Olympus Stylus 1 Compact Digital Camera - Black (12MP, 10.7x i.Zuiko Optical Zoom) 3 inch Tiltable Touchscreen LCD
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- Super compact, 28-300mm 1:2.8 10.7x i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens
- Features a super-large fine EVF as found on the Olympus OM-D E-M5
- OM-D styling for a DSLR look and feel.
- Direct operation with a hybrid control ring and Touch AF Shutter
- Built-in WiFi and new Olympus Image Share software for fast, simple image sharing.
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This item Olympus Stylus 1 Compact Digital Camera - Black (12MP, 10.7x i.Zuiko Optical Zoom) 3 inch Tiltable Touchscreen LCD
|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||—||ONLY BRANDED||Amazon.co.uk||Amazon.co.uk||Picsio||Amazon.co.uk|
|Display Size||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||12||20.4||20.1||12.1||14 megapixels||10 megapixels|
|Has Image Stabilization||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Item Dimensions||10 x 20 x 10 cm||3.83 x 10.81 x 6.36 cm||—||3.44 x 11.07 x 6.46 cm||3.9 x 10.6 x 6.8 cm||10.16 x 3.59 x 5.81 cm|
|Item Weight||402 grams||246 grams||263 grams||217 grams||216 grams||254 grams|
|Max Focal Length||64.3 mm||750 mm||70 mm||720 mm||108 mm||108 mm|
|Min Focal Length||6 mm||25 mm||24 mm||24 mm||4.5 mm||30 mm|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||12 megapixels||20.4||20.1||12.8||14 megapixels||20.2 megapixels|
|Removable Memory||Secure Digital card; Secure Digital card||Memory Stick; Secure Digital card; Secure Digital card||Memory Stick||Secure Digital card; Secure Digital card||Secure Digital card; Secure Digital card||Memory Stick; Secure Digital card; Secure Digital card|
|Special Feature||Serial Shot Mode; Shutter Priority; Aperture Priority||Serial Shot Mode; Shutter Priority; Aperture Priority||Serial Shot Mode; Shutter Priority; Aperture Priority||Shutter Priority^Aperture Priority||3D||Serial Shot Mode^Shutter Priority^Aperture Priority|
STYLUS 1. Move into a New Age
Combining the best of STYLUS technologies, the OM-D series and D-SLR photography, the STYLUS 1 is a breed of camera that deserves a whole category of its own.
The incredible i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens lets you zoom up close to your subjects from vast distances with 10.7x magnification, all at a constant bright aperture of 1:2.8. STYLUS 1 is also the ideal tool for venturing into more specialist forms of photography. Whether you're looking to bring depth and blur to your portraits, freeze-frame every detail in a macro scene, or explore long exposure times at night, STYLUS 1 is superbly equipped to let you achieve your photographic goals. With a host of high-precision technologies at your disposal, you can look forward to the image quality you expect from an exceptional high-end camera, no matter what and where you're shooting. Regardless of how much walking or travelling you undertake with your STYLUS 1, its remarkably slim-line design means it won't ever slow you down.
Benefits you'll notice
Super-slim. Extra-powerful. All-purpose
Want a camera that's accomplished enough to take specialist shots, yet slim-line enough to take anywhere? STYLUS 1 fulfills both of these criteria. Just 56.5mm wide, its super-slim body is carefully engineered to fit in pro-standard technologies virtually unheard of in cameras of this size. Take the Electronic Viewfinder adapted from the OM-D E-M5, which gives you a field coverage of 100%, outperforming the field coverage of entry-level D-SLR cameras. Or the large-size BSI CMOS sensor (1/1.7") for enhanced low-light performance. Every aspect is designed to give you faster, more stable handling and optimised imaging. The i.ZUIKO DIGITAL zoom lens with an enormous 10.7x magnification and a constant bright aperture of 1:2.8 appears to disappear when retracted.
