Samsung EX1 review
Another of those fashionable SLD (single lens, direct view) cameras? Not quite. The EX1 still qualifies as a compact camera, lacking interchangeable lenses and sporting a small 1/1.7in CCD image sensor. Nonetheless its design and features borrow heavily from the new genre.
It’s quite the thing these days to bring out a fixed-focal-length, wide-angle and highly compact “pancake” lens for your SLD. Samsung is following stylistic suit by kitting out the EX1 with a very compact lens giving a 24mm equivalent wide-angle setting. It’s not interchangeable like an SLD’s, but what it does offer is a very fast f/1.8 – f/2.4 maximum aperture to go with a 3x zoom range.
The rest of the body is relatively chunky though, in particular its 114mm width. And there’s a big disadvantage compared to true SLD cameras such as the Olympus PEN range and Panasonic Lumix G2. You don’t get the advantage of a big Four Thirds sensor here, with the standard compact camera size offering a total area almost six times smaller than a Micro Four Thirds sensor.
The back of the body is mightily impressive, sporting a big 3in screen. And not just any big 3in screen either; Samsung has kitted it out with its own AMOLED technology, making it supremely bright and vibrant. We’re not convinced about the accuracy of the colour reproduction – it tends toward a cool blueish colour temperature – but it’s capable enough to be able to frame your shot when other screens have been washed out by bright sunlight. It’s a fold-out design too, hinging from the left and able to face fully forward, or to swivel 180 degrees inwards and face the body for protection.
A traditional top-mounted rotary mode dial offers the familiar aperture priority, shutter priority and manual modes. Zoom and focus are electronic though, and manual focus is a disappointment, with nowhere near enough onscreen magnification to see whether a shot is actually in focus.
The small sensor hamstrings photos from the EX1. Noise and chromatic aberrations are well controlled, and the super-fast lens makes low-light candid shooting a real possibility. But compared to the lovely open images you get from an SLD, shots from the Samsung just don’t sparkle. The limited dynamic range gives clipped highlights and that unmistakable digital-compact feel to shots. And if you’re looking for video, look elsewhere: the EX1 will only manage VGA resolution movies.
If this camera had a Micro Four Thirds sensor in it we’d be jumping for joy. As it is, it’s a very good digital compact and the lens puts it among the best non-SLD options for amateurs in search of a carry-everywhere camera. But casual snappers will find it too big, and the lure of the SLD makes it a tough sell for serious shutterbugs.
|Camera megapixel rating||10.0mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||3x|
|Camera maximum resolution||3648 x 2736|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||114 x 44 x 64mm (WDH)|
|Battery type included||Lithium-ion|
|Battery life (CIPA standard)||240 shots|
|Aperture range||f1.8 - f2.4|
|Camera minimum focus distance||0.01m|
|Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent)||24|
|Longest focal length (35mm equivalent)||72|
|Minimum (fastest) shutter speed||1/1,500|
|Maximum (slowest) shutter speed||8s|
|Bulb exposure mode?||no|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|
|Exposure compensation range||+/- 2EV|
|ISO range||80 - 3200|
|Selectable white balance settings?||yes|
|Manual/user preset white balane?||yes|
|Progam auto mode?||yes|
|Shutter priority mode?||yes|
|Aperture priority mode?||yes|
|Fully auto mode?||yes|
|Burst frame rate||1.5fps|
|Memory-card type||SD, SDHC|
|Secondary LCD display?||no|
|Tripod mounting thread?||yes|
|Data connector type||micro-USB|
Manual, software and accessories
|Full printed manual?||no|