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back to article Samsung EX1 compact camera

While Samsung’s NX100 APS-C sensor camera is making life difficult for those deciding on compact EVIL shooter, the company’s considerably cheaper EX1 is beginning to look like a bargain these days. Shop around and you can pick it up for under £300. The EX1 isn't an interchangeable lens model but its 24mm f1.8, 3x zoom is …

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Anonymous Coward

Obvious comparison is the Canon S95

Same price (I got one for £285), has HD video, stereo sound, same size sensor, max F2.0 (hardly different from 1.8), excellent build quality. See Ken Rockwell's review - he calls it the best compact camera in the world, ever. Found it worked amazingly well in dark cafes with no flash. Also has low light mode (2MP).

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got the ex1

and it's great.

not really user friendly but it's simply so good it beats everything i had compact. and sometimes even the dslr canon 450d with the ridiculously expensive objective that my wife got a couple of months ago. At any rate it's easier to adjust the ex1 to take good pictures as a tourist than that canon (canon wins if you take your time, but the ex1 is quick).

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Coat

Just a minute

"...even in strong sunlight."

Where did you find this mythical beast?

/Hawaiian shirt

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Fast lens != always good quality images

"A fast lens delivers pin sharp detail, perfect contrast and no cheap special effects like vignetting and colour shifts in the corners"

You sure about that? I think you'll find that a fast lens requires far more careful crafting of the elements if it's to remain free of defects and the likes of Nikon, Canon, Mamiya, etc. all charge a premium for their faster optics for a good reason: they're horribly expensive to make well.

You'll also find that most lenses perform at their best (if, by 'best' we mean free of distortions) when they're stopped-down 3 to 4 from wide open. If anything, vignetting is more likely to happen with /any/ lens when it’s wide open because, by definition, you're pushing the very limits of the optics. Stop down a couple and you'll also get more tolerance to focus because you'll get a greater Depth of Field.

Will you get punchier images with a fast lens? No, not necessarily. Arguably, it’ll help to some degree but in digital kit contrast is more affected by the anti-aliasing and pre-processing filters than by the f-stop. Oh - and colour shifting /brought on by aperture alone/ is usually associated with very high f-numbers (32 and above – well beyond the reach of almost all amateur-grade kit) but shifting will happen regardless; it’s even more frighteningly expensive to manufacture optics that bring the entire visible spectrum to focus on one plane than it is to make them distortion-free at wide apertures (the red dot that was a few degrees past the ‘normal’ focus marker on their old 35mm lenses was there to show the focus offset one needed to apply if shooting with IR film).

Aside from that, an interesting article.

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Small Sensor advantage

Remember, it's easier to make a lens for a smaller sensor - my Panasonic FZ50 has an f2.8 [at the wide end] 12 to 1 zoom lens.

The equivalent lens for 35mm full frame would be huge [200mm filter size] and too heavy to hand hold.

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Bronze badge

further to what Ball Boy wrote...

the 'faster' the lens the larger the aperture, i.e. more light getting in, hence faster AF (if it goes through the lens) and shorter shutter times. a larger aperture also means a narrower depth of field, which makes everything that is not focused blurred ('background defocus' as the TV ads say). A smaller aperture means a larger depth of field, which makes everything in the frame sharper. Neither of these is better than the other. It's up to the photographer which he wants to use. Though a narrow depth of field is generally harder to work with.

Hence to get a sharper image on a wider aperture, you're actually relying on the quality of the optics.

Bring back the blue door! And I miss the cathedral.

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Vignetting ....

...can actually get worse the faster a lens is.

I have the Canon 85mm F1.2 II. It is great at F1.2, but the edges of photos are quite dark (when used on a full -frame body). Stop it down to F3 and the vignetting is totally gone.

The size of the objective is one of the critical factors affecting vignetting. It's like having an inappropriately sized lens hood, but very out of focus (as you might imagine for a fast lens).

Fast lenses generally are sharper where telescopic resolving power is needed (which does not apply to this camera). The effects of diffraction (blurring) at the telephoto end for compact hyperzoom (> x20) cameras are testament to that.

For this camera, the limited wideangle/telephoto range and small imager may render vignetting insignificant.

However, vignetting can actually be beneficial...

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Curious review.

It seems funny to criticise a camera while apparently not understanding what it's for and why it is made the way it is.

Take the sensor - a 1/1.7" sensor has almost twice the area of a typical 1/2.3" compact sensor, and is less noisy. In order to keep the camera compact this is about as big as it's possible to go: micro 4:3 sensor cameras are substantially larger. It is however still a serious user's compact, just as the Canon G series compacts are. The ability to take acceptable shots at 800ASA confirms the value of the

There's a bunch of odd things in the review (like the comment about using 4 stops of light) that make me wonder if the reviewer just read up about modern digital cameras and then tried this one out. There's no comment about the obvious shortcomings of such a camera: 24mm is a VERY wide zoom - tricky for a novice to use well, and 3 X zoom on a 24mm starting point gives a V short telephoto, which might well be a major disadvantage for someone outside the target user group..

Also fast lenses tend to be the opposite of the starting description - often softer wide open, both in sharpness and contrast. If the reviewer was trying to say that was how the EX1 lens performed then it wasn't very clear. And as for the comment about the effective 4 stops of light. Which 4 was he thinking of?

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FAIL

Grammar fail?

for those deciding on compact EVIL shooter

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Interesting lens...

Nice aperture size, but without a proper viewfinder ala an SLR, 'fast' lens aside, how 'fast' then can you actually snap something ? (ie shutter lag etc)

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F1.8? So 10 years ago!

10 years ago my Olympus Camedia 3040Z 3.3MP compact had (well, still has) a 1.8 lens so Samsung's claim for fastest lens on a compact is false. I'm not bashing the Samsung cam but apart from the pixel count and better shutter delays today's cameras are offering nothing new it seems.

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Olympus XZ-1

The Olympus XZ-1 will be the serious compact yardstick when it's released, I reckon. Seems to take the best aspects of all its compact peers, and roll them into something pretty darned hard to resist.

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/olympusXZ1/

Olympus are in general rather an unsung hero in the digital photography world, but now they've got a bit more attention with the Pen range, there's hope this might enjoy the success it should deserve.

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Silver badge

"24mm f1.8"

That's 5.2mm f/1.8 actually. The equivalent aperture on 35mm full frame is f/8.2, and f/5.5 on APS-C. There really is no getting around the laws of physics.

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