August 09, 2011
If you want a carry anywhere, high quality pocket camera, this is the one to get. Olympus, which had been conspicuously absent in the mirror-less, fixed lens prosumer camera niche, has hit one out of the park on their first try. This camera is that great. Image quality is outstanding. And the art filters, I thought I'd never use them. Turns out, no matter what I shoot I make sure to take at least one example using an art filter. I find that people really get a kick out of seeing the results.
Besides image quality and art filters, Olympus made it compatible with their top flash and electronic viewfinder. That is just so great. It would be so easy for them to make it non-compatible so you'd have to buy a more expensive product to use those accessories but they didn't. Kudos for that. I bought the e. viewfinder and it really is as good as everyone says but that's for a separate review.
August 09, 2011
Like many of you I did the research and considered a couple of other models (LX-5, S95 etc) and settled on the xz-1.
I am a mid-level user who likes to travel light. The big glass, manual controls and overall build of the camera all add up to make this a favorite in my collection. Issues with NR and video quality are legit, however you will be pleased with your purchase, this is a nice package.
August 09, 2011
Really delighted with this camera. The image quality of a 4/3rds camera but in a much more usable compact form.
August 09, 2011
I love my XZ-1: The images are beautiful, jpgs right out of the camera are fine for printing, websharing and even publication. (Raw is available for those who must.) I've shot mostly in decent light at either Auto ISO or 100/200, and the images are clean and noise-free. I can't comment on high-ISO performance, but I expect it will be at least as good as other small-sensor cameras, no match for Micro 4/3s or DSLRs. However, how often do we really need to shoot in zero light?
Focus is fast and accurate. You can lock focus with a half-press of the shutter button; there's no dedicated focus-lock or exposure-lock button, a complaint of many reviewers. I don't see that it makes any difference.
The close-focus modes work fine, but I'd prefer a direct means of switching them on and off, rather than the "OK" menu via the LCD. This is a small gripe -- the OK menu is very handy overall, makes it seldom necessary to access the main menus. (The "OK" menu is activated by pressing the OK button when the LCD is live.)
Physically, the camera feels well-built and rugged, with enough weight to make it easy to hold, although it could have done with a molded-in finger grip. (I added a stick-on grip from a third-party supplier, which works fine.) The LCD is large, sharp and bright, but prone to fingerprints. I've added a fold-down cover to protect it.
The XZ-1 is improved dramatically with the VF-2 viewfinder -- even though it's very expensive, I think it's well worth it. It makes the camera not only easier to use in bright sunlight, but also adds immensely to the "cool factor." And the viewfinder will work on most Olympus EP cameras, too, if you decide to move into a larger-sensor machine.
In short, I think the XZ-1 is an excellent camera, especially with the viewfinder and a stick-on grip added. I plan to carry it as my primary camera on an upcoming vacation (my second/back-up is a pocketable weatherproof model), and am confident I'll come back with high-quality images.
I'm a lifelong photographer -- that's more than 40 years so far -- and have used a slew of film and digital cameras in all formats. I have access to pro quality gear from my own collection, but since I bought the XZ-1 I've been using it almost exclusively for my personal work. I am very happy with the camera.
August 09, 2011
great color, depth of field, sharpness.
Macro is excellent. Video is IFFY.someitmes on sometimes off.
August 09, 2011
I purchased this camera for a recent two week trip to Europe. The lens is of very high quality and fast.
The camera takes razor sharp pictures that fill my 24" iMac screen with amazing detail.
Most of these cameras have a certain logic to them, but I've yet to develop an intuitive feel of the menu
selections. Could just be me.
Don't like the lens cap, but, yes, the string does work. I do wish the cap attached more firmly; it can easily come loose.
When shooting video (infrequently for me, at best) the camera does hunt to refocus on objects of different distance.
In general, the pictures seem to exaggerate black levels a bit, but I use Aperture and RAW to get around this.
Built in panorama is wonderful, but much better results with distant scenery.
