Samsung EX1 Review

July 1, 2010 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 Al

Can the battery be charged at the same time the camera is in use?  This may reduce some of the pain of not having an external charger.

6:35 pm - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#2 Digitalist

A comparison ought to be made with the Fuji F200exr camera. Both are easily pocketable and features similar sensor sizes.

The F200 has been available for a full year and can still claim superior performance in terms of resolution and zoom.

For about the same street prices, I’d choose the Fuji everytime.

7:31 pm - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#3 Me

Maybe they could feature similar CCD sensor sizes but…

F200EXR—>  F/3,3-5,1

EX1—>  F/1,8-2,4

what are we talking about ? 


8:09 pm - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#4 kai

@Digitalist: can u overlook a such biggest difference…

10:22 pm - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#5 M2

A fantastic first camera for Samsung, but its’ inability to take filters (e.g., polarizer) is unforgiveable and a dealer breaker for me.

11:00 pm - Thursday, July 1, 2010

#6 stevierose

Today I emailed the folks at Lensmate:
They make high quality adapters for cameras like the Canon G series that allow you to mount filters on the camera. They told me that they will be making an adapter for the EX-1/TL500 and expect it to be for sale in 4-5 weeks. These adapters are made of machined metal, are beautiful, and work very well. You just remove the ring at the base of the lens and screw on the adapter and then whichever filter or lens adapter you wish to use.

12:57 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#7 matt

Trouble is, as commenters on other forums have pointed out, it can’t focus properly on moving objects. Deal-breaker if you want to do street photography, photograph family and friends casually…

1:10 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#8 M2


Thank you for the helpful information. I still long for an EVF, but that is not commonly found on cameras in this class. I’m kind of excited about Panny rumors re 1) LX3 replacement (w/ micro 4/3 sensor); 2) GH2 (another class up, quite a bit more expensive); and 3) rumors of built-in EVF on forthcoming (Xmas 2010) G2. Thanks again.

2:20 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#9 GT

@ Me,

Yeah! Exactly!  What is the dude talking about?  The fast lens on this thing is unbelievable!

And it looks to me like Samsung has a spy working for them inside Panasonic.  This looks like what Panny is trying to do, but one better.

The fast lens really takes it. Hopefully the pics look great.

5:52 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#10 Rick

Got here from Gizmodo..
Subjective comments like ‘great’, good, fast, excellent, etc. do not quantify the qualities of this camera in comparison to its competitors at a similar price/size/weight point. These weasel words could have been written by anyone, about practically any new camera in this price range. And regurgitating factory specs that we can get anywhere is not helpful either.

Finally, the Panasonic LX3 is not in the list of ‘main rivals’?! That list is really only a list of links to similar reviews, without any helpful comparison info vs. this EX1.

Overall, a useless review. I’m writing this in the hopes your site can do better next time I follow a link from elsewhere.

9:44 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#11 Andy

Rick, its not useless and those unquantified qualifiers, as you seem so hung up about, make perfect sense to me. Why?
Because i read this site daily, read all the reviews by each author, and know their attitudes and limits when it comes to cameras. Sometimes, knowing the writers’ bodies of work helps you actually understand what they say and mean. If you want super in depth statistical tests, wait for dpreview to put their ex1 review out. That will be up in six months or so. Enjoy the wait.

11:04 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#12 Hans Benndorf

There is a hands on review .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). The author of that review seems
to like the EX1 for what it is. A very capable COMPACT camera with good built quality, good
lens, great articulated amoled monitor and good image quality ( very good dynamic range ),but
slow continuous fps. and lousy movie mode( leaves me cold ). Seems to be an interesting
little camera to have in reach at all times. I get the feeling that we’ll see more interesting
photographic gear coming from SAMSUNG.

11:29 am - Friday, July 2, 2010

#13 kenedy

The silver body looks more special than the black body. Hope EX1 becomes popular.

12:19 pm - Friday, July 2, 2010

#14 Robin

Interesting, what difference in image quality there is with only a half star more than the Fuji F80 for example. Difficult to understand, but interesting.

Nice job, this new Samsung!

12:20 pm - Friday, July 2, 2010

#15 M2

I forgot to mention; the rumor re Panny LX3 replacement includes a rangefinder OVF. See below:

Of course, this is just rumors . . . we will have to wait until Panny makes an announcement. It is rumored to announce the LX3 replacement in July. So we are dealing with rumors, rumors, and more rumors. Whatever, competition is driving digital camera development, to consumer benefit.

