Great little compact but image quality / performance do not deserve the “enthusiast camera” label...

Started Apr 6, 2013 | User reviews
Alan Ernst
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Great little compact but image quality / performance do not deserve the “enthusiast camera” label...
Apr 6, 2013

The small sensor / high pixel density really lets this camera down!  If Olympus had chosen to go with a 9 or 10 megapixel sensor rather than the 12 megapixels, image quality could be far superior.
Why do manufacturers keep cramming more pixels into a sensor than necessary. The XZ-10 has 75% higher pixel density than the Lumix LX7, putting it at a severe disadvantage.

What I love about the XZ-10 is pocketability, solid feel, a very useful zoom range from wide to low tele, fast lens, good ergonomics (other than a grip which is too shallow and a somewhat hard to use control wheel on the rear four way control). The feature set by and large is excellent and very customizable, menu lay-out is straight forward with most settings easy to find and select. Colours and white balance are good, exposure works well but tends to underexpose to avoid highlight clipping, so you will need to check your histograms.  I like the ability to combine AF and exposure area. The art filters I don’t care about too much, but others may love to play with that feature to get some funky results. If you don’t want to capture RAW or crop, the digital 2x zoom does provide an excellent range and reasonable quality at low ISO. The touch screen works well too.

On the down side, image quality is average at best and you will have to tweak the settings considerably or shoot RAW to get the best results. My Lumix ZS7 which is three years old and has a comparable sensor, provides better quality out of camera, even though it is not a stellar performer either...  
Noise and detail smudging on the XZ-10 are prevalent and you probably don’t want to use it over ISO 200, so that’s where the faster lens is a great help. The lens itself seems to perform ok optically, with the usual distortion at wide angle and close-up and some loss of sharpness in the corners and at the tele end*. It is also very prone to flare.
The other issue I find with the XZ-10 is that it is not very responsive and performance is very sluggish; clearing the buffer takes about 1 – 4 seconds and you cannot zoom, change any settings or access the menu, while you wait for the images to be written to the SD card.
Battery life certainly does not live up to the specs, but then a small camera makes for a small battery... make sure you carry a spare as it can only be charged in-camera, unless you purchase a separate charger.

Other features that I would like to see added / improved:
- combination of bracketing and self-timer for tripod use, as no remote release is available
- an extra function button (the existing fn button can be customised though to allow quick access to one or more favourite settings)
- bracketing is limited to 3 frames at max. 1 stop, which is insufficient for HDR (in-camera HDR works but the resulting images are so smudged, you don’t want to use it)
- a menu which returns to the previously selected item rather than reverting to the main menu
- grid lines at 1/3 spacing rather than 40/60 and adjusting to aspect ratio changes
- single AF area should be adjustable in size
- ability to focus manually is missing

* my first XZ-10 has serious issues with sharpness at the long end of the zoom, which may have been a lens or AF issue. I exchanged it for a different unit, which works fine. Obviously, there are some quality control issues, so make sure you check it out when you buy.

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Alan Ernst's score
3.5
Average community score
4.4
bad for good for
Kids / pets
mediocre
Action / sports
weak
Landscapes / scenery
acceptable
Portraits
okay
Low light (without flash)
mediocre
Flash photography (social)
acceptable
Studio / still life
good
= community average
sean000
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Re: question about responsiveness and buffering.
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 6, 2013

Alan Ernst wrote:

The small sensor / high pixel density really lets this camera down!  If Olympus had chosen to go with a 9 or 10 megapixel sensor rather than the 12 megapixels, image quality could be far superior.
Why do manufacturers keep cramming more pixels into a sensor than necessary. The XZ-10 has 75% higher pixel density than the Lumix LX7, putting it at a severe disadvantage.

Thank you for the review! Do you have any sample shots to share?

yeah... I agree that a lower pixel count would make sense. The fast lens advertises that it should be a better low light camera that's other compacts in its class, but the higher pixel count compromises that somewhat. Still, the high ISO samples I have seen don't look that bad at all for such a small 12mp sensor. Someone recently posted a 3200 sample that was totally acceptable for 4x6 print or sharing on Facebook.... perfectly fine for snapshots of kids, pets, and friends in my opinion.

