Building on the success of the Micro Four Thirds format and its popular PEN series, Olympus has once again torn up the rulebook and launched a game changer in its XZ-1 flagship compact.
Ideal for photo enthusiasts and professionals looking for a second back-up camera, the XZ-1 promises consistently clear pictures up to digital SLR standard, even in low light.
It achieves this courtesy of three category-defying features: an X-tremely large super-sensitive 1/1.63-inch 10 megapixel CCD sensor, X-tremely swift TruePic V image processor, plus X-tremely bright 1:1.8-2.5 i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens.
It’s also the first Olympus compact to come equipped with a ZUIKO lens, previously only available with DSLRs, and is also very portable, being not much larger than the average smartphone, so it slips easily into any pocket.
Furthermore, the XZ-1 with built in Accessory Port is compatible with the ever growing range of Olympus PEN digital camera accessories.
To boost the quality of photos and video further, users can add an external flash or electronic viewfinder (EVF) – with more accessories added to the range all the time.
The Olympus XZ-1 offers a large and supremely clear 3-inch, 610,000 dot resolution OLED screen for framing and reviewing your photos. This means that sharing shots on the spot with family and friends is not only a possibility but also a real pleasure.
Alternatively the XZ-1 also features HDMI output enabling images to be viewed on a big screen TV or monitor.
Few cameras of any shape, size or system can hold a candle to the High Definition video or beautiful still photos the XZ-1 delivers thanks to the unique combination of larger sensor, Olympus lens and processor.
The iZUIKO DIGITAL lens ensures a pure supply of light with reduced ghosting and flaring. It’s also a capably versatile tool, allowing the user to take in everything from 1cm macro close ups to sweeping landscapes, and switch from intimate portraits to group shots, offering a focal range equivalent to 28-112mm in 35mm terms.
Another feature in common with digital SLRs is that Olympus XZ-1 users can reduce depth of field in their images to keep close subjects sharp whilst leaving the background attractively blurred.
The Olympus’ XZ-1 combination of properties ensures that images stay sharp from corner to corner and even in low light. In comparison with a regular 14 megapixel CCD sensor, the light receptive area of each pixel on the Olympus’ is twice as large.
So for those who want to take low light images without having to use flash, the marriage of ultra bright lens, dual image stabilization, high ISO6400 sensitivity, and AF illuminator to facilitate focusing in dark conditions, ensures the XZ-1 is more than up to the task.
It’s not just a creature of the night, however. Even with its bright lens, in bright conditions one of the fastest shutter speeds available on a compact camera of 1/4000 sec reduces the risk of over exposure, even when shooting in snow, sunlight – or when utilising the flash.
Artistic impulses are given free reign with the XZ-1, thanks to hands on features such as the front lens control ring and menu wheel affording pro-style levels of access to a full complement of manual shooting modes – Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual – plus special options including RAW shooting, multi aspect ratios (16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 6:6), bracketing control and six Art Filters digital effects.
Factor in super macro mode, wireless flash control and high speed AF tracking, and compact users looking to up their photographic game have found a strong ally in the XZ-1.
In the XZ-1’s High Def movie mode the camera captures video using the advanced Motion JPEG movie compression format at a resolution of 1280x720 pixels and a rate of 30 frames per second.
A bugbear of all cameras is the propensity for camera shake at longer focal lengths, when shooting handheld or in lower lighting conditions. Olympus therefore offers not one but two means of reducing the potentially damaging effects of image blur.
As a further help, light sensitivity settings up to ISO6400 are also manually selectable. Alternatively, turn on the built-in flash.
Turn your memories into works of art. A choice of six Art Filters are available to instantly give both your images and movies a unique look and feel. Just select the desired Art Filter before taking a picture or shooting a movie, the effect is then shown directly on the LCD.
Dramatic Tone: Boosts the contrast to give images visual punch and a more dynamic atmosphere. This filter is accessible whether shooting stills or movies.
Diorama: This lends images a miniature model village feel by narrowing depth of field and enhancing colour and contrast.
Pop Art: Enhances colours, making them stronger and more vivid to create high-impact pictures in the style of Pop Art.
Soft Focus: Creates a soft tone, which gives pictures an ethereal, otherworldly atmosphere without obscuring details such as hair or flower petals.
Grainy Film: Recreates the effect of grainy, high-contrast monochrome pictures. The strong presence and dramatic atmosphere amplify the impact of the subject.
Pin Hole: Reduces the peripheral brightness like an image seen through a pinhole camera. Added to this is a unique colour tone and the results have an air of secrecy or otherworldliness.
The XZ-1 further takes the worry out of photography and offers almost unlimited memory expansion possibilities by providing compatibility with the new SDXC removable media card format (as well as SD and SDHC).
This affords high storage capacities of up to a gargantuan 2TB to ensure you don’t run out of space for those many thousands of photos and videos at an inopportune moment – thereby making the camera as ‘future proof’ as possible.
In order to achieve results like the professionals with the minimum of effort, the XZ-1 takes inspiration from the PEN series in featuring Olympus’ revolutionary Live Guide, allowing photographers to watch in real time the results of changing functions and settings before even taking a shot.
The Olympus XZ-1 is available in matt black or white lacquered body.
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