Olympus XZ-1 Brief Review

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REVIEW SUMMARY

Specifications

  • 10 megapixels
  • 1/1.63" CCD sensor
  • 4x optical zoom
  • 28mm wide-angle
  • f1.8-2.5 lens
  • 720p video
  • Optical (sensor-shift) image stabilization
  • 3-inch OLED monitor
  • Flash hotshoe
  • RAW capture
  • TruePic 5 image processor
  • Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Release Date: 2011-02-28
  • Final Grade: 89 B+

B+
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Olympus XZ-1
10 megapixels; 1/1.63" CCD sensor; 4x optical zoom; 28mm wide-angle; f1.8-2.5 lens; 720p video; Optical (sensor-shift) image stabilization; 3-inch OLED monitor; Flash hotshoe; RAW capture; TruePic 5 image processor; Captures to SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards; Rechargeable lithium-ion battery;
By , Last updated on: 5/18/2014

The XZ-1 is Olympus' first attempt at an advanced compact camera in quite some time and they’ve really put together a solid shooter. It looks and acts like a PEN-ified Canon S95 or Panasonic LX5; the dimensions are more compact than an Olympus mirrorless shooter, yet the design retains that same sleek, modern rangefinder aesthetic. 

It's a fixed-lens (f1.8-2.5, 28-112mm) model with a 1/1.6-inch sensor, putting it firmly in advanced-compact territory. It also supports all of the latest PEN accessories, most importantly a hotshoe flash and optical viewfinder. Reports are overwhelmingly positive so far, with the XZ-1 competing with and many times outdoing the Panasonic LX5, Canon S95 and G11, and Samsung’s TL500. High ISO noise is pretty comparable, but that especially fast lens allows for better-defocused backgrounds and lower sensitivity settings in dimly lit situations. It would have been nice to have 1080p video capture -- the XZ-1 only shoots 720p – but the CCD-type sensor holds it back from full-HD capability, and we suppose that they need some feature to improve in the upgrade. Olympus has set the bar high for this one, early responses are overwhelmingly positive, and we'll see how it pans out over the rest of the year.

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Olympus Reviews

Olympus is a long-time camera manufacturer, but lately they've been offering innovative, compact imaging options that are well worth a look. While Olympus doesn't have a camera in every category like Nikon or Sony, their focus on the cameras they offer shows.

Olympus' main, and best, cameras are their mirrorless line. The OM-D line offers mirrorless cameras that rival professional results while their PEN options offer the most portability and affordability. Most of their mirrorless cameras have simple, retro designs that work really well. Their kit lenses are often a bit higher quality than most. The Olympus mirrorless cameras we've been able to test have shown excellent image quality and usability.

While most of Olympus' focus seems to be on their excellent mirrorless line, we haven't been disappointed with any of their compacts we've put through our tests either. The TG-3 and TG-4 are among the best waterproof compacts on the market. And when we put the super zoom SP-100 to the test, we were quite happy with the image quality and performance.

Olympus may not have a camera in each and every category, but they've really put a lot into their existing cameras, making them excellent options.

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