Intelligent settings. Creative technologies. Intuitive control
Like the sound of a camera so well conceived and ergonomically engineered that it makes pro-style shooting feel completely natural? Look no further: Envisaged without compromising on any detail, STYLUS 1 sets the standard in usability excellence. Its technologies and full-featured control scheme give you a similar shooting style and handling to D-SLR cameras - adjusting settings and capturing the moment becomes an intuitive and authentic reflex. The hybrid control ring is an example of this instinctive, two-hands approach to expressive photography, allowing you to switch between analogue and digital in an instant and giving you all your most-used settings at your fingertips. With STYLUS 1 you'll never miss that killer shot again. Enjoy all the flexible and fast-reaction usability you would expect from a top-of-the-line camera, similar to the feel and control of OM-D.
Technologies that perform in every discipline
You'd like to rely on your camera to secure the exact shot you want, however challenging the odds? STYLUS 1 delivers the performance to get the job done. Adopted OM-D E-M5 technologies like the Electronic Viewfinder deliver greater control and a larger view of what you're shooting than ever, even before you press the shutter. Overall image quality also meets a pro standard thanks to built-in iHS technologies, which are harnessed by the large-size BSI CMOS sensor (1/1.7") and TruePic VI processor, which in turn make full use of the i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens with its exceptional precision. The result is high-speed, low-noise imaging, giving you magnificently sharp shots even in low light and at far distances. It is robustly constructed to perform under pressure on the outside too.
Zoom from 28 to 300mm at a fixed 1:2.8 aperture in one single lens
The i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens built into the STYLUS 1 delivers on its all-in-one promise with an enormous zoom range of 28-300mm*, letting you take everything from wide-angle landscapes and group portraits to close-up details at an incredible distance (10.7x zoom). It is also the first STYLUS lens to bring you a constant aperture of 1:2.8, letting more light in at any focal distance. This enables you to shoot at fast shutter speeds, reducing camera shake that tends to occur in dim light or at telephoto range. The wide aperture can also give you beautiful background defocusing. These capabilities translate into landscapes at 28mm with sharp edge-to-edge details even at dawn and dusk, portraits with bokeh effects, high-speed action photos, even at 300mm or macro masterpieces with a high depth of field. Plus, the slim lens engineering means that you hardly know it's there when fully retracted.* 35mm film camera equivalent
High performing Electronic Viewfinder. Outstanding vision in any light
The 1.44 million dot Electronic Viewfinder built into the STYLUS 1 is a brighter way to take pictures in more ways than one: With a field coverage of 100%, it outperforms the field coverage of entry-level D-SLR cameras and features a backlight that is automatically adjusted to match changes in ambient light. This way you always have your subject in clear view, even in very bright or dim conditions. A high resolution of 1.44 million pixels is matched with a high-speed response of 25 ms. That's so little time lag that you won't notice the difference to real time. Switching back and forth between the rear LCD and the viewfinder display could not be easier: all you have to do is look through the EVF and the in-built eye sensor will automatically detect usage. Once you have your eye up to the viewfinder, you can even preview images with Art Filters giving you amazing vision and control before you even take your shot.
Hybrid Control Ring. Instant access to all your favourite functions
In keeping with the pro-style design and image quality of the STYLUS 1, the hybrid control ring also gives you an intuitive sense of photographic mastery similar to the shooting style of D-SLRs. In essence, it allows you instant access to all your favourite and most-used functions and settings whenever you need them, with a simple, split-second twist of the lens ring. Cleverly, this feature puts both of your hands to optimum use, for maximum control. Its main function is to let you make the most of the digital and manual shooting capabilities that STYLUS 1 offers: Twist the control ring to quickly adjust aperture and shutter speed for instance, then flick the lever and twist the ring again to focus manually in analogue mode. You can also cycle through multiple, often-used functions simply by pressing down the Fn2 button on the front of the camera with your right hand and twisting with your left hand.
Built-in WiFi: Shoot from your phone, assign GPS and share your shots
This feature gives you a number of options with the OI.Share app to try out new things in your stills and movies and make life more convenient at the same time. Ultra-fast and extra-simple, it offers you full wireless control of certain features from your smartphone's touchscreen - like the shutter release, giving you far more freedom to move around whilst you take shots, and dramatically reducing the risk of camera shake. This is particularly useful when shooting in low light or trying to achieve long-exposure effects. You can also apply geotags from your phone to specific shots you take on your camera, to keep precise track of where you took them. Plus, add a striking look to your shots by assigning one of 11 Art Filters to each photo you take straight from your smartphone. STYLUS 1 makes sharing your images via your smartphone with friends and family easier than ever too - anytime, anywhere.
