Monday, January 06, 2014

Olympus STYLUS 1 Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 2.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. No post-processing applied to the images, except slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

About 24 hours ago I posted up a teaser for this review entry, mainly because I did not have sufficient time to compile my images and compose a blog entry by yesterday. The teaser served one purpose, and one purpose only, to buy myself time so that I can prepare my full blog review, while keeping my blog updated considering there has been no new updates since the New Year. Little did I expect it somehow went a little bit viral with wild guesses on what camera and lens I have used to capture the shots shown in the teaser. Looking at the title of this blog entry you would altready know the answer, it was the latest compact digital camera from Olympus, the Olympus STYLUS 1. 

I believe I was partially at fault for being too vague, and I purposely said new "camera and lens" to suggest the importance of the lens in this particular camera I am reviewing. It came as an overwhelming surprise to me that a huge number of people actually guessed that the images were taken with a Micro Four Thirds camera (rumoured E-M10) and even more incredible, the highly anticipated M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 pro lens. The discussion spiralled out of control in 43rumors comments and DPReview forums (yes I do read them though I do not participate). My apologies if I have created unnecessary drama (as I mentioned it was not my intention) but clearly, this proved something very interesting: the Stylus 1 performed MUCH better than expected. The shallow depth of field and odd bokeh rendering was due to long telephoto compression effect. 

Before we move on further let's have a look at the key features and specifications of the Olympus STYLUS 1 camera:
1) Bright F2.8 constant zoom lens, with 10.7x Optical zoom capability (equivalent of 28mm-300mm focal length)
2) Truepic 6 Image Processer, which is similarly adopted by the highly acclaimed OM-D E-M5
3) Image Stabilization built on the lens
4) Wireless Connectivity via Wi-Fi, capabilities and functions similar to Olympus OM-D E-M1
5) High Quality Electronic Viewfinder similar to the one used in OM-D E-M5
6) Small and lightweight design

For full specifications, kindly visit the official Olympus website for Stylus 1 here (click)


Superzoom compact cameras have been an interesting category, and photographers in general do treasure the capability to zoom for difficult to reach subjects. However, super zoom cameras often pose very difficult challenges and shortcomings: at extremely long focal lengths (anything more than 5-10x zoom) it becomes increasingly difficult to stabilize the camera for steady and blur-free images. The fact that compact point and shoot cameras have smaller sized image sensors did not help with the lesser performance in high ISO shooting to boost the shutter speed. Nevertheless, the demand for a superzoom is still there and this is what makes the Stylus 1 interesting: having a constant F2.8 lens throughout the entire zoom range and adding an efficient Image Stabilization system onto the lens to maximize the usability especially at longer telephoto range. If you know anything about Olympus at all, you will acknowledge their cutting edge technology and know-hows in producing amazing lenses, and it was a wonder in itself to be able to create a 10.7x zoom lens at constant F2.8 aperture in such a small package. Comparing what Olympus is offering in the Stylus 1 against direct competition, you can clearly see how small and how light the Stylus 1 is, without compromising on optical quality. 

What are the benefits of long zoom? Besides the obvious of being able to reach far away subjects, a long telephoto lens also allows the photographer to create shallower depth of field, meaning blurring the background off. This is crucial to isolate the subjects from the background, and is generally desirable as an artistic effect. The ordinary solution to achieve shallow depth of field effect is by using larger image sensor with bright prime lenses (DSLR or mirrorless ILC cameras). Not many people would give a thought on how an ordinary compact point and shoot camera can render that much shallow depth of field. There is only one way to work around the compact camera's sensor size limitation: by using a super long zoom lens, combined with bright aperture at the long zoom end. Shooting at 150mm-300mm at F2.8 with Stylus 1 can create creamy, smooth and creamy bokeh, sufficiently shallow depth of field for subject isolation, which I am demonstrating in many of my photographs shown in this blog entry. I was actually surprised by how many people dismissing the possibility of Stylus 1 being the camera used for my teaser photographs in my previous entry, simply because the images have such shallow depth of field. It has been a general accepted understanding that compact cameras are not good for shallow depth of field. It does take a bit more work but if you are willing to use long zoom and shoot from a distance, you can surely accomplish similar results, plus the added cinematic look and feel since your background is strongly compressed at the same time. 

I seriously treasure the ability to zoom further. When I was using my first Olympus DSLR, the E-410, the next lens which I purchased was the Zuiko Digital 40-150mm F3.5-4.5. Before I purchased the DSLR I was in strong consideration of getting the then famous Olympus SP-570UZ super zoom camera. A good zoom lens does open up a whole world of possibilities. 

