Samsung EX1 / TL500 – advanced compact that sets the new standard

by Enche Tjin on February 22, 2010

Samsung EX1 / TL500 is advanced camera designed for serius amateur photographer in mind. However, casual shooters will also benefited by the qualities of this digital compact camera.

When I look at EX1 picture  and spec, I can’t help impressed with it. It is a step up from the popular Panasonic LX3. LX3 is famous for its wide angle lens with big maximum aperture and full manual control. Samsung EX1 surpasses LX3’s qualities and took it a step further.

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Its lens has even bigger maximum aperture and more flexible lens : 24-72mm f/1.8-2.4. Furthermore, it has better control with 2 round dials, 1 finger dials and 2 mode dials. It also has swiveling 3″ AMOLED LCD screen. One important feature Samsung EX1 lack is ability to record HD video. But this might not concern most amateur photographers who places emphasis on photography rather than videography.

Compare to another popular advanced compact camera, Canon S90, it has a hotshoe for flash or external viewfinder. But Canon S90 IS is highly pocketable, Samsung EX1 is not. It is even bigger than Panasonic LX3.

Overall, Samsung EX1 / TL500 sets a new standard in this category. It will be a tough challenge for Panasonic who is also planning to release Panasonic LX4 this year.

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Here is the specs comparison between the three of them:

Samsung EX1 Panasonic LX3 Canon S90 IS
Image Sensor 10 MP 1/1.7 10 MP 1/1.63 10 MP 1/1.7
Lens 24-72mm f/1.8 – 2.4 24-60mm f/2-2.8 28-105mm f/2-4.9
LCD Screen 3″ Swivel LCD 610k dots 3″ 460k dots 3″ 460k dots
ISO up to 3200 up to 1600 up to 3200
Hotshoe yes yes no
Video VGA HD 16:9 at 24fps VGA
Control 2 round dials, 1 finger dial. 4 ways controllers 1 joystick, 4 ways controllers 2 round dials, 4 ways controllers
Dimension 114.3mm x 63.2mm x 29.2mm / – 108.7 x 59.5 x 27.1 mm / 265g 100.0 x 58.4 x 30.9mm / 175g
Price $450 $400 $400
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

kamera-gue February 22, 2010 at 3:18 am

The fast lens in Samsung EX1 makes me realize that now the DSLR is not the only solution for low light. But for creating a good bokeh (which the DSLR and their fast prime can produce), how good this fast lens can be? If this little wonder can create a pleasant bokeh, then we don’t even need a Micro 4/3 nor DSLR anymore :)

Enche Tjin February 22, 2010 at 3:27 am

Impossible to get a bokeh like DSLR due to the massive sensor size differences, f/1.8 is equal to f/15 in regular DSLR and f/9 in Four Third system. However, we can take advantage of this depth of field to get everything in focus. Imagine when we want to capture an indoor architecture or group pictures in dark area. This compact might be a better choice than a DSLR.

Mario May 13, 2010 at 12:49 am

I’m not much of a photographer, but they advertise this camera as producing a good bokeh.

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