Sunday, June 27, 2010

Samsung hig-end compact

Samsung is treading where angels fear to go: the high-end compact camera market. But it seems that apart from a shortish zoom and no HD video, the Samsung EX1 is doing really well. It has a very good and fast lens, and a good sensor for a small-sensor camera. (I recommend reading a couple more reviews as they become available, Mike Reichman is sharp, but he has a tendency to be very enthusiastic about his newest toy.)


AnotherAnonymous said...

'he has a tendency to be very enthusiastic about his newest toy'

Now, who in hell does THAT remind me of? :-)

emptyspaces said...

I've been testing this camera for the past two weeks. It's a nice addition to the compact market, though not perfect. It's sure nice to have choices like the EX1 (known as TL500 here in the States - but the EXIF data reads EX1).

Here are some pros & cons as I see them (focal lengths are 35mm equivalent):

- 24mm at wide setting (I think I've taken 98% of my pictures at this setting)
- f/1.8 at 24mm...and only f/2.4 at 70mm
- high-quality lens
- hot shoe (not a proprietary one like on the Sony NEX cameras)
- most important shooting controls are accessible through dials
- not a lot of useless shooting options
- small hand grip makes it easy to hold
- only 10 megapixels
- shoots RAW
- tilt/swivel screen

- not all that small, not really a pocket cam (during warmer months, anyhow)
- lens cap
- does not come with a charger, instead a USB/AC cable that requires you to use the camera as a charger (and the cable's a foot long)
- weak flash
- no direct access to ISO
- images look better on the screen than on your computer
- doesn't shoot in DNG

My impression is that this is a pretty great camera...for a compact. ISO 400 is your practical limit unless converting to B&W, like other compacts. Of course, at f/1.8 you can capture scenes at ISO 400 other cameras would need to use 800.

JPEG rendering isn't great, definitely not on par with Canon. However, the EX1 shoots RAW which gives you lots of flexibility in post-processing. I didn't bother with RAW, but I did shoot a few to play with once Adobe updates CameraRAW.

Samsung should be commended for producing this camera. My quibbles with it are fairly minor, and could easily be overcome with regular use. There are no perfect cameras, but this one comes closer than most compacts.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


Yeah, it's still my opinion that the high end Canon pocket-cameras (the small ones, like the S90) are *very* hard to beat in any area, especially image quality.