Olympus XZ-1 Review

4.5
February 7, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

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#1 Neil

Thanks for another excellent review. This one will save me some money! Personally, I see no compelling reason to switch from my Samsung EX1.

This Olympus is nice though, that lens is very tempting and I am a sucker for that nice Olympus colour…

5:35 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#2 KevG

An excellent review, but three points spring immediately to mind:
1.  Lack of a dedicated ISO button
2.  No AEL/AFL lock button
3.  No proper charger, except as an extra-cost accessory.  What do   you do if you have an iMac like I have?  Surely the USB charger can’t be restricted solely to the Windows OS?
A camera at this price level should really have all three of the above.  But no doubt some/all of these omissions will be catered for in the XZ-2, 3, etc, etc.  We’ve all seen this before with the follow up models to the E-P1 which has no built-in flash and no viewfinder (apart from the OVF for the 17mm lens)
However, I still want one, and it does have a pop-up flash and the port for the EVF.  This is what us Olympus enthusiasts have been waiting for, a high-end compact to compete with the likes of the Canon S95 and the Panasonic LX5.  And if the JPEGs are anywhere near as good as they are from my E-600 and E-P1, I’ll be well satisfied.

9:57 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#3 Frank Stanton

Great review. I am really impressed by the night shot.

9:58 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#4 Frank Stanton

KevG: I read an earlier review of this camera and it actually does come with a charger that plugs into the wall; it’s just that the charger has an USB connection with the camera which is really odd. The reviewer mentions that it takes longer via USB on one’s computer, than the wall. See below.

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/olympus/xz1-review

The reviewer says there is an optional battery in the charger type for $26 (US).

10:11 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#5 james

I love photographyblog.com because they actually do a lot of camera reviews. I’m starting to dislike CNET because they review cameras so irregularly, sometimes taking random breaks as long as three weeks. Even though these reviews aren’t as in depth as CNET’s, at least they are THERE and are still plenty good to help a buyer make a decision.

However, I would like to see a couple things changed- for one thing, can you guys make the ISO pictures all of the same picture? It makes it hard to compare ISO shots from one camera to another when the subjects are different (I especially dislike the flower picture as seen in the Panasonic LX5’s review because the subject is not a very sharp subject to begin with, so it’s hard to tell what is smeary because of the picture or because of the camera).

Also, when you talk about image quality, you say it produced excellent results, good results, remarkable results- I can tell the difference between bad, good, better, best, but the difference between some words- like excellent and remarkable- are a little tricky to tell apart. A five star rating or link to an explanation of the word choice would be nice.

But good review- personally, I don’t really see why the camera gets slightly higher points than the LX5, EX1 or S95 (not referring to just this review, also to dpreview’s rating). But right now, given that all the prices for all the other high end compacts have dropped, the Olympus seems unappealing and overpriced as mentioned.

10:21 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#6 Zoltan Arva-Toth

Kev,

“Surely the USB charger can’t be restricted solely to the Windows OS?”

Well, Olympus says this on page 14 of the English-language manual:

“The camera battery can be charged while the camera is connected to a computer. [...] We recommend that you use a computer equipped with Windows XP (Service Pack 2 or later), Windows Vista, or Windows 7.”

They then go on to suggest that you use the supplied USB-AC adapter if you are using a different computer. So it seems that if you have an iMac, the way to charge the battery is to put it in the camera, connect the camera to the USB-AC adapter with the USB cable, and plug the adapter into the wall. (This is what I ended up doing myself when I got the camera, even though I have a Windows computer.)

10:40 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#7 Josh Simons

Thank you for the detailed review.

There is much to recommend this camera, but the lack of AEL/AFL is a deal breaker for me. It seems a curious omission on a camera of this class.

11:40 pm - Monday, February 7, 2011

#8 KevG

Frank, Zoltan,

Thanks for the info re the battery charging arrangements.  Seems like a retrograde step to me, my E-600 and E-P1 both have proper chargers, as did my E-300 (now sold)  Also my Canon G9 and Panasonic LX3 have pukka chargers.
Mind you, I do have an old 3.2Mp Camedia AZ-1 (LI20B battery) that has to be charged through its cradle, although I did manage to source an after-market charger that enabled direct charging of the battery without resort to the cradle.
Still, its going to be a bit of a nuisance with the USB charger, as even if you’ve a spare battery, you still can’t use the camera whilst its charging, so you’re almost forced to buy the accessory direct charger.  A bit naughty, Olympus.

