camera will do so better in other cases. If by some rnadom chance the TZ5 happens to be significantly better attuned to the AWB performed your particular eyes, great - but you should be able to learn from that and customize the colors produced by your Gx20 to more closely resemble that. Just be aware that everyone is going to perceive those colors differently - the way we each sort through local color versus color of light is a very personal thing.
10-14-2009, 01:23 PM   #7
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as much as I agree with you on the GX20 color reproduction problem, I don't hate it. I simply shoot RAW and created profile for my LR2 to get the colors right (though I still prefer colors of K10D).
JPGs have never been perfect (K100D went heavily for red, K10D wasn't sharp enoug....we could go on and on) so I learned to live with RAW. It's very rewarding, once you do so, you'll learn to like GX20. My wife uses one, and the shots she gets are great...

10-15-2009, 12:05 AM   #8
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I wonder if you have tried playing with the camera's colour balance and hue settings (assuming that the camera has the same features as the K20D)
Here I shifted the hue in the red channel slightly using PaintShopPro. You might be able to do something similar in camera.

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10-15-2009, 01:51 AM   #9
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GX20 has folowing color related settings:
WB adjustment (color shift) for each WB mode
Picture mode saturation
Picture mode tone

I tried playing with all of them. But came to simple conclusion that it takes less time to process RAW or JPEG file rather them use trial and error without significant results.
10-15-2009, 04:08 AM   #10
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The thing is you need to get the correct auto white balance for a specific situation. I shoot in RAW and find that the presets are pretty decent for out door work, but inside with different lighting it can be quite difficult. Shooting something to get you balance can help. Traditionally that would be a grey card, but you can use your hand.

Marc is right though, each of us likes our photos different. I have a K10 and a K20. The K10 shoots much colder than the K20, may be a little closer to what my eyes see, but I like the K20 better.
10-15-2009, 05:38 AM   #11
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Direct access to manual WB via the preview button, and a coffee filter to set the WB. Quick, easy, fast. So much better than on the K20D.

Thank you
10-15-2009, 10:49 AM   #12
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Yes, for inside shots it is a way to go, most of the time.
But on outside white balance is very hard thing. One extra cloud or shooting through under forest cover and you are off :-)
10-15-2009, 11:30 PM   #13
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Doesn't Panasonic and Olympus make DSLR's that are sensor based? You could always try one of them and see if it's any better. Unfortunately no Pentax lenses then...
10-16-2009, 06:59 AM   #14
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Yeah, GH1 have many common points with TZ5.
I belive white balance software and Ai scene parts are almost the same.
BTW Panasonic micro four-thirds are good for using M42 or Pentax MF lenses.
2x multiplier and noise are not so good.
And main bad point is low quality viewfinders.

GX20 paired with Panasonic internal processing software will be perfect match for me.
That is very interesting that two fo Samsung compacts I know have same problems with yellow and purple.

I also like to see Nikon BSS (Best shot selector) in Pentax cameras. It is so simple thing and so easy to implement. Just select largest JPEG image from series. Paired with SR it allow to add whole stop.
10-16-2009, 07:52 AM   #15
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I shoot Raw + jpeg on my K20D. I find Vibrant image tone, with saturation, contrast etc set to zero, gives the most natural reds and yellows. Natural tone is a bit flat, Bright and Landscape colours are pretty, but not accurate (good for some things).

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