Olympus STYLUS 1 digital camera
BLS-5 rechargable lihium-ion battery
BCS-5 battery charger
Olympus Viewer 3 software CD ROM
Top customer reviews
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.
The five criteria I reviewed the Olympus Stylus 1 against are listed below. I have given one star for each. The Olympus failed on one, hence a final 4/5 review result.
* Acceptable advanced compact replacement for a full featured stills DSLR (pass)
* Acceptable advanced compact replacement for a video enabled DSLR (fail)
* Acceptable upgrade for a point-and-shoot or cell phone user (pass)
* Value for money vs features (pass)
* Design, build, responsiveness, look and feel and bug free operation (pass)
Stand out features are:
Good optics (best in class for range given the constant f2.8) and well controlled noise (clean to about ISO400).
Best in class Electronic Viewfinder, live view and user interfaces.
Although the stills feature-set is excellent, the video features are at the low end of expectations: the Stylus 1 is good stills camera with a mediocre video feature-set tacked on.
The camera is expensive if you are going to use it as a point-and-shoot only. It's a premium compact stills camera designed for the competent photography lover or someone looking to move up from point-and-shoot.
I have added a video to accompany this review. This includes my unboxing and gives a good impression of general look and feel (its not an exhaustive look at all features, just the sort of thing you would look at if you were in a shop - does it look good, how fast does it focus, etc).
I would suggest the following are the main competitors to the Oly: Sony RX100, Canon G1X/G15, Fuji X20, Nikon Coolpix A/P7700 and Samsung EX2, so if you want to consider alternatives, that's your list. I would prefer not to comment on the others, except to say that there is no bad camera in that list - all have different advantages, and the biggest difference between good and bad photos at this level is the person behind the camera and not the camera itself!
The rest of this review is an expanded version of the five points above (written in the same order). If you only want a quick `is this camera going to do what I want, yes or no?' summary, you probably already have your answer and there's no need to wade through the long review below!
For the rest, grab a cup of tea, it's a long one...
*** Existing Photographer looking for a DSLR Replacement ***
For the existing DSLR photographer looking for a compact version of their kit, this is a perfect buy. Yes, it is at the pricy end for a small fixed lens camera, but the feature set is certainly advanced.
Some will balk at the retro styling (the Sony A6000 placements are arguably more functional), and in particular point out that the Olys top bulge is only there to make it look like a film camera (and makes the Oly less pocketable), but I don't think the Oly would be much smaller whatever the styling. Having said that, the camera is certain to go down well in Shoreditch...
Despite the small sensor size, stills quality is excellent. Compared to last-gen cameras in the same class (I'm comparing against the Panasonic Lumix LX7, as I have it to hand), the noise is significantly better. Noise on the Oly is a low, uniform grain with no color smearing (which amongst other things, makes it easy to remove). Note though that advanced compacts seem to cook RAW, so if you want to make a like-for-like comparison, you have to turn off in-camera Noise Reduction (which I did for both cameras in my comparison).
If you want better noise at high ISO, then you will need a larger sensor fixed-lens system, and unless you are prepared to pay a lot more (Sony RX10), the lens will not have constant aperture nor have the same reach. However, the fact that the Oly has a back lit sensor and uses fast glass makes serious inroads at high ISO, and I was pleasantly surprised, especially when shooting RAW and noise correcting in Lightroom (lightroom 5/Adobe CC is fully compatible with the Olys RAW files as of this writing but DxO 9 is not - DxO website says it will be added April 2014 - can't comment on other apps as I don't own them).
Having said all that, this camera is not a Canon 5D Mk 3 low light wonder though! For uncooked RAW (no in-camera NR), you are looking at clean images to about ISO400 (so clean for daylight shooting), clean with external NR to ISO800. Put another way, that's about as good as the first generation of 10-12MPixel APS-C DSLRs (which wasn't that long ago), except nowadays you can fit the feature sent in half the size and make it pocketable... and you get a 28-300mm lens thrown in!