The other issue I find with the XZ-10 is that it is not very responsive and performance is very sluggish; clearing the buffer takes about 1 – 4 seconds and you cannot zoom, change any settings or access the menu, while you wait for the images to be written to the SD card.

This concerns me a bit. The video reviews I've seen show the performance to be responsive and snappy: quick to autofocus, minimal (if any) shutter lag, and decent shot to shot times. Your review paints a different picture, so can you elaborate? Is it just the buffering that's an issue? And is it just after a series of burst shots or after a single shot? Do you see a performance difference depending on whether you shoot RAW, JPEG, RAW+JPEG, or with art filters? What card are you using, and did you format it in camera?

I am thinking about buying on of these for my wife. She wants a very compact camera that is somewhere between her iPhone and my OM-D. The XZ-10 looks almost ideal on paper... Especially the f/1.8 to 2.7 lens since she mostly wants to take snapshots of our toddler and baby in low light. She knows IQ will not be the same as my OM-D, but it I will be miles better than her iPhone

I'd say compact size and responsiveness in terms of AF and shutter lag are more important to her. She alo dislikes fiddly cameras with lots of controls. Otherwise I would just get her a EPM1 (cheapest option since i have m4/3 lenses she can use, but she won't go for lens changes) or XZ-2. The XZ-10 seems like a wonderful concept that might be great for a non-enthusiast like my wife. I also really like a lot about the design, but it does sound like it might be a first draft that leaves some room for improvement.

Sean

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Kerusker
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how did you check performance etc.?
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 7, 2013

Alan Ernst wrote:

The small sensor / high pixel density really lets this camera down!  If Olympus had chosen to go with a 9 or 10 megapixel sensor rather than the 12 megapixels, image quality could be far superior.
Why do manufacturers keep cramming more pixels into a sensor than necessary. The XZ-10 has 75% higher pixel density than the Lumix LX7, putting it at a severe disadvantage.

The LX7 has 12.7 MegaPix on a just slightly bigger sensor! Compare the Oly XZ-2 to the LX7 please.

What I love about the XZ-10 is pocketability, .......

On the down side, image quality is average at best and you will have to tweak the settings considerably or shoot RAW to get the best results.

How did you get your results? Please post images.

My Lumix ZS7 which is three years old and has a comparable sensor, provides better quality out of camera, even though it is not a stellar performer either...

The ZS7 has 14.5 MegaPix on the same sensor size as the XZ-10. I stll own the ZS3 (TZ7) which has about 12 MegaPix. After testing the ZS7 in 2010 I kept my ZS3 for better image quality.

Comparing my ZS3 to my XZ-10 I prefer the XZ-10 without hesitation.

Noise and detail smudging on the XZ-10 are prevalent and you probably don’t want to use it over ISO 200, so that’s where the faster lens is a great help. The lens itself seems to perform ok optically, with the usual distortion at wide angle and close-up and some loss of sharpness in the corners and at the tele end*. It is also very prone to flare.

some images available?

The other issue I find with the XZ-10 is that it is not very responsive and performance is very sluggish; clearing the buffer takes about 1 – 4 seconds and you cannot zoom, change any settings or access the menu, while you wait for the images to be written to the SD card.

Here's where your review is getting bad I think. What kind of SD-card was used? It should be UHS-I compatible! I'm using 16GB SanDisk Uiltra (UHS-I) class 10 cards (15 EUR) and my XZ-10 is very responsive (without detailed measurements compared to ZS3 or Pentax K-5).

Battery life certainly does not live up to the specs, but then a small camera makes for a small battery... make sure you carry a spare as it can only be charged in-camera, unless you purchase a separate charger.

Maybe 3 batteries and no extra charger are better and cheaper.

Other features that I would like to see added / improved:
- combination of bracketing and self-timer for tripod use, as no remote release is available
- an extra function button (the existing fn button can be customised though to allow quick access to one or more favourite settings)
- bracketing is limited to 3 frames at max. 1 stop, which is insufficient for HDR (in-camera HDR works but the resulting images are so smudged, you don’t want to use it)
- a menu which returns to the previously selected item rather than reverting to the main menu
- grid lines at 1/3 spacing rather than 40/60 and adjusting to aspect ratio changes
- single AF area should be adjustable in size

not that important to me,

but the following are:

- ability to focus manually is missing

- remote release (IR)

- AE-Lock button

- B-Mode

- more AF-modes (see XZ-2; but maybe some aren't advertised but present)

Currently the XZ-2 goes for 450 EUR and the XZ-10 for 400 EUR. That's the real hard part in deciding which one to buy/use.

