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Review Price £259.00

The EX1 is a littler larger and heavier than the Lumix LX5, measuring approximately 114 x 65 x 45.5mm and weighing approximately 280g including battery and memory card. However it is substantially smaller and lighter than the Canon PowerShot G12.

As you might expect from a top-shelf product like this, the EX1 is well equipped with useful features. The main exposure modes are set via a dial on the top panel, and consist of program auto, aperture and shutter priority and full manual exposure, as well as a full auto setting, video recording mode, a high-ISO dual-IS mode, and a scene mode, with 12 scene programs. Next to the exposure mode dial is a drive mode selector, with single-shot, continuous shooting, two and ten-second self timer and an auto-bracket option. The centre of this dial also holds the on/off button.

Exposure values are adjusted by a roller control on the front handgrip, positioned just under the right forefinger, and by a rotary bezel around the D-pad. Other external control include a dedicated video recording button, a metering mode button, and exposure lock. All of the EX1's controls operate with a reassuring solidity and responsiveness, and feel well mounted and durable.

The EX1 has both a conventional main menu and a quick function menu which should be used for commonly-used shooting adjustments. It does contain some of these such as image size and quality, white balance, focus area selection and the PhotoStyles tone control, but it also carries less useful options such as the gimmicky Smart Filter (miniature, vignette or fish-eye effects) and face detection options, while more useful options such as exposure compensation are relegated to the main menu.

Despite this slight oversight, and despite its complexity, the EX1 is surprisingly easy to use. The controls are sensibly laid out, the new animated high-res menus look great on the bright AMOLED screen, and the twist-and-flip articulated monitor adds some welcome versatility. No doubt the usual moaning Minnies will complain about its lack of an optical viewfinder, but with a monitor as good as this you don't really miss it.

One minor disappointment is the video recording mode. While its main rivals can shoot 720p HD video, and some compacts can shoot full 1080p video with stereo audio, the EX1 is limited to 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps, with mono audio. However at least you can watch the recorded footage on your TV thanks to an HDMI output cable.

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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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