Olympus XZ-1 Review
The XZ-1 is an undeniably attractive camera; in both its stealth matte black or glossy white finishes, it cuts a pretty classy figure. The design is understated with little in the way of flourish or adornment but there's still a reasonable level of external control thanks, in no small part, to the control dial around the lens.
This, combined with the smaller control dial around the four-way controller, makes changing settings very simple. Several key functions (AF area, flash control and drive mode) are available on the four-way controller while others are also fairly easily accessed - pressing the INFO button brings up a variation of the 'live control screen' function menu seen on the PEN series.
We're disappointed not to have direct access to the ISO setting in Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority modes but the live control screen does at least remember the last-used setting, so will revert to ISO if you're regularly changing it. The other disappointment is the lack of any sort of AEL/AFL button, meaning there's no way to take exposure and focus readings from different points of the frame.
The sensor is a 1/1.63" CCD, a specification familiar from the Panasonic LX5. Unlike the LX5, the XZ-1 doesn't offer the multi-aspect ratio mode that retains the same diagonal angle-of-view for most of its image shapes. Rather than expanding to use different regions of the sensor, the Olympus crops into the 4:3 image size. The result is that it is exposing an area very similar to the 1/1.7" sensor used by many of its peers.
In your hand
Despite the lack of any protruding grip on the front of the camera, the XZ-1 still sits pretty comfortably in the hand. The control dial around the lens encourages a two-handed shooting style that gives a stable platform for shooting, while also leaving the right thumb free to use the rear control dial.
|The XZ-1 features the AP-1 accessory port that previously appeared on the PEN EP-2 and E-PL1, meaning it can be used to connect the excellent VF-2 external viewfinder, SEMA-1 external microphone or MAL-1 LED macro lights announced alongside the XZ-1.
The port is however not the same as that on the E-PL2 (which uses an AP-2 port), so it's not possible to use the newly-announced PENPal Bluetooth add-on.
|The headline feature of the XZ-1 is undoubtedly its 'i.Zuiko' lens. Even in a category of cameras with bright lenses, it stands out. It offers a currently unbeaten combination of range (28-112mm equivalent) and brightness (F1.8-2.5). Its maximum aperture stays better than F2.2 until around 100mm equivalent, making it brighter than the previously class-leading Samsung EX1/TL500 (which is F2.4 at its 72mm limit).|
|The XZ-1 features a 610k dot OLED display. The specification is identical to that of the unit used in Samsung's TL500/EX1 enthusiast camera. Close examination of the panel shows it appears to be using the Samsung-owned PenTile pixel arrangement too. It's a screen that offers superb brightness and contrast with better viewing angles and better battery life than LCD displays are capable of.|
|The small, modestly powered built-in flash pulls off a neat trick - the ability to remotely control and fire compatible flashguns. It's a unique ability in this class of camera and makes the addition of an FL-36R flashgun worth considering.|
|The XZ-1 offers two control dials - one around the lens and another on the rear of the camera. The functions of these two rings depends on the shooting mode and cannot be customized.
We found the rear control dial to be a little bit fiddly and slightly hard to move by the exact amount desired (as is so often the case with this style of control).
|The front dial, however, is excellent. Unlike the Samsung TL500 (EX1), the front dial is always used to adjust the principal parameter - shutter speed in shutter priority, aperture value in aperture priority.
This means there isn't perfect consistency when you move to manual mode (shutter speed has to move to the rear dial), but does mean that the better of the two control dials is used for the more important setting, most of the time.
|There's also a dedicated movie record button on the back of the camera. This makes it quick and easy to initiate video recording without having to select a new mode, and does so in a way that can help minimize camera shake at the start and end of your recording.|
|The XZ-1 includes an AF illuminator light on its front, which helps in the low light conditions in which the camera's bright lens can really shine.|
|The XZ-1 features a fairly small lithium ion battery (LI-50B) with a capacity of 3.4Wh. According to CIPA testing methods this will provide around 320 shots on each charge. This puts it between the Panasonic LX5's 400 shots and the Canon S95's 200.
The camera is charged using a USB cable, which has the advantage that you don't need to carry a charger with you but does mean there's no convenient way of topping-up a second battery.
Jan 22, 2014
Jan 17, 2014
Dec 30, 2013
Aug 20, 2012
|Christine by JP Zanotti|
from Car wreck
|Fangorn Forest by cand1d|
|Yosemite Falls with Moonbow by Jonathan Shapiro|
from Best Landscape of the Week 4
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more
German media reports that the founders of the company behind the Panono 360-degree ball camera have filed for bankruptcy at a court in Berlin. Read more
With a claimed 800 new custom parts, Microsoft's updated Surface Pro comes with the latest Kaby Lake processors, better battery life, a new hinge, plus the Surface Pen is updated as well. Read more
DW Photo is attempting to resurrect the Hy6 medium format camera, though the legal tangles of its development may stop it being branded Rolleiflex.
The Kodak EKTRA, the company's 'camera first' smartphone, is now available to purchase in the United States. Read more
Apple and Nokia have settled their years-old patent dispute. Apple will make an undisclosed payment to Nokia and sign a licensing agreement related to digital health products with the Finnish company.
David Gibson, one of Britain's best known street shooters, shares all.
Photographers from the SKYGLOW project travelled 150k miles and took 3 million photos in increasingly rare locations: those without light pollution.
The world's fastest 200mm was produced for 16 years. In that time, only 8000 were made.