Samsung has launched the first in a new breed of digital SLRs in the shape of the 14.6MP GX-20 – the first to use a Samsung-made CMOS imaging sensor.

The Samsung GX-20 appears to contain similar features to the Pentax K20D announced earlier today. Both cameras include a larger 2.7in screen, Live View and an X-sync socket for studio flash.

First impressions suggest that differences may include the grip and user interface, along with the significantly lower Samsung price tag.

It seems clear that Samsung is preparing to take on the cutthroat DSLR battleground in 2008.

Featuring a Korean-made APS-C size CMOS sensor ? and aimed at the ?discerning enthusiast? – the GX-20 is announced alongside two new lenses.

?This product is the start of an exciting DSLR range for Samsung, as it is our first DSLR with our own manufactured CMOS sensor,? said Samsung UK?s commercial director Robert King, adding that the move signals the firm?s ?clear commitment? to the market.

?This is a very important step for Samsung which is set to support our expansion in this competitive product sector,? he continued.

The Samsung GX-20 is expected to cost £699.99 and is due out in March in a kit that includes an 18-55mm lens.

Key differences over the GX-10 include the addition of Live View, a X-sync terminal (to allow the attachment of studio flash) and ?three-way? Optical Image Stabilisation which oscillates the sensor diagonally as well as vertically and horizontally, according to Samsung UK product manager Tristan Fraser who described the GX-20 as a ?great leap forward?.

Like the Pentax K20D (see details announced earlier) the camera uses ?pixel mapping?.

Features include a Enhanced Digital Filter, designed to boost dynamic range. We understand that this makes use of a similar principle to the D-Lighting system used in Nikon DSLRs which is designed to enhance images post-capture.

The GX-20 features Dual Dust Reduction, using an anti-static coating on the imaging sensor and sensor-shake dust reduction system.

It also includes 72 seals designed to protect against dust and moisture.

Bundled with the GX-20 kit – at no extra cost- will be ?professional? raw conversion software which includes features such as ?lens distortion compensation?.

Coinciding with the launch Samsung has announced two new lenses: an upgraded 18-55mm model (f/3.5-5.6) and 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3. The latter is expected out in March at an unconfirmed price £449.99.

More details will appear in AP’s 2 February issue, due in shops on 29 January and available to subscribers from Saturday 26 January.

Samsung GX-20