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO200, 300mm

1/20sec, F2.8, ISO125, 150mm

1/30sec, F2.8, ISO160, 100mm

1/30sec, F2.8, ISO125, 200mm

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO320, 182mm

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO125, 300mm

1/160sec, F2.8, ISO100, 300mm

1/100sec, F2.8, ISO100, 300mm


It has been quite a while since I last used a compact digital camera and I must say I do miss the convenience that it brings. For starters, instead of having an ordinary lens cap that pops off when you turn the camera, the lens cap screws onto the body and has petals that are pushed open when the lens extends. Surely this removed the one step of removing and attaching the lens cap onto the camera, saving previous time if you need an immediate response to a photography moment. Secondly, there is no need to change lens, and the 10.7x zoom range was flexible enough to cover most shooting needs. At 28mm, it was similar to ordinary entry level DSLR kit lens offering for wide angle coverage. The ability to go all the way to 300mm at the longest zoom was the main selling point of this camera. You do not need a bag filled with lenses, it was all in one, and yes I acknowledge the shortcomings of the Stylus 1 when compared head to head with interchangleable lens camera with relevant lenses, but if you just have ONE camera and a high quality zoom lens that has a constant F2.8 lens, you can actually do a lot of things with this one camera! Sometimes we want to pretend that we are professional photographers using some of the world's best equipment (I know I do, but hey a boy can dream) but to be honest most of my shots were mundane everyday, nothing out of the ordinary kind of photographs that do not require a 10,000 dollars camera and another 10,000 dollars worth of lens collection. As much as I love my Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds gear, I do admit the truth that for many of my shots, a high quality point and shoot digital camera (with a good lens) would suffice. The freedom to just have one camera, this is surely an ideal companion for travel. 

Having a zoom lens means having multiple focal lengths at your disposal, the best way to demonstrate that convenience of zooming is best seen in my series of peacock images. I have wide angle shot to cover the wide-spread out feather tails, as well as tighter shot zooming into the peacock's head. 


The Stylus 1 handles very well in my hands. The grip was adequate and I can shoot very comfortably. Since the camera was small and light, I can steady my shots better, even at lower shutter speed while shooting at longer zoom. You will see from a few of the bird shots that even at focal lengths of 150-300mm (5-10.7x zoom) I still managed to use slower shutter speeds of 1/30sec. This was due to the lens based image stabilization system which helped a lot and me bracing myself against a wall or hand guard rail while shooting the birds. I like how small and how light the camera was, that I literally felt nothing shooting with it the entire day. Though small, the camera felt very premium, solidly built and felt very reassuring when I was using it at all times. 

The button placements were a little bit different than the standard placements on the usual OM-D and PEN system cameras, thus it did take me a while to get used to. I treasure the dual dial control, one at the front ring surrounding the lens, and the other dial was located at top right corner of the camera. Having direct access to the most important parameters was important to me, so that I can quickly control the shutter speed and aperture from each dial. Such flexibility was usually only available in higher grade DSLR cameras. I like the fact that many of the features and functions from the Micro Four Thirds system are making their way into the Olympus compact cameras. One of the useful feature was the Touch AF, allowing the tilt screen monitor to be touched to instantly take a photograph instead of using the shutter button. 

Using the Stylus 1 felt like I was shooting with an mini OM-D (since it was shaped that way) but the controls and features reminds me of XZ-2. 

1/200sec, F2.8, ISO200, 300mm

1/60sec, F2.8, ISO200, 150mm

1/160sec, F2.8, ISO100, 200mm

1/320sec, F2.8, ISO100, 68mm

1/200sec, F2.8, ISO100, 300mm

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO125, 300mm

1/640sec, F2.8, ISO125, 300mm

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO125, 42mm, Super Macro mode


One of the main issues with super-zoom compact cameras is the poorer autofocus performance especially at the longest tele-end. Olympus has somehow mitigated this problem completely, in fact the focusing speed was nearly as blazing fast as any OM-D or PEN cameras out there. It was perhaps just that tiny bit slower but if you compare side by side with many current compact digital cameras it is obvious that the Stylus 1 has very fast and reliable AF system. I did use the Touch to Shoot feature on the tilt screen for some of my shots and the camera responded to the touch immediately. I disabled preview of images after shooting the image so that I can continuously shoot if I need to, and I find that the camera did not slow down at all. I was shooting RAW and shot to shot performance was very good (though I did not use burst sequential shooting, as I prefer to refocus manually after each shot). The camera operation including menu navigation, image previewing, control settings all felt very responsive and quick. Unlike many compact cameras (lets not point fingers) the camera performance was bug-free (at least during the duration of my test). 

