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Samsung EX1 Digital Camera Review

samsung20100713.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

Both photography enthusiasts and DSLR users searching for a decent compact unit to add to their current kit read on because Samsung’s EX1 may very well be the camera you are looking for.

This neat but gutsy little unit is equipped with some 10-megapixels and a 24mm wide-angle lens that will ensure you’re able to capture ample amounts of the scenes you come across and create during your photography exploits.

The greatest appeal of the Schneider KREUZNACH lens however is its bright and ultra-fast F1.8 aperture that allows for both shallow depth of field and a greater ability to shoot with success in low light environments.

As a result, greater separation between the subject and its background is easily achievable and visually effective and where perhaps another lesser compact may not perform in dim conditions, the EX1 appears to cope fairly well.

In terms of features though, that’s not even the half of it. The EX1 houses an impressive 3-inch swivelling Amoled screen that really ought to be seen to be fully appreciated.

It flips out and to the side of the unit where it can then rotate some 270 degrees allowing your subjects to see themselves as you're shooting and enabling you to perfectly compose self-portraits or take images from above your head, over the top of crowds, from down low or indiscreetly from the hip. It's up to, and only limited by, you.

Having an Amoled screen also means that regardless of the angle of tilt, the image preview remains clearly viewable and unaffected by the angle of light reflecting onto it.

Fortunately, the LCD can also be folded inwards (as such) so the screen becomes protected against the camera body for safe storage, which will be particularly useful for those who travel and/or often have their camera in and out of multiple bags/pockets along the way where they would otherwise be vulnerable to scratches and general damage.

As truly versatile as the swivel screen on the EX1 is, it is important to point out the risk involved in using it frequently: drop it once while it’s out in all of its flip and swivel glory and there's every chance the screen could break or even snap right off given its vulnerability.

On the other hand, the camera body itself has a robust and sturdy feel about it that lends itself to an overall feeling of quality and guts (for want of a better word.) It’s a boxy unit but it does rest nicely between the ‘too light to be serious’ and ‘are you serious? It’s too heavy’ classes of compact and DSLR cameras.

The slight handgrip available is somewhat insufficient however given said weight of 356g (excluding battery and memory card) with either the thumb or little finger often resting on the camera's underside in order to comfortably and safely support the unit in hand. This is subjective to the size of the user’s hand however and while noticeable for some, may not be an issue at all for others.

The unit’s dual mode dials and control wheel, while initially confronting to those graduating from the point-and-shoot realm, do ultimately help refine the process of promptly changing and coordinating settings. For the most part, you needn't dive into layers of electronic internal menus and scroll through multiple selections in order to arrive at your desired combination.

Once you've mastered the meanings and functions of the 17 options available via the dual dials and control wheel alone (in addition to the zoom toggle, power and record buttons, exposure lock, flash release, menu, metering, playback and function buttons) operating the EX1 is merely a matter of coordination.

Ensure each mode dial is configured to the desired setting, along with the control dial and for the most part photography with this unit is a cinch – at least after a little practice.

The EX1 has the ability to capture in JPEG, RAW or both formats simultaneously, which is likely to make it a popular choice for more experienced photographers who enjoy the flexibility and lossless capture that only RAW format can offer.

Full manual mode is also available for the more proficient photographers who don’t want their vision overridden by automated settings and when selected, enables the front wheel key to be used in conjunction with the control wheel to quickly and easily adjust aperture, shutter speed, white balance and exposure value settings.

Playback settings allow for image slideshows to be created and shared and also enable various image adjustments including resize, rotate, style select, brightness, contrast, saturation, noise, retouch and red-eye. Three additional effects that help enhance images even further include miniature, vignetting, and fish-eye.

A dedicated record button is available along with a movie option on one of the dual dials, which allows for instant movie recording when in any standard shooting mode e.g. dual image stabilisation, program, smart auto etc. At 640x480 and 30 frames per second movie quality is passable and while certainly likely to prove useful and convenient, it is nothing to necessarily write home about.

Scene mode provides users with an arsenal of a dozen varied modes to choose from including: portrait, children, landscape, close up, text, sunset, dawn, backlit, fireworks, beach and snow, beauty shot and night.

