Olympus announces Stylus 1
Review Date : Tue, 29 Oct 2013
Author : Jon Stapley
Olympus is pitching its newly unveiled Stylus 1 as the camera for compact enthusiasts or for DSLR owners looking for a second camera, packing an impressive number of features into a body with dimensions of 116mm x 87mm x 56.5mm.
Several of these features are borrowed from Olympus's OM-D E-M5 system camera, principally the DSLR-style layout but also the 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder, Fast AF, precise touchscreen focusing and built-in Wi-fi.
The EVF carried over from the E-M5 boasts all the same features, including automatic backlight control, shadow highlighting, a level gauge and automatic eye detection.
OM-D E-M5 users will also recognise the Truepic VI image processor, and XZ-series users will appreciate the return of the Hybrid Control Ring for manual or digital control of settings.
The Stylus 1 feels as though it's hitting a similar market to the Sony RX10 announced a couple of weeks ago, sporting as it does a fixed 28-300mm i.ZUIKO lens with a constant aperture of f/2.8.
The lens features a built-in VCM image stabilisation mechanism that Olympus says will virtually eliminate camera shake and blur, and a deliberate defocusing function that generates DSLR-style bokeh. It also has a brightness level that complements the camera's low-light performance and allows for the use of faster shutter speeds in dark scenes.
The 28-300mm lens on the Olympus Stylus 1 is capable of retracting fully into the body when not in use, behind an automatically closing lens cap.
The resolution on the Stylus 1 is noticeably lower than many similar-spec cameras that have been released in recent weeks, the 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor offering 12 megapixels.
The controls have been laid out ergonomically, with the Hybrid Control Ring and zoom lever placed within reach of the left hand while shutter release is, naturally, situated underneath the right.
The Hybrid Control Ring can be customised in accordance with functions that the user adjusts most frequently, and can be used in analogue mode for zooming and focusing or digital mode for selecting menu items.
It is also possible to trigger Fast AF and Touch AF Shutter via the 3-inch TFT LCD, which boasts 1.04-million dots of resolution. When the LCD screen is tilted, the EVF automatically switches off to conserve battery life.
The Stylus 1 can shoot at up to ISO 12800, can record 1080p Full HD movies at 120/240fps for slow-motion playback and features 11 Art Filters that can be added to images for an extra creative touch.
The built-in Wi-fi works with Olympus's OI.Share software for quick image sharing. Pressing the Wi-fi field icon on the camera display reveals a QR code, which the user then scans with a smartphone to instantly pair the two devices. Once done, this allows the phone to mirror the camera's LCD screen and control the shutter via Wi-fi.
Three accessories are also available for the Stylus 1: the EP11 eye cup for the EVF that cuts out peripheral light, a full-body jacket for protection against damage and a 1.7x teleconverter that extends the focal length to 510mm, affixing via the CLA-13 converter adapter.
The new Stylus 1 from Olympus will be available from late November 2013, priced £549.99. Check back here for our first hands-on impressions of the camera.