XZ-2 review by photographyblog

Started Nov 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
chafouin Junior Member • Posts: 28
Re: XZ-2 review by photographyblog

So the XZ-2 finally arrived here, and I went to the shop to test it. I have to say that I have mixed feelings. Please note that I just played with it for 40 minutes, so don't take everything I'll say for granted, and go test it yourself if you're interested in the camera. That's the first time I use an Olympus so I'm not used to the menus, I stayed with default settings (settings are plentiful in this camera).

First impressions: it's a solid piece of metal, it feels well built, except the shutter / zoom button  that is made of plastic and a bit loose... Hopefully it won't easily break. When the lens is out, the barrels are also a little loose, I wouldn't dare bump the lens into something. It is a bit heavy, won't fit in anyone's pocket but I always have a small bag with me, or a jacket with big pockets so I don't mind. Despite being quite big, being used to rather big DSLRs, I can complain that the controls are a bit too small, but that's the case on any compact. Personally I just love the overall design that makes it looks like a real pro camera.

Turning on takes maybe 2 seconds, like other cameras, nothing really impressive. But then the camera feels really responsive, no shutter lag, menus are fast, I really liked the overall speed of the camera. Menus are confusing for someone who doesn't know Olympus. Coming from Pentax I was a bit lost, but I don't think that's a big problem, anyone will get used to it. The LCD displays lots of informations when shooting that are useful, but again you have to get used to it because at first it feels a bit overwhelming. To be honest, I couldn't even find how to bring the Super Panel...

The ring is nice, focusing is great with the automatic magnification. One problem though is that the magnification activates as soon as you touch the ring, with a tiny movement, and sometimes you don't want it to be so sensitive. Another problem for me was that when the ring is in smooth mode, for focusing, then the touchscreen to focus and shutter doesn't work. That would have been nice to be able to use it without switching the ring mode.

The autofocus is really quick, even faster using the touchscreen: it hunts less, tt was very accurate. It is possible to select the Auto-AF point quickly by displaying the AF grid and touching the screen. Burst shooting and bracketing are welcomed and quick, buffer writing times were good to me. I would have appreciated a second dial like on the P7700, for manual mode, to have exposure, shutter speed and focus directly accessible. I don't often use full manual mode when doing street photography so that's not a big deal. Exposure priority with the ring lens, ISO on the back wheel (I didn't go so deep but I guess it's possible to set it up) and auto AF or touchscreen AF seems a good setup in most conditions.

Movies are sharp, the rolling shutter effect is not so terrible, the sound is average, it catches the zoom motor sound and the strap attach things, that can hit the body when moving the camera. Problem is that everything is automatic, the auto-focus never stops focusing, slowly and very silently though. I couldn't find how to use manual focus and exposition ofset that some reviews mentioned. But again, I'm not used to Olympus cameras. I wished the camera offered the AVCHD 1080p/60 of the LX7.

Depth of field and bokeh is great, it's easy to make a nice macro shot with lots of blur, the touchscreen focus is perfect for that. The lens is performing great on the edges, and catches great details.

Here is my biggest disappointment: the sensor gives a lot of noise, and not a very round/organic one, I'm actually not fan of it. It's already present ISO 100. ISO 1600 can be quite ok while ISO 3200 is terrible, the gap between ISO 3200 and ISO 6400 is not really huge, but they look both unusable to me. I checked the raw files in Olympus Viewer but it doesn't really help, I hope ACR support will be able to improve noise reduction. What surprises me the most it that the tiny 1/2.3" sensor of the Pentax Q handles noise better (and ACR works like a champ with its files). The P7700 seems to handle noise better as well. Having said that, you don't need to go high up in ISO thanks to the lens, but that's definitely not the best low-light camera available.

As a conclusion, I can't say if I'll buy it, but that must be because I'm waiting for a camera that doesn't exists... Less noise, full manual control in video and 60p would have made it the perfect camera. I know that a compact is not made for low light shooting, ISO 1600 is already great to have, but I would have expected the IQ to be similar to the P7700 or the G15 in high ISO (I'm only referring to reviews of these cameras, I haven't tried them myself). Having said that, the controls are great and fast, these are great advantages over the Nikon, Canon or Sony RX100. I think people really need to test it, it worths to have a look.

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