Samsung EX1 Review

4.5
July 1, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

The Samsung EX1 produced images of excellent quality during the review period. Noise doesn't become obvious until ISO 800, along with a slight softening of fine detail, and then becomes progressively worse at the fastest settings of ISO 1600 and 3200.

Chromatic aberrations were also very well controlled, with some limited purple fringing effects appearing only in very high contrast situations. The 10 megapixel images were a little soft straight out of the camera at the default sharpen setting and require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera sharpening level.

Macro performance is excellent, allowing you to focus as close as 1cm away from the subject. Commendably barrel distortion is well controlled even at the 24mm wide-angle focal length. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and adequate overall exposure.

The anti-shake system works well when hand-holding the EX1 in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. The maximum shutter speed of 16 seconds allows the camera to capture enough light for most after-dark situations. The Smart Range feature effectively expands the dynamic range by combining two shots taken at different exposures.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Samsung EX1. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

JPEG RAW  

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

 
 
     

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

 
 

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Samsung EX1's 3x zoom lens provides a focal length of 24-72mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

24mm

72mm

File Quality

The Samsung EX1 has 3 different image quality settings available, with Superfine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Superfine (3.38Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Fine (2.10Mb) (100% Crop)
   
10M Normal (1.40Mb) (100% Crop) 10M RAW (21Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Samsung EX1 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Samsung EX1 offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Samsung EX1 are Auto, Auto & Red-eye reduction, Fill-in flash, Slow sync, Flash off, and Red eye fix. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (24mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (24mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (72mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (72mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are a couple of portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Auto setting or the Red Eye Fix option caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red Eye Fix

Red Eye Fix (100% Crop)

Night

The Samsung EX1's maximum shutter speed is 16 seconds in the Manual or Shutter Speed Priority modes, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 16 seconds at ISO 80.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Samsung EX1 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. With anti shake turned on, the images are noticeably sharper than with anti-shake turned off.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/15 sec / 24mm
1/10 sec / 72mm

Smart Range

Smart Range expands the dynamic range of a JPEG image by combining two shots taken at different exposures, recording more detail in the highlight and shadow areas.

Off

On

Smart Filters

There are 3 Smart Filter effects that you can apply to your JPEG images.

Miniature

Vignetting

   

Fisheye

 
 

Photo Styles

There are 11 Photo Style preset effects that you can use to change the look of your images, and you can also create your own Custom Color.

Normal

Sketch

   

Defog

Soft

   

Vivid

Forest

   

Retro

Cool

   

Calm

Classic

   

Negative

 
 

Entry Tags

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

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