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Best high-end compact camera
Best high-end compact camera

Thanks to its fairly liberal, but not excessive, smattering of control buttons and dials, most prospective buyers will recognise that the Samsung EX2F is aimed at keen photographers rather than novices. But that's not to say that it can't be used by inexperienced photographers.

Those happy to let the camera decide what settings to use will be satisfied to set the camera to Smart Auto mode via the option on the mode dial, but those who want to get a little bit more involved must scroll through the Magic Plus options - also accessed via the mode dial.

Owners of the Samsung EX1 will notice a significant weight difference when they pick up the lighter Samsung EX2F.

Although the drop in weight makes the Samsung EX2F feel a little less substantial, it also makes it more balanced and easier to hold one-handed, because the majority of the Samsung EX1's weight is over to the left side as you hold the camera.

Samsung EX2F review

The Samsung EX2F's grip is more ergonomically shaped than the Samsung EX1's, but it also has a less effective coating, so what's gained on the swings is to some extent lost on the roundabouts.

Control-wise, the layout of the Samsung EX2F is very similar to the Samsung EX1's, but there are a couple of changes, the most noticeable of which is the introduction of the Wi-Fi (Smart Link) button in place of the ISO option on the four-way controller on the back of the camera.

This provides quick access to some of the Wi-Fi enabled options such as Social Sharing (linking to Facebook, Picasa, Photobucket and YouTube), MobileLink, Remote Viewfinder, Email, Cloud, Auto Backup or TV.

Any of these options can also be selected by turning the Mode dial on the top-plate to Wi-Fi, but this button gives a quick route to your favourite one.

Samsung EX2F review

The camera's Wi-Fi options are all pretty easy to use, with helpful prompts informing you when you need to install an app on your smartphone, for example to use the Remote Viewfinder, or to connect to your phone to the camera's network.

Because the camera stores Wi-Fi network passwords, your Facebook login details and so on, you only need to put them in once. From then on connection to your home Wi-Fi network or uploading images to Facebook is a breeze.

The Remote Viewfinder option, which enables you to use a smart device to trigger the Samsung EX2F's shutter (flash options, image size, self-timer delay and zoom) is a little disappointing, because it only provides limited control over the camera and the maximum image size is limited to 9MP. The zoom is also just digital rather than optical.

One problem with the Wi-Fi button is that it is easily pressed by accident, especially when shooting with the camera in the upright position, and it takes a couple of button presses to exit the Wi-Fi menu.

Samsung EX2F review

Another issue, of course, is that there isn't a direct control for the sensitivity, but the ISO setting can still be adjusted pretty quickly via the Function Menu. This is accessed by pressing the Fn button on the back of the camera.

The Function Menu displays up to 15 parameters, which can be adjusted simply by navigating to them and then using the dial at the top of the grip on the front of the camera.

Alternatively, the chosen feature can be adjusted by pressing the OK button and using any of the navigation controls. The display is bright, clear and easy to navigate, so setting adjustments can be made quickly.

Because the Samsung EX2F doesn't have a viewfinder, images must be composed on the articulated 3-inch 614,000-dot AMOLED screen.

Samsung EX2F review

Indoors or in low light, this provides an excellent view of the scene, but reflections are an issue outside in bright sunlight. The Samsung EX2F isn't alone with this problem, but it means that there can be an element of guesswork with the fine details of some compositions.

The AF box can also be hard to see on the screen in bright light, and it would be nice to have a touchscreen so you can set the point with the touch of a finger.

The fact that the screen is on an articulating hinge is a bonus. Because it makes it easier to shoot from very high or low angles, it tends to encourage you to do so, making for more interesting shots.

All things considered, the Samsung EX2F is a pretty pleasant camera to use. The Wi-Fi functionality has been fairly well thought out (although it would be nice to be able to connect an iPhone to the camera's network from within the activated app) and it adds extra fun and flexibility.