12:21 am - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#9 Neil

I wouldn’t be too concerned about the charger cable. Samsung did the same silly thing with the EX-1. A charger (plug directly into the wall type) was readily available on Ebay for $5. I would imagine a similar will be available for the Olympus in no time…

12:33 am - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#10 Jeremy

Helpful review. Zoltan, what are your initial thoughts on pluses and minuses of the XZ-1 versus the E-PL2? The bodies are pretty much the same size… Obviously the PL2 zoom choice is either shorter (14-42) or expensive/heavy (14-150) and smaller aperture too, but the sensor is much bigger than the XZ-1’s.

2:15 am - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#11 Tina Edwards

The XZ-1 uses the same battery as the Olympus Mju 9000. The battery charger for this is LI-50CAB. It’s currently available on Amazon for just under £50! but there are probably cheaper third party alternatives.

3:15 pm - Tuesday, February 8, 2011

#12 Beverly

The situation with the recharging doesn’t make sense to me.  The iMac provides a little more power via the USB cable than a Windows PC. 

If the wall charger is faster than charging via a PC computer, the camera obviously can handle more power.  How much more, I couldn’t say.

I have seen some items requiring two USB ports on some laptops since don’t get enough power - all I know on thoses items was that it wasn’t a Mac laptop.

The specifications includes iMac and you would still need to connect via the USB cable to download pictures. During that time your camera would be recharging.  Do they say anything against downloading directly from the camera and if so, do they again list just the three that you listed as usable computers for direct downloads?

3:29 pm - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

#13 Hari Geninazza

Great reviews, I agree. Although ...nothing can be 100% perfect for 100% of the people, hee, hee.

I was unpleasantly surprised (after “analog” photography) by digital photography lenses not going so much down in diaphragm/aperture size. And with all the detailed info you give us, I’m uneasy wondering whether this nice Zuiko lens (and others) will only go down to f8… or worse. So, if you could, I would like to see also the minimum aperture reachable by compact cameras.

Thanks for your good work; I hope advertisers keep you house big, bright and well supplied.

8:27 pm - Saturday, February 12, 2011

#14 BobBill

No eye-level finder, no interest here.

5:55 pm - Monday, February 14, 2011

#15 Marpa

Thanks for the review.

I have a question: In the ‘Image Quality’ section under ‘Sharpening’ you show two images of the end of a tree stump - one with sharpening, one without. Was the sharpening applied within the camera - i.e were the camera’s sharpness settings changed, or was it changed externally?

Thanks

10:03 am - Monday, February 21, 2011

#16 gideon

superb review as usual from photographyblog.. this beast will easily beat S95 n LX5.. :)
dream to have this camera.. love it!

7:54 am - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

#17 Bill

Thanks for the review. I am a little puzzled though: Another respected site gave this camera a 74%, “Gold” rating. When I look at the image files at 100% at iso 800, there is severe loss of fine detail from smearing, probably due to noise reduction. Reminds me of the shots from the “flawed jewel” Leica Digilux 2 at ISO 400. In my opinion, the files from the S95, G12 and even the P7000 beat this camera hands-down for anything over 200 ISO. Am I missing something? Perhaps for quick social snaps it will be ok, and it’s certainly “pocketable” if that’s what’s important to an individual… but I can’t see using it for anything serious over 200 ISO!

7:26 am - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#18 BobBill

No eye level viewfinder. Screw it and all similar offerings.

10:11 am - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#19 Zoltan Arva-Toth

@Jeremy: There is no question that the E-PL2 has a much bigger sensor, which results in better IQ at higher ISO sensitivity settings. This may or may not be an important factor, depending on one’s shooting style. As to the cameras being similar in size - well, the E-PL2 is in fact considerably bulkier if you put anything other than a pancake lens on it, so the two cameras are quite different beasts. Not that the E-PL2 isn’t portable but the XZ-1 is quite a bit more compact, especially with the lens retracted. The other advantages of the XZ-1 include a better rear screen and the ability to sync any flash you attach - including any non-system flash with a trigger voltage of less than 24V - at any shutter speed up to 1/2000th of a second. In most other respects, the E-PL2 wins (bigger sensor, interchangeable lenses).

