I have just came home from a meeting with Olympus Malaysia this evening, and I brought home a loaned unit of the new Olympus Stylus XZ-2, the flagship compact digital camera from Olympus, which was announced at the same time alongside the Olympus PEN E-PL5 and PEN E-PM2 during Photokina just last month. The new XZ-2 shall supersede the older XZ-1, which proved to be one of Olympus' success, being highly regarded as one of the best high-end enthusiast's digital compact camera in class at its time. And yes, Olympus Malaysia has requested me to review this XZ-2, and I shall be bringing this camera out for test shoots in the coming few days. This will be my first time reviewing a compact digital camera, but rest assured I come from a strong background of shooting with point and shoot cameras and I have killed a record of 3 compact cameras in a span of 4 years usage (2004-2008).
Olympus Stylus XZ-2
After taking the shot I realized how dusty the camera was, with grease smears on the smooth camera body. I initially wanted to cleaned it and take another shot, but I thought the "used" look was quite interesting, and added character to the camera. Alright, alright, I was lazy. What? Who said I can't be lazy?
The Key Specifications and Highlights of the Olympus Stylus XZ-2
1) i.Zuiko lens, 6-24mm F1.8-2.5 (Equivalent 28-112mm)
Zuiko is a great brand Olympus only used on very high performance lenses, used for their DSLR range of lenses, and also micro 4/3 lenses. The XZ-series are the only compact camera from Olympus to have the Zuko branding. Therefore, the i.Zuiko means serious business.
2) New 12Megapixels, 1/1.7 inch image sensor
The new 12MP sensor replaces the old 10MP sensor on XZ-1, promising better image quality output with better high ISO handling. The image sensor uses Back-Side Illuminated CMOS technology. We shall get to testing that in real world shooting soon. ISO range from ISO 100 to 12,800.
3) Trupic 6 Image Processor
This is the same image processing engine built into the higher end cameras from Olympus, such as the new PEN E-PL5 and even the OM-D E-M5, thus delivering similar color reproduction and rich detail in the photographs. Olympus has been well known to have the best JPEG engines, and producing impressive images straight out of camera.
4) Tilt screen and Touch AF
The XZ-2 has been equipped with that tilt screen very similar to the E-PL3, tilting upwards and downwards for difficult composition. More interestingly, the LCD screen comes in 920k resolution, which is much better than even the OM-D and any other PEN series camera up to date. Furthermore, the touch AF release from the LCD monitor as seen on OM-D and E-PL5, is also available on XZ-2. You can just touch at any area on the LCD screen during live view, and the camera will immediately focus and snap the photograph, almost instantaneously.
5) Full Customization with two Function Buttons
The camera is fully customizable with two separate function buttons (Fn1 and Fn2), with the Fn2 button being placed in front of the camera, very near the lens, for quick controls. The controls can be set to many important functions that are regularly used, such as WB control, ISO setting, JPEG/RAW options, flash EV controls, etc. Moreover, under the Fn2 button, there is a dedicated control lever which can trigger AF/MF functions, or can also be used for controling the lens barrel ring to either aperture control or zooming of the lens. The XZ-2 also has dual control dials, one being the ring around the lens in front of the camera, and the second one is the dial around the arrow pads below the thumb rest at the back of the camera.
6) Olympus Image Share
When used with Flash-Air SD card, the camera sports a new wi-fi capability feature that quickly transfers images out of the camera to Android or IOS enabled devices (smartphones of tablets).
The camera also comes with usual Olympus features, such as In Body Built-in Image Stabilization, Art Filters, accessory port with the hot-shoe, enabling use of external flash and electronic viewfinders and full HD video recording.
For full specifications, please visit Olympus' official page for Olympus Stylus XZ-2 here (click).
More photographs of the XZ-2 which I have taken just now:
The tilting screen, very useful in allowing for waist level shooting, or low angle composition.
That thumb rest is a very good addition to aid in overall handling/comfort of using the camera. Function Fn1 button and control dials, placed strategically within reach of the thumb for quick operation. Very well thought out layout.
The second function button Fn2, located near the lens, with a lever control, both customizable for various functions and controls. Take note the position of the function button and lever, still within quick reach from the fingers gripping the camera.
Tomorrow is a public holiday in Malaysia, and I cannot wait to bring this camera out for shooting !! Olympus XZ-2 review shall be coming up very, very soon.