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Samsung EX1: High-spec compact camerastocrat

Doff your cap, peasant, for the Samsung EX1, a new compact camera born into the upper class of the camera world

Samsung is looking to join the camera aristocracy -- the camerastocracy, if you will -- with the new EX1. The EX1, announced at photography show PMA under its US name, the TL500, is a 10-megapixel compact that packs in a wealth of upper-class features.

On the front, like the tell-tale flared nostrils of an epically inbred minor royal, is an f1.8 lens with 24mm-equivalent wide angle and 3x optical zoom. Delve into its genes and you'll find a large 1/1.7-inch 10-megapixel CCD sensor. It offers manual, shutter and aperture priority modes, and raw shooting.

Perched on top of the camera like a coronet on thinning hair is an accessory hotshoe for adding a flash, or a viewfinder. At the back there's a 76mm (3-inch) flip-out AMOLED screen. AMOLED screens give richer, brighter colour and don't burn through your battery like the black sheep of the family tearing through the inheritance.

The aristocracy isn't perfect, of course. Instead of hereditary porphyria, the EX1 suffers from video that's only VGA. Even the commonest of compact cameras boasts high-definition video these days; that's egalitarianism for you. Video is, however, unlikely to be a dealbreaker for the prosumer target audience.

Other toffs at this level include the excellent Canon PowerShot S90, and the EX1 will have to be pretty darn snooty to give that particular nob a run for its money. The Samsung EX1 joins the gentry in April, for the upper-class price of £400.