@BobBill: As noted in the review, there is an eye-level viewfinder available for this camera, but it’s an optional extra.

@Bill: Of course you are right about the loss of fine detail at high ISOs. It is something we pointed out ourselves, saying, “in JPEGs, the effects of noise reduction become very apparent at ISO 400 and above”. But we also noted that with a lens this fast, you seldom need to dial in a high ISO sensitivity setting. The cameras you mention are all fine tools - and indeed all three got a Highly Recommended rating from us - but none of them has a lens with an f/2.5 maximum aperture at the telephoto setting. (The older and much bigger Digilux 2 was a different story - it had a comparably fast lens but no image stabilisation.) It’s all about preferences, and a single rating doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s why we strive to deliver detailed reviews to you guys so that you get as much information as possible.

5:03 pm - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#20 BobBill

Sorry, was referring to XZ1. No eye level finder for that puppy…

Generally, no eye - finder, it fails.

5:16 pm - Wednesday, February 23, 2011

#21 FutureShock999

@BobBill - the review was also speaking of the XZ-1: it accepts the eyelevel viewfinder accessory from the E-PL2.  Seems a good compromise for this part of the market, where only a few of us demand eyelevel viewfinders any more.

This camera seems fantastic…I was debating trading up my E-3 to an E-5, but I think I might spend my next purchase on this instead.

6:12 pm - Saturday, February 26, 2011

#22 BobBill

Future, I must be in Oz…http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/OlympusXZ1/

10:04 pm - Saturday, February 26, 2011

#23 BobBill

To be fair and clear, was talking about EVF or built in finders, not a wide angle view only add on.

No real finder, no interest.

2:08 pm - Sunday, February 27, 2011

#24 salvador

When I saw the specification of this camera, I thought I would regret buying the Canon S95 last year with its lower specced f2 lens and 1/1.7 sensor. However, when I looked at the amount of noise in the sample pictures, I realise that my S95 beats the XZ1 hands down at higher ISOs.

So I want be changing.

12:35 am - Monday, February 28, 2011

#25 Zoltan Arva-Toth

@Marpa: Sorry I missed your question. In the ‘Image Quality’ section under ‘Sharpening’, the non-sharpened crops are straight out of the camera, while the sharpened ones were sharpened using third-party software, to demonstrate how much sharpening the files can take.

@BobBill: The optional add-on eye-level viewfinder mentioned in the review (VF-2) is a high-resolution EVF. It always shows what the sensor sees, so what you see is what you get, irrespective of the lens’ zoom position (so it’s not “wide angle view only”). It has its disadvantages - you have to pay extra for it, and you cannot mount an external flash while it’s attached -, but it’s available if you cannot live without a “real” finder.

3:11 pm - Monday, February 28, 2011

#26 Roman

@Zoltan Arva-Toth: You mention loss of detail at high ISO, however, there are green and red color blotches even in images at ISO 100 - look at http://img.photographyblog.com/reviews/olympus_xz1/sample_images/olympus_xz1_02.jpg in the lower and upper left-hand corner on the floor, or http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/photos/832952/p1080096?inalbum=olympus-xz-1-review-samples at the bottom left corner in the shadows - there are red and green blotches on the rock. I am not sure how much this can be improved / worsened by turning noise reduction on or off, but there is definitely a problem even at the lowest ISO setting.

Also, a friend bought the XZ-1 and the blotches are very pronounced in the shadows, so it probably is not a fault of one or two sample cameras.

If you could share any thoughts, I would be glad.
Thank you.

12:36 pm - Thursday, March 3, 2011

#27 BobBill

Zoltan, I perused the above review and two others, and noted nothing about a live-view finder accessory. I must be missing something…I looked a couple of times.

But no matter, as this camera is not for me.

1:02 pm - Thursday, March 3, 2011

#28 Marpa

@Zoltan Arva-Toth: Thanks for the reply.

I’m wondering if the in camera sharpness settings can produce results similar to those produced by the third party software.

Any ideas?

Cheers

11:41 am - Friday, March 4, 2011

#29 Roman

OK, I found out the blotchiness is mainly caused by an uncalibrated screen (though it never exhibited such noise blotchiness on any other image I’ve examined).

