You Can’t Go Home Again, Can You? The Samsung GX-1S Returns

Back in 2017 I discovered a game changing digital camera, the Pentax K10D.

Its colour output, plus general handling and pleasure to use, meant I never looked back at the very capable and adaptable, but ultimately soulless (in body, and in the final image) Sony NEX 3N I had on heavy rotation with manual lenses before this.

The major downfall of the K10D for me though was its sheer bulk and weight.

The grip was very comfortable to hold, but the mass soon became tiring and unwieldy.

So I wondered if there might be a smaller option, that was simpler and more stripped down, but still had a lovely old CCD sensor like the K10D.

Which led me to the Samsung GX-1s.

Around the time it was released (2006) Samsung were in partnership with Pentax, and essentially just rebranded Pentax cameras with their own logo, changed the software slightly and sold them as their own.

The GX-1S was a rebadged Pentax *ist DS2, probably the most sought after Pentax model of the much treasured *ist D range. (Check out the PentaxForums thread that sees daily devotion to some of these cameras.)

Inside the sensor was CCD again, but “only” 6MP compared with the K10D’s 10MP.

Both sensors, I understand, which were also both used in a range of other Pentax and Samsung models, were made by Sony.

Ironic, given the colour output of these sensors are one of their major pluses in my eyes, whereas my seven years newer, CMOS sensor Sony NEX always produced tones that were too cool and clinical without significant post processing.

In practice, I alternated shooting between the K10D and the GX-1S, with the same small set of lenses, and couldn’t tell the difference in the final image.

So in time, off went the K10D. The Samsung did all I needed, in a smaller, lighter, simpler package.

Then I got sidetracked with amazing compacts like the Ricoh GX100 and GRD III, and Pentax’s own miniature marvel, the Q, and wondered if I’d ever shoot a DSLR again.

The Samsung got evicted.

In 2019, eager to return to a DSLR to complement the fantastic digital compacts I’d been using in the interim, I rediscovered the same 6MP CCD sensor in the guise of the Pentax K100D. Indeed, this camera and the Samsung are 90% or more identical in use.

I was so enamoured with the K100D that when I came across another Samsung GX-1S last summer for £35 with a new-to-me 24mm Hoya lens, I couldn’t resist.

Turns out the lens was faulty (though I later managed to resurrect it) and the seller to his credit offered a partial refund of £10, so the Samsung body owed me £25, just £1 less than I’d paid for the K100D.

Generally my philosophy is you can’t go back to something you’ve already moved on from.

But with the Samsung, I’m glad I did.

With the small arsenal of lenses I have (and not least of all those in M42 mount), I can’t see why I would part with the Samsung this time around.

What are your thoughts on “going home again”? Have you re-bought cameras you formerly owned but sold? Was it a jubilant return, or a disappointing reunion?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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10 thoughts on “You Can’t Go Home Again, Can You? The Samsung GX-1S Returns”

    1. Wow, thanks for letting me know Jeff! It didn’t have much on the shutter count when I sold it, I’m sure it has years and tens of thousands of photos left in it yet!

  1. This year I think I’ll go back to a lens for the first time – to the Pentax DA 21mm Limited. I had it years ago for a couple of weeks and did not like it – did not like that some colors were oversaturated while others weren’t, and with its interesting looking distortion. But people take such great pictures with it that I think it’s worth trying it again – maybe it didn’t like the Pentax K20D sensor that I had at the time…
    Otherwise, I try to avoid going back to something I moved on from, but it’s not a rule written in stone…

    1. Do you have the DA 21, or you mean you’ll seek out another copy. I’ve considered that lens and similarly wide ones, but I do generally struggle to compose with such wide lenses. Just too much to consider in the frame!

      1. I had it and now I’m going to seek out another copy.
        I don’t think I’ll ever “love” it but it’s basically the only option for a small 3-lens kit that I’ve always wanted.
        The one other piece that was missing, the DA 70 Limited, should be here next week.
        The DA 21 is 32.5mm equivalent – not too far from 35mm – and you seem to have no issues with points and shoots that have a 28mm or 26mm wide end… do you always seek a longer focal length? With points and shoots, once you leave the wide end, the aperture quickly goes from f2.8 or f3.3 to f5.6 or even f6.3… I would think that would make it a bit difficult to shoot in your typical overcast English day, though I suppose that’s when a nicer P&S like the LX3 would come in handy…

      2. Chris, I’m actually writing a post about why I struggle with wides and prefer telephoto lenses. And it’s not just about photography.

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