When we’re contemplating paying a lot of money for a premium product, we don’t want to be forced to make compromises. With that in mind, the EX2F looks promising. Its oversized 1/1.7in sensor distinguishes from cheaper cameras, and its f/1.4 lens is as bright as you’ll find on a compact camera. There’s comprehensive manual control, 10fps continuous shooting, a hotshoe for an external flashgun, a 3in fully articulated screen and integrated Wi-Fi. No other compact camera can match this line-up of features.
The models that come close are a capable bunch, though, including the Fujifilm X10 with its sumptuous image quality and the Panasonic LX7, our current favourite premium compact camera for all-round appeal.
While the EX2F compares well on paper, there’s a lack of attention to detail that makes it less rewarding to use. It should be well suited to photographic tinkerers with its front command dial, rear wheel, AE Lock button and drive mode dial. However, there are no dedicated buttons for exposure compensation, ISO speed or white balance. These are available via a Fn button, but navigating the 15 options that reside here isn’t as fast as using single-function buttons, especially since the Fn menu doesn’t respond while photos are being saved.
The rear wheel is used to navigate across these 15 options while the front dial adjusts the selected setting. However, it doesn’t register quick spins of the dial properly, only adjusting the setting by a small amount, so large changes are annoyingly slow to make. For example, going from a 30-second to a 1/4,000-second shutter speed took 32 spins of the dial. The same dial is assigned to shutter speed duties by default in shutter-priority and manual modes, and performing the same task here took just four spins.
Shot-to-shot performance was pretty quick at 1.1 seconds for JPEGs, but raw mode was slower and quite erratic, averaging 2.4 seconds. The 10fps continuous mode lasted for 10 frames – a fairly typical achievement for this class of camera – but the slower 5.5fps and 3fps modes are also limited to 10 frames. All three modes took nine seconds to recover before being ready to shoot again, and they all showed a blank screen during capture. Continuous and raw modes can’t be used together.
Other niggling issues include the lack of an orientation sensor, so portrait-shaped photos must be rotated manually. The 240-shot battery life might not last a day’s use, and in-camera charging means you can’t charge one battery while using another.