Review: Samsung EX2F stacks up well against premium compact camera competitors


posted Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 9:57 AM EDT


The Samsung EX2F was mostly a pleasant surprise for us. It aspires to be the compact digital camera an enthusiast photographer would never find themselves without -- a handy, everyday sidekick -- and largely succeeds, albeit with some quirks and limitations that we discovered during our time with it.

But overall we found so many features an avid photographer will love. Such as RAW captures. And a hot shoe (not to mention a built-in pop-up flash). And that f/1.4 aperture. And PASM on the mode dial. And an articulated AMOLED screen. And even a detail as small as the rotating strap eyelets on the sides of the camera.

Samsung calls the EX2F a Smart Camera -- and not just for its WiFi features -- and there are some intriguing exposure modes hidden in its menu system. While some of them fall into the creative category (like the Miniature or Vignetting smart filters), others also show some photographic intelligence (like a neutral density filter). Not all the surprises were pluses, though. And not all of them were of a photographic nature.

The enthusiast pocket camera Samsung EX2F is the successor to the TL500 (also known as the EX1 in some markets), offering a number of significant improvements -- as well as a higher price tag. The Samsung EX2F design is based on a 1/1.7"-type 12-megapixel BSI CMOS image sensor, rather than the 10-megapixel CCD used in the TL500. The new sensor lies behind a Schneider-Kreuznach Varioplan-branded 3.3x optical zoom lens which starts at the same 24mm equivalent focal length at full wide-angle, but extends a bit more at the telephoto end, from 72mm to 80mm equivalent.

Despite the increase in zoom ratio, maximum aperture has increased from an already fast f/1.8 to a very fast f/1.4, an improvement of two-thirds of a stop, making the Samsung EX2F's lens one of the brightest of any compact camera on the market. What's more, maximum aperture remains quite fast across the zoom range, only falling to f/2.7 at full telephoto. The EX2F also includes Samsung's Dual Image Stabilization technology, which couples both true optical image stabilization, and software-based anti blur techniques.

Find out more about the camera, including our final verdict, in our Samsung EX2F review.