With its predecessor having attained something of a cult status, Olympus’s latest high-end compact camera, the Stylus XZ-2, has a lot to live up to. Read the Olympus Stylus ZX-2 review...
Image: Noise reduction is very obvious in this ISO 400 image
Thankfully, Olympus has been sensible with the improved resolution of the new XZ-2, increasing it by around 1.5 million pixels. The 12.76-million-pixel, 1/1.7in (7.6×5.7mm) back-illuminated CMOS sensor should offer improvements in image quality, rather than big increases in detail resolution. Given the size of the sensor, this is a wise decision from Olympus, and one that bodes well when we look at image quality more closely later.
However, like all other high-end compact cameras, the XZ-2 will face stiff competition from the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 and its large, 1in-type, 20.2-million-pixel sensor. The sensors in most other high-end compacts all seem somewhat underwhelming compared to the size and resolution of the RX100.
Powering the XZ-2 is a version of the TruePic VI processing system found in Olympus’s OM-D E-M5. This newer processor should help to reduce image noise, while speeding up the camera’s functions. When combined, the new sensor and processor provide a sensitivity range of ISO 100-12,800, which is 1EV greater than the ISO 100-6400 range of the XZ-1.
One feature that has remained the same is the 6-24mm (28-112mm equivalent) f/1.8-2.5mm lens. On the XZ-1, this lens has proven to be very sharp, although it does suffer from curvilinear distortion. Sadly, the XZ-2 suffers identically, and JPEG files aren’t corrected for this in-camera.
Most of the other major new features of the XZ-2 are to do with the camera’s build and handling, and the LCD screen, so more on these later.