The Samsung EX2F fits neatly into the advanced compact camera category but offers more than just a balance of manual and automatic controls. It's outfitted with a superfast f/1.4, 3.3X (24-80mm) wide-angle zoom lens and built-in Wi-Fi. Samsung seems to have an edge over other manufacturers when it comes to integrating Wi-Fi into its cameras, and the EX2F is no exception.
Snapshooters shouldn't be intimidated by this camera's "advanced" compact camera designation. Automatic and "smart" modes expand the EX2F's appeal to a wide range of photographers. With its manual controls, this camera is also a good option for people who want to develop their photographic skills.
Hardware and design
Well-built and sturdy, the EX2F measures 4.41 by 2.46 by 1.08 inches and weighs about 10 ounces. Available in black or white, the EX2F is a little too big to fit into shirt pockets or most pants pockets, but you can easily tote it in a jacket or coat pocket.
The EX2F has no built-in viewfinder and no optional electronic viewfinder; the optical viewfinder accessory listed in the camera's user manual has been discontinued, too. If you're set on having an optical viewfinder, look for a third-party hotshoe-mount model. The good news is that the EX2F's 3-inch, fully articulating AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screen works well under almost all lighting conditions. If you see any glare from the sun or indoor lighting, just tilt the screen until it disappears. The articulated LCD is also great for shooting overhead and at low angles, as well as for folding back into the camera body to protect the screen from scratches and smudges when the camera is not in use.
Unlike the Canon S110 and other advanced compacts, the EX2F doesn't have a rotating lens ring to adjust settings. Instead, the Samsung model offers a removable threaded ring. Given the camera's limited 3.3X (24-80mm) zoom range, I hoped that an accessory lens was available to get a little more telephoto reach out of the camera, but no such luck. Rather, it's a standard 52mm thread that can accommodate filters.
The external controls are more than sufficient for operating the camera with ease. A pop-up flash sits to the left of the hotshoe/accessory port with a manual switch, while the power button, shutter/zoom combination, and two mode dials are positioned to the right. While having dual dials is not unheard of, the setup is a little unusual. The shooting-mode dial offers the standard Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority, Manual, Smart Auto, and Movie modes, as well as Wi-Fi and Magic Plus (scene/creative effects). The second dial is a drive-mode dial that accesses several continuous-shooting and self-timer options, Pre-Capture, and bracketing. The dual-dial concept is great, but the dials are both a bit stiff; on the other hand, that means there's no chance of accidentally changing settings.
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