The Samsung EX2F is a 12.4MP advanced compact camera that succeeds the two-year-old Samsung EX1 as the company’s new flagship compact. As such it’s most likely to appeal to those photographers looking for something smaller and more practical than a DSLR, but that also offers the kind of advanced shooting features and manual control they are used to.
These days, the advanced compact segment is very much a buyers’ market, with plenty of very good options to tempt prospective buyers. And of course, as well as advanced compacts there’s now a generous selection of Compact System Cameras, many of which are only slightly larger than a regular advanced compact.
Because of this, advanced compact manufacturers have had to up their game in order to compete with the new breed of small and highly functional CSCs, which in turn can only be good for the consumer. The Samsung EX2F is one such camera and comes with a generous specification that is likely to tempt both those looking for a back-up to their DSLR, as well as those looking for a 'carry everywhere' advanced compact.
Samsung EX2F Features
The Samsung EX2F takes much from its predecessor – the EX1 – but also adds a number of improvements. Whereas most regular compacts use a small 1/2.3-inch sensor the EX2F (and many other advanced compacts besides) employs a slightly larger 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor. This offers an effective resolution of 12.4-megapixels, which represents a fairly sizeable jump up from the 10-megapixels offered by the EX1. The sensor is backside wired too, which basically means the electrical wiring is located on the underside of the sensor rather than the side that’s exposed to light. This arrangement allows more light though to the individual photo diodes, which in turn boosts the sensor’s performance in low light conditions.
In terms of sensitivity the Samsung EX2F comes with a standard ISO range of 100 to 6400, which can be further expanded to ISO 12800 although this expanded setting does come at the price of a lower maximum resolution. In addition to capturing standard JPEG images, the EX2F is also capable of shooting lossless Raw files. This will doubtlessly please advanced photographers who prefer to do their own imaging process in a digital darkroom software as the additional information contained in Raw images files offers much greater flexibility.
The fast maximum f/1.8-f/2.4 aperture of the EX1’s 4x optical zoom was something that impressed us when we tested that model in 2011. With the EX2F, however, Samsung has managed to go one better by increasing the speed by one stop to f/1.4, although the new model’s zoom power is slightly reigned in at 3.3x. Still, at 24mm the Schneider-KREUZNACH lens should be plenty wide enough for wide-angle enthusiasts, while any fears about the effects of camera shake at its maximum 80mm telephoto extension should be taken care of by the presence of Dual IS image stabilisation technology. On top of all this, the Samsung EX2F also gets a built-in ND filter that allows you to use slower shutter speeds in bright light.
The Samsung EX2F retains the same 3-inch, 614k-dot resolution AMOLED display that was found on the EX1. It’s an impressive screen with the AMOLED technology producing more vivid blacks and more accurate colours than many competitor models. As with the EX1 the EX2F’s screen is articulated to, with a side hinge allowing the screen to be pulled away from the back of the camera by around 180 degrees from where it can be rotated by about 270 degrees to allow for extra flexibility when shooting from overhead, ground level or even around corners.
Whereas the Samsung EX1 only offered 640 x 480 VGA standard definition movie capture, the EX2F is right up to speed with its rivals with a top movie setting of 1920 x 1080p Full HD capture at 30fps. On the side of the new model you’ll also find a ‘HDMI out’ port that enables you to connect the camera directly to a HDTV.
In the past year or so Samsung has been pushing the boundaries of built-in Wi-Fi functionality with compact models such as the Samsung SH100, Samsung MV800 and, more recently, the Samsung NX20 compact system camera. The EX2F is the latest model to benefit from this useful feature and allows you to upload your images directly to a range of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, or to email your images straight from the camera anywhere you’re able to access a Wi-Fi connection. Another benefit of the built-in Wi-Fi connectivity is that it allows you to back your images up to cloud-based storage services such as Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Samsung’s own AllShare Play. And if you really want to get clever then the built-in Wi-Fi functionality also enables you to use a compatible smartphone as a viewfinder although you'll need to install a free app on your phone first.