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Samsung EX2F Hands-On Preview
by Howard Creech -  1/31/2013

Samsung EX2F

Consumers are generally more familiar with Samsung smartphones than they are with Samsung digital cameras and that's too bad since Samsung cameras often come with more features and better performance (at the same price point) than much of their competition. Samsung's newest point-and-shoot, the EX2F (which replaces the EX1), is a perfect example. The EX2F is a premium point-and-shoot aimed squarely at photo enthusiasts and straight shooters. Samsung's EX2F includes a super-fast 3.3x zoom and is crafted by Schneider-Kreuznach. The Samsung EX2F sets itself apart from similar models from Panasonic, Sony, Canon, Olympus, and Nikon.  Unlike the others, the EX2F's (24mm-80mm equivalent) Schneider Varioplan zoom's maximum aperture is f/1.4, making it at least one f-stop faster than most of the rest of its premium point-and-shoot competition. And all that extra lens speed radically expands the EX2F's capabilities in low light. 

Samsung EX2F

I have always loved small cameras. Over the years I've owned and used many. My photographic heroes have always been "straight shooters" - documentary, street/candid, Natural/Available Light, and environmental portrait photographers.  Straight-Shooters are primarily concerned with depicting their subjects in naturally lit and/or candid situations that reveal important aspects of our culture. Famous straight-shooters like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, and W. Eugene Smith used compact Leica 35mm rangefinder cameras to capture many of the iconic moments that defined 20th century history. Yet, throughout years of photographic changes, the qualities of those classic rangefinders- small, feature rich, easy to use, and unobtrusive - have found their way into premium compact digital cameras. 

In hand, the elegant little Samsung EX2F evokes tactile memories of those classic Leica IIIFs and M4s - although it is actually closer in size to the Leica/Minolta CL mini-rangefinder.  Luckily for us, today's premium compact cameras are capable of generating images that are every bit as good as those produced by bigger, heavier, and more conspicuous cameras.

Samsung EX2F

The compact EX2F is an attractively understated digicam. Its robustly constructed all-metal body feels solid and stable in your hands. Nuts and bolts features include a 3.0-inch (614k) flip-out (camcorder style) tilt-swivel AMOLED LCD monitor, 1080p @ 30fps video capture, Dual IS, RAW format image files, 12 megapixel resolution, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The EX2F, unlike the vast majority of "auto-exposure only" compact digital cameras currently flooding the market, permits lots of individual input into the image making process via an enhanced feature set, plenty of creative flexibility, and full manual control of exposure.

I've only been using the EX2F for about a week, but so far I really like this well designed and beautifully built little camera.  The EX2F is the perfect size for straight shooters. Completely un-intimidating to subjects, it provides a comprehensive selection of shooting modes including full manual exposure. It is built like a tank, it is easy to use, and it consistently produces excellent images - even in lighting that would sideline most of its competition. Watch here for our full review of this exceptional straight shooter.