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marike6
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Why no posted images?
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 7, 2013

Thanks for the min-review, but without any sample images, frankly it's all just talk.  There seems to be a handful of XZ-10 owners, and very few of them have posted any large-size images at all.  This more than anything else makes it hard for me to pull the plug on an XZ-10.  Even the P330 which has been out for the same amount of time as the XZ-10 has some images on Flickr, but other than a few useless indoor macro shots done in his room from the user Geekanoids, there are ZERO XZ-10 sample images.

And it just seems odd that you would take the time to write an XZ-10 review but your Gallery has no XZ-10 image samples to support the main points of your review.

Everybody has different standards for judging IQ.  This is why some well shot sample images are almost essential to any review or presentation about a given camera.

I have a folder of as many full-res XZ-10 images as I could find (DC Watch, and a Hungarian website, and a DPR user uploaded some), and I'm not sure I agree with your assessment of IQ.  The XZ-10 seems to perform best at close range, but some of the landscape images I've seen are fairly good quality wise.  ISO 100 with NR off seems a bit more noisy than 1/1.7" sensor cameras like the P7700 or S110, but colors and sharpness look decent.  But it's so hard to tell as there are hundreds of samples online from the Nikon and Canon, but very, very few from the XZ-10.  And it's not like nobody owns the XZ-10.  I know several XZ-10 owners, but they are just not posting images here or on Flickr, and virtually ALL of the review sites - PhotographyBlog, DPR, TechRadar, etc - don't have any XZ-10 samples.

Personally I need a compact and the XZ-10 is a beautiful camera, but if it's IQ is not at least slightly competitive with the Nikon P330 or S110, I'm going to have to pass.  But I would like the opportunity to judge some images from myself.  But this seems impossible online and no XZ-10 owners are actively posting images.  Thanks for the review, but a few full-sized images would go a long way.

Thanks, and happy shooting, Markus

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Alan Ernst
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Re: question about responsiveness and buffering.
In reply to sean000, Apr 8, 2013

Hi Sean, Kerusker? and Markus,

Will try to answer all your questions together.
I am not a paid reviewer, my time is limited, I don’t have the technical gadgetry to exactly measure and compare specs / performance / resolution scientifically, and I don’t have access to every model that’s out there for a one on one comparison. If you want that, you have to wait for a formal review from one of the official review sites using benchmark testing.  I use dial up internet, so posting 6-18MP files on an on-line gallery clearly exceeds the time and effort I am willing to spend on something like this. That said, I am not affiliated or married to any one brand and my review is based on day-to-day use, some comparison shots to test out different ISO, focal length, apertures, etc. to see if I like the results and try and find the sweet spot of a lens.  Peer comparisons I can only make with whatever other models I have available.  I mention what I like and don’t like about a camera or lens and my observations are obviously subjective, based on what I am looking for in a camera...

1)      If you are looking at “snap shots” and 4x6 prints, probably any camera or smartphone out there will give you acceptable results these days. For me, the benchmark is 8x10 to 11x14 enlargements and sharp / detailed images on a 15 ½ “ computer screen. If I can’t get that, I am not satisfied.

2)      The SD card I used was a Class 6 card. I rarely do video and therefore don’t see a need to continually invest in the latest and most expensive memory out there. The 1-4 seconds measured were based on a single frame to a four frame consecutive capture. Using a class 10 U1 Extreme Pro card, it is roughly twice as fast so yes, the wait time is much less.

3)      AF speed, accuracy and shutter lag in my view are acceptable, but not what I would call “snappy”. I actually purchased the camera for my wife as well and to have something pocketable myself, which I can take everywhere - all the time.  I think you will just have to try it out and see what you can make of the picture quality.

