Samsung EX2F review
Until recently the words ‘high end camera’ and ‘Samsung’ didn’t share a sentence. But, thanks to its NX range of interchangeable lens compacts, the innovative Galaxy Camera, and this, the second generation ‘EX’ camera aimed at those considering themselves marginally more ‘expert’ than the average point-and-shooter, perceptions are changing. So the 12.4 effective megapixel, 3.3x optical zoom EX2F goes lens-to-lens with Panasonic’s LX7 Sony’s RX100 and Fuji’s XF1 in offering near pro-style pictures from a compact, metal build body, thanks in part to its joint brightest-on-test lens boasting a f/1.4 maximum aperture. The bonus here is a tilting 3-inch AMOLED back screen offering not only greater flexibility when it comes to framing otherwise awkward shots, but also a more life-like visibility thanks to a more contrast-y image with deeper blacks. For an asking price of £429 we additionally get wireless connectivity for photo sharing, a vacant hotshoe for accessory flash, though a pop-up variety does feature, as does a slip-on lens cap.
Displaying its serious credentials alongside an all-black matt finish is a DSLR-style control dial set into a proper handgrip. Spin this to jump from stills to video capture, or alternatively use the more conventional four-way control pad at the back to more gingerly tab from one setting to another. The latter is encircled by its own scroll wheel for speedier access; so plenty of options via which to arrive where you want.
In addition a pair of dials on the EX2F’s top plate subconsciously recalls a high-end rangefinder camera, and here governs shooting modes and drive modes, with the usual program, manual, aperture priority and shutter priority featuring alongside Samsung’s point-and-shoot ‘Smart’ auto setting. For added familiarity, shooting options are presented graphically on screen as if smartphone ‘apps’.
In practice that f/1.4 lens proves so bright in sunnier conditions that one of the first things we did on the EX2F was dial down the exposure settings to avoid bleached out images. Whilst inevitably there is pixel fringing between area of high contrast, we were impressed with the pin sharp detail held into the corners of the frame, though use of the digital zoom noticeably degrades the image, so is best deactivated. Colours for both stills and video are vivid straight out of the camera, with the back screen making every shot look impressively ‘punchy’.
Samsung’s top-end pocket compact is aimed at those who want better pictures than the average snapper, but not interchangeable lenses
But, unlike say the Sony RX100, pictures from this Samsung resemble those from the very good snapshot camera that it is, rather than cheating users into thinking they’ve just shot something with a digital SLR.