Olympus SP-720UZ 3D Camera Black 14MP 26xZoom 3.0LCD FHD 26mm
For the photo enthusiast looking for close-to-DSLR results in a convenient point and shoot that will not break the bank, the Olympus XZ1 is the camera to answer that call. One of this year’s top rated “enthusiast class” cameras, the XZ1 combines the best basic DSLR functionality with the portability and ease of use of a point and shoot, making it a very popular model since its introduction a little over a year ago. In a time when everyone with a camera is becoming famous via sites like Instagram and Tumblr, street photography has never been so expert, with this little gem giving some of the DSLRs a run for their money.
As the demand for more tech in a smaller package increases, the Olympus XZ1 really delivers. Available in both a black or white body, the unit is 4.35 inches x 2.55 inches x 1.67 inches (110.6 mm x 64.8 mm x 42.3 mm) and weighs 9.70 oz (275 gm). With its partial metal construction and incorporated lens, it feels substantial in the hand, at least more so than the typical point and shoot. The body itself has a typical, relatively low profile (other than the lens), but the addition of an external flash hot shoe and a mode dial control for shooting modes (including fully manual options) quickly suggests otherwise.
The Olympus XZ1 comes with a built-in iZuiko f1.8-2.5 4x 6.0-24mm (28-112mm equivalent) lens, which is a version of Olympus’ exceptional quality Zuiko 1.8, offering superb wide aperture capabilities in a point and shoot, and with much better performance than others in this class of camera. However, it should be pointed out that while the increased aperture is something fairly new to the world of point and shoot, due to the build of this type of camera in general, it is only possible to obtain that f1.8 with the lens at 28mm; in telephoto mode, the widest is f2.5 at 112mm. Of course this is much better than any other camera in the class can offer (the closest competitor at only f4.9 at 105mm with the same f1.8/28mm starting point), it is still not comparable with a DSLR. In general though, the XZ1′s lower light capabilities still bury the competition.
Another important feature of the Olympus XZ1 is its larger, more light-sensitive CCD. At 1/1.63 inches, the 10-megapixel sensor offers almost twice the brightness of what most other sensors in similar camera types do, enabling clearer shots in lower light situations. Photos are full of warm colors and great, fine detail when shot in ideal conditions, and much better than the rest of the pack in low light, in terms of noise reduction.
With these two main, touted features of its fast lens and larger sensor, what users get is impressive low light capability the likes of which is hard to match in any other point and shoot. The wide f1.8 lens lets in more light for the larger, more sensitive CCD to capture, approaching the ability seen with DSLRs. The included dual image stabilization reduces both movement of the camera, as well as stills movement of the photographic subject, empowering the Olympus XZ1 to perform to its fullest to produce clear, noise-free photos in most lighting situations.
Other great features of this powerful hybrid-type camera include built-in image stabilization, a 3-inch OLED monitor, video recording in high-definition and 6 art filters ala Instagram (which can be used for still images or while recording video), as well as other included, basic photo editing capabilities on board, enabling users to touch up their photos before uploading.
Olympus XZ1 Review | Main Features
- f1.8-2.5 4x Zoom Lens (35mm Equiv. 28-112mm)
- 10MP Resolution W/Lg 1/1.6
- 3″ CCD Sensor
- 54.6 MB internal memory; uses SD memory
- Built-in flash with external flash mode and hot shoe mount
- Full mode dial control including manual and automatic modes
- 3.0″ OLED Monitor
- 720p HD Video W/HDMI
- Truepic V image processor
- Full exposure control options
- Records images in RAW and JPG format; video in AVI motion JPG format
- Dual Image Stabilization
- Live View display and editing
- Full AF capabilities with tracking
- In-Camera Art Filters and Panorama
- Accessory Port for Optional EVF, Mic
Olympus XZ1 Review | Conclusion
The Olympus XZ1 high-end point and shoot is definitely a lot of camera bang for the buck. This is wonderful camera for the photographic enthusiast who wants to get closer to DSLR quality, but without the pricetag, or the bulk of carrying around a large body and a bunch of lenses. Though the included user leaflet apparently leaves much to be desired, a full manual is included on a CD. Some users seem to find the workings of the camera confusing, though most find that with a little practice they are shooting some of the best images they ever have.
Naturally, to expect DSLR quality all the time is unrealistic, but the Olympus XZ1 may surprise at how often it gets within the same ballpark. For some, this would be a great camera as a step up before getting into a DSLR; for most, this could be all the camera they ever need.
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