4)      The Lumix LX7 and the ZS7 use a different concept, i.e. an oversized senser which is never used completely on any aspect ratio, in order to obtain a comparable resolution regardless of the aspect ratio you are using. That is a superb approach as it makes optimal use of the image circle and gives you better resolution on 3:2 and 16:9 aspect ratios than what you would get otherwise. It is one of the best things that Panasonic has incorporated in some of their models. Even though the sensors on LX7 and ZS7 have 12 and 14 MP respectively, the usable pixels are more in the 10 and 12 MP range. If the image quality from one camera is better than that from another – no matter what the resolution or technical specs – then that camera for me is a better camera! What I look for is sharpness, noise, detail, focus accuracy, correct exposure and colour rendition, and to a lesser degree distortion, light fall off, chromatic aberration, flare. I also own a Lumix TZ 3 with much lower resolution and prefer the image quality on that “archaic” model to any of the TZ/ZS’s that came after it (as long as you don’t enlarge them too much). UNfortunately, it has no choice of exposure modes.

5)      A generic external charger costs you less than an extra battery. The issue is that when you need to charge the battery in camera, you CANNOT use the camera, no matter how many batteries you own! It is simply another way of cost-cutting by the manufacturers.

6)      I rarely use AE-lock on any camera but rely on the histogram instead. The lack of an AE-lock in my view is mitigated by the ability to combine the AF and AE fields

7)      I would definitely like to see a wider shutter speed range from 60s to 1/4000s. However, with this small a sensor, the noise at longer exposures will be such that you won’t want to use it for extra long exposures in any case.

8)      I cannot compare the XZ-2 to the XZ-10 because I don’t have an XZ-2. The XZ-2 gets a great review from DPReview, but the reason I went for its smaller sibling is compactness and a more useful zoom range. I would expect image quality on the XZ-2 to be superior because of the larger sensor and lesser zoom range...

9)      I like the XZ-10, which is why I went and got another one after realising the first one was a dud! However, in my opinion it does not live up to the hype surrounding it (which can probably be said for most models that are released these days...). Whether it works for you or not, you will have to try out yourself. Everyone has different expectations and priorities...
If you do a lot of detail stuff and shoot at closer range, i.e. from portrait to 50feet or so, it performs well. If you use it for close-up, copy work or architecture where straight lines and corner to corner sharpness are important OR if you use the zoom a lot at infinity setting,  then you may find it unsatisfactory.

cheers, Alan

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Greynerd
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Re: Why no posted images?
In reply to marike6, Apr 8, 2013

Do not forget people may be worried that you may be as rude about their images as you are here about the review and you might think their images are useless as you so charmingly describe Geekanoids' pictures.

It is always a difficult process posting tiny sensor pictures on a specialist site such as this and top end users tend to drive out lower end cameras in most of the forums.

A less aggressive request for images might work a bit better.

marike6 wrote:

Thanks for the min-review, but without any sample images, frankly it's all just talk.

Even the P330 which has been out for the same amount of time as the XZ-10 has some images on Flickr, but other than a few useless indoor macro shots done in his room from the user Geekanoids, there are ZERO XZ-10 sample images.

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Kerusker
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Alan, thanks for your review and explanations (n/t)
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 8, 2013
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jim4850
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Re: question about responsiveness and buffering.
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 8, 2013

You've been reasonably fair though I don't think battery charging is an issue at all, nor has battery life been an issue for a number of years, all cameras are fine now.

Using the LI-50B was a factor for me to buy since I already have chargers and other batteries, I like the way Olympus use a common battery for a few cameras.

I'm not sure whether me posting more stuff here will help much, I don't shoot RAW, I've bought Olympus of late because I like the look of their JPGs, let them do the work of creating a picture, I don't even shoot fine JPG setting, just normal is good enough for my eyes.

If I wanted a better camera I would have bought a different one but I wanted a good camera that fitted easily in a pocket and I've never been a red hot fan of the Canon S90-110 shots. I'm happy with what I'm getting from the XZ-10 it fits my purpose quite well, and I still post shots from it my way good or bad to my weblog here.

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sean000
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Re: question about responsiveness and buffering.
In reply to Alan Ernst, Apr 8, 2013

Alan Ernst wrote:

Hi Sean, Kerusker? and Markus,

Will try to answer all your questions together.

Thank Alan

1)      If you are looking at “snap shots” and 4x6 prints, probably any camera or smartphone out there will give you acceptable results these days. For me, the benchmark is 8x10 to 11x14 enlargements and sharp / detailed images on a 15 ½ “ computer screen. If I can’t get that, I am not satisfied.

