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Samsung EX1 review




  • Recommended by TR

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Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • Samsung EX1
  • EX1 10 Megapixel Compact Camera - 5.20 mm-15.60 mm - Black (7.6 cm 3" OLED - 3x Optical Zoom - Optical - 3648 x 2736 Image - 640 x 480 Video - MPEG-4 - HDMI - PictBridge)


Our Score:



  • Very fast lens
  • Easy to use
  • Very good image quality


  • Limited resolution
  • Annoying shutter control
  • Disappointing noise control

Key Features

  • 10-megapixel 1/1.7-inch (1.09cm) CCD sensor
  • 7.62cm (3.0-inch) AMOLED monitor
  • 3x zoom Schneider-Kreuznach lens
  • HDMI output cable
  • 12 scene modes
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £259.00

To say there is competition between Samsung and Panasonic is something of an understatement. They are the Chelsea and Arsenal of the consumer electronics world, arch rivals in almost every field in which they operate, and not least in the area of digital cameras. Samsung entered the digital camera market a year later than Panasonic, and at least at first didn't seem to take the new technology seriously, whereas Panasonic was producing top-quality cameras as early as 2001. As a result Samsung has been playing catch-up, launching cameras to compete with specific Panasonic models, such as its compact NX system which competes directly with Panasonic's G-Micro system, or the WB650 which is a direct rival for the Lumix TZ10. Samsung has also launched a camera that is a close match for one of Panasonic's strongest model lines, the high-end compact LX series.

The Samsung EX1 was launched in February this year, several months before Panasonic announced the Lumix LX5, and so it should be seen more as a response to and rival for the LX3, however it is an exceptionally well-specified camera and compares well to the newer LX5 also. It features a 10-megapixel 1/1.7-inch (1.09cm) CCD sensor (the same size and resolution as the LX3, the LX5 and the Canon PowerShot G12 and S95), a fully-articulated 7.62cm (3.0-inch) AMOLED monitor with a resolution of 307,000 dots (VGA), and a superb 3x zoom Schneider-Kreuznach lens with a focal length equivalent to 24-72mm and a maximum aperture of f/1.8, making it the fastest lens on any current digital compact, beating the f/2.0 optics of the LX5 and S95.

With the EX1 Samsung has pulled out all the stops to produce a semi-pro compact that can compete on equal terms with the established brands in the field. It is extremely solidly built, with a strong all-metal body, good secure handling, a comprehensive array of well designed controls, Raw mode shooting, and fast, efficient performance. It is an extremely impressive camera by any standard, but one of the most remarkable things about it is the price. The Panasonic LX5 is currently selling for around £360, while the Canon G12 will cost you a hefty £390. Even the compact Canon S95 is selling for around £300, however thanks to its immense industrial manufacturing capacity Samsung is able to put the EX1 into the shops for around £280. It is, to coin an over-used phrase, a lot of camera for the money.


December 9, 2010, 9:49 pm

My better half is looking for a nice camera for her 30th (sorry, I mean 21st...) - something that can deal with the usual day to day family stuff but also something thats a little more technically capable.

Obviously pretty different beasts but how would this stack up as a cheaper alternative to

the Sony Nex-5? I would prefer her to get something that can also shoot 1080p video and I do think she would like something a little more "professional" (ie, a lens to fiddle with) but if it means she can also get some fancy handbag Im sure she'd go for something cheaper like this!!! Any advice would be welcome and I suspect you'll be glad this isn't a comment complaining about grammar or Apple rumours.


December 10, 2010, 1:15 am

Looks great, but where is it selling for £280? When I clicked on the Latest Price link I got a Product Not Found page.

Currently Amazon have this at £320 and the LX5 at £315.


December 10, 2010, 5:47 am

I have a NEX5 and it's a great camera and does benefit from interchangable lenses, HD video and stereo sound. With Sony's VAT back offer running 'till Christmas Eve it comes in at around £400-425. With cashback through the likes of Quidco/TopCashBack it's even cheaper, mine works out at £360.

Geoff Richards

December 10, 2010, 1:09 pm

@davidpublic: Pixmania, as listed under "Supplier" (we know that's a little confusing, but that's the system we have right now. I have fixed the Latest Price link, though Pixmania isn't part of that program so UKDigitalCameras is currently listed as cheapest (though more than PM)

@japester: since our comment moderation system only supports Approve or Decline and not Edit, I have declined your post. I accept that you may have had no problems buying your D90 from a certain retailer last year, but there are literally hundreds of nightmare posts littering the web from customers of those guys. The common theme is that they're really Hong Kong-based with a UK front. They take your order, which is then mysteriously delayed (the lack of true Next Day delivery is a tip off) as they use your money to order from the Far East and ship to their UK base before posting to you.

UK readers / customers are seemingly sold grey import / non-UK stock, which won't be covered by the manufacturers warranty.

Sometimes rock bottom cheap isn't always best, so we have decided to protect our readers by not linking to them. I hope that makes sense.


December 10, 2010, 3:25 pm

@Geoff: Fair do's. My D90 took an age to arrive - however it is a genuine UK stock item as verified by Nikon themselves. Maybe (and fortunatly) I was one of the lucky ones.... for a change! LOL

Hans Gruber

December 10, 2010, 10:32 pm

Simply Electronics have generally a very bad reputation, failing to deliver goods at all and making people wait ages and ages for their orders to arrive. They're also not based in the UK. They're not always the cheapest place either and personally after reading some very high profile threads at a number of prime photo and AV tech forums, would not personally use them. That said, it was this time last year I read so much negative publicity about them so perhaps they've mended their ways by now. It's a good idea to check first though.

Jacobs and Jessops both sell the camera for just shy of 300 squids. The advantage that you can walk into a store and be sure you can easily return items. I think that was about the best price I could find myself. I think both companies are signed up with the likes of cash back sites like Quidco too. You can also use CameraPriceBuster to check on prices though sadly not for Samsung equipment just yet.


December 11, 2010, 6:42 am

Thanks for the links.

Re the NEX-5. I currently have one of these. It's a well built camera, and capable of producing very good photos and video.

One gotcha with it is it's only compact if you use the 16mm lens, so if you want any kind of zoom, you'll either end up with a much bigger camera, or you'll end up carrying a separate lens around. Unless you're planning to (buy and) use different lenses, I'd guess something like this (the Samsung) is actually going to be more useful.


April 30, 2011, 4:32 pm

I have a Samsung EX1. From the point of view of someone leaving behind 34 years with the main camera being an SLR or a DSLR it is a very satisfying camera indeed. It's less challenging than the Olympus XZ-1, which I also have, and the lens performance and some other points are just one step behind the XZ-1's. But the basic operations, including an easy to use EV, are generally slightly quicker to access than on the XZ-1. I have a lot of seascape opportunities to exploit; the 24mm lens, the excellent rendition of the various blues in the sky and the sea and the easy corrections bring out the impression of enormous space that I so much love in seascapes. Autumn is going to be beautiful!

I see a lot of comments about screens these days. The Olympus XZ-1 has a fixed 3" AMOLED, which can always be viewed from an angle to get out of the way of the glare, and has a 15 seconds boost to its brightness. Samsung does better, still with a 3" AMOLED screen, but it is orientable and has three degrees of brightness to select, the default value being the least bright. Neither screen is ever difficult to use, with a little thought, but the Samsung is the easier of the two. There is a clip-on EVF available for the Olympus, but it costs as much as a reasonably good PAS...

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