12:45 pm - Friday, March 4, 2011

#30 Vilde

Hi!

Thank you for all the good reviews you write!
I am looking for a new camera for everyday use, and as I’m planning on traveling a lot the next year I need a camera that can take good pictures in all situations and lights, and still ba compact enough to carry around with me. I am not a profesional photographer, but I like to take pictures. Therefore I want something that is not too advanced, but still has all the setting opportunities to take a lot of good and different photos. I also want it to take good photos on auto-mode and other easy-modes, for when I can not be bothered to work to much with the camera settings myself.
I have got a good impression of Olympus XZ-1, Canon PowerShot S95 and Canon PowerShot G11/G12. What one of these do you think would fit my recuieries and use the best? And wich one gives me more value for my money? Also, if you have any other cameras you rather would recommend to me, please let me know.

Kind Regards, Vilde

1:59 pm - Saturday, March 5, 2011

#31 jezza

For me, looking at comparisons side by side the panasonic lx-5 still comes out on top for ease of use, features, and general handling/usefulness than anything else… its hard to pinpoint exactly but certain features as longer battery life and iso buttons and things like that all combine into a camera which looks much more pleasant to be using day in day out. A camera with a bit that you hate is going to annoy you even more as you use it and find it lacking… I think ultimately ther best camera is one you yourself feel good and happy using, and its best to try a few out yourself…

10:46 pm - Wednesday, March 9, 2011

#32 André

Dear reviewer, guests,

What do you think? At this moment I have a Canon S90. Will I improve on image quality when I replace the canon by the Olympus XZ-1????

Thanks a lot in advance for your opinion.

Cheers,
André

4:09 pm - Saturday, March 12, 2011

#33 Bruno

The main drawback of this camera is the price. Would have been nice closer to $400 rather than $500, but value has a price. In the hands of some advanced users or semi-pros….the quality of images for the same shot is comparable to a DSLR. I’ve seen it. This is either a back up with easier portability (vs DSLR) or a choice for ‘point and shoot’ enthusiasts who are fed up having their photos look like it was taken by a cell phone camera. The f1.8 makes all the difference here. Beginners, amateurs, quasi-enthusiasts, whatever you are….this is one for you. You will blow your family and friends away with the quality images produces. The XZ-1 is by far a better choice vs the P300 by Nikon, LX 5 by Panny, DLUX5 by Leica (same as Panny),  or Canon S95. Any head to head image showdown will prove it.
Have fun.

1:12 pm - Sunday, April 3, 2011

#34 BobBill

Exactly the point.

Why pay $500 when for $600 you will have superior camera and eye level finder in the Oly EP-2 and scads of lenses to use new and ancient. 

No brainer.

1:21 pm - Sunday, April 3, 2011

#35 Low Budget Dave

When you look closely at the pictures from the s95, the Canon has more color depth and less noise at high iso.  Still, I really like the look of pictures with a narrow depth of field.

Is there a smaller camera out there that would give me a narrow depth of field? 

Without Photoshop, I mean.

12:44 am - Sunday, April 24, 2011

#36 DekHog

@BobBill - You seem to be very confused about your EVF’s, VF’s, E-P’s and XZ’s - NO Olympus Pen has a built in VF/EVF, and definitely not the E-P2. You need to go do some research before you set your fingers/keyboard to work…

9:42 pm - Saturday, April 30, 2011

#37 Jon404

Zoltan—Olympus also makes (or made) a $99 optical (non-EVF) hotshoe viewfinder called the VF-1… for the Pen E-1’s 17mm pancake lens (34mm equiv on a 35mm). Would it work on the XZ-1? If most of my pix were taken at moderate wide-angle? Should go right on the XZ-1’s hotshoe, wouldn’t it?

See http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-VF-1-Optical-Viewfinder-Digital/dp/B002CGSYNA

8:47 am - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#38 gan tian seng

How can I put the date of taking the photos on the
photo itself ? it seem like no way to doing it,
please assist if possible…thank you

8:35 am - Sunday, May 15, 2011

#39 Kwanghui

Thanks for a great review. I ended up buying one. It’s a very nice little point & shoot. The lens is better than expected. The jpegs aren’t great but shooting Raw+jpeg gets very good results.

For those who were concerned about battery charging: the USB cable that comes with the camera is universal. You can therefore charge it using any USB port (more precisely anything that is 500mA).