Of course we get into some very subjective territory here, and it all depends on how you want to use the camera and what your expectations are. My standards for landscapes and architecture are much higher than for candids. Although if I were going to use a camera like this as my main camera (or one I carried everywhere hoping to get some premium shots) I would definitely sweat the details of the image quality and look for a camera that offered the best IQ in all the situations I intended to use it. Portability would not be as high on the list of desires.

For my purposes the goal for a camera like this is to get my wife to take some photos that are better quality than her iPhone. The part of me that thinks I may want to use this camera too would rather get a Sony RX100 or an Oly XZ-2... or an EPM1 since I already have lenses she can use (except that she won't swap lenses). However I am actually a bit excited about the XZ-10. Knowing how far it has come from the compact cameras of the past, I can't help but be excited about a camera that offers so much in such a tiny package. I agree that any camera (and maybe a few smartphones) would do for general outdoor snapshots, but you really need something a step up for indoor available light photography. And while you are better off going with a larger sensor AND a fast lens for indoor available light, it's all a trade-off since that's going to mean a bulkier camera. Based on the few samples I've seen: The tiny sensor in the XZ-10 takes better ISO 1600 shots than the first ASP-C DSLR I owned (a Nikon D70 in 2004), and is probably miles better than the "high-end" compact P&S cameras from two or three years ago.I certainly wouldn't expect the same level of detail and tonality I get from the E-M5 at high ISO, but I suspect it will be closer to the E-M5 than to an iPhone 4.

2)      The SD card I used was a Class 6 card. I rarely do video and therefore don’t see a need to continually invest in the latest and most expensive memory out there. The 1-4 seconds measured were based on a single frame to a four frame consecutive capture. Using a class 10 U1 Extreme Pro card, it is roughly twice as fast so yes, the wait time is much less.

So single frame = about 1 second and 4-shots = multiple seconds? My wife would love to have the Toshiba FlashAir wifi SD card so she can quickly share photos using her iPad or iPhone. It's a class 6, but I also have some class 10 cards she can compare against to see what matters more to her.

3)      AF speed, accuracy and shutter lag in my view are acceptable, but not what I would call “snappy”. I actually purchased the camera for my wife as well and to have something pocketable myself, which I can take everywhere - all the time.  I think you will just have to try it out and see what you can make of the picture quality.

I think we will give it a try. While it will be my wife's camera, I'm sure I will be using it quite a lot. While I generally take my m4/3 kit (or at least the E-M5 with a pancake lens) just about everywhere, there are occasions when I leave it at home.

9)      I like the XZ-10, which is why I went and got another one after realising the first one was a dud! However, in my opinion it does not live up to the hype surrounding it (which can probably be said for most models that are released these days...). Whether it works for you or not, you will have to try out yourself. Everyone has different expectations and priorities...

Right. I'm not sure the XZ-10 is that "hyped" though. One would expect to give up something in order to get what is essentially a cheaper and smaller sibling to the XZ-2... the question is whether or not you are giving up too much for your tastes.

If you do a lot of detail stuff and shoot at closer range, i.e. from portrait to 50feet or so, it performs well. If you use it for close-up, copy work or architecture where straight lines and corner to corner sharpness are important OR if you use the zoom a lot at infinity setting,  then you may find it unsatisfactory.

cheers, Alan

That's about what I expect. I figured there have got to be some optical compromises in the lens in order to keep it that bright and still that small (even on such a small sensor). Even in DSLR lenses the fast f/2.8 standard zooms are often thought of as better for events and photojournalism than landscapes and architecture (although this is debatable... I find my Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 to be excellent for all of the above, but there is field curvature of the focal plane one needs to be aware of when considering depth of field).

Sean

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marike6
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XZ-10 better than a D70? Are you serious?
In reply to sean000, Apr 8, 2013

sean000 wrote:

Based on the few samples I've seen: The tiny sensor in the XZ-10 takes better ISO 1600 shots than the first ASP-C DSLR I owned (a Nikon D70 in 2004), and is probably miles better than the "high-end" compact P&S cameras from two or three years ago. I certainly wouldn't expect the same level of detail and tonality I get from the E-M5 at high ISO, but I suspect it will be closer to the E-M5 than to an iPhone 4.

The XZ-10 doesn't take better pictures than the D70 at ANY ISO.  Not even close.