1:09 pm - Friday, July 2, 2010

#16 Johnny

People who use phrases like ‘deal breaker’ fail at life!

6:15 pm - Saturday, July 3, 2010

#17 TGV

Great camera, been waiting a long time for it.  What makes it so nice is the combination of a very nice focal length(s) and the f1.8.  I think that 24-70 is the most usable range for making quality pictures.  Looking at one in the store, it was bigger than I hoped - don’t know whose pockets this fits into.

7:12 am - Monday, July 5, 2010

#18 ajc07977

Like the superb G11 and a few others ... lovely image quality ... wrong (SMALL) sensor. If only a camera like this with a FAST but FIXED zoom lens (Max 4x if not 5x would be nicer), had the sensor size of GF1 or APS-C like in DP1/DP2 :(

11:37 pm - Monday, July 5, 2010

#19 Dana

This EX1 comes close to being worthy of replacing my panasonic TZ5. The TZ5 lens is a tad sharper at the edges (I think), is less bright (f3.3 to f4.9), but goes from 28mm to 280, a really nice range. But looking at the EX1 photos, there’s almost no noise in the shadows of the ISO 80 shots, whereas the TZ5 has lots of shadow noise. Of course you can remove it with NeatImage, but who wants to do that all the time?

I looked at the Canon S90, and the ring that’s reported to be very loose, is! I’d have to check it before every use. No good! It’s an ergonomic failure.

The Fuji f200exr seems too complicated. So this EX1 is looking really good for indoor, relatively low noise shots. I want one! But I will control myself until the price settles down. If it were $250-$275, I’d already have it.

12:31 am - Thursday, July 8, 2010

#20 dave

So IQ TL500 vs Canon S90?

Which is better if either. Hard to tell since the testing is not the same between the two.


6:28 am - Friday, July 9, 2010

#21 AndyC

So do we know what the viewfinder situation is yet - EVF or optical? Very tempting since this will probably drop under £300 in a couple of months

2:43 pm - Friday, July 9, 2010

#22 benny stevens

Have my EX-1 for 2 weeks now and it’s marvelous! Great pics, even at dusk in available light. It *does* have a special ‘children’ mode to lock focus on fast moving children, pets, etc. Has nice and clear menus. Personally I don’t care for a video mode at all, so I don’t mis HD video, and an EVF is always crappy anyway because it does never give you an idea of DOF or sharpness in case of MF (which you wouldn’t use on the EX-1 I guess bcs it requires the use of the zoom lever). It’s a pitty though that the ring around the lens is just a protector for the screw thread on which the optional tele (?) lens will screw on. It would have been nice if it had a ‘real’ function, like a manual zooming ring or MF ring f. ex. Pitty also that the kit doesn’t include a battery charger for the $ you pay.

10:49 pm - Friday, July 9, 2010

#23 glamz

Just bought it..highly recommended !!!

3:37 am - Sunday, July 11, 2010

#24 nick

and all for just £79.99 eh?


Please tell me where I can get it for the price you quote on your first page


8:08 am - Monday, August 2, 2010

#25 rayaz

Got the TL500 to partner with my Pentax K-x as the portable camera.  While the camera definitely has areas to improve, it is turning out to be good camera for take for functions, and indoors.

I have put my thoughts together into my blog, check it out and hope it helps in your purchasing.  See

5:48 am - Friday, August 6, 2010

#26 Warren Mars

Good: Best lens, best sensor, great screen, shoots raw, quality construction, good price.

Bad: Everything else!

This is a camera where they got all the REALLY important things right, (ie the things that dictate the image quality), and everything else wrong. Considering it’s the first camera in this new line that’s perhaps forgivable.

This camera is, in theory at least, the most powerful compact ever made. At its best this camera will produce the best images you can get from a compact. However… to get the best out of this camera you need to be an expert and you need to take the time to figure out how to get around all the stuff ups put into it by Samsung. If you’re a beginner or can’t be bothered go buy the G11.

You can read my detailed technical analysis and examine my samples here:

4:11 am - Monday, August 16, 2010

#27 nick

I’m not sure what you mean by ‘if you’re a beginner go buy a G11’ The G11 can be as challenging to use as you want it to be, but yes it has the A setting too. Rather expensive for a first camera though.