Focusing in low light was not a problem, though the speed was not as blazing fast as it was in conditions with abundant light, it is still entirely usable. 


So how does the 12MP back-side illuminated (BSI) CMOS image sensor in the Stylus 1 perform together with the new 28-300mm F2.8 lens?

Inspecting the images closely, it is hard to differentiate from what you can get from the Olympus Stylus XZ-2. It is not difficult to guess why: similar sensor, as well as same processing engine used, the Truepic 6. The amount of fine details resolved in lower ISO shooting was very good, as evidently seen in the bird's body feather. The fact that Olympus managed to accomplished such level of sharpness in a long zoom lens of 28-300mm F2.8 was an amazing feat. I found that the images were slightly softer (but still very sharp) at its widest end of 28mm, and also a little bit softer at the longest 300mm. Therefore, for optimized results, zooming in a little bit to 40-50mm will create very sharp and detailed images. Similarly, instead of utilizing 300mm, sooming out to 200-250mm will improve the sharpness slightly. You will need to pixel peep to really tell the difference, but generally even at the widest and longest end (28mm and 300mm) I was very pleased with the image output and have very little complains, knowing the fact that this was from a small compact camera. 

Shooting at high ISO, the Truepic 6 image processing engine did a good job at suppressing color noise while preserving useful detail. I find the images still very good at ISO1600, usable at ISO3200 with some post-processing to reduce the noise, and I would not recommend to push beyond that. Even so, shooting at ISO6400, you can barely notice any color noise at all, and mostly the noise was luminance noise that appeared grainy in the image. This was not something I would complain about since luminance noise does preserve more detail which will produce a sharpner, better detailed image rather than a smooth noise-free but smeared like oil-painting results, which many compact cameras suffer. I did not see any significant improvement over the XZ-2 when it comes to high ISO shooting, but for most shooting conditions, this was certainly good enough. If you need to shoot a black dog in a dark alley at night surely you are not expecting this camera to do miracles!

One of the best thing I like about using Olympus compact cameras, such as Stylus 1 or XZ-2, is the signature Olympus colors. To me, Olympus renders very true to life colors. 

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO125, 300mm

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO125, 42mm, Super Macro mode

1.6sec, F8, ISO100, ND Filter On

1/400sec, F5, ISO100, 28mm

1/50sec, F2.8, ISO200, 182mm

1/250sec, F2.8, ISO100, 300mm

1/40sec, F2.8, ISO100, 28mm

1/25sec, F2.8, ISO160, 28mm

Other Features Worth Mentioning

1) Wifi Function and Connectivity with Olympus O.I. Share
Olympus Stylus 1 has Wifi connectivity built in, which is similar to the one used in the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1. This allows the Stylus 1 to be connected to compatible smart devices (now available for Android and iOS platforms) and perform various functions such as wireless transfer of images from camera to the smart devices, and remote control function. Since I have covered the demonstration of the WiFi function previously I shall not repeat myself here. If you need further clarification kindly view the video I have made for OM-D  E-M1 here, connected to my Nexus 4 (Android phone). 

2) Electronic ViewFinder
The electronic viewfinder used in Stylus 1 was the same one found in the OM-D E-M5, which is a good thing. The viewfinder may not have the highest resolution (eg, viewfinder of E-M1) but the transition was very smooth and the viewing experience was lag-free. The view was natural and the size of the viewfinder itself is larger than all entry level DSLR cameras. I find the EVF to be extremely useful as most of the photographs shown here were taken outdoor with bright ambient light. Those who have used the OM-D E-M5 would appreciate how comfortable the viewing experience on the EVF was, and as I have mentioned earlier it was great seeing how all those features from the higher end Micro Four Thirds system have trickled down to their compact digital cameras. 

3) Image Stabilization, Lens based
Though not as amazing as Olympus' infamous 5-Axis IS system, the lens based IS used for Stylus 1 was actually very good. Since it was lens based, you have live preview as the stabilization mechanism kicks in as you half-press the shutter button, and this surely makes the shooting experience a lot better by minimizing shake especially when shooting at longer focal lengths. I managed to hand-hold the camera and shoot at 1/30sec for 200mm, 1/20sec, for 100mm and 1/80sec for 300mm as shown in the parrot shots in the beginning of this entry. That was effective 2-3 stops stabilization, which helped a lot if you do a lot of zooming. 

Kindly take note that shooting at longer focal lengths do require some basic understanding and a little getting used to. Expecting the Image Stabilization to magically take out all shake is not going to happen, you still need proper camera hand-holding techniques, and other necessary methods to steady the shot, such as bracing or leaning yourself onto something solid, etc. 

