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



I really enjoyed using the Olympus XZ-1. It handles nicely and has all the settings and features an enthusiast photographer would want. The much talked about f/1.8 lens is great in low light and creates a shallow depth of field, although it does distort at wide angles. That said, many compact cameras suffer from lens distortion at short focal lengths and most manufacturers correct this in-camera.

Despite being able to resolve a good amount of detail at lower sensitivities, images really start to suffer the effects of noise and noise reduction once ISO 400 is reached. Kept at this sensitivity or below, the XZ-1 is a great high-end compact camera if you plan to use it for travelling, but don’t expect to be making large, detailed enlargements from the images it produces.

It is great to see Olympus adding such a model to its line-up, and I look forward to seeing the next few generations of the XZ series. Hopefully, the image quality can be improved, maybe even with a simple firmware update. But for now the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 remains the compact camera of choice for the enthusiast photographer.

  • 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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