Are you saying that one has to be a photoshop expert to get a decent pic out of the Samsung? I doubt that, I suspect you’re being a bit anal about image quality as so many people who have taken up digital are. These are the same people who used to obsess about tone arm weights etc on their vinyl turntables but didn’t know a good tune from a bad one.

It’s not the camera that creates the image, it’s the person pressing the shutter.  No one cares about a blown highlight if the image is arresting. Quality is important up to a point of course, but we are not creating billboard posters here.

8:14 am - Monday, August 16, 2010

#28 Jan Olsson

Hi, I hve had mine a coupe of months now and I find three dawbacks:

First and most important is that the Samsung Raw format dont work with Lightroom or Adobes Raw converter and cant be converted to PNG. This comlicates my workflow substantially. If I had known when I purchased I would have chosen different.

Second; no charger is included and is not available (at least not in Sweden). I always have to bring my laptop as charger.

Thirdly; I dont know where to put the lenscap. Usually it ends up in my pocket and often stays there. Since no other protection is available for the lens it is risky.

1:31 pm - Tuesday, August 24, 2010

#29 Gary

I’m sick of hearing people say the word “pocketable”.  Who in their right mind would cram a $400-$500 camera in their pants’ pocket ? Wear it on a neckstrap, carry it in a well-padded case or hold it in your hand. Your car keys go in your pocket, not your camera ! I love my TL500.

2:30 pm - Sunday, September 12, 2010

#30 nick

pocketable is just a shorthand way of saying ‘not a dSLR’ Ie, a camera you will have with you a lot of the time, not uselessly stuck away at home.

Very few cameras are truly pocketable and the ones that are don’t deliver all that great quality before being sat on!

4:46 pm - Sunday, September 12, 2010

#31 Andy

Now I’m wondering if the EX1 will be compatible with the recently released electronic viewfinder for the Samsung NX100…

12:24 pm - Monday, September 27, 2010

#32 Tina Edwards

How do any EX1 owners rate the macro on the camera? I know it can focus as close as 1cm but are the images good quality for a compact?

10:20 am - Sunday, October 3, 2010

#33 Toby Schmidt

I had a canon G10, was satisfied, but wanted a eqvivalent 24 mm, so I sold the G 10 and bought an EX1.

Afterwards i realized, that this camera’s hotshoe doesn’t work with any other external flashes than Samsung’s. That’s just a very stupid decision of the company, and if too many potential buyers get to know this fact, this could decrease the amount of sale of the EX1.
I’ve been told by Samsung officials, that the internal software of the camera blocks not-Samsung flashes - and that also means, it could be changed by company update of software!
Until then, it’s a pity for this otherwise highend semiprofessional compact camera.

2:16 pm - Tuesday, November 9, 2010

#34 [w.]

In poor light, which is exactly the reason why I bought this piece, EX1’s autofocus is approximately as poor as was ~3-years-old Nikon_P50.

Samsung’s reply from their Swiss department, which covers German-speaking areas (=Switzerland, Germany, Austria) is not satisfying at all: They are hardly aware of their manual for the camera, and an English update of it, seemingly 2010-09, “urged” a _Korean_font_ to be installed. This ‘update’ seems to have vanished, as of today, from www. (Question was about description of “in theory possible” manual focussing, which was poorly described in German version)

Best-price was scaled down forn €_450,- in ~August, when the camera was introduced in my country, to €300,- yesterday.

[w.], from Vienna, Austria.

12:11 pm - Friday, November 12, 2010

#35 richard

It is a good fact that the price has been reduced gradually.

12:36 pm - Saturday, November 20, 2010

#36 [w.]

@Richard. I’m not yet sure that this fact is to be called “good” ;) although future customers might be pleased;)

As of now, I’m awaiting a firmware-upgrade (which will be done in Vienna/Austria, for free) before leaving any more notes.

I anyways have to state that the lens is of “by far” superior quality than any digicams I previously used (Canon A60, Nikon P50; the lens shows hardly any distortion in wide-angle mode), but the handling of the camera unfortunately ist not satisfying, as I-for-myself _do_ see it:

The push-buttons are arranged in a way that, for instance, in “portrait” format a video might start inconsciously ;))
—useless, of course, as it would appear to be turned 90° ;))

Besides, IMO, there are by far too many ‘gadgets’ and too many ways to access certain ‘functions’. Admittedly, I’m not very young, and I possibly rather refer to the simplicity of Nikon’s F2, in the 1970s ;))


1:01 pm - Saturday, November 20, 2010

#37 meltre23

I’ve just bought a 5 month old Ex1 from ebay[UK] and has a mains battery charger [USB cable into plug] and the lens cap is attached to body via thin string. Does no one remember lens caps were never integral for about 150 years! Or the fact that they used to double as shutters - still do with pinholes.
Whilst I think this is a seriously good camera, if you want ultimate quality and A2 prints look elsewhere and pay large amounts of money. As so often in life you get what you pay for….and I have worked with everything from 10x8 Sinar, hasselblad and a bevy of Leicas but for now the EX1 will be just fine.

