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The Samsung EX1 is a point-and-shoot camera that is able to deliver good pictures at any angle. Its dual dials and front wheel key lets you adjust settings in an instant while its f/1.8 Schneider lens allows a user to focus more on the subject.

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Busy Sydney intersection – ISO 400, No flash, Miniature mode turned on

The first thing that a user will notice upon holding the EX1 is its solid build. It may be a bit heavy (356g without batteries), but Samsung really made sure that the camera is ready for almost anything.

At the top of the camera are two dials (mode and drive mode) for quick setting adjustment, a power button, zoom rocker, flash release switch, hot shoe, and pop-up flash. Other control buttons such as AEL, Metering, Navigation (also functions as Flash, ISO, Display, and Macro), Menu, and Video Record are located on the rear. The unit also comes with a 3-inch rotating AMOLED screen.

The hand grip up front made it easier for us to hold the camera, while the front wheel key allowed us to adjust manual settings quickly. The HDMI and USB/AV ports are located underneath the flap, while the battery and SD/SDHC card slot are located at the base of the camera.

Taking photos using the EX1 was fairly quick and simple. The dual dial helped us to change the camera settings without having to go through the menu, while the front wheel provided instant access to manual adjustments. The swivelling AMOLED screen also allowed us to take overhead and low ground shots.

 
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Image taken 5:30pm – ISO 800, No flash

The EX1 takes about four seconds to start up before taking its first shot, which may disappoint some users. We were fairly impressed with the EX1, with images looking vibrant and auto white balance being spot on most of the time. In addition, the 1/1.7″ CCD sensor and f/1.8 lens allowed us to capture brilliant images at night without setting the ISO too high. (See sample photo on the right)

The unit also comes with various photos styles (Sketchy, Soft, Vivid, Forest, Retro, Cool, Calm, Classic, Negative) and a Smart Filter (Miniature, Vignetting, and Fish-Eye) to help a user unleash their creativity.

The dedicated one-touch button allowed us to quickly record a video (zooming in/out was also possible), but unlike other recently-released Samsung cameras, the EX1 can only record in 640×480 or 320×240 at 30 fps. Disappointing, yes, but it just shows that Samsung wants this camera to prioritise picture quality over HD video.

Overall, we were impressed by the Samsung EX1. This point and shoot was easy to operate, was able to take good photos in dark places, and provides a lot of shooting options for added versatility. The only problem users may have is its slow start-up time, limited zoom, and VGA video quality. It is available now at selected retailers for $599.

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