Top positive review
59 people found this helpful
The best compact camera you'll ever own
on 19 January 2012
I am simply wowed by this compact camera.
I was originally looking to buy my first DSLR, but having handled them decided that the massive increase in bulk and the necessity of carrying additional lenses was too big a price to pay for improved image quality. So I searched long and hard for the best possible compact camera, and I believe I've finally found it!
Jpegs for me are stunning, out of this world. They simply can't be compared to any other compact I've used before (of late Panasonic TZs). I'm generally shooting at 100 ISO, outside. But in the darkest of British January days it's more than adequate, occasionally 200, and I'm not sure I'll ever need to go above 400, even indoors. This, the brightest of lenses copes where other compacts would find it necessary to go way above this. So, superb jpegs. Will I eventually shoot raw? Maybe, if a shot dictates this, but it won't be the norm for me at this stage.
I was a little worried the camera might be too big, but not at all. Size is perfect. Yes the S100 is smaller but unless size is your main priority, forget even comparing the two. The XZ-1 ranks supreme, and the lens alone leaves other compacts in its wake. It's just fractionally bigger than my TZ20 but it's still very neat and compact. It still slips into a shirt or coat pocket easily and I love the fact that it can.
The macro (down to 1cm) produces fantastic results.
The removable lens cap is no problem at all for me. It's exactly the same as it would for anyone using a DSLR or compact system camera with interchangeable lenses - the lens cap is simply removed and popped into your pocket. If that's not acceptable, Olympus provide you with a tie so that it remains attached to the camera. I actually quite like it as it is!
Operation is delightfully straightforward. Select aperture or shutter priority on the mode dial and then use the wonderful rotating lens dial to set the required stop. Yes you can use iAuto, but this camera will soon have you switching to a mode in which you'll have more input - it's really not that difficult and it will do wonders for your creativity!
Art filters are great fun and can inspire you to create some impressive effects.
There's no dedicated ae/af button but a half press of the button locks focus, so you can then recompose - personally this is enough for me.
I haven't found battery life a problem at all, and find 300 images or more on one charge perfectly adequate.
So impressed am I with this wonderful camera, that now I know it's going to be a long-term partnership, I'm thinking of purchasing the VF2 viewfinder. Expensive but likely to make the camera as complete as I would like, and the reviews for it look favourable. The ability to add such a great viewfinder is yet another of the XZ-1's advantages over any of its rivals (It's far superior to the Panasonic.).
We all want a DSLR in a compact form but that's not going to happen anytime soon. Major compromises still remain. But given all the limitations of a compact, the XZ-1 comes so close to being the very best of compromises.
So if, like me, you've agonised for far too long on which camera to buy and found yourself going round and round in circles, do yourself a favour - buy the XZ-1. It's sublime. It's a joy to use. It's an incredible performer. It will grow with you. You will grow with it. It's fun. It will provide you with stunningly sharp images combined with heart-warming Olympus colours that are to die for. It will inspire your work and take your photography to exciting new levels. You will love it.