XZ-1 Limitations

Started Nov 3, 2011 | Discussions thread
Ivan Glisin
Contributing MemberPosts: 713
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Re: XZ-1 Limitations
In reply to Michael919, Nov 4, 2011

I was deciding between S95 and XZ-1. After trying both I have decided to go with XZ-1. Here are my impressions:

XZ-1 has an excellent hardware (lens, sensor, processor, responsiveness, AF speed, great OLED display, good build quality) but unfortunately loaded with inadequate firmware which does not allow you to fully utilize camera's potential. (From inability to adjust noise reduction in JPEGs, no separate AF/EL lock, to some general inconsistencies and inconveniences in the user interface. This has been elaborated extensively here.)

As a DSLR user shooting RAW and with studio and post processing experience, I was expecting I will configure camera for my shooting style and infrequently change anything, and I felt comfortable shooting exclusively in RAW and spend additional time for post-processing. Major parameters for me were lens and sensor quality, and XZ-1 is simply amazing in that department!

So I would say if you are OK with shooting and processing RAW, if you demand sharp images corner to corner at all apertures, if you expect to shoot in low-light conditions, and if you can live with somewhat limited user interface, go with XZ-1. If you wish better JPEG results straight out of the camera, better interface with more options, better portability, but at the expense of a slower and less sharp lens, go with S95/S100. I do not use video, but S95/S100 should be better.

One note about noise: I see the tendency to evaluate noise without mentioning the "quality" of noise. What I mean by "quality" is (a) how easy is to reduce or clean it, and (b) how it subjectively looks in pictures. Both are very good with XZ-1 (I shoot at max ISO 800, typically 100-400, and processing RAW in Lightroom): color noise is very easy to completely remove, while luminance noise minimally impacts details, and unlike most small sensor cameras there is no tendency of pixels grouping in a variety of artificially looking dashes and boxes that scream "digital". High ISO noise looks natural, pleasing, and similar to scanned film. I usually apply no or only a small amount of luminance noise reduction.

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