The EX2F ($499.99 direct) is Samsung‘s top-end point-and-shoot camera. It’s bigger than your average point-and-shoot, but packs a fast f/1.4 aperture lens and an impressive swiveling OLED display—and you can push your photos directly to Facebook or to your smartphone thanks to built-in Wi-Fi. Its 1/1.7-inch 12-megapixel image sensor isn’t as large as the one found on our Editors’ Choice Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 , but if $650 is out of your price range, the EX2F is a strong camera with excellent imaging and Wi-Fi capabilities.
Design and Features
Larger than your average point-and-shoot, the EX2F is pretty average for one with a fast lens and larger-than-average image sensor. It measures 2.4 by 4.4 by 1.1 inches (HWD) and weighs 10.4 ounces, noticeably smaller than the Canon PowerShot G15. The G15, which features a similar sensor but adds an optical viewfinder, is 3.0 by 4.2 by 1.6 inches and 12.4 ounces.
The highlight of the EX2F is its fast lens. It had a very modest 3.3x (24-80mm equivalent) zoom range, but the f/1.4-2.7 aperture captures an impressive amount of light. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7, also sold by Leica as the D-Lux 6, has a more ambitious zoom lens—its 24-90mm lens has an f/1.4-2.3 aperture. The 24-80mm range is a bit limited in terms of telephoto coverage—point-and-shoots with larger image sensors don’t challenge superzooms for telephoto coverage, but the Canon G15 has a moderately fast f/1.8-2.8 lens that covers a longer 28-140mm range, and the Nikon P7700 has the longest zoom in this class thanks to a 28-200mm f/2-4 lens.
The rear display swivels so you can view it from above or below, or even fold it closed against the camera’s body. Unfortunately, even though the camera has a hot shoe, there’s no EVF option as there is with the LX7 and Olympus XZ-2, so you’ll be shooting blind if you decide to hide the display. The 3-inch display uses OLED technology rather than LCD, and even with a modest 614k-dot resolution, it’s extremely sharp and bright.
The camera’s control layout is excellent. There are physical controls to adjust the flash, macro shooting, and autoexposure Lock on the rear of the camera. The top panel houses the mode dial and a second dial that adjusts Drive Mode. There’s a control wheel on the front that controls EV Compensation—just press it in and move it to the left or right to adjust, pressing it in again to confirm. If you’re in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority mode, the dial will control the aperture or shutter speed, respectively, by moving it left or right without first pressing it.
The best in the biz, we’ve praised the Wi-Fi implementation of recent Samsung cameras, and the EX2F is no different. It’s very easy to push photos and videos to Facebook, Picasa, YouTube, and Photobucket from the camera, and you can also backup your shots to your PC or the Microsoft SkyDrive cloud service. You can control the camera remotely with the free Remote Viewfinder app for iOS or Android, and transfer files to your phone or tablet with the MobileLink app—also free for both platforms.
Performance and Conclusions
The EX2F starts and shoots in about 1.9 seconds and notches a 0.25-second shutter lag. It can fire off a burst of 9 shots in about a second in high-speed burst mode. There are also modes that shoot at 5fps and 3fps, but each of those is limited to about 9 photos before the camera stops shooting as files are written to the memory card—which prevents you from shooting for about 10 seconds. Overall, the performance is on par with cameras in this class—the Canon PowerShot S110 requires 2.2 seconds to start and shoot, records a 0.2-second shutter lag, but its shot-to-shot time is a bit slower at 2 frames per second.
The camera’s fast f/1.4 lens doesn’t disappoint in terms of sharpness, recording 2,200 lines per picture height in Imatest—much better than the 1,800 lines required for a sharp photo. It doesn’t do as well in terms of noise, which can give photos a grainy look and rob them of detail. Noise is less than 1.5 percent through ISO 800, which is also the setting where you start to see some loss of detail in photos. It’s very usable, but for best results the camera should be kept at ISO 400 or below. The wide-aperture f/1.4-2.7 lens will make it easier to keep the ISO low, but it can’t match the Sony RX100 in terms of low-light performance at wider angles. Even though that camera has a slightly slower f/1.8 aperture on the wide end and a significantly slower f/4.9 aperture when zoomed all the way in, it can capture images with acceptable noise through ISO 6400, although we recommend keeping it at ISO 3200 or below for the best image quality.
Video is recorded at 1080p30 quaility in MP4 format. The quality is very good, although you can hear the noise of the lens zooming in and out on the soundtrack. It is possible to use an external microphone, although you’ll be limited to a proprietary Samsung model that transfers audio data via the camera’s hot shoe. The camera supports SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards, and includes micro USB and micro HDMI interface ports. It’s becoming more common to see cameras without dedicated battery chargers, and the EX2F continues the trend. You’ll have to charge it via its USB port—an AC adapter is included.
The Samsung EX2F isn’t the best compact point-and-shoot you can buy—that honor is still held by our Editors’ Choice Sony RX100—but it is a very good one, especially if you’re in the market for a camera with Wi-Fi. It makes it easy to share your photos on social networks, and you don’t have to connect it to a computer to configure Wi-Fi settings like you do with the Canon PowerShot S110. The fast, sharp lens makes up for some struggles at higher ISO settings, but the rear OLED display is truly stunning.
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|Dimensions||2.4 x 4.4 x 1.1 inches|
|Interface Ports||micro USB, micro HDMI|
|Battery Type Supported||Lithium Ion|
|Recycle time||0.11 seconds|
|LCD size||3 inches|
|Media Format||Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity, Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
|Optical Zoom||3.3 x|
|Boot time||1.9 seconds|
|35-mm Equivalent (Wide)||24 mm|
|Waterproof Depth (Mfr. Rated)||0 feet|
|Video Resolution||720p, 1080p|
|Lines Per Picture Height||2200|
|LCD Aspect Ratio||4|
|35-mm Equivalent (Telephoto)||80 mm|
|Shutter Lag||0.25 seconds|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 (1/1.7") mm|
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