Samsung EX1 10-Megapixel Digital Camera Review

Performance
Testing a digital camera can be daunting at times, though testing it in real world situation would be best as that is where people and general consumers would be using it.

Using the Samsung EX1 in various conditions proved overall, a good experience.

Setting up the camera is fairly straight-forward. If you dive into the menu to change settings, the default settings should be pretty decent for most users. In fact, keeping it on the highest setting for JPEG will produce pretty good results. If you are more into photography and have the computer resources, selecting RAW will ensure you have the most data to work with. If you’re not sure what RAW format is, just stick to the highest setting JPEG setting and you will be fine.

If you set the camera (via one of the top dials) to Smart Mode, you really will not have to worry about your photos as the camera itself is relatively smart enough to figure out optimal settings. If you want to know more about what each setting does, please refer the camera’s manual which is available online.

A Few Photographic Situations
Most people probably look for how well a digital camera will perform given various situations, even so before they look at the quality of photos one might take. Then again, most digital cameras these days are able to produce pretty great results. Though, will the camera help you out in a tough situation photographically speaking of course.

What better way to test a digital camera’s performance than by using it in the extremes, well perhaps not the most extreme situations, but one that most people will experience. That situation is indoor concert photography. Now most compact digital fail miserably when the lighting is quite poor. You may see many people using their flash during a concert, which can help, but generally the use of a flash probably ruins the shot you were hoping to capture.

One recent concert, that was played at the Commodore Ballroom here in Vancouver, would be a great place to try out the low-light ability of the Samsung EX1. Setting the mode dial to A (Aperture Priority) with a value (aperture or f-stop) of 1.8 with setting the ISO (sensors sensitivity) to Auto was the plan. During the concert the Samsung EX1 produced some pretty good results and I did not have to delete very many of them.

The choice to not use a flash during the concert was that the flash would have bounced off people’s heads in front of the camera and underexpose the band that was playing up on stage. The flash can ruin the lighting ambiance of a concert too. Typically a camera’s built on flash can only go so far, typically like 5 feet, so anything behind the reach of the camera will be dark or black.

Now that we got one of the extreme uses for a compact digital camera out of the way, let’s go into a more normal subject to photography; flora.

Overall the 24mm able of the Samsung EX1 helped capture some of the beautiful and colourful gardens that are located within Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island.  The varying colours were well represented in the results after a whole day spent shooting around the grounds.

[link to unprocessed photos from Butchart Gardens]

When trying to be more creative with the Samsung EX1 it was time to dive a bit into the manual settings that the camera is capable of. Looking for a completely manual mode went with some frustration. There was some troubles setting the shutter speed and aperture to desired values, though it seems that certain modes can only handle certain manual settings. According to the specifications the camera should have been able to do shutter speeds longer than 1 second with apertures smaller than f7.0. Not being able to choose desired manual settings went with missing out particular styles of photos. You know that cottony effect you see on flowing water, it just wasn’t meant to be.

Shooting the flower beds and overall landscapes though were fun and easy to do with the Samsung EX1. The macro mode allowed for getting up and personal with the various flowers that the gardens had in bloom too.

The use of the articulated LCD screen is a nice feature. When you want to get high above a crowd, or point the camera back at you (self-portraits right?) it allows you to effortlessly compose your shot while still being able to see what you are doing. It also acts to protect the LCD from being banged or scratched while in a bag or not in use.

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