Olympus Stylus 1 First Impressions Review
Note - the images used in this article are of a pre-production Stylus 1 that Olympus describes as 'not cosmetically final'. This means that they may not be entirely representative of the final production camera.
The rapid collapse of the compact camera market has pushed all the major manufacturers to look for new markets - to create reasons for people to still need a 'real' camera as well as a smartphone. At one end of the spectrum, this has meant attempts at 'social' cameras, such as Canon's PowerShot N but, more interesting to us, it's meant much more capable, higher-end cameras, such as Sony's Cyber-shot RX100. The latest example is Olympus's range-topping Stylus 1.
It's probably the most capable compact the company has made - a feature-packed, flexible camera with a lot of direct control and the longest zoom range we can remember seeing on a camera with a 1/1.7"-type sensor. In terms of styling, it's been modeled on the company's excellent OM-D E-M5, but in concept it's perhaps closer to being a super XZ-2 - the company's erstwhile top-end enthusiast model.
The Stylus 1 utilizes a 12MP BSI CMOS sensor similar to that used in the XZ-2 (and many other cameras in the enthusiast sector), set behind a 28-300mm equivalent lens. That in itself would be interesting enough, but the lens's constant F2.8 maximum aperture makes the whole package very impressive. It also has a built-in electronic viewfinder that's borrowed from the E-M5, and which with its 1.44M dot resolution and 0.58x magnification, is larger and sharper than almost any other 'superzoom' camera.
The obvious other reference point is Sony's recently announced Cyber-shot RX10 - a camera offering a 24-200mm equivalent, constant F2.8 lens, and an even larger viewfinder. The important difference is sensor size - the Stylus 1 uses a smaller sensor, providing a different balance of size, price and (in theory) image quality. Overall, then, the Stylus 1 offers another balance of size, price and capability in a sector that had, for a long time, settled into offering just one or two body styles - instead sitting somewhere between an enthusiast compact and a conventional superzoom.
Olympus Stylus 1 key features
- 12MP 1/1.7"-type BSI CMOS sensor
- 28-300mm equivalent optically-stabilized F2.8 lens
- Two-mode (click/free turning) control dial
- Built-in 3 EV Neutral Density filter
- 1.44M dot LCD electronic viewfinder
- 1.04M dot 3" tilting touchscreen rear LCD
- ISO 100 - 12800
- Built-in Wi-Fi with smartphone control
Many of the features that appear in the Stylus 1 are ones that we've seen before in the company's PEN series of cameras - its Wi-Fi works in much the same way as its recent, flagship E-M1 model. This means it has one of the easier-to-setup Wi-Fi systems - you can either install the Olympus app on an iOS or Android device, then use the QR code on the back of the camera to establish a connection, or type them in yourself. This second option makes it fairly easy to connect other people's devices to your camera, so that you can share selected images with them, without them needing to download the app.
The Stylus 1's OM-D-esque design risks being a little misleading - not just by potentially diluting the public perception of the Micro Four Thirds cameras, but also because the Stylus's control method owes more to the XZ-2 than the E-M5. The click/free dial around the lens is the primary control, but there is also a second dial on top of the camera. This does the same things as the small, fiddly and imprecise rear dial on the XZ-2, but is very much more usable, giving the camera a true twin-dial interface. However, what you don't get is the ability to directly access AF point selection - something we kept expecting from a body that looks and feels so much like an OM-D.
It's a RX10 competitor, then?
When Sony announced its RX10, we felt it necessary to point out that knowing a camera's F number and equivalent focal length isn't enough, if you're going to understand the consequences of its sensor size. The same is true with the Stylus 1 - it gives a good idea of what you gain and lose compared to cameras such as Panasonic's DMC FZ200, but also what you're giving up in compared to the bigger, more expensive RX10.
A quick recap, then. Although in terms of exposure (and by definition), F2.8 = F2.8 = F2.8, that doesn't tell the whole story. In terms of depth-of-field and total light on the sensor (which is a major determinant of image quality), you also need to consider sensor size.
|Equivalent focal length||Maximum aperture range||Sensor size||Equivalent aperture range|
|Nikon Coolpix P7800||28-200mm||F2.0 - 4.0||1/1.7"-type||F9.5-19|
|Olympus Stylus 1||28-300mm||F2.8||1/1.7"-type||F13|
|Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10||24-200mm||F2.8||1"-type||F7.6|
So, while the Panasonic DMC-FZ200 at first glance looks most impressive, the equivalent aperture figures tell a very different story. Equivalent apertures tell you how the lens compares to a full frame lens with similar characteristics - much as the more familiar 'equivalent focal length' does. However, rather than telling you which lens has a comparable field-of-view, it tells you which full frame lens would provide the same control over depth-of-field and the total light hitting the sensor.
So, while the 'equivalent focal length' and 'maximum aperture' columns tell one story, the 'equivalent aperture range' figures paint a rather different picture. In the graph below, the lower the line, the better the camera is likely to be for low-light image quality and blurring backgrounds, at any given equivalent focal length.
As you can see, the Stylus 1 isn't about to compete with DSLRs or other larger-sensor cameras, but offers a competitive balance of lens range and brightness when compared to compact peers such as the Nikon P7800. So, while the lens isn't as bright as the likes of the company's own XZ-2, with all the depth-of-field and low light benefits that brings, it does offer a significant advantage in terms of range.
Jul 20, 2016
Apr 4, 2016
Aug 26, 2015
Jan 15, 2015
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Starting October 1st, Getty Images will no longer accept images in which the models have been Photoshopped to "look thinner or larger." The change was made due to a French law that requires disclosure of such images.
The 3D printed panoramic film camera known formerly as the "Cycloptic Mustard Monster" is officially available as a DIY kit through Kickstarter.
Snapchat is using its augmented reality tech to replace the sky in your photos. The so-called 'sky filters' can swap out a boring sky for a colorful sunset, rainbows, a starry night, and more.
A court ruling our of Newton, Massachusetts has set an important legal precedent for drone pilots: federal drone laws will now trump local drone regulations in situations where the two are in conflict.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has put together another interesting vintage lens shootout. One model, three lenses, three locations.
From landscapes to motocross and white water kayaking to a wedding, exactly what can't the D850 do?
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.