Olympus XZ-1 review

March 12, 2011

Overall Rating:


Olympus XZ-1



Price as Reviewed:


With an f/1.8 Zuiko lens, raw shooting and a 10-million-pixel sensor, the Olympus XZ-1 looks like it will give the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 a run for its money


Build and Handling

Having recently been impressed with the handling and design of the Olympus Pen E-PL2, I was pleased to see that the XZ-1 has much in common with this camera. Both models have just the essential buttons on their rear, with the XZ-1 also featuring the live wheel controller found on the E-PL2. This wheel sits around the directional control buttons and can be rotated to allow menu items and images to be scrolled through quickly.

The simplicity and ease of the XZ-1’s controls make it great to use. I was very impressed with how simple it was to change settings, with everything on the on-screen shooting menu self-explanatory and easy to use. Especially useful is the ring at the base of the lens. Depending on the shooting mode you are in, this dial can be used to change the current settings. However, it feels at its best when used in aperture-priority mode, where it is used to change the lens aperture.

While there are smaller compact cameras available, the XZ-1 is not as large as the Canon PowerShot G12 or Nikon P7000. In terms of size, its body has more in common with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5. The Olympus camera’s solid plastic body fits easily into a jacket pocket and is great for days out when a DSLR is too intrusive. It does become a little awkward to fit into a pocket with the EVF attached, but I found that I could leave this loose in my pocket and attached it when required.

Overall, the build and handling of the XZ-1 is impressive. It is straightforward and intuitive to use and the buttons and controls are well positioned for quick access, making the camera apleasure to use.

  • External mic: Yes – optional SEMA-1
  • Video: 1280x720 pixels, 640x480 pixels, 30fps AVI Motion JPEG
  • AF Assistance: 11-area contrast AF or 255 points in magnified view
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets, Kelvin plus custom setting
  • Built-in Flash: Yes
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Output Size: 3648x2736 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: N/A – optional VF-2 EVF
  • LCD: 3in OLED with 614,000 dots
  • White Balance Bracket: Yes, 3 exposures
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/160sec
  • Sensor: 10-million-effective-pixel CCD sensor
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual, 19 scene modes, 6 Art Filters
  • Lens: 28-112mm (equivalent) f/1.8-2.5 4x zoom
  • File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 2-1/2000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
  • ISO: 100-6400
  • Colour Space: sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Approx 2fps for around 23 JPEG images or 8 raw images
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, macro, super macro, AF tracking, face detection
  • DoF Preview: Yes, via Live Guide
  • Compression: 2-stage JPEG
  • Metering System: 324 multi-pattern sensing, centreweighted, and fixed centre spot
  • Exposure Comp: ±2EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • RRP: £399.99

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