I use the tiny Apple charger that came with an old ipod touch. It works well. Any ipod/ipad/iphone charger should probably work.

2:46 pm - Sunday, May 22, 2011

#40 Joe

Love the camera but I am too annoyed by the lens cover and shoe cover to tell you how great it is.  After 2 weeks I lost the shoe cover and the lens cover if not on a string would be gone too..  Either way it falls off causing the lens to be exposed, get dirt and I know it will scratch.

For an amazing camera at 500 us and terrible support I am so fed up with the electronic age of wasting time with e-mails until Olympus gives me an answer i will lambast the camera.

Payback is a bitch.

11:44 pm - Friday, May 27, 2011

#41 Torso

@BobBill…you said several times you are not interested. If you REALLY not interested, you should say it one time…maximum. So, how many times are you gonna say you don’t care about this product?

10:50 pm - Sunday, June 5, 2011

#42 Garry

It doesn’t have focus lock from half pressing the shutter button?  Why not?

About this lack of battery charger.  It’s the 2nd camera I know of with no charger, and the 2nd camera that’s put me off buying it.  This needs nipping in the bud NOW.  No way am I buying an expensive compact and then looking on ebay for a charger.  No charger=no sale for me.  When not taking pictures, cameras should be in a case, not being used as a charger.  How do you charge a spare battery, and take pictures at the same time?
Chargers cost about 50p each to be made in China, so PUT ONE IN THE BOX!!

11:46 am - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#43 Jon404

Bought and XZ-1 a week ago. Am absolutely delighted. It is a wonderful camera that fits in my shirt pocket. Picture quality is excellent (try Natural mode, Contrast +1, Sharpness +1), ISO 100. For instant grab shots I use Aperture mode at f/4… sharp from 2’ to infinity. Took a picture of an airliner coming in, right overhead, got two sharp images real fast, there’s almost zero shutter lag time.
Also bought the Olympus VF-1 optical viewfinder, which was sold for the Pen cameras, and it works perfectly… its viewing angle is about 35mm-equiv which is close enough to the XZ-1’s 28mm-equiv when wide open. A LOT less expensive than the VF-2 electronic viewfinder.
The controls are easy to use. The menus are only slightly goofy; you get used to them in a few days. The lens is superb. VERY fast… lets you take handheld pictures in very low-light places. And you can always put the camera on a wall or a beanbag and use the self-timer for a good sharp picture.
Image quality is great for web or enlargements to 11 x 14”. Over that, I’d get an APS-C sensor camera. But they don’t fit in your pocket!
XZ-1… five stars… recommended!!!

12:55 am - Saturday, June 25, 2011

#44 Mike

Returned after a few days. Bought to replace a Sony DSC-W300 a sub-compact with a 1/1.7 size sensor that is very close in size to XZ-1 1/1.63. At time of Sony purchase in 2008 I was unaware of sensor size issue. Sony takes clearly better pics in most situations. In night time shots without flash the Olympus was better. Ultimately could not justify expense for a bigger camera with poorer results in normal lighting.

7:27 pm - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#45 Jon404

Noticed that the XZ-1’s Underwater Mode does a great job white-balancing the nighttime mixture of tungsten, sodium vapor, neon and fluorescent light. And! For all you purists complaining about a missing XZ-1 Focus Lock button, guess what! In Underwater Mode, just press the down arrow on the back ring to lock the exposure.

Besides the two Underwater Modes (wide-angle and macro), you can also set the white-balance to ‘Underwater’. I’m using Cloudy for all my daylight and twilight images, and then Underwater, usually with aperture priority, later at night.

This camera is so amazingly shirt-pocket portable. Am becoming an expert finding places to brace it against for low-light shots… keep a tripod in the car but somehow never use it… can put the camera on anything stationary (car roof, mailbox) and use the self-timer to take a very sharp shot. Fun!

