We don’t normally review cameras here on TDL but at CES I was impressed with Samsung’s range of cameras so I arranged to review the Samsung EX2F Smart Camera. The EX2F is a Wi-Fi enabled smart camera with a F1.4 lens. The idea behind the compact camera is that it has all the automatic features you would expect but it also has full manual control if you’re looking for full control of the camera.
The camera is 12.4 megapixel with a 1/1.7″ BSI (Back Side Illuminated) CMOS sensor which Samsung say works better than conventional CMOS chips in low light. There is a 3.3x optical zoom on the camera which I wished could have been a bit longer and there is built in stabilization using Dual IS (optical and digital stabilization).
There are 6 modes for taking photos. The simplest one is the Smart Mode, this uses all the automatic features and the camera selects the most appropriate settings, including focus and apature. You can adjust some settings in this mode but they are only the things like picture size. Aperture mode automatically adjusts the shutter speed depending on your aperture setting. You adjust the settings from a dial on the camera and not from the rings on the front of the camera despite it looking like you can. Shutter Priority automatically adjusts the aperture depending on the shutter speed you have selected. Manual Mode expects you to configure both the shutter and aperture settings giving you full control over photo and with a little practice can produce better photos than the automatic mode. There is also a program mode that automates the settings but you can adjust any of the settings.
There are also different shooting modes, you can take photos in burst mode that will take photos at 10fps and you can do pre-capture and timing mode. I really like the burst mode, when taking action shots it can take a whole bunch of shots and then you can pick out the best one later. You can save photos in JPEG and RAW modes.
Obviously the most important feature of a camera is photo quality and having not used a compact camera for a while I was impressed with the image quality over the photos I have been getting from a Smart Phone. You can get very clear images in macro mode which are made better by being able to adjust the focus in manual mode. As I mentioned above you can get some good action shots, the images are very sharp and there doesn’t seem to be any noise on the photos. I liked the depth of field you get with the pictures, I am no photo expect and tend to use my phone for most photos but with the EX2F you can definitely see much better photos with the EX2F even in automatic mode. I got some nice portrait shots that had a real nice balance to them. There are special effects modes, like panorama, magic frames, split shots, picture in picture and a HDR mode. I tend not to use these features but I did like the panorama mode which uses a motion sensor to creat the shot. There is scene mode where pre-set filters are applied with things like sunset mode and landscape mode. I must admit I tend not to use these settings that much, I would rather editing on a PC later.
The EX2F has a 1080p HD video recording mode, as well as taking HD videos it can take pictures at 120,240 and 480 fps giving fantastic slow motion videos. 120 fps produces great slow motion shots but at 480 FPS you need plenty of light and the quality is not as good as the 120fps mode.
The EX2F has a 3 inch VGA AMOLED screen that can be swivelled out to help taking pictures, it can be angled so that you can hold the camera at any angle you need including turning it completely round for self-portraits. It’s the kind of thing you see on many video cameras.
One of the main features of the camera it the built in WiFi which has a number of features. MobileLink works by sharing photos over a wifi network (or using WiFi-Direct) and then you can browse the photos stored on the camera via an Android app where you can copy over your selections to the Android device.
Another options is Remote ViewFinder which turns your Android device into a remote viewfinder. You can remotely operating the shutter, zoom and focus which would be good if you’re using the camera on a tripod.
There are plenty of sharing options, you can share via email, Facebook, Picasa, Youtube and photo bucker as well as SkyDrive. You can also share directly to a DLNA client over your home network. I shared to my Samsung Smart TV and my Windows PC via DLNA. You can also connect the camera to a TV via micro-hdmi port and to a PC via micro-usb
Overall the EX2F is a great if you want a small lightweight compact camera that can easily share without needing a PC to be able to do it. At CES I looked at the new Samsung Galaxy Camera which runs Android and I think these add another level to the cameras but they are also expensive at the moment whereas the EX2F offers good value for money at £259 (on Amazon)