Also worth noting that although ISO800 may sound lowish, the constant f2.8 lens has to be taken into account here - faster glass allows you to get away with lower ISOs.
The minimum focusing distance at 28mm is about 20cm, and it's about a metre at 300mm, so neither will give you extreme close-ups, but you do have a 'super macro' focusing mode: fixed focal length and the minimum focusing distance drops to 5cm.
The lens has large red lens flare if you point it directly at the sun. This seems to be a common feature of many Olympus/Panasonics (my LX7 does it). It can be passed off as artistic (because it adds warmth) but you need to be mindful of it if you don't want flare.
The electronic viewfinder and back screen are very good: good colour rendition and highlight handling (although highlight handling is obviously not close to a full DSLR), plus the two screens actually look the same in terms of colour, something that doesn't occur in any of my other EVF DLSRs (GH2/A77). You get near enough 100% coverage, so no crop on the view. A big positive for such a small camera.
On the subject of electronic viewfinders (EVF) vs optical viewfinders (OVF), I am a big fan of *good* EVF and live views. The first good EVF/Live view was on the Sony a77 (which I own). The EVF and live view on the Oly is comparable, and in one crucial matter, better. Go into a dark room and you get snow (noise) on the A77 screens. Do the same on the Oly and you get no noise and a wonderful, WYSIWYG view. The downside of EVFs remains though - in low light the refresh rate goes down. The Oly EVF momentarily blacks out when you take a picture. This also occurs in the A77, but should not really be happening in a camera released in 2013/14! Obviously, all traditional OVF cameras do this (because the mirror has to open to actually take a picture, and that blacks out the OVF).
It should also be mentioned that a good live view will be calibrated for colour, and is often the best calibrated screen a photographer has (better than your PC screen). Obviously, the colour rendition depends a lot on how you set the white balance and style, but I have checked the color rendition of the live view (and EVF) against actual view with my Mk1 eyeballs (given manual white balance against an X-Rite grey card and the natural style), and the EVF and live view are spot on when I test with an X-Rite calibration color chart. Not just close, but *spot on*. The only difference is that the camera renders a little brighter (probably so you can see the display properly against ambient).
So, after the wonderful 28-300mmm f2.8 lens, the back screen and EVF are definitely the next stand out feature of the Stylus 1: they are certainly best in class, and probably better than most current DSLRs. D
Colour of the final photos is also amazingly good (something Olympus is well known for).
You can't attach filters to the end of the lens (there is no thread), but you can get a connector (Olympus CLA-13, which I don't yet own) to get around this. Apart from that, the only other thing you will potentially need is a screen protector for the back screen. Unlike many other cameras with a reticulating screen, the Oly screen cannot be `closed' (so the screen faces into the camera).
I used 6 x Clear Screen Protectors for Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 - Anti-Scratch LCD Guards / Display Savers as my screen protector - not for the Stylus (its for the LX7), but fits over the active part of the screen and doesnt affect the touchscreen sensitivity... so get a protector by the same manufacturor (Membrane) when they get around to doing one for the Oly.... I suspect they will sell exactly the same sized protector as the LX7 anyway, because the same one size seems to fit well on all my cameras!
There are all sorts of little touches that the serious photographer will readily notice. The Oly has one of the best manual focusing systems I have seen: as soon as you go into manual focusing (lever on the camera front) and then start using the lens aperture/focusing ring to focus, the view zooms in, and back out as soon as you stop focusing. It's as good as Sony focus peaking but without the distraction of false colour.
Focus speed is good/accurate and leaves no room for complaint. The camera has a focus assist lamp for low light, but can hunt occasionally in very low light. To fix this, use the usual trick of focusing on an edge or high contrast area.
