First impressions

I wouldn't consider myself a fan of superzooms. In general, the extra zoom range they offer has never been worth the image quality compromise of using a small sensor for the kind of shooting I like to do. The additional bulk of long zoom lenses is also pretty off-putting - again, once I've made the decision to carry something that isn't pocketable, I want a step up in image quality to make up for that inconvenience.

The Stylus 1 joins the Sony RX10 in offering a slightly different balance of features that make the idea slightly more appealing. The Stylus 1 isn't as ambitious as the RX10 and we wouldn't expect it to offer the same absolute image quality but it's also considerably smaller and significantly less expensive. 28-300mm equivalent is a very flexible focal length range and the larger sensor should offer a quality improvement over high-end superzooms such as the Panasonic FZ200, let alone its more pedestrian, variable aperture rivals. The Fujifilm X-S1 is one of the only other cameras we've seen before to offer a larger sensor and long zoom, but again that's a significantly larger camera.

The other plus, in my eyes, is the camera's close relationship to the XZ-2 - one of my favorite compact cameras to shoot with. The Stylus is one of the few compact cameras to offer a proper twin-dial user interface - though its limited control over depth-of-field (even with a constant F2.8 lens) limits the usefulness of that in aperture priority mode. It's also nice to see a respectable battery life figure from an enthusiast compact - I'm happy to take a slight size hit if it means I don't have to worry about whether I've charged and brought a spare.

As usual for an enthusiast-targeted Olympus, the Stylus 1 is nothing if not feature packed. Although you can pick it up and use it as a point-and-shoot, there's a lot more to be gained from learning its intricacies and foibles, to really tune it to the kinds of shooting you want to do. Having said I'm not a fan of superzooms, I'll be interested to find out what sorts of photos I end up taking, if I get a chance to throw the Stylus 1 in my bag over the coming weekends.

 - Richard Butler

Samples Galleries

There are 29 images in the Olympus Stylus 1 samples gallery. Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page). We make the originals available for private users to download to their own machines for personal examination or printing (in conjunction with this review), we do so in good faith, please don't abuse it.

Unless otherwise noted images taken with no particular settings at full resolution. Because our review images are now hosted on the 'galleries' section of dpreview.com, you can enjoy all of the new galleries functionality when browsing these samples.

Olympus Stylus 1 Preview Samples

29 images • Posted on Oct 29, 2013 • View album
Sample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photoSample photo