Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review

The Samsung EX2F is the update to Samsung's serious compact camera, and is one of very few to feature a bright f/1.4 lens, as well as Wi-Fi. Find out how it performs in our review.

| Samsung EX2F in Compact Cameras

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (2)

It's been two years since the Samsung EX1 (aka TL500) was released, and the Samsung EX2F is an update to the Samsung EX1/TL500, and their latest "serious compact" camera, shooting RAW images, as well as providing full manual controls. The camera features a new f/1.4 lens with 3.3x optical zoom, as well as a 3 inch AMOLED vari-angle screen. A new 12.4 megapixel sensor provides 10fps continuous shooting as well as Full HD video recording. 

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (4)

Samsung EX2F Features

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (5)

The EX2F features a new 12.4 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor as well as a bright f/1.4 3.3x optical zoom lens with a wide angle equivalent of 24mm zooming to 80mm and optical image stabilisation. The backlit CMOS sensor means the camera is now able to shooting at 10fps as well as record full HD video, along with stereo sound and optical zoom. The camera features a high resolution 3 inch AMOLED vari-angle screen that can be tilted and rotated for awkward angles. It's also inherited Samsung's Wi-Fi technology from other Samsung Wi-Fi cameras, and this means it's got a number of methods for sharing or uploading photos straight to the internet.

Key Features

  • 12.4 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
  • 3.3x optical zoom lens, f/1.4-2.7
  • 24-80mm equivalent
  • Optical image stabilisation
  • 3 inch AMOLED vari-angle screen, 640x480 resolution
  • Built in Wi-Fi
  • Full HD Video, stereo sound
  • ISO80 - 12800
  • 1cm Macro mode
  • 10fps continuous shooting

Samsung EX2F Handling

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (7)

Handling - The Samsung EX2F has a familiar design to the previous model, and has quite a chunky metal body compared to the Panasonic Lumix LX7. It feels well built and the large front rubber grip gives you a firm hold of the camera. On the back there is a small rubber area for your thumb, as well as a raised area to stop you from accidentally pressing the video or AEL buttons. The front scroll wheel lets you change settings, or when pressed in lets you set exposure compensation. It's fairly easy to accidentally press this in and alter EV without realising. The lens surround has a bumpy textured area to help grip the camera with your right hand, and this does screw off to allow additional accessories (assuming they are readily available). The swivel screen can be folded away to protect the screen, however this suggests that an electronic viewfinder could be used instead, however one is not (currently) available, and there doesn't appear to be an accessory port even if one was available. 

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (6)

Menus – The Samsung menus are clearly laid out and the high quality screen certainly helps reading and using them. Pressing the Fn (Function) button brings up a "Super Control Panel" which is identical to the Samsung NX menu system, this gives you quick access to a number of common settings and makes it really easy to change options. There are also a number of external controls so that you don't need to use the menus too much on this camera, although the Wi-Fi button on the 4-way dial seems a little redundant especially as there is a Wi-Fi position on the mode dial.

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Samsung EX2F (1)

Battery life - According to the Samsung user manual (on CD) the battery should last for 240 shots. We were able to take just over 200 shots before the battery went flat. This is likely to be less the more the Wi-Fi is used.
Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Canon Powershot G12 Samsung EX2F (2)
Canon Powershot G12 vs Samsung EX2F Size comparison

The Canon Powershot G12 has since been replaced by the larger (and more expensive) Canon Powershot G1 X which may disappoint anyone hoping for a more compact Canon camera.

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Canon Powershot G12 Samsung EX2F (5)

The lack of compact upgrade to the Canon Powershot G12 leaves anyone wanting a serious compact camera instead looking at mirrorless cameras, or cameras from other manufacturers, such as the Samsung EX2F shown here.

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Canon Powershot G12 Samsung EX2F (3)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Samsung EX2F Sony Alpha A37
Shutter Response 0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.4 0.15
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.9 0.9
Shot to Shot without Flash 1.0 0.5
Shot to Shot with Flash 2.0 0.8
Continuous Shooting
(shots before slow down)
10fps (10 shots) 6fps (11 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A 0.7s
Continuous Shooting - RAW N/A 6fps (7 shots)

Shutter response is excellent, although the built in shutter sound (if you choose to leave it on) sounds quite slow regardless of the shutter speed so may make you think that it's using a slow shutter speed when it's not. Focus is reasonably quick whether shooting wide or using the zoom. Switch on time is reasonable, as is shot to shot time. Continuous shooting is very quick at 10fps in JPEG. Strangely it's not possible to shoot using the continuous shooting mode and select RAW. Continuous shooting only works when shooting JPEGs.
The camera takes a long time to write images to the memory card, particularly if shooting RAW, and while the camera will let you continue shooting, it won't let you change settings while it's writing to the card.

Samsung EX2F Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Samsung EX2F Sample Photos

Sample Photos - The portrait shot shows good skin tones and colour, and outdoor shots have particularly impressive levels of detail and good colour. Low light results are impressive with good image stabilisation, it was possible to get sharp shots when shooting at 1/10th of a second.

Samsung EX2F Lens test images

Lens Performance - There was a slight tendency for the camera to over-expose images on occassion. For the aperture test shots the exposure compensation was set at +1EV to get the correct exposure in the watch face. Images are very sharp (perhaps a little too sharp for some) and have a lot of detail whether shooting wide or with the zoom. Some purple fringing is visible when shooting bright contrasty areas, however in most situations it is very well controlled.