You get high and low exposure peaking (`zebra') or live histogram, and lots of configurability: you can change the camera button functions to suit your style. You can switch quickly between view modes, and switch between major operation modes and settings with single button clicks and have the option of using touch on the back screen. If you are an existing micro 4/3rds user, the menu layout will be totally familiar to you, and if you are CaNikon or Sony, there's not much that you won't grasp immediately or miss from a full featured DSLR apart from only having 12MP and a small sensor that limits your depth of field (but these are the normal downsides of a compact fixed lens camera, and although you can do better with other models, you can't have the creative options of the 28-300mm f2.8 lens of the Oly, so it's a case of which limitation you want to accept: lens range, bigger sensor or serious expense).
Finally, there's some little subtle touches that will make any long time stills photographer nod and think `they made this for me'. For example, if you select the standard grid overlay, you get golden rule rather than rule of thirds. Little touch that is easily missed, but shows Olympus are thinking `love of photography' not `another me-too faux retro digital camera'.
The only weakness is lack of ultra-wide (although there may be an adapter to allow this later). Asking for less than 28mm on a 28-300mm lens that is also constant f2.8 is probably asking for too much, so I'll let that one pass as an acceptable compromise. If you are interested in stills only, then this is definitely a 5 star camera, as the only issue with the camera is video, and then only for pro users.
Minor photography geek niggles:
* No auto ISO in M mode.
* Lens is not parfocal (and you can't get around it by setting constant AF).
* Only two or three shot bracket, and you have to go deep into settings to change the bracket.
* No minimum shutter setting (you can only have it if the Flash is deployed).
* Preflash time is long - about 3/4s, enough for small children to change their expression before the main flash fires.
* Noise reduction not available in continuous mode.
* Most photographers would have preferred 24-250mm to 28-300mm.
*** Videography ***
Video is the big let-down for the experienced video or DSLR or camcorder user, and the Oly fails as a compact replacement for either user. Its adequate if video is not your 'thing' or you will only be uploading to social media without editing the footage though.
You can only use Program mode to shoot video (If you select AUTO or ASM, you are dropped into P mode). This has major disadvantages, the main one being that you cannot fix shutter during video. This means you cannot shoot `DSLR film' (video that makes use of the stills features of the camera in video to create motion footage that looks like film). Further, the user interface overlay disappears when you enter video mode(!), so all the video friendly interface features (built in electronic viewfinder and reticulating video monitor with useful helper overlays, built in Neutral Density filter, over/under exposure zebras and live histogram) are rendered less useful in video because you have no idea what the camera is doing. Not only can you not even do the basics (control shutter), you don't even know what the camera is selecting because there is ABSOLUTELY no overlay information on the screen during video recording other than the recorded video stream and time elapsed!
It gets worse. I thought the use of MPEG4/H264 codec would be an advantage over the more usual 28Mbit/s AVCHD more often seen in compacts, but you are killed by the low bitrate setting. By using Bitrate viewer to view footage from scenes that would cause bitrate to max out (fast moving foliage), I can see that the maximum bitrate is a paltry 20Mbit/s. This is disappointing mand at the low end of expectations.
At the very least, I would hope Olympus make the camera respect AEL when you go into movie record (because then you can do the bare minimum of fix shutter) via a future firmware release. This feature isn't there as of this writing, so video abilities for advanced users must be the low point of this camera: the video on this camera is no better than a standard point and shoot or last-gen DSLR.
In the camera's defence, you do get high speed video modes (120fps at 640x480 and 240fps at 320x240), and the video is good enough unless you want to edit it in Premiere/After Effects/Resolve etc, but the whole video offering seems to be the camera's weak point, and I have dropped a star on the basis that the Oly should be good enough for beginners to be able to grow towards mid-level DSLR level (5DMark 3/Panny GH3 and DSLR film), and they simply can't with what is on offer. Perhaps I'm being harsh on what is a stills camera at heart, and if you feel I am, then you have my blessing to say its a 5 star camera as far as you are concerned! Most Olympus users are probably not video enthusiasts in any case: Olympus seems to take a 'pure photography' stance on many of their cameras and video is not really top of their list. If you want good video in a small camera, you need to be looking at Panasonic.