3:51 pm - Sunday, March 27, 2011

#38 Sulli

I just bought a TL500/EX1 and I love it. There are two firmware updates on Samsungs’ site that were released last year within 2 months of each other. They’re both about 45 MB each but certainly different releases.

There is absolutely no information on the site as to in what sequense these files should be applied or, how do I even know if my camera needs the patch since I just bought it. So I guess my question is:

1- Is there a function on the camera which displays the version of the installed firmware?

2- Let’s say I find out that I need to install the new firmware(s). In this case do I go ahead and install the first released firmware (about 45 MB) and then apply the second firmware (45 MB) on the top of the first?

3- Or maybe I just install the second firmware(the latest version)

It is funny that none of the above info is available on their site. I think samsung as a company don’t have their shit together.

10:23 am - Saturday, April 9, 2011

#39 diera

EX1’s fast lens is amazing… with a zoom range of 24mm plus the articulated viewer, the great shots and additionally the compact size which perfectly suit me, I do believe the EX1 has won me ever!

3:23 pm - Sunday, June 12, 2011

#40 Dan

No clue, why this camera is getting good reviews. I got it now for about 6 Months and I’m all but happy with it. Picture quality is weak, the exposure unreliable and the camera is slooow. Hoping Canons G13 will come out soon, with a 24mm lens. Then I’m happy again :-(

7:03 pm - Saturday, September 3, 2011

#41 marcg60

I have this camera now since three days. I wonder if the focussing noise is normal. Its louder than all the other camera’s I had. It’s a sort of rewinding noise when I focus is that right ? Focussing goes quick and the pictures are sharp. Would like to hear comment from other owners of this great camera.

8:12 pm - Monday, March 5, 2012

#42 ivan

Here in Ukraine it’s just 280 usd now. I have Canon s90, and that’s a very good camera except.. image quality. I wonder is EX1 any better in this respect.

8:49 pm - Tuesday, March 13, 2012

#43 Darrin

I’ve looked at other comparable compact cameras like Canon S series, Ricoh, or Olympus and have to say this camera is one of the very best; producing very good image quality.

Pity I cannot find any old ones being sold now on eBay or elsewhere for half the price, as I’m currently shopping for a high quality take-everywhere compact, and this camera seems to be the one.

6:21 pm - Wednesday, June 6, 2012

#44 Andy


I saw a used EX1 at Camera World in London yesterday £125. 020 7636 5005

9:47 am - Thursday, June 7, 2012

#45 Julia

does it have children’s scene + sport’s??????

2:34 pm - Wednesday, June 13, 2012

#46 Mario Da Silva

I got this for my wife as a replacement for her Kodak Z721 IS Easyshare and she just hates it. She always uses the P setting in her cameras. Her photos come out with soft focus, and she’s not happy even after using the Double anti-shake! I even tried the Smile shutter recognition function and it ‘misses’ the smile by almost a third of a second! Whar a waste of a 1.8 fast lens with this crummy software! Tell me we’re using it wrong…PLEASE!

5:11 am - Friday, June 15, 2012

#47 fp

Should I uprgrade my FW? Acutally is 009301 OIS 2
Outstanding camera.. great for macros ,sky photos and night shooting,very usable Dual Stabilization mode.. weird menus and during some settings weird limited options!

1:20 pm - Saturday, January 18, 2014

#48 fabiopirovano

Got one,nice lenses and camera for take photo but weird limited control,awful video..

10:48 am - Thursday, September 4, 2014

#49 Jay

Anyone knows where to buy Replacement Battery pack for EX1 SLB-11A? please give the link. thank you

6:43 am - Saturday, April 4, 2015

Entry Tags

3 inch LCD, RAW, manual, 24mm, 10 megapixel, samsung, AMOLED, ccd, tl500, ex1, Samsung TL500 Review, Samsung EX1 Review, 3x lens

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