July 02, 2011
The XZ-1 is easy to navigate and takes fantastic pictures. It small size and big performance makes it a camera that you can take everywhere and never be disappointed with the performance. The leather case for it is sweet as well.
July 01, 2011
Camera performs well for target use, namely as a portable yet powerful, adjustable tool for taking pictures that can rival SLRs'. The handling quirks mentioned in some reviews become much less of an issue with practice, even the lack of a dedicated ISO button. However there's a rather serious problem affecting its real world usefulness as an easy to carry camera: You can't install the customary UV filter (or any other) to protect this lens, which is after all the main reason to get this camera and likely the component most expensive to repair or replace. According to Olympus the "the lens is proprietary and does not accept standard filters." This problem is all the more serious because the camera also lacks the customary built in flaps that cover the lens when you turn it off. This lack of protection seriously compromises the camera precisely in its intended function as an easy to carry and therefore frequently used tool; the more often you use it, the more likely you are to unwittingly damage that lovely lens and rue your investment.
June 29, 2011
Very user friendly. An excellent step up from point-and-shoot for those of us who want more than the basics, but not the bulk or complexity of an SLR. Really easy to compose your shot and adjust exposure, etc after checking on the image before shooting. I have had this camera for about a month now and have used it daily. I have found I use the aperture priority for most shots. Very flexible and intuitive to use.
June 25, 2011
I bought this camera fully aware that its video (quality, focus, resolution, and bulky outdated file format) were well behind the industry.
I was willing to overlook the video flaws because I have a modern smartphone that takes very good video, so I can use that instead.
What I wanted was good quality images even in low light, and this camera delivers.
However, I found a few unpleasant surprises, some of which may not matter to others, but they are a disappointment to me.
Your needs may be different from mine. I like to do stealth shooting (candid shots) so I have some special preferences.
1) I like to shoot with the screen off, and this camera apparently has no way to do that. Having the screen off draws less attention, and lengthens battery life.
2) When shooting, the camera makes a very audible (though pleasing) mechanical clicking sound. Not an issue for most people, but not good for stealth. This can be eliminated in High2 burst mode, but that mode takes pictures that are only 2 megapixels.
3) Features in settings are strangely limited. For example the burst modes are very constrained. I would like to be able to just hold down the button, and have the camera continue to take pictures, at a fairly steady pace. It could even be a slow pace. But this camera can't do that without going to a special mode and compromising image size. Otherwise I have to keep re-pressing and half-releasing the button, which is a skill it's going take a while to master, and something that makes camera shake more likely.
4) The entire camera locks up gratuitously in a couple of situations. One is when writing data to the SD (Class 10 SHDC in my case) card. This happens for example after taking several pictures in burst mode, or after taking video. Another is when the cable is connected, such as when charging. Even when charging is finished, you can't even play with settings while the power cable is connected. This is when the cable isn't even connected to a computer, so it's not like some sync may be happening. It's just the simple case of charging from the wall outlet.
5) Along with what everyone else has said about video, there is also the astonishing limitation on file size, 2GB maximum, which effectively also sets a length limit on videos, to 7 minutes maximum at the preferred HD resolution. This is almost inexcusable, when videos are widely used to document things like hour-long school performances. Imagine going to your child's school play and having to chop it up into 7-minute segments at unpredictable points. There are better file systems that have been around for ages that support more than 2GB, so it's hard to imagine what the engineers at Olympus are smoking.
6) Software does not have a Mac version! Amazing! But in a bad way.
A lot of the other amazing features on this camera are standard these days on many cameras. So I don't share the enthusiasm some other reviewers do about them. They are great, but not special. Panorama in particular is disappointing because it is arbitrarily limited to three shots, meaning you cannot do a 360 degree panorama even if you try.
The main thing is the image quality, which is great. I do love the camera even though it has some negatives as I mentioned. I would absolutely recommend it if you are willing to live with those flaws in exchange for the amazing lens speed it has and the resulting great pictures.