4) Battery Life was very good
I was very pleased with the battery life, I managed to squeeze out nearly 800 shots before the battery gave up. That was more than enough to cover a full day shooting, but as always, it is prudent to have at least one spare battery with you. 

EXIF to be updated soon

EXIF to be updated soon

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO800, 62mm

1/60sec, F2.8, ISO100, 57mm

1/60sec, F2.8, ISO1600, 84mm

1/125sec, F2.8, ISO200, 57mm

1/25sec, F2.8, ISO250, 68mm

1/25sec, F2.8, ISO200, 100mm

1/100sec, F2.8, ISO200, 124mm

What I wish can be improved in the Olympus Stylus 1

The Stylus 1 is capable of shooting close up, but for macro, it was not spectacular. In fact I can get away with better macro images shooting with XZ-2. The minimum focusing distance was 5cm for super macro mode, which was not good enough for smaller insects, which I normally shoot. I really wish that the longer zoom would have closer focusing distance for higher magnification ratio, and the super macro mode can go as close as 1cm. After all a compact camera does have an advantage when it comes to shooting macro: more depth of field, without having to stop down the aperture unnecessarily. Unfortunately I do love to shoot insect macro a lot. 

It made no sense why flash was disabled in XZ-2 while shooting super macro mode, since the pop-up flash can be used to trigger wireless flash units such as FL-50R, or even any random third party slave triggered capable flashes. Having able to use flash can open up more opportunities for interesting creative play with light. This may not carry too much importance since the camera did not have such good macro shooting capability to begin with, but I do appreciate flash to be enabled at ALL shooting modes. 

For a compact camera that does not have the capability to change lens, being stuck at 28mm widest end which is not exactly an ultra wide angle, it is crucial to have an auto panorama mode which will instantly stitch multiple images together to overcome the limitation of the lens. This was just a software based approached which should not be too difficult to implement, but will save many lives if made available in the camera. 

The Stylus 1 does very well in low light shooting, do not get me wrong, but I also strongly believe that it could have been improved. Usable ISO3200 (to some people, maybe just ISO1600, depending on how strict your standard is) may not be something many people can accept these days when high ISO shooting has become a crucial point in choosing a good camera. 

1/100sec, F2.8, ISO3200, 300mm

1/500sec, F2.8, ISO1600, 84mm

1/80sec, F2.8, ISO3200

1/160sec, F2.8, ISO3200, 300mm

1/60sec, F2.8, ISO3200

If you do not like the idea of spending money in a camera system that requires future lens purchases, and considering a capable high quality compact camera, then Olympus Stylus 1 has more to offer and will fit the requirements perfectly. The most impressive feature is the 10.7x zoom lens (optically Stabilized), giving you 28mm to 300mm coverage at a constant F2.8 bright aperture. The high quality zoom lens was packaged into a very small and light camera body, ideal to be carried around for everyday use, or travel, without taking much space in your bag at all. Image quality was very good, with considerably good low light shooting performance. Focusing and camera operations were very fast, and add to that important modern features and functions such as Wifi connectivity. This small Stylus 1 is actually a lot more capable than what most people would think. 

Shooting with Olympus Stylus 1 is like shooting with a mini OM-D (similarly shaped, super fast AF, and even the EVF was the same), and at the same time you get the best out of Olympus' cutting edge lens technology. On the whole, I did enjoy shooting with Olympus Stylus 1, and I think that is all that truly matters.

I do not have enough images to spread my reviews into multiple part entries, mainly because it RAINED half of the time last weekend during my shooting with the Stylus 1. However, I do have access to the camera hence I am thinking of shooting more with the camera and perhaps, will be posting more images in my coming entries. Just images from Stylus 1, more and more images, what do you guys think? I think we should let the images do the talking!


  1. Splendid shots that well showcase the capabilities of the camera! Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and your pics speak volumes! A good, succinct review... Thanks :)


    1. Hey Ramesh,
      Thanks for the kind words!

  2. O yes!Stylus 1 like I think. Very good camera,thanks for your review.

    1. I wish I have a prize to give away!

  3. Haha, it's finally up! :p love the pics from the camera..

  4. Amazing camera and the details in the pictures, I had decide this will be my next.

    1. hey Daniel,
      Glad you have made the decision!

  5. Robin:

    What's your view on its flash photography capability? How well it fares with the built-in flash- both as fill light and for low-light shots?


    1. The flash was a good addition (all compact cameras do have flash) but do not expect the flash to do wonders. If you need more capabilities, there is a hotshoe to mount external flash which will give you more control and power.