5:22 pm - Monday, July 18, 2011

#46 Jon404

Bought an Alzo Manual Flash with Optical Slave. It has seven power settings and works perfectly with the XZ-1. I can put the XZ-1 flash on 1/16 power, bounce a flash off a wall 20’ away, and set off the Alzo as the main flash. The XZ-1’s 1/16 power only adds a touch of flash fill light—it doesn’t interfere with the main Alzo flash lighting. Optical slave lets you put the Alzo on a stand, or hold it in your hand away from the camera… no wires! Neat.
What you need to know—the XZ-1 is PERFECT for picking up some extra dollars shooting real estate interiors. The 6mm (28mm equiv.) lens provides TOTAL depth-of-field sharpness, just amazing, more than makes up for the corresponding lack of ‘bokeh’! And the bright, bright, bright lens gives you all kinds of room to stop down to control the flash lighting level.
And a surprise—the ‘Underwater’ WB setting and the ‘Vivid’ color strength setting produce a nicely colored image!

10:49 pm - Tuesday, August 9, 2011

#47 Matthew

Jon thanks so much for the tips. You just saved me hours of research and I’m headed to Moscow for a week with my new camera in just a few days (and my camera will arrive the day before I leave). Your tips are going to make a huge difference. I have been waiting for a DSLR replacement/pocket camera FOREVER and I’m hoping this one might be the ticket. I only use a D50 Nikon with 50mm lens because it is a light sucker and turns out amazing photos almost all the time but it’s just too big when I am cruising the metros and crowds looking for photo ops. So this lens may be the ticket because I hear it’s very bright. If you have ANY other tips I would love to hear them!!! Thanks again Matthew

1:21 am - Friday, September 2, 2011

#48 Jon404

Matthew—get two extra Olympus batteries and charge all three before you leave—God knows what current they have over there. Take one extra 2GB memory card. Olympus JPGs are very good; you’ll save battery time by using LF JPGs, not RAW. Three batteries will yield 600-700 images. Wear a shirt with two large front pockets, with buttons. Camera in one, batteries in the other.
Make a small beanbag—that will easily fit in a back pants pocket—fill with rice and/or lead shot from divers’ weights you’ll find at a fishing store. keep it light. In low light, invaluable for longer exposures at night. You’ll rapidly get very good at finding walls and posts to brace the camera against! Use the 2-sec. self-timer, with the camera on the beanbag, for long exposures—anything over 1/25 second… there’s a limit to the amazingly-effective image stabilization.
Street photography—use shutter-priority for everything except macro, since there’s no bokeh-effect worth mentioning at any normal setting, as the lens is so small. But great depth-of-field!
Color—I’m using Natural strength and Underwater white-balance, works day and night, and then adjusting if needed in the Olympus software, or my old Photoshop 7, like perspective correction. And I use the spotmeter setting to really control image brightness. Trust the histogram! Not the LCD screen image—believe that histogram, particularly if you are in Manual mode.

If you carry a bag, get it beat up and dirty before you go. And no Pelican cases. You want to fade into the landscape, and blend in.

If you have time, and it’s not that important—get an Olympus battery charger that plugs in, like the one that came with my older SW 1020 weatherproof pocket camera (but, again, check Russian voltages). And get an older Olympus VF-1 viewfinder, if you want to snap action on bright days when the viewfinder is washed out.

Have a great trip!

1:35 am - Saturday, September 3, 2011

#49 Grant Watt

I have had my camera for about 10 days and I have used it quite a bit as I damaged my D300 Lens, my only general purpose lens. It is I have to say a very impressive camera. The colours are superb and it is extremely good on focus and exposure. The aperature and shutter priority modes are also very easy to use with the ring on the front to adjust the aperature or shutter speed.

The value of having a wide lens at full zoom can’t be underestimated.

Overall very happy with it.

5:33 am - Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#50 fran

I have had this camera for about 4 months and while is is capable of taking some superb pictures, especially macro and super macro, the auto focus seems to be hit or miss. My old C2040 while not as sharp a lens edge to edge almost never took an out of focus picture. The manual focus also lack the inch-feet scale at the bottom of the display when focusing. One of the first pictures I tried to take was of the neihbors’ house with a end to end rain bow in the background and it just could not focus. Also their is far to much noise reduction in the jpegs, they look like a soft focus filter many times. If the sensor was all the great it would not have so much noise in the first place to need all the noise reduction. Videos also have a problem with auto focus, even when you stay on the same subject at about the same distance away.

12:59 am - Thursday, November 17, 2011

#51 fran

The M-Rock Mesa Verde(644) camera bag fits this camera perfectly. The Yosemite does not even though it’s listed for this camera.