You are aware that the D70 on DxOMark had a Sports (Low-Light ISO) score of 529 ISO?  The D70's DxOMark score of 529 ISO only about 300 ISO lower than the EM5, and still over 200 ISO more than the Sony RX100's score of 390 ISO.

DxOMark Sports (Low-Light) ISO Score

D7100           1256 ISO

EM5                829 ISO

D70                529 ISO

Nikon 1 J3       420 ISO

RX100             390 ISO

Olympus XZ-2   216 ISO

Pentax Q10      183 ISO

Canon S110     168 ISO

I've downloaded some XZ-10 RAWs and sadly, I don't think it will even score over 150 ISO.  So I'm not sure how do you think it could possibly be anywhere near an APS-C DSLR like the D70 for high ISO shooting?

You also talk about the XZ-10 being "miles better" than a high end P&Ss from a couple of years ago. We must be looking at different sample images as the XZ-10 doesn't seem to equal the IQ you get with a high end compact from 2 or 3 years ago, i.e., Canon S100, Panasonic LX5, Ricoh GRD III, etc.  So where do you get "miles better"?  Based on what?

As I said, I'd be surprised if the XZ-10 scored over 150 ISO (the Canon G15 and S110, for example, which have larger 1/1.7" sensors than the XZ-10 score around 168 ISO), and based on what I've seen, the XZ-10 is quite a bit noisier than both of those cameras.

Even at ISO 100, the XZ-10 exhibits some noise in areas like the sky (this is one reason I passed on the XZ-10, as I tend to use compacts at ISO 100-400 and 800 in a pinch and I wasn't pleased with what I saw at base ISO from the XZ-10).  In comparison, a camera like the S100 or P330 at ISO 100 will be essentially noise free.  So if the XZ-10 doesn't seem to compete with even other high end compacts,  I'm not sure where you are getting your theory that the XZ-10 can compete with an APS-C DSLR like the D70.  I think you need to go back an look at some D70 samples, because I still have my D70, and I can assure you that it has significantly better IQ than the XZ-10 at any ISO.

Olympus XZ-10 Full-sized samples (these are all ISO 100 so have a look at 100%).

XZ-10 at ISO 1600 (click on image, click on view at 1:1)

And I have a folder of full-sized XZ-10 images, and IQ isn't anywhere near as good as other popular 1/2.3" sensor cameras like the excellent Pentax Q.

So I also wanted to like the XZ-10, but quite honestly I don't know what you are seeing, or where these XZ-10 images are that are better than APS-C DSLRs or high end compacts.  If the XZ-10 had been as good as some other 1/2.3" sensor cameras for IQ like the Canon SX50 or Panasonic FZ200, I would have bought one in a second.  But from what I've seen, it doesn't seem to be, at least not for IQ.

I'm not trying to trash the XZ-10, but I think a bit of a reality check is in order.  I'm not saying the XZ-10 is not a nice camera, just that it's IQ doesn't compete with larger sensor cameras from even a few years ago, and it some cases like with the Pentax Q or the Canon SX50, it doesn't compete with other cameras with the same sensor size.

By the way, I have a folder of full-sized XZ-10 images.  If you are interested in them, I will can put them in my DropBox so you can download them.  They might help you get a better idea of what the XZ-10 can and can't do.

Cheers, and happy shooting, Markus

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sean000
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Re: XZ-10 better than a D70? Are you serious?
In reply to marike6, Apr 9, 2013

marike6 wrote:

sean000 wrote:

Based on the few samples I've seen: The tiny sensor in the XZ-10 takes better ISO 1600 shots than the first ASP-C DSLR I owned (a Nikon D70 in 2004), and is probably miles better than the "high-end" compact P&S cameras from two or three years ago. I certainly wouldn't expect the same level of detail and tonality I get from the E-M5 at high ISO, but I suspect it will be closer to the E-M5 than to an iPhone 4.

The XZ-10 doesn't take better pictures than the D70 at ANY ISO.  Not even close.

You don't know how truly awful the D70 is at ISO 1600

I would not expect the XZ-10 to perform as well at lower ISO's by any stretch of the imagination, but push a D70 to 1600 and you get a noisy, streaky, splotchy mess with very little detail. It even looks bad in black & white.My D200, on the other hand, is a good deal better. Usable at 1600, but 3200 (extended ISO) starts to get ugly.