EDIT Sept 2014: Ive reviewed my original thoughts on this camera after 6 months of constant use, and here's the only difference to the original review I have come to appreciate: its worth noting that the video stabilisation on the Olympus is better than *any* other camera out there. If you want to shoot quick, hand held video (social events, holiday films, etc) that you will be putting online with little or no editing, this is absolutely the best camera because of the stabilisation. The stabilization is very good wide open, but the truly amazing thing is that its still working at the long tele end!
*** Point and shoot and mobile/tablet users looking to upgrade, and tech geeks ***
For a point and shoot user or a cell phone geek, this camera has everything you need. Good enough quality for social media and canvas prints for the home. VERY good connectivity for the cell phone geek who wants to upload to WordPress or social media through the phone. Excellent holiday camera (because of the small size, connectivity and the range/optical speed of the lens), so you can pack light and publish to the web using your phone. The fast lens, long reach and compact size should help you if you want to take photos of social events in difficult situations (dark clubs, pubs) without getting blurry shots.
As well as connect to your phone for uploading, you can also control the camera from your phone (download the app from your app store - its free). The camera transmits the live view to your phone, although as of this writing live view is sent at a lower resolution than the camera back. The Sony QX10/100 (I own the QX100) had a similar problem across wi-fi, but the issue was fixed in a firmware release, so hopefully Olympus will do the same later.
The Oly is a good point and shoot that can grow as your love of photography takes you away from AUTO and JPEG through to ASM modes and RAW editing.
The video capabilities are acceptable if you are simply uploading to social media, but don't expect to get far if you want to get advanced film-like footage from this camera.
For those capturing the kids growing up there are some nice features (apart from the fast glass and long zoom that can capture fast moving tykes!) like being able to add audio comments to shots. This is also useful for blogging/travel/e-diary, but will probably be a godsend for the older parent reviewing the files in years to come.
Finally, you get a good touch screen, so you can swipe to review the photos just like on a phone gallery, and can tap the screen to focus or shoot (its only one touch so it doesn't do pinch to zoom gestures though - you use a zoom slider instead). It feels like it's a high quality capacitive screen rather than the resistive ones you more usually get on cameras, but note that you will need a screen protector for it.
Niggles for novice users:
The auto/manual focus lever often moves to manual when pulling the camera out of a pocket, and this is applied to ALL modes (including the novice friendly AUTO and P modes). Experienced photographers will notice they are in manual straight away, but it would not be obvious to a novice who would never use manual focus... something that became very obvious when I lent the camera to a non-photographer!
*** Price and build ***
In terms of cost vs features, I think the price is good, and the deal will get sweeter as the price comes down a bit post release.
The build is excellent. The body front, dials and lens is metal (but note the back is plastic, not a concern in my view, as similarly priced previous cameras are the same (e.g Panasonic LX7). The user interface is well thought out and responsive.
You lose the large sensor that some competing cameras have, but you gain an excellent general lens: 28-300mm at f2.8 constant. Let's put that in perspective: if you wanted the same thing in micro 4/3rds you would be paying upwards of 2 grand. For full frame or crop frame you would be taking out a second mortgage, or selling the car to fund it, and end up with the arms of a gorilla (NB - I should know, I own that rucksack)! If you want better image quality I recommend either micro four thirds or a small APS-C interchangeable (the Sony A6000 is the model to look at IMO).
I am reviewing the camera with the v1.0 firmware. I have found no bugs of annoying glitches or poor responsiveness (apart from the mobile phone live view issue noted above, but I see that as an edge case). The UI is fast and responds quickly, and the touchscreen features are fast and respond well. Only minor issue I found was that the camera settings menu doesn't respond to touch (you have to use the 4 way navigation joystick). That's probably a minor issue as you'll probably only go into that menu either once ever (when you set up the camera) or never.
*** Final thoughts ***
This is an excellent compact *stills* camera. Its main feature for the photographer is the lens: a large enough range (x10.7) for creative possibilities and fast enough (constant f2.8) to get good results in most situations. For beginners or point-and-shoot users, the main features are the lens, EVF/Live view, and the excellent connectivity. This is backed up by a good interface and build for all users. Photo quality is very good for the sensor size, and probably the best in class. There are other cameras out there to look at though: Sony RX100, Canon G1X/G15, Fuji X20, Nikon Coolpix A/P7700, Samsung EX2 all being contenders. To be fair, there is no perfect camera - each and every one of the listed cameras has a different set of advantages/disadvantages. For the Stylus 1 the advantages/disadvantages are definately zoom range with constant aperture vs poor video controls.
