With the widest maximum aperture on the compact camera market and a set of features to rival a DSLR, Samsung’s EX1 wants to be the best enthusiast compact around.
Resolution, Noise and Sensitivity
These images show 72ppi sections of images of a resolution chart, captured at the long end of the zoom (66mm). We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.
As we have seen in the images from the NX10, Samsung has done a lot of work on its noise-reduction algorithms. Chroma noise, even at the highest ISO settings, plays no part in the images from the EX1, but light luminance noise is evident even at ISO 80 when images are viewed at 100%.
Samsung has found a good compromise between noise reduction and resolution, as line-pair separation in our tests proved good. At the lowest ISO settings resolution is impressive, and it only declines slightly as sensitivity increases.
The EX1 reaches some very respectable figures, especially from raw files. The top resolution recording at ISO 80 is actually on a par with some DSLR cameras, and even when noise reduction becomes an issue in JPEGs, raw images retain plenty of extractable detail and resolution hardly suffers.
Noise levels at high ISOs are very low, but spike at ISO 3200, although obviously, with such a wide maximum aperture, those high ISO settings are not needed so often.
In all, I am very impressed with the image quality produced by the EX1. While the pixel count of ten million may seem restrictive now we are used to DSLRs and compacts with so many more, the benefits of better noise performance certainly take the edge off any disappointment.