STYLUS 1: Bad and good
I’ve been looking a year or two for a replacement to our “age-old” Panasonic FZ50. This camera belongs to my employer, but mainly I’ve been using my own Canon ixus 870, S90 and Nikon P7700 in the work - always when tripod is not needed. I love the manual internal zoom in FZ50 and I had not wanted to lose it but here we are. Pana performs OK in steady shots at ISO100 and in bright light but that’s it. Usually those are not the conditions I need to deal with. I wanted as near pocketable size as possible and bright tele end like everyone else. And the reach of the zoom some 300mm. When all interchangeable-lens cams was too bulky, Sony RX10 too and FZ250 did not appear to be available, Stylus1 was introduced right on time.
Call me weirdo, but first saw Stylus1, I thought it is one beautiful camera! And still it is maybe the nicest looking among the modern compacts (or bridges)!
When I got the Stylus to my hands I was so disappointed. The surface felt almost as plasticky as the cheapie compacts. There is no real rubber in the grip (thumb grip too) I’m used with P7700. So I got completely wrong idea from the promotional photos. First I thought to go on Sugru, but I added a strip of 2 mm thick black speaker sealing tape on edges of the both grips. Now there is absolutely no gripping problem at all and only a couple of fingertips are enough to pick the camera up from the case.
The lock in the battery compartment cover is awkward, especially to lock it up. The latch is not in 100 % right place when door is the door is pushed closed, so force does not help. Also I had to concentrate to get the battery installed just the right angle and the memory card removal needs more fingernail than I have in my potatofingers.
I keep frustrating
- The control ring can’t have the ISO setting option.
- The shutter speed longer than ½ second needs S- or M-mode.
- No even small integral memory.
- Both EVF and monitor are too bright even adjusted down.
- JPEG noisy even with “everything off” (do I really have to turn the sled and join the ranks of RAW people...)
- Softness - but acceptable.
- Custom menu needs better organization.
- The control ring feels too stiff to turn (maybe it will come looser in the future?).
I have noted a straight-sided and shallower eyecup would save some space. The curved shape is not very useful, because I hit my nose on the monitor before the eye to the viewfinder anyway. Maybe I try the soft sealant tape around it too.
The old wireless RM-1 remote from my C-5050 does not work with Stylus, so ordered RM-UC1 remote with cable. And I’m still thinking of timer remote from eBay.
THE JOYFUL SUPERIORITY
The things I love Stylus more over P7700, are far too much to explain. Here's a short list of the most important things:
- Overall speed
- AF functionality
- Super control panel
- Sub dial
- Self-timer/single/sequential shooting settings stay on until cancelled (even after power off)
- Built-in flash functionality
- Automatic lens cap
- Main zoom lever is sturdy
- LCD monitor is easy to turn even with gloves
- Customizable movie button
After a bit rocky start I’m enjoying the Stylus 1 more and more. And I have completely forgotten the thought to replace it to FZ200 or to any other camera.