A small sensor camera like this one is not going to compete with larger sensor cameras (APS-C mirrorless, current generation 1 inch bridge cameras), but what it does give you is zoom range and portability. There's a lot of noise on the internet about sensor quality and high ISO noise as if its the be-all and end all, but that's aimed at professional photography. For the rest of us (and even for those of us who like me have a large DSLR and rucksack full of quality lenses), the best camera is the one you have with you. As of this writing, I'm about to go out with my partner for a walk in Yorkshire Bronte country. I need something that can take good pictures that I can post-edit in Lightroom, but that won't kill my walk with faffing about with lenses and weighty equipment. Guess which camera that means I will be taking.... yep, the Stylus 1!
EDIT - I have put a sample photo from that walk up in the user's images section.
The low point is video. If you want to this camera for advanced video capabilities, you are severely limited by low bitrate and lack of creative control. Having said that, the video is decent if video is not going to be a main focus: its fine if you just want social media uploads and don't expect to do colour correction, grading or other tasks associated with `DSLR film' production.
I will probably do a much more photographer centric review (ISO noise charts, pixel peeping, sample photos, detailed menus and user interface et al) on my blog after a couple of months of constant use with the Stylus 1. I will add a link in the comments when it is up.
Thanks for getting this far in a rather long review, and good luck in your decision on whether or not to buy the Olympus Stylus 1!
Essentially, if you want a good compact stills camera with good creative options, to be used as as your only camera, a DSLR replacement or to replace your cell-phone/point-and-shoot, and you don't want to have to buy any new lenses or accessories, then this is one to go for.
*** Update May 2014 ***
I have now been using this camera for some months and have the following additional tips:
1. If you are going to get into small format cameras in a big way (including m43rds and advanced compacts), I strongly recommend DxO Pro 9 (get the version with Prime noise reduction and use that for your NR), even if you already have Lightroom. DxO fixes the two major problems with these cameras (high ISO noise and Lens distortion). The workflow is to import your RAW files into DxO, export the corrected files as .dng, then import into lightroom. You keep all your files as RAW this way. DxO gives you a good one to two stops of noise reduction (so, a shot taken at ISO1600 now looks as if it was shot at ISO400 with no blurring), and it fixes the large distortion that a super-zoom lens (as on the Stylus 1) would be expected to give at the high and low end. disadvantage is that Prime NR is very processor intensive (I have a top of the range i7 12 core CPU with 24GB memory, and it takes over an hour for a typical 70 shot upload!).
2. The Stylus 1 is constant f2.8. This works well at the long end, but if you want to go wide, it is beaten by the last-gen Panasonic LX7, as that has an (amazing) f1.4 when wide. The LX7 goes for peanuts on eBay, now. However, for a general 'all-in-one' camera as a DSLR replacement and holiday camera, the Stylus 1 is miles away the winner, as it wins on better ergonomics (especially the fact that it has an EVF built in), better noise across the range excepting wide end, higher zoom range, and better dynamic range throughout.
The electronic viewfinder is actually quite impressive, and although it can't compete with the viewfinder of an SLR, it really is a useful viewfinder. Place your eye against the viewfinder and it turns off the screen. A nice little feature, one of many that the camera offers.
The wifi feature is handy and I've used it a few times to be able to share images quickly. Downloading RAW images at home later for more involved post-capture editing in Lightroom.
I don't really use video very much so the video feature is fine for my occasional needs. I'm looking for a high-performing stills compact, and if it didn't have a video feature then I wouldn't really miss it.
The build quality is excellent and it feels sturdy and robust. The controls feel well placed and help with the intuitive functioning. I've used SLRs for years and this is a great compromise camera when you want something small and easy to carry. I'm really thrilled with it and it's revitalised my day-to-day photography.
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