  6. Couldn't say anything.. :)

    1. I will sell all the cameras I have to change with this one! ;)
      Small, compact, all round zoom, stunning bokeh, colorful, sharp, etc.

    2. Cen Wei,
      LOL! You don't have to. E-M5 is already so small and light!

    3. I couldn't agree anymore!

  7. Wow a real deal indeed.
    You turned this one into a blazing pocket rocket!!

    1. It was not me, it was entirely the camera!

    2. It's the one who pushed the launch button that count :D
      Great job, can't hardly wait for your next work

  8. Thanks for the SAS*, Robin. :)

    These images are wonderful and I think you have presented a compelling argument to get this little compact. I knew when I saw the specs that it would be good, but I never thought it would be this good.

    *Stylus Acquisition Syndrome

    1. I was surprised by Stylus 1's capabilities as well, especially at longer zoom captures.

  9. Fantastic set of images Robin & an informative & helpful write up. I got my Stylus 1 at Christmas & love it to use as an alternative to my E-M5 kit. I have also been pleasantly surprised with what this camera is capable of. Two photos of took of a male King Parrot (indoors, just) really impressed me. I posted them in this thread.

    1. Glad you like the Stylus 1 Ross. I have seen the images, I do read 43rumors site comments!

  10. Simply amazed that images of that quality and sharpness can come from a sensor so small! I know its always a trade off but as an all in one camera that can take high quality images it seems to have it all! I guess it will be interesting how it compares to Sony's RX10 which has a larger sensor again but simply blown away at the apparent detail in the images! Normally you can tell pretty quickly images from a small sensor however not on this occasion! Wow!

    1. I would be interested to see what the Sony can do as well, but take note that the Sony costs about twice as much, and weighs even more than an entry level DSLR.

    2. Thanks Robin, Yes I realised the difference on the price I think the RX10 in the UK is around £900 but wasnt aware the RX10 was much heavier!? I guess the 2.8 Lens is the key to the stunning image quality!

    3. the Sony RX10 is 813g and the Olympus Stylus 1 is only 402g!

    4. I would also really like to know how the Stylus 1 compares in terms of Image quality with the FZ200? The first camera I used that had a larger sensor was the Panasonic FZ30 which will always have a special place as I still think the IQ in good light was pretty amazing and that had I believe a 1/1.8 CCD sensor. However after that all the follow ups like the FZ28, FZ38 etc seemed to use a much smaller sensor 1/2.3 which I always felt lowered the overall IQ. Not sure what it was but it was definitely not as good. Now at last there seems to be a shift in trends and towards larger sensors again probably thanks to Sony mostly and I believe the 1/1.7 which is the size of the sensor in the Stylus? is slightly larger than the 1/1.8? So I am really hoping the IQ is back up there again which your images shown seem to indicate..

    5. Hey NQ Media,
      I am in no position to do any comparisons, so you will have to find that elsewhere. I am sure people at the forums will be kind enough to have further discussion and explore the differences between cameras.

  11. Nothing short of amazing quality out of a sensor this size. Technology is advancing at a really astonishing rate. The lens is also a true beauty, another gem from Oly. Excellent work as always, Robin!


    The "grain" structure led me to think m43 last night. I won a Stylus 1 from Olympus UK so can not wait for it to arrive even more now!

    1. edshots, congratulations for winning a Stylus 1! I am sure you will be enjoying it and create wonderful photos with it soon.

  13. Hi Robin , how good(or bad) is the jpeg engine? Your shot's are all in Raw?,and how do convert them (lightroom?)



    1. The JPEG engine is excellent, the image you see here are almost JPEG (what converted out of Olympus viewer 3 directly is equavalent to JPEG output). I do not use Lightroom so I shall not comment on that.

  14. Wonderful photos with an amazing quality. Congratulations to the Olympus engineers!
    Regarding the high ISO performance: I grew up with slide film. 25 years ago, I travelled through China with nothing else than Kodachrome 64 and AGFA CT 100 in my pockets, Therefore, the quality of the ISO 1600 and Iso 3200 picture is still unbelievable high for me :-)


    1. Thanks Thomas, indeed Stylus 1 is a small camera that did a lot more than what its size tells us it can.

  15. Thanks much for wonderful shots and a useful review that highlights what a great camera the Stylus 1 is. I wondered why you shot in raw and then converted to jpg using the Olympus software as opposed to just using jpg from the camera? It sounded as if you didn't process much after the software conversion to jpg so I wondered why not just use out of camera jpg? Thanks. Cathy Harman

    1. Dear Cathy H,
      It was my pleasure to shoot and review the Stylus 1 and thanks for the kind words. The reason I did RAW was mainly to protect myself, because if ever anyone questioned if these images were truly taken with Olympus camera, the only sure way to prove it is to show original RAW files. JPEG files can be edited, even the EXIF data can be changed.

