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Hands-on: Samsung EX2F Brings Wi-Fi With an F1.4 Lens to the Premium Class

There's a lot of competition in the premium point-and-shoot class, but Samsung's EX2F stands out

Samsung announced the high-end EX2F premium point-and-shoot a few weeks ago, and at the time, the camera's bright F1.4 aperture at the wide-angle end of its 3.3X-optical-zoom lens (24mm to 79mm) was a unique feature for a fixed-lens camera. It still is, but now the EX2F has some competition: Panasonic's Lumix LX7, which offers the same F1.4 aperture at its widest-angle focal length. They're the two fastest, brightest lenses in the compact class.

However, the EX2F is still the only premium point-and-shoot I've seen with Wi-Fi features, offering the ability to share full-resolution images and video wirelessly to mobile phones, tablets, computers, HDTVs, and other networked devices. Samsung is betting big on Wi-Fi features in its its 2012 camera lineup, and the EX2F is the most-advanced fixed-lens camera from any manufacturer with built-in wireless-sharing features.

The EX2F a 12.4-megapixel camera with a 1/1.7-inch-type CMOS sensor, and ISO settings extend to 12,800. Like its predecessor, the Samsung TL500, the EX2F has a tilt-and-swivel OLED display and full manual controls for aperture and shutter. The dial layout has been tweaked, with two top-mounted dials: one for accessing standard modes such as auto and manual exposure, and another for bracketing modes and burst modes.

The in-camera menus have also been revamped, and they look like a huge improvement. One of the weak spots of the TL500 was that accessing some of the settings could be a cumbersome process, but the EX2F offers a context-sensitive Function button that quickens the pace. Pressing the button displays the most relevant adjustments you'd want to make depending on the shooting mode you're in, which lessens the time spent menu-diving in such a complex camera.

The EX2F has a built-in ND filter that you turn on and off via the in-camera menus, as well as a newly designed hot shoe that can now accept accessories from Samsung's NX line of mirrorless cameras. In video mode, it shoots 1080p video at 30fps.

After some hands-on time with the EX2F, I thought it felt a bit like a hybrid between Canon's PowerShot G series cameras and Panasonic's Lumix LX series. That's a good thing in terms of handling and aesthetics. Along with that F1.4 lens, the EX2F's Wi-Fi sharing features and compatibility with NX accessories make it an intriguing addition to the increasingly competitive field of premium compacts.

Due in August, the Samsung EX2F will be priced at $550.

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