Premium compacts – meaning feature-festooned pocket models with plenty of manual controls, a high quality build and equally high price tag – are on the rise in popularity in austere times. Not everyone wants to a buy a set of lenses for better pictures, and alternatively some may want a more manageable, less ‘faffy’ camera to back up that DSLR. The Sony RX100 and Panasonic LX7 are two impressive recent examples of able semi pro all-in-ones and to that purchase shortlist is added Samsung’s EX2F. See all Compact camera reviews.
For a pricey £429 the metal camera does pack in a lot, including twin rangefinder-like mode dials, vacant hotshoe, neatly implemented pop up flash, tilt and swivel rear screen – one of the very few examples on a camera of this size save for the budget BenQ G1– plus a brightest-in-class maximum lens aperture of f/1.4 via a 3.3x optical zoom, protected by old-fashioned clip-on lens cap. Take a look at our Nikon 1 J1 review.
While that fast aperture and ‘sensible’ resolution of 12.4 megapixels suggests the EX2F as a great tool for low light photography, in daylight we actually found ourselves manually dialling down the exposure to avoid burnt out highlight detail. There’s also the fact that the rival RX100 manages to cram 20.2 megapixels on the same physical size sensor without a drop in performance, albeit at £100 more. See Group test: what's the best compact camera?
It’s also worth noting that for a price in between the Samsung and the Sony, one could bag an interchangeable lens Nikon J2, almost a match in body size and with kit zoom of similar reach. Still, Wi-Fi connectivity alongside manual options is the draw here, and for those stepping up from a smartphone the menu options in Scene and Wi-Fi shooting modes are presented graphically in the style of apps. We also get a proper grip to aid hand held shooting and avoid blur, a ploy which largely works, plus the compositional screen is also AMOLED rather than LCD, so we get a better contrast view with deeper blacks.