  16. Smashing photos, got the Olympus Stylus 1 for Christmas, enjoyed your review and hope to get great shots as your review demonstrated.

    1. Thanks Elaine, I am sure you will!

  17. See, I didn't figure that my guess was correct, though I didn't figure on a superzoom compact being good, even though I used an Olympus C-2500L (the first with a TruePIC processor) way back when, getting decent photos from it.

    I've considered buying a compact at times, but now that Panasonic has produced the GM1 micro micro Four-Thirds body, I don't think I'd choose any point-and-shoot. I'd also had some fleeting thoughts about the Olympus E-10 or E-20, but FujiFilm makes some interesting 2/3-type sensor cameras now that exceed what Olympus did way back when.

    1. No worries Sakamoto, any camera is great camera and the most important thing is to shoot and enjoy using it!

  18. Hey Robin, there's one other thing to note here - your photography is becoming REALLY good. Yeah you've been good for a long time, but I'm talking about "one step beyond" good. In my opinion the photos in this bit are the best I have seen on your blog. Pin a gold medal on the person who hired you to work at Olympus...

    1. Hey David G,
      Thanks for the compliments! I am not sure about the improvements but I believe in slow and steady learning and growing over time. Still lots to do and a long way to go!

  19. Another wonderful and informative review Robin. Thanks. Have to admit I am very impressed by the image quality this camera produced. Good lens range and quality and slightly larger sensor without going megapixel crazy. Looks like a near ideal walk around for times when one either doesn't have their system camera or just doesn't want to carry a kit. LIKE!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words David. Indeed for an all in one camera to carry around, compact is the way to go and Stylus 1 is offering a lot!

    2. Robin's words "As much as I love my Micro Four Thirds and Four Thirds gear, I do admit the truth that for many of my shots, a high quality point and shoot digital camera (with a good lens) would suffice. The freedom to just have one camera, this is surely an ideal companion for travel. " says it for me!

      I was taking photos of my 1 1/2 year old grandson tonight (a late Christmas present time) with my E-M5, 12-50 lens & FL50R flash (bouncing off ceiling) & then I switched to the Stylus 1 with the FL36R flash on it (bouncing as well) & it performed possibly better in a lot of respects, maybe because of the brighter lens & the image quality was very nice too.

      Robin, this review is now something that is a really impressive reference to point people to now (& I have) to see what the camera can do (in capable hands) as well as your comments in the review. Thanks mate!

  20. Hello Robin, thank you very much for such a comprehensive review. But there are still some questions I did not find the answers for.
    1. How fast is zooming (using the lever on top of camera)? How could you compare it with manual zoom on good m4/3 lenses?
    2. Is it possible to take shots of moving people in low light without a flash (let say in an office)? What about autofocus performance in such conditions?

  21. Hi, Robin you have very good photography skill. I would like to know is there any techniques to capture such HD images. I am having Panasonic digital camera, can i use it like you or i need to buy some other one?

  22. Beautiful picture Robin! I used the old Olympus clamshell fixed prime 35mm film point and shoot as my sole camera for a multi month backpacking trip through Europe back in the late 1990s. It was a wonderful little camera, but wow I wish something like this was available for that trip.

    Out of curiosity, is there any chance Olympus may provide touch AF on the LCD monitor while using live view through the EVF? Panasonic offers this feature and I must tell you that it is a really useful way to move your focus point in real time as you compose through the EVF. Granted I have only used it on the GH3 where I can clear the articulating LCD from my face during EVF use, but I still think it would work well and be a great firmware upgrade or future feature for the existing Olympus touch AF software!

    Thanks for sharing the great pictures!

  23. Very nice review. Looks indeed like a very interesting camera - the photos speak for themselves (very good performance for a sensor this size). One could indeed say - why get the Stylus 1 when there is the Sony RX10 - however it is both half the price and half the size (and weight).

  24. Review is very descriptive. It's so useful.

  25. Hi Robin,
    Amazing photos and a great review. I also have this camera. I saw that the blur of the background occurs when you are zoomed in more. Did you take the photos, especially the portraits in Aperture mode? I've been trying to get more of the bokeh effect when taking portraits, but haven't been as successful. Any tips on how I can get more of the bokeh effect?


  26. Is it true no flash in macro mode? It seems you have copied that from the XZ-2 article...
    Thanks: Andras

    1. That is true that there is no flash possible for macro mode, however you can use an after-market 2 arm LED macro lights from JJC. Here is one supplier with the Mirrorless version (with shorter arms).

