Excellent Enthusiast-Compact From Olympus
April 2011

Until the Olympus XZ1 comes along, the Lumix LX5 and Canon S95 are the two 'serious' compacts with a fast 2.0 lens. The XZ1 bests these with a lens with an even larger aperture, 1.8 at the wide end. The other two cameras, however, has lens-based optical image stabilization which is slightly more effective than the XZ1's sensor-shift technique. This can be seen more apparently at the telephoto end. Specifications aside, it's the image that counts, and the XZ1's image quality doesn't disappoint. Images we took inside museums without flash all turned out beautifully. Image quality is as good as any from the other top cameras.


The camera is solidly, if not heftily, built. It looks and feels like serious tool. It's not light, but balances well and comfortable to use.


Beside from producing excellent images, the camera has the cool ART filter mode, which is reasonably quick and creates interesting effects like Pinhole and Diorama. We rarely shoot raw images with a compact but the XZ1 has a good raw mode and it's there in case one needs it. The camera's 720p HD movies are not the best but good enough for general use and can be zoomed optically while filming.


An interesting accessory is the external electronic view finder VF-2, which has excellent resolution and can be very useful for shooting in bright sun or at a low angle. There's also a dedicated underwater housing unit, PT-050.


With the introduction of the XZ1, Olympus has finally made an interesting and capable compact camera that can challenge the bests from the three heavyweights: Canon, Panasonic and Sony.

Overall, we enjoy using this camera as much as the Lumix LX5 and Canon S95. It's easily one of our favorites.


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  • excellent image quality
  • quick and responsive
  • excellent, fast 28-112mm zoom lens
  • fast maximum aperture 1.8 - 2.5
  • good in low-light without flash
  • full photographic controls
  • ART filter mode
  • solidly-built
  • raw, raw + jpeg modes
  • excellent 3.0" LCD
  • front control ring
  • excellent optional external view finder
  • good HD video
  • Micro HDMI output



  • sensor shift image stabilization

  • excellent pocketable camera for the enthusiast; a nomad's favorite
  • deluxe compact camera
  • price when tested: $499
  • April 2010 street price: $499
  • image stabilized zoom lens 28-112mm
  • multi-format: 4:3, 16:9, 3:2, 1:1
  • 3.0" OLED (614Kpixels)
  • 720p HD video with optical zoom
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
  • rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • 10 megapixels
  • dimension: 4.37" x 2.56" x 1.65"
  • weight: 9.7 oz.
  • Olympus XZ1 info @ olympus.com