The Olympus XZ-1 is the latest advanced creative compact, featuring an enviable specification and packed with high end features. Could this be the best pocketable enthusiast compact yet made?
Value & Verdict
Olympus XZ-1 Review – Value
The Olympus XZ-1 is launched at a similar price to its near rival, the Panasonic Lumix LX5, and slightly more than the street price of the other main contenders in this sector, the Canon S95 and Samsung EX1. While there are one or two features on those cameras that the XZ-1 lacks, the XZ-1 has its own aces, such as the wireless flash control. Image quality is the deciding factor and here the points of difference are more difficult to discern, at least at the lower ISOs. Overall the XZ-1 is prices fairly for what it offers, compared to what else is available.
Taken using the Pinhole Art Filter Mode
Olympus XZ-1 Review – Verdict
The Holy Grail for serious enthusiasts shopping for a compact is for a camera that achieves the highest possible image quality, with full control, in as small a package as is practical. The Olympus XZ-1 comes as close to achieving this as any camera yet launched. It’s certainly one of the smallest cameras of its type, the lens is superb, it’s great fun to use and image quality at the lower ISOs is among the best, whether shooting in Raw or JPEG. Furthermore it offers the ability to add an electronic viewfinder, to use a flashgun (either on the hotshoe or wirelessly) and to shoot high speed bursts.
Only a couple of niggles thwart its bid for perfection, most notably its high ISO performance and so-so movie quality. The awkward rear dial and lack of any kind of hand grip are more minor issues. On balance though the XZ-1 is an excellent camera that we can heartily recommend to anyone looking for a camera of this type.