  27. Hi Robin,
    Excellent pics as always, and a superb review! Being able to take decent portraits (head and torso / up to waist) is important for me. I do it all the time with my XZ-1. Its no DSLR, but good enough for me. For such application, how would you rate the Stylus 1 vs XZ-1 (or XZ-2 for that matter)? Can it isolate the background better than XZ-2 for portraits of people (not small objects like birds, insects etc) .. ?

  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

  29. Hi Robin,

    Prices between the Stylus 1 and E-M5 is not too different. Which would you recommend for a regular ordinary joe photographer who sometimes need to have nice night shots?


  30. Yes incredible images - love to see Part 2 - with more images and tips and tricks - I ordered my Stylus 1 few days ago and should get it by Feb 12th -
    I do have the Sony RX100 and Fuji X20 - which are both nice - the RX100 for it's small size and large sensor and F1.8 at 28mm and nice art filters and great video etc.
    However I do get better low light performance from the Fuji X20 when zoomed as the X20 lens is faster at F2.0-F2.8 vs the F1.8-4.9 and Fuji like the Olympus have a nice color tone especially
    for skin tones. I also have the Sony HX50v for that long zoom - 30x zoom however no RAW and smaller sensor and slow lens but still good IS.
    The Stylus 1 offers many things beyond what these 3 cameras can offer - or at least great flexibility -
    The one thing I would sacrifice in is the viewfinder, what I mean is I would be OK with a smaller viewfinder to make the camera a bit more pocket-able - still an EVF but like the one on the Panasonic LF1 or even an Optical one like the Fuji X20 - the big viewfinder hump makes the Stylus 1 a bit hard to fit in a jacket pocket - of course I know how good it is as I do own the OMD-EM5 -
    I really look forward to using the Stylus 1 as you have so well demonstrated what the camera is capable of -
    I have been to Malaysia and have see some of the sights you photographed so really can appreciate the ability of the camera -

  31. Oh no! I just got myself an Olympus E-PL6 3weeks ago! Now I'm wanting the Stylus 1 due to the EVF and convenience of not having to purchase too many lenses! :(

    Convince me to not sell my E-PL6! :)

  32. Robin, amazing images! You make a good point in noting that one can achieve nice subject separation and bokeh by shooting on the tele end. Have you played around with getting in close to subjects at the wide end at 2.8? I'm wondering what kind of portraits are possible at the wide end, if one wants to get close to the subject. Thank you! Your work is stunning!

  33. Hi Robin. Thank for this review. Are those Olympus Stylus 1 pics SOOC? Thanks

  34. Hi Robin. Thanks for the excellent review. I got a Stylus 1 partly based on your review and so far I'm pleased with it. Is there any chance you can convince Olympus to make a couple of changes via firmware?
    1) When zooming, instead of showing the magnification, I would like to see the 35mm focal length equivalent. I think the buyers of this camera are not average consumers and Olympus doesn't need to try to impress them with zoom magnification numbers. Even better if Olympus can include a step zoom option for common focal lengths like 35, 50, 85, 105, 135, etc.
    2) Enable Auto ISO in manual mode. The EM5 allows this, so can they allow it for the Stylus 1 as well? Better yet, include exposure compensation (for auto iso in manual mode) as well.
    3) Change the live histogram so it's like the one from the EM5. Right now the histogram disappears while I'm making adjustments such as exposure compensation. It's hard for me to expose to the right with the histogram.
    4) Can they enable the other options for Fn1 just like Fn2?
    5) Can they include a touchscreen button for movie recording, so that if I use the Rec button for another option (e.g. zoom framing assist), I can still take a video using the touchscreen (maybe from the Super Control Panel)? Or maybe allow an option to start video recording using the menus.

    Thanks again Robin.

    Best regards,

    1. Don't forget you can use the C1 or C2 positions on the mode dial for a video recording setting that uses the Rec button while for every other mode the Rec button can be assigned for something else (I have mine set for AEL & 2 X DTC on Fn1).

  35. When zooming, instead of showing the magnification, I would like to see the 35mm focal length equivalent. I think the buyers of this camera are not average consumers and Olympus doesn't need to try to impress them with zoom magnification numbers. Even better if Olympus can include a step zoom option for common focal lengths like 35, 50, 85, 105, 135, etc.

    No more to say. Thanks for your pictures Robin

  36. Instead of pulling my eyes out with your amazing shots I wish you could teach me how to...
    My compliments on these photo's!

