A while ago, most of you would have remembered our little adventure to Thailand (Not Honeymoon mind you) right after we finished our Wedding with just Olympus cameras. (You can read about the Olympus trip here, here & here) Among those Olys that we brought to Thailand,
is the OIympus XZ-1. A fast aperture (F1.8) compact that came packed with interesting features and lots of art filters. I remembered having lots of fun with it during the trip. Then Olympus Imaging Singapore recently notified me that the XZ-1 had been replaced – by XZ-2 of course.
I requested for the review unit for XZ-2 and made a special request to draw out the XZ-1 at the same time. Here, I have them side by side.
On first look, many of you would have noticed that the XZ-2 now carries the “Stylus” branding again while this was
obviously missing from the XZ-1. OIympus added a grip to the XZ-2 bringing it closer to the looks of the EP (Pen) series
product line and the XZ-2 is more chunkier (I like) than the XZ-1. Probably my hands are used to heavier cameras like the Olympus E-5
but the XZ-2 feels perfectly weighted on my hand this time as compare to the XZ-1 which I once loved.
One of the key feature that I like about the XZ -1 was the Aperture ring which is fitted at the lens collar and user
can just change the aperture value by simply turning the ring ala old school style which was pretty cool. And now,
the XZ-2 comes with an additional Lock/Unlock switch for the aperture ring and on top of that, right on the
centre of the switch, there’s even a “Fn” button that gives user quick access to shooting menus – how thoughtful!
The other visible difference from the front view is probably the move to using triangle strap lugs for the neck strap
reminishing the retro feel and also again – closer to the Pens.
Tiltable LCD Screen – This is a very useful feature that most manufacturers will try to include in their cameras,
and having this on the XZ-2 makes the most sense. Since most of its “bigger brothers” all comes standard with
such a screen, why not the XZ-2 right?
It is pretty obvious that I fell in love with the XZ-2, so how does the camera perform? Let’s take a look at the un-edited
photos produced by the 2 cameras. (commentaries after the jump.) It is understood that both cameras were set to the same settings.
From the photo above, I noticed the XZ-1 registered a reddish hue on the vegetations but managed to retain
the sky’s hues, but the XZ-2 recorded a more vibrant & accurate color reproduction on the vegetations but sacrificed
the pale blue from the sky. I believed the XZ-2 is engineered this way to ensure contrasty and sharper photos while
keeping the overall exposure lively. I Like this.
Color is the key here people. Looking at the photos direct out from the camera, the XZ-2 seems to have “grown”
very much making itself more appealing to the various consumers. The picture quality is awesome and for
some strange reasons, the contrasts of the XZ-2 seems to be more alluring. It produces very lively photos which
most people will like.
Trying one of the staple feature of Olympus’s higher-end compacts – the Super Macro Mode. The 2 photos above
were shot with this Mode. Both set to same settings, but the XZ-1 seems to be running on a much shallow DOF
than the XZ-2 which it picked a smaller aperture to shoot this scene. I have no comments on this as I love both
photos just the same, I will leave it to you for this.
The 2 photos above from the same scene appears to be largely identical. But on closer look,
the photo from the XZ-2 has better color reproduction with its almost exact color saturation level
as opposed the photo by XZ-1 which on closer scrutiny, looks slightly washed.
On overall, I feel that XZ-1 and XZ-2 are very different cameras. Although one is a replacement, as a photographer, the “feel” of
operating the camera is important and largely personal. Given a choice, I would own to both the XZ-1 & XZ-2 and I do have specific
roles for each of them to play.
So if you are new to the X Series from Olympus, or owns the XZ-1, or upgrading from a basic compact, or simply need a compact camera when you can leave your DSLR at home, or wants no frill but able to capture high quality photos, get the XZ-2.
If you are still feeling reserved, no really sure if the XZ-2 can serve your needs at the moment, you can head down to Olympus’s showroom
to try out both the XZ-1 & XZ-2 (Don’t forget the XZ-10 if you are buying on a show string). As I said earlier, the XZ-1 is also a great camera too!
Some behind the scenes photos by our sub Editor, my lovely wife Yu Ling.
About Olympus Imaging Singapore
Olympus Imaging Singapore is the unparalleled industry leader in opto-digital technologies, delivering award-winning digital imaging products for the consumer and professional markets in Singapore. Driven by a strong commitment in providing innovative products and solutions of the highest quality, Olympus Imaging Singapore works closely with industry partners, customers and other Olympus business units in producing leading-edge products. These include analogue and digital cameras, professional SLR imaging systems, and voice recorders, amongst others. Olympus Imaging Singapore’s unrelenting efforts in superior customer service also bear testimony to its brand promise of delivering the best user experience to all consumers and professional users in the imaging field.
For more information, please visit http://www.olympusimage.com.sg