Samsung EX2F ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO100 and ISO200, and becomes visible at ISO400. At ISO800 noise increases. Again at ISO1600 noise increases further and detail is lost. ISO3200 shows a lot of noise and this setting is best avoided, as well as the higher settings. In normal outdoor shooting images appear to have low noise levels when using the lower ISO settings.

Samsung EX2F White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performance is good with a slightly warm result under tungsten lighting. For a more neutral result, using the tungsten preset has produced an excellent image. AWB performs very well under fluorescent lighting, and using the fluorescent preset has given the image a very slight green cast. 

Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review: Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/3.5 | 5.2 mm | ISO 100
Panoramic | 1/1000 sec | f/3.5 | 5.2 mm | ISO 100 - The sweep panoramic mode does a good job of stitching the image together while you pan the camera across the scene.

Samsung EX2F Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of digital filters and when shooting JPEG in the normal shooting mode you can select any of the "Smart Filters" to appy filters and special effects. In the Magic Plus home you can select a number of standard scene modes as well as panoramic, magic frame, split shot, picture in picture, artistic brush, HDR and creative movie maker. The Artistic Brush modes (Ink painting, Cartoon and Sketch) all create a video of the image being "painted" as well, examples of each can be seen on YouTube: Sketch, Cartoon Shot, Ink Painting. Some of these effects are taken at 5 megapixels, while most are at the full resolution.

Video - Video quality is very good, with the camera recording full HD videos with stereo sound. Optical zoom is also available while recording.

Value For Money

There are a number of serious compact cameras, details can be found below, of these, the Panasonic Lumix LX7 (f/1.4 lens) and Nikon Coolpix P7700 (vari-angle screen) are the nearest competitors in terms of similar features, however we'd also recommend having a look at the Fujifilm FinePix X10 as well as the Sony Cyber-shot RX100.

Camera MP Sensor Size Lens Price
Nikon Coolpix P310 (lacks RAW) 16 1/2.33 inch f/1.8 4.2x £219
Olympus XZ-1 10 1/1.63 inch f/1.8 4x £260
Canon Powershot S100 12 1/1.7 inch f/2.0 5x £329
Fujifilm FinePix X10 12 2/3 inch f/2.0 4x £338
Nikon Coolpix P7100 10 1/1.7 inch f/2.8 7.1x £349
Samsung EX2F 12.4 1/1.7 inch f/1.4 3.3x £429
Panasonic Lumix LX7 10mp 1/1.7 inch f/1.4 3.8x £449
Ricoh GR Digital IV 10 1/1.7 inch f/1.9 28mm £449
Nikon Coolpix P7700 12.2 1/1.7 inch f/2.0 7.1x £499
Large sensor compacts:        
Canon Powershot G1 X 14.3 1.5 inch f/2.8 4x £449
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 20.2 1 inch sensor f/1.8 3.6x £515
Sigma DP1 / DP2 Merrill 15.3/46 APS-C Foveon f/2.8 28mm / 45mm £799
Leica X2 16 APS-C f/2.8 35mm £1499

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Samsung EX2F Verdict

The Samsung EX2F is a good compact camera capable of taking high quality photos, with a bright f/1.4 lens with image stabilisation - this makes it extremely capable when shooting in low light situations. Noise control is a little worse than we hoped although colours are bright and vibrant, whilst still appearing natural. The screen is very good, giving multiple angles, as well as the option to protect the screen by folding it away, although the lack of electronic viewfinder will disappoint some. 
The camera offers high speed shooting at 10fps, although strangely this is only available when shooting JPEGs. When shooting RAW it's very noticeable how slow the camera is to write the photos to the memory card, as the camera will stop you from changing any settings. It would also be nice if there was a slightly longer zoom available, although the 1cm macro mode is impressive. Yet on that note, the camera doesn't automatically switch from normal focusing to macro - and if you have the camera in the wrong mode from the last shot, it will simply refuse to focus meaning you can easily miss a shot. 
Samsung's Wi-Fi sharing is one of the best we've seen on any camera, and it will let you share directly to social media sites, backup your photos, upload to the cloud, share to your smartphone and more. If this is of benefit to you, then this camera produces very good image quality and is recommended.

  Samsung EX2F Serious Compact Review:
  The Samsung EX2F is capable of taking high quality photos and has excellent Wi-Fi sharing built in.

Samsung EX2F Pros

Bright f/1.4 lens
Great 3inch vari-angle screen
10fps shooting (JPEG only)
Very good image quality
Excellent Wi-Fi sharing
1cm macro mode

Samsung EX2F Cons

In camera battery charging
Manual focus lacks distance indicator
Lacks orientation sensor
RAW shooting not possible with continuous mode
Wont let you change settings while photos being written to card


Samsung EX2F Specifications

Max Aperturef/1.4 - f/2.7
35mm equivalent24mm - 80mm
Optical Zoom3.3x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.4Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/1.7 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution640x480 614k dots (PenTile)
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting10fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPSNo Data
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeSLB-10A
Battery Life (CIPA rating)240shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsCamera, AC Adapter, USB Cable, Rechargeable battery, Neck Strap, User Manual CD-ROM, Quick Start Guide, Lens cap / Lens cap strap.

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Photographs taken using the Samsung EX2F

Bit late for urbexGrumpy.SmileThings are looking up.

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kittlsk Avatar
kittlsk 10
2 Oct 2012 6:36AM
Great review, is the manual focus available during video recording?

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