You are aware that the D70 on DxOMark had a Sports (Low-Light ISO) score of 529 ISO?  The D70's DxOMark score of 529 ISO only about 300 ISO lower than the EM5, and still over 200 ISO more than the Sony RX100's score of 390 ISO.

I'm not familiar with this metric. Is DxOMark saying that ISO 829 on an E-M5 looks like ISO 529 on the D70? If so, I beg to differ. I still own a D70, D200, and the E-M5. The E-M5 blows the older APS-C cameras away when it comes to high ISO. 6400 on the E-M5 looks better than 3200 on the D200, and better than 1600 on the D70. 3200 on the E-M5 looks better than 800 on the D70.

I've downloaded some XZ-10 RAWs and sadly, I don't think it will even score over 150 ISO.  So I'm not sure how do you think it could possibly be anywhere near an APS-C DSLR like the D70 for high ISO shooting?

The D70 is from 2004. New doesn't always beat bigger when it comes to sensors, but when you're talking about a nine year gap... think about how far the technology has come since 2004. And I'm not talking ISO 400 and below. The D70 is still a darn good 6 MP camera at 400 and below. It just wasn't very good much higher than that, and I doubt the XZ-10 is either. But from what I've seen at 1600 it's not quite as messy.. or might at least be pretty close.Maybe I will change my tune when I actually open up an ISO 800 or 1600 RAW file from the XZ-10 and compare it to my D70 shots, but I'm just going on the sample shots I've seen.

You also talk about the XZ-10 being "miles better" than a high end P&Ss from a couple of years ago. We must be looking at different sample images as the XZ-10 doesn't seem to equal the IQ you get with a high end compact from 2 or 3 years ago, i.e., Canon S100, Panasonic LX5, Ricoh GRD III, etc.  So where do you get "miles better"?  Based on what?

Again...I'm talking high ISO only (buying this for indoor shots of kids). The low ISO shots don't look that hot to me... at least I haven't seen any that have blown me away in terms of sharpness and contrast. I guess I'm thinking more than a couple of years though.. the last compact I owned was an LX2.

So I also wanted to like the XZ-10, but quite honestly I don't know what you are seeing, or where these XZ-10 images are that are better than APS-C DSLRs or high end compacts.  If the XZ-10 had been as good as some other 1/2.3" sensor cameras for IQ like the Canon SX50 or Panasonic FZ200, I would have bought one in a second.  But from what I've seen, it doesn't seem to be, at least not for IQ.

I'm not trying to trash the XZ-10, but I think a bit of a reality check is in order.  I'm not saying the XZ-10 is not a nice camera, just that it's IQ doesn't compete with larger sensor cameras from even a few years ago, and it some cases like with the Pentax Q or the Canon SX50, it doesn't compete with other cameras with the same sensor size.

I didn't realize I was praising it so much since I did say it isn't the camera I would be looking at if large landscape/archicture  prints and high IQ were high on my priority list. I thought I made it pretty clear that my expectations are that it would produce good 4x6 prints and facebook images at ISO 800 or even 1600 (hopefully the fast lens would keep higher ISOs from being necessary very often). I also said that personally I would expect there to be some optical compromises in order to keep the apertures big on a lens that small (even with a small sensor). But for my wife it has a lot to like (stuff I think is neat too) like the size, no lens cap, and the touchscreen features she uses on my E-M5 (I always turn them off since I'm an EVF shooter most of the time). To me it looks like a camera she will enjoy, and hopefully the images will be good enough. If they aren't, or if the camera is too sluggish, maybe she will let me talk her into an LX7 (which she thinks is too fiddly), or even an EPM1.

By the way, I have a folder of full-sized XZ-10 images.  If you are interested in them, I will can put them in my DropBox so you can download them.  They might help you get a better idea of what the XZ-10 can and can't do.

Cheers, and happy shooting, Markus

That would actually be much appreciated. Thanks Markus!

Sean

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Olympus Stylus XZ-10 Nikon D70 Nikon D200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 +13 more
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marike6
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Re: Why no posted images?
In reply to Greynerd, Apr 9, 2013

Greynerd wrote:

Do not forget people may be worried that you may be as rude about their images as you are here about the review and you might think their images are useless as you so charmingly describe Geekanoids' pictures.

