Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 9 January 2015
I am a keen amateur photographer. Although a DSLR is still my preference, they are 'bulky' and I don't carry one around much.
For about 4 years, my (nearly) always available camera has been a Canon S95. This very conveniently fits in a case on my belt and is easily extracted for use. However, the thing that I miss most when using it is a viewfinder. I have always favoured a viewfinder for stability and composition and in bright light the LCD screen is not all that visible on the S95. So began a search and much reading of various camera reviews.
My main priorities apart from wanting a viewfinder were size and the ability to shoot in RAW. I was also desirous of having a longer reach. I eventually decided and 6 weeks ago, I bought the Olympus Stylus 1.
I won't go into all the spec's of it, as they are readily available but I will highlight some of the useful features. I don't list these in any particular order.
The ring around the lens can be used for various functions, e.g. aperture when in aperture priority mode but with the flick of a lever this ring can be used for manual focus, that in my view works very well.
There is also a sub command dial that is set to exposure compensation by default.
Two 'fn' buttons can be customised to various functions as can some of the other controls too. This means that often used settings can be got at without having to delve into menus.
The viewfinder is electronic but I think that it is quite good.
A level meter can be displayed if required. (I dislike sloping horizons.)
The LCD display on the back is also good and folds out and pivots to enable viewing from above or from below. This display can be touched to select the focus point if desired or even to select focus and shoot. It also functions as a touch screen during playback.
It has a built in ND filter (3 stops).
There are two custom (user) modes to save settings to and recall with C1 or C2 on the Mode Dial.
It has built in Wi-Fi. This works really well with an iPad I coupled it to using OI.Share, that can be used as a remote live view and shutter, plus control of some functions.
There is a zoom lever by the shutter button. There is also a zoom slide switch on the lens base, that is by default set to a lower speed, making framing a zoom much easier.
1:2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range of its 28-300mm (35mm equivalent) lens.
So what is it like to use? It feels quite solid and it is easy to quickly get at most settings. It's fun to play with and can take some good pictures. Auto focus works quickly even in low light. The image stabilisation also seems to work quite well. I have restricted ISO to 800 max when I have ISO on Auto and noise doesn't seem too bad. All in all it is pretty slick and speedy. My only niggles are the points below:
It would be better if fn1 and fn2 buttons shared the range of settings that can be assigned to them. For example aperture preview can only be assigned to fn1, which does not suit me but may suit others.
The battery indicator only appears for a few seconds after turning on the camera. I would prefer that it was there all of the time.
I wish that I could find a good fitting, belt-held case. The nearest I have found is a Lowepro AW60 (thanks to another review). This is awkward though and nothing like as slick as the s95 is to remove from its flip open, belt-held case.
Finally, do I like it? Yes, a lot.