With the launch of the Olympus XZ-1 it becomes apparent that Olympus hasn’t been sitting idly by – instead it has clearly been watching the sector very closely and has studied the available cameras keenly. The result of this study is an enthusiast compact that takes the best elements of its rivals and synthesizes them into a very attractive package. Olympus XZ-1 is available in two elegant colors such as white ( as seen in the picture) and black.
There’s a bright lens, of course, with the Olympus XZ-1 becoming the first of the company’s compacts to ever wear its respected ‘Zuiko’ designation. And it’s clear why the company would want to draw attention to the optics, having created the brightest zoom lens of any current compact while still offering a truly useful range. The i.Zuiko lens is F1.8 at the 28mm equivalent end and a still very impressive F2.5 at the 112mm setting.
But the spec doesn’t end at the lens – the Olympus XZ-1 is built around a high sensitivity 1/1.63″ CCD which, along with its peers, makes it one of the larger sensors to appear in a compact camera with a built-in lens. To this it adds two control dials (including an S90-style dial around the lens) and a bright, high-resolution OLED screen. Other high-end highlights include a flash hot shoe and the ability to wirelessly control off-board flashguns. It’s hard to imagine what else Olympus could have fitted into the Olympus XZ-1′s attractive metal-fronted body.
Its lens is specifically designed for clear, high-quality photographic performance with minimal ghosting or flare. The Olympus XZ-1 offers advanced manual controls that experienced photographers expect from larger digital SLR cameras. But, with the Olympus Olympus XZ-1, advanced features are easy to use.
The Olympus XZ-1 has an easily accessible built-in pop-up flash to illuminate low-light subjects, reduce red-eye and fill in dark areas. The camera also features an AF illuminator to make it simple to focus in low-light situations. On top of all this, the Olympus XZ-1 also offers a Low-Light mode which automatically adjusts the ISO sensitivity up to ISO 3200 to take sharp full-resolution photos in dark places.
Here are the features and specifications of this Olympus XZ-1 as a summary:
- 10 MP digital camera
- DSLR Quality images with a fixed lens camera
- 3.0 Amoled Monitor
- HD Movie with HDMI Control
- 4x iZuiko Zoom
- High Sensitivity 10MP CCD sensor
- 28-112mm equivalent lens
- F1.8-2.5 maximum aperture
- CCD-shift image stabilization
- Twin control dials, including one around the lens
- ISO 100-6400
- New TruPic V processor (as used in the company’s PEN series)
- Large 3.0″ 621k (VGA equivalent) OLED display
- 720p movie mode (30 fps in Motion JPEG format)
- Micro HDMI connector
- 6 Art Filters (As per the PEN series)
- In-camera RAW conversion
- Built-in flash, hotshoe and remote flash control
- Built-in ND filter
Here is a Olympus XZ-1 Review from a satisfied buyer:
This camera is a joy to use
The Olympus XZ-1 is a terrific camera, one that meets my expectations since the mockup of the camera was shown last fall at Photokina. I have previously owned a Panasonic LX3 (since upgraded to the LX5) and also own a Canon S90 (since upgraded to the S95), so I feel qualified that I can objectively compare the Olympus XZ-1 to those two cameras in the same premium fixed-lens genre. I have had the Olympus XZ-1 for over a week and have taken dozens of photos with it so far. The photo quality of the Olympus XZ-1 is excellent! Photos have nice color and most camera controls are very intuitive. I especially like the built-in neutral density filter that is easy to toggle on and off. The menu system is more simplified that both the Panasonic and Canon, which while lacking some in-depth customization functions is very easy to navigate – another nice feature is that the camera remembers what function you last used, a very handy time saver.
Olympus XZ-1 has the following Pros and cons:
- Fastest (brightest) zoom lens of any current compact
- Really useful 28-112mm lens range
- Lens impressively sharp with generally good corner sharpness at wide apertures
- Reliable exposure metering and great color response make it easy to get good images
- Good high ISO capability for a small-sensor camera (and rarely needed thanks to the bright lens)
- AF illuminator helps in low light
- Simple control system still gives high level of manual control
- Low light mode makes it easy to make the most of the camera’s strengths, quickly
- Art Filters are good at encouraging creative photographic thinking
- Ability to control flashes wirelessly a major plus
- USB charging is convenient
- Lack of AEL/AFL button rules out focus and recompose technique
- No ability to adjust noise reduction level
- No option to customize any buttons
- No direct access to ISO or White Balance
The Olympus XZ-1 is a rather late addition to the burgeoning enthusiast compact sector and, in some respects, a surprising one – the Olympus XZ-1′s potential market can’t help but overlap with the E-PL2′s, to an extent. But it’s a very welcome addition to what’s become an exciting part of the market for the keen photographer. This now includes a fairly broad range of cameras, varying from the ‘point-and-shoot with manual-override’ of Canon’s S95 up to the big, bulky, button-and-dial-covered Nikon P7000 and Canon G12, via the middle-ground option offered by Panasonic’s LX5 and Samsung’s TL500 (EX1). The Olympus XZ-1 steps in towards the more compact end of this spectrum and does a great job of balancing flexibility with pocketabilty. Not only does it offer a very versatile lens range (28-112mm equivalent), but it does so with a maximum aperture that can’t be matched. At F1.8-2.5 it’s brighter at every point than either the Panasonic or Samsung, and is in a completely different league to the F2.0-4.9 offered by the Canon S95 to which it’s otherwise so similar. Click here to get your own Olympus XZ-1 from Amazon.