In order to test the noise handling capability of the CCD sensor on the Samsung EX1, we take a series of shots at ISO 80 all the way up to ISO 3200. All these are 100% crops of images shot in aperture priority.
The 1/1.7″ CCD sensor is no slouch. At ISO 80 through ISO 200, noise is just about non-existent and at ISO 400, it is barely noticeable. However, at ISO 800, it becomes rather noticeable and ISO 1600 is rather grainy but still usable. Noise levels are actually not bad although in the process of compressing images into JPEGs, it appears as though the camera attempts to smooth out noise, sacrificing detail. You won’t see this at lower than ISO 400 but images begin to smudge as ISO gets higher. Even in the non-detail areas like the white wall, noise levels are very high. I wouldn’t use this camera past ISO 400. ISO 800 if I’m desperate but ISO 1600 and 3200 produce images that look like they’ve been sitting in a bucket of water for awhile.
Shooting in RAW will eliminate this smudging problem but the noise remains high at high ISO.