1:08 am - Thursday, November 17, 2011

#52 Ragnar Asklund

Hello. I was wondering about how you thought the camera functioned with external flash. Ive used the camera for half a year and is thinking of complementing it with external flash olympus 36R, do you think its worth the money? With the built in flash, Im a bit annyoed that the camera automatic sets values to S: 1/30 and A: 1,8. Is it possible to change these settings (Id like S to be at least 1/80)using external flash and still using TTL?

5:05 pm - Saturday, February 11, 2012

#53 andyclad

Hi All,
Ive had this camera for 3 months. I was attracted by the fast lens. Im not interested to much in the video, but it does work fine for short clips etc.
Ive been using this along side a Fuji x10. Well the result is it completely blows the x10 away. The reason is that the images produced by this are so natural and using the fast lens with the ND filter produces some really lovely pictures. Because of this the only post production ive done is the occasional crop. The x10 for me has been one of the most over hyped compacts ever.
Have a look at this link for some examples of my straight out the camera work (Moose69 is me).http://forums.steves-digicams.com/olympus/190772-new-xz-1-user-2.html

8:09 am - Saturday, July 14, 2012

#54 Peter

I have learned much from this review and the comments.  I never would have thought of using a beanbag as a platform for taking photos!  I should have, as in the army I was trained to use sandbags for precise shooting.  Anyway.  I purchased this camera here in Beijing - with the invaluable help of a Chinese-speaking friend.  Clearly I have not mined the depths of its capabilities.  I, like others here, considered the cost difference between this camera and a DSLR. What decided it for me is that I ride a bicycle a lot.  And, as did not purchase a GoPro to bring with me, I decided something resembling a high-end point-and-shoot would allow me to take some very good photos while riding my bike (something I do very carefully), while also using it for more detailed still photography. 

Question: I have not yet figured out if it is possible to use the built-in flash in other than the Auto Focus setting, or does this require an external flash?

Many thanks.

3:55 am - Sunday, September 2, 2012

#55 Jonathon Donahue

Peter—I’ve put together a list of XZ-1 tips at http://jon404.com/xz1tips.htm ... all kinds of stuff.

About the flash—if you are in A Aperture, S Shutter, or M Manual mode, you can adjust the flash intensity down to 1/64 of full power… perfect for adding a flick of light whenever you want. Also, indoors or outside in the dark—at as low as 1/16 power, you can use it to set off one or more inexpensive Yong-Nuo YN-460N optical slave flashes… which themselves can each be manually adjusted for intensity. Not so bad!

4:46 am - Sunday, September 2, 2012

#56 fi

I am very muc ha point and click person.  Sadly I don’t have time at the moment to change this.  I am looking for a fast point and click camera, for mostly capturing photos of kids, or scenery.  Wound this be a good camera?  I’m a bit lost with all the jargon

6:42 pm - Saturday, October 27, 2012

#57 Jonathon Donahue

fi—the XZ-1 can be used in all-automatic “iAuto” mode… but from what you are saying, it wouldn’t be the best choice for you.
Suggest you go to a big-box store, like Target or Best Buy or Fry’s… and ask the clerk for a simple point ‘n shoot, and hold several of them until you find one you like. Don’t spen more than $150! They all work very well, for what you need.

The one thing about the XZ-1 that MIGHT make it best for you is the ‘bright’ f/1.8 lens. This lets it take pix in low light, often without a flash. It also has a VERY good fast auto-focus that works well in low light. Important for grab shots of kids! XZ-1 right now on Amazon—$199 (a REAL bargain!)

7:38 am - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#58 Leon

Hi Jonathan,

Thanks for your tips.

And yes, Amazon *had* this gem for $199.  I bought one just in time, they are now back at $349….

4:50 pm - Saturday, December 29, 2012

#59 Xuni

I was not able to find any reset to factory default setting. I have approached the olympus help desk and was advised this functionality is available from XZ-2 only. In this price category?? Disappointing. I would expect to be added to next firmware release.
Otherwise very satisfied with the camera / picture quality.

8:35 pm - Saturday, October 5, 2013

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, review, 720p, hdmi, manual, RAW, olympus, 10 megapixel, 4x zoom, 3 inch, 4x, OLED, 4x lens, xz1, xz-1, Olympus XZ-1 Review, xz 1, Olympus XZ-1

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