  37. Robin, first of all thank you for your interesting blog! Greetings from Germany. Perhaps you can help me about a thing I'm wondering. I bought my stylus 1 a few days ago. I'm also an owner of the XZ-2. At the XZ-2 I loved the feature, that using the touch-AF-function I could everytime see the position where I hit the display. For the short AF-time there was a green frame on this point. So I was immediately able to see if I had laid the focus on the right place. Now, using the stylus 1 everything for me is well-known from the XZ-2. But where ist this short blinking frame when I hit the touch-AF? I miss it so... Can you help?

  38. Great review as always. I finally made up my mind and place an order for Stylus 1. Expected to arrive tomorrow. Since the last few weeks I was comparing the Stylus 1 with other mirrorless and advance point-and-shoot cameras. Although I have to bow down to other mirrorless system which have better image quality and performance but what I was looking for is a pocketable casual companion with DSLR-like image quality and reasonable price.

    With that in mind, I narrowed down my wishlist to the final 2, which are Fujifilm X20 and Stylus 1. At first, I was really down for the new Sony A6000 but E-mount lenses are not quite pocketable aren't they? Thanks to this article, I know at least how far this little beaut can perform as a backup for my DSLR system.

  39. Hope the Olympus service in Malaysia is good. Because the worst enemy for Olympus products in Korea is the Olympus Korea itself. The repair service is horrible - it is probably worse than the horror you felt after taking 1 second handheld shots with E-M1. The technicians actually made a camera worse at the repair centre, and the centres do not have enough parts so they had to borrow parts from the user to test the camera. What's worse (yes, it is possible, just like you felt even more horror when you tested 2 second handheld shots), an Olympus employee posted in a public online forum that people who points out the shortcomings of Olympus cameras in their review should deserve, and would get bad after sale services, including repair. Unbelievable, isn't it?

  40. Thank you very much for the review. I've been considering the Stylus 1 for some time, but finally hit the Buy button when Olympus offered a refurbished Stylus 1 for $US 519. with an additional $US 100. discount for our Columbus Day holiday. Now if only I can come even close to your image quality I will be very happy.

  41. Thank you Robin for sharing yr. Comments and great pictures. I can't wait to purchase the camera. I intend to use the Stylus primarily as a travel camera. And may be also for shooting pictures of gigs / concerts. Will the camera be suitable enough for this purpose : usually under poor light conditions and zoom between 70 - 200 mm equivalent.

    Thank you very much, Marcel

  42. Robin, could you please tell me what the minimum apertures are, as in what this lens stops down to? Does it go beyond f11 for example? I cannot seem to get this information from the Olympus website, or anywhere else for that matter.
    Regards from England. Pete.

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  44. Hello! I really love ready your blog and reviews, and looking at your photos. In fact, your review of the Stylus 1 helped me decide to buy one. Since it is being phased out for the 1s, I got it for a great price. I updated the firmware to 2.0 so now I have a great little camera.

    I was hoping I could ask you a few questions. I'm curious why you set keep warm colors to OFF. In comparing on and off settings straight out of the camera, the ones shot in the off setting seem to be a bit cold. (But, none of your photos look that way!)

    Also, I see that you set the noise filter to OFF. What about noise reduction. I'm not really sure what the difference is between the two. Do you set noise reduction to off, too.

    Thank you so much, Randall

  45. Hi Robin, can we expect to see a new premium fixed lens from Olympus this year? I am waiting for a camera with larger sensor can compare to its competitors from Panasonic (LX100) and Sony (RX100 M4). Thanks.

  46. Thanks Robin. Great review. I bought the camera 2 months ago and i'm quite happy with it.

  47. Here is another deal with all your needs. You should visit the link where you will get special discount.
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  48. Thanks for always being the source that explains things instead of just putting an unjustified answer out there. I loved this post.
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  49. Hi Robin, thanks for this informative run-through of the camera.
    I know I'm late to the party, but my trusty HX50V died recently and I'm looking for a replacement.
    The faster lens and larger sensor on this camera piques my interest as with the Sony, my daytime pics were great but the more long-range indoor shots were simply terrible.
    Do you think this camera would perform sufficiently for taking pics of my kids on a stage in a school hall with its iffy lighting?
    Thanks in advance.

  50. Thanks robin after reading all your m4/3 reviews and watching videos, I'm a full m4/3 shooter, em5 II 12-40f2.8, 40-150f2.8 with teleconvertor, 75mm,45mm,60mm primes...with this set up I'm more than elated, now for daily shoot while driving I wanted stylus 1, so two questions
    As I feel it has leaf shutter, what is the sync speed, I want 1/2000 at all focal lengths
    The a charger provided? Is it the same as that of OM-D em5II.