How was I rude?  Photography is a visual medium, and the OP took the time to write a detailed review and had many detailed points about the XZ-10's IQ, but he didn't post a single sample image to support his general thesis - that the XZ-10 "Great little compact but image quality / performance do not deserve the “enthusiast camera” label."

I just pointed out the obvious about lack of images. And I was not the only one to do so.

As far as Geekanoid:  he fashions himself as a professional reviewer.  He has a YouTube channel with a big following and he tests gear for profit.  If you found his XZ-10 photos, that he shot by pointing the camera at objects on his desk, useful I'm glad.  But I'd expect a professional reviewer to at least get up of the chair, leave his room, and take the camera outdoors to find some decent daylight subjects to test it with.  Pointing and clicking photos of your mobile phone or your USB microphone doesn't make for very interesting or informative test images.

It is always a difficult process posting tiny sensor pictures on a specialist site such as this and top end users tend to drive out lower end cameras in most of the forums.

A less aggressive request for images might work a bit better.

marike6 wrote:

Thanks for the min-review, but without any sample images, frankly it's all just talk.

Even the P330 which has been out for the same amount of time as the XZ-10 has some images on Flickr, but other than a few useless indoor macro shots done in his room from the user Geekanoids, there are ZERO XZ-10 sample images.

I was not at all agressive.  Like others I mentioned the need for some samples to go with his review.  This seemed obvious.   I promise to be more polite next time if you promise to get off my back.  

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jim4850
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Re: Why no posted images?
In reply to marike6, Apr 9, 2013

marike6 wrote:

As far as Geekanoid:  he fashions himself as a professional reviewer.  He has a YouTube channel with a big following and he tests gear for profit.  If you found his XZ-10 photos, that he shot by pointing the camera at objects on his desk, useful I'm glad.

I did some looking and found them, now I don't feel so bad about my own glorified hobbyist amateur snaps.

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ChrisWal
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Re: Why no posted images?
In reply to marike6, Apr 9, 2013

I'm just back from a couple of days in London and have a few GB's worth of XZ-10 photos to share. The majority were just shot as jpegs, but I have some raw versions too. With luck I'll get some of them online tomorrow.

I'll also put my thoughts down on thsous ability of the camera a week into owning it.

Chris

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ChrisWal
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Re: Why no posted images? - Here are some.
In reply to marike6, Apr 10, 2013

I've placed some sample XZ-10 images in my gallery and am currently uploading some more full size examples to my Flickr account.

My opinion of the IQ of this camera is becoming more positive. I'm not saying my examples are anything to base rave reviews on and I'm still disappointed by some (many) of the images I get from it, but taking the small size of the camera, lens and sensor into account, I think it does OK.

I'll produce a post when the link to the Flickr account is ready (it takes quite a while to upload full size pics on my internet connection). In the meantime here a few. More in the gallery. C & C welcome.

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MiroM
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Re: Why no posted images? - Here are some.
In reply to ChrisWal, May 31, 2013

I have just bought XZ10 and the first impressions are very good in contrast with the OP. Maybe more basic cam with full Auto only would suit him better.

Because the camera is very responsive and produces high quality images. I will post some samples when the rain stops.

Anyone thinking about this camera go to the store and try it yourself if it suits your needs.

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grdtraveller
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XZ-10 fault? - flash wont fire in auto mode
In reply to Alan Ernst, 11 months ago

My new XZ-10 came with an unusual problem. The flash refused to operate in Auto mode, but operated as expected in Program mode where the aperture and shutter speed settings were identical. When I returned the camera to the retailer to exchange it the other two XZ-10 models in stock had the same problem.

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Kees de Koper
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Re: XZ-10 fault? - flash wont fire in auto mode
In reply to grdtraveller, 9 months ago

grdtraveller wrote:

My new XZ-10 came with an unusual problem. The flash refused to operate in Auto mode, but operated as expected in Program mode where the aperture and shutter speed settings were identical. When I returned the camera to the retailer to exchange it the other two XZ-10 models in stock had the same problem.

There is a post about an other Olympus camera describing the same problem: SZ-31MR: Flash not firing in iAUTO mode?. Mike Paterson wrote something in a reply about the deeper thoughts of Olympus about the meaning of the term 'automatic'. Interesting...

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