Samsung EX1 at a glance:

  • Maximum aperture range of f/1.8-2.4
  • 3x 24-72mm Schneider Kreuznach zoom
  • 10-million-pixel, 1/1.7in, backlit image sensor
  • Raw and JPEG capture
  • Hotshoe
  • Flip-out 3in AMOLED screen

Samsung EX1 review – Introduction

The best-selling cameras in this country, and in much of the world, are models the names of which most AP readers will not have come across. They sell in their thousands through electrical chain stores, mail-order catalogues, online retailers and TV shopping channels, and cost between £50 and £100. They often come in different colours, sport impressive-sounding features and are bought by people who point them and press the button.

It is an attractive market if your business plan lets you sell pallets of goods at low margins, allows you to update your line-up every few months and if you are not bothered about prestige in your market area.

Samsung has done extremely well in this area for some time, and is constantly either at number one in the UK or in the top three, for volume of cameras sold. Now, though, the company has its eye on making a name for itself at the serious end of photography, and it needs a range of products that can build a new brand idea for enthusiasts to latch on to.

The company has been moving in this direction for a few years, but with limited success. The NV range of compacts that accompanied the GX series of DSLRs were nicely made and well designed, but ultimately fell down on image quality.

We’ve seen a change over the past year, though, with Samsung compact cameras taking a big step forward regarding noise control and colour rendition. The ST550 was the first in the line of dramatically improved models, and the shift has been creeping through the entire range. With the replacement of GX with the NX micro system camera range, Samsung still needs to earn itself a good name for image quality and to embed itself on the consciousness of more serious photographers.

Although the GX-10 and GX-20 cameras were really very good, the series ultimately failed to convince enthusiasts that Samsung is a brand that can supply them with what they need. The effective withdrawal of the GX series did little to counter this conviction.

This new compact camera has a lot riding on its shoulders, because with its super-fast aperture lens, extensive manual controls and hotshoe it hopes to make enough of an impression to lift the perception of the entire brand.

The Samsung EX1 is a prestige camera, well made and with impressive specification. Armed with these qualities, it is aimed directly at the heady sector of the market occupied so comfortably for so long by Canon’s PowerShot G-series cameras. The PowerShot G11 has had little competition, but perhaps now Samsung
will be able to upset the status quo.

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