Built in smart range technology acts as an in-camera high dynamic range (HDR) feature that aims to delicately refine the balance between the lightest and darkest areas of a composition by closing the gap between the two. Image stabilisation technology is essentially a given in compact cameras today and indeed, the EX1 is no exception.

An in-built flash is located on the left of the EX1’s top and is swiftly released with the flick of a small nearby switch. The spring-loaded bulb is highly responsive to its release trigger and overall the fill flash appears to expose well. A hot shoe mount for an external flash unit is available for those who require or prefer greater power than the internal flash provides.

The EX1 boxed kit comes with a neck strap although given the unit's fairly compact nature, some may be tempted to purchase a decent wrist lanyard instead and/or carry it in their pocket/handbag when not in use. medal-gold-r.jpg

Image quality is good overall especially considering the reasonable asking price for the EX1. Although occasionally hit and miss (which is often the case across the board in this market) when the EX1 is on form, it’s on fire. Images are pin sharp, depth of field is impressive and indeed the wide angle lens allows for expansive scene capture.

The tiny 3x optical zoom is slightly disappointing in terms of being somewhat limiting, but at full extension it retains a decent level of sharpness. Images can sometimes appear under-saturated but, particularly outdoors, the EX1 reproduces colour well.

On the whole, the EX1 is a good quality camera that will find its particular niche in the market given that it is unlikely to suit all tastes - and nor has it been designed with blanket appeal in mind. It’s not simply an automated point-and-shooter but instead a good couple of levels beyond that where some knowledge and technical ability will quickly pay off.



Appearance rating 3 stars
Functionality rating 3.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $599
Effective Pixels 10 Mega pixels
Image Sizes 7 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 24mm (35mm equivalent ) Schneider KREUZNACH
Lens - zoom tele [mm] 72mm (35mm equivalent ) Schneider KREUZNACH
Lens - Optical Zoom Yes, 3x
Resolution Settings From 1024 x 768 to 3648 x 2736
Shooting Modes 12 Scenes
Face Detection Yes
Metering Multi, Spot, Centre-weighted
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Focus Range [cm] 80cm ~ Infinity (Wide), 80cm ~ Infinity (Tele)
Aperture Range F1.8(W) ~ F2.4(T)
Aperture Priority Yes
Macro 5cm ~ 40cm (Wide), 50cm ~ 80cm (Tele)
Shutter Speeds Auto : 1/8 ~ 1/1,500 sec., Program : 1 ~ 1/1,500 sec., Manual Mode : 16 ~ 1/1,500 sec.
Night : 8 ~ 1/1,500 sec., Fireworks : 2 sec.
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 (Fullsize)
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3 Inch rotating AMOLED screen
Viewfinder No
Flash Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash Off, Red-eye fix, Manual
Hot Shoe Yes
White balance Auto WB, Daylight, Cloudy, Fluorescent_H, Fluorescent_L, Tungsten, Custom, K
Self Timer 10sec., 2sec., Double, Motion Timer
Movie Options Yes. Modes : Smart Scene Detection (Landscape, Blue Sky, Natural Green, Sunset Sky), Movie
Format : H.264 (MPEG-4. AVC)
(Max. Recording time : 20min.)
Size : 640×480 (30FPS,15FPS),
320×240 (30FPS,15FPS)
Frame Rate : 30 FPS, 15FPS
Voice(On/Off/Zoom Mute)
Video Out Yes
Audio Yes
Storage Type SD Card
SDHC (up to 8GB guaranteed)
Storage Included [Mb] 22MB Internal Memory
Capture Formats Still Image : JPEG, DCF, EXIF 2.21, DPOF 1.1, PictBridge 1.0
Movie Clip : Container : MP4, Video : H.264, Audio : AAC
Connectivity USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Power Source Adaptor : SAC-47, SCB34-U05
Battery Options Rechargeable battery : SLB-11A (1,100mAh)
Dimensions (W) 93.8 x (H) 61 x (D) 18.5mm
Weight 121g (without battery and card)







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