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30th January 2013
Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview
by Ian Burley

Here is a brief look at the new baby of the Olympus Stylus XZ range

The new Olympus Stylus XZ-10 is the smallest Olympus premium digital compact since the Mju Digital launched ten years ago.

Late last year Olympus updated its two year old XZ-1 premium compact camera with the XZ-2 (which is now available in white, incidentally). If there was a criticism of the XZ-2 it was that the addition of an articulating touch screen, while welcome in many ways - had made it more bulky than its predecessor. In anticipation of this reaction Olympus had the XZ-10 up its sleeve. This is a veritable compact camera; 40% lower in volume than an XZ-2 which means there isn't even room enough for a hot shoe, for example and this also means none of the Accessory Port connector hot shoe peripherals compatible with the XZ-1 and XZ-2 are available to XZ-10 photographers.

On the plus side, Olympus has produced only its third compact camera zoom lens to earn the Zuiko moniker, the two others being the XZ01 and XZ-2. Coupled with a slightly smaller 1/2.3rd inch CMOS 12 megapixel back-lit sensor compared to the XZ-2, the new i.Zuiko 5x zoom lens has an equivalent range of 26-130mm and maximum brightness of f/1.8 at the wide end of the range, moderating to f/2.7 at the tele end. An ISO range extending from 100 to 6400 is provided and sensor-shift image stabilisation for slow shutter stability are provided. RAW format recording is also featured.

The XZ-10 gets a 3 inch 920,000 dot (VGA) touch screen although this is a resistive-touch type rather than capacitive. Resistive works with finger nails and other pointed objects but is less responsive to light touch fingertip action. One touch focus and shoot is supported.

1080 and 720 HD movie recording is selectable, at 30p frame rates, and you can also choose 120 frames per second in 720 resolution for slow motion effects. Stereo microphones are built in.

If you are familiar with the XZ-1 or XZ-2 you will be pleased to see that a control ring surrounding the lens base has been retained, although this can no longer be used for manual focusing. Instead it is used for functions like exposure settings adjustment - conventiona; PASM modes are provided alongside scene and iAuto modes.

Olympus' Art Filter modes are supported and these are supplemented by a Photo Story feature which enables you to create a sort of photo montage incorporating several images.

Low light photography is something Olympus us waving the flag about for he XZ-10. With the brightness of f/1.8 on tap iHS processing in conjunction with Olympus TruePic VI image processor, combined with a back-lit CMOS sensor there is scope for some low light cleverness and one feature that grabbed our attention was a claim that using a special mode you can take photos at night under the stars, hand-held, without a tripod. With brighter conditions the shutter can reach 1/2000th second.

Construction-wise the XZ-10 has a metal casing and feels solidly screwed together. Controls do fight for space but aren't microscopically small. Besides the control ring on the lens there is a thumb wheel/dial on the back of the camera, and let's not forget the touch screen too.

The usual multi-function USB/remote release/AV port Olympus has been using for many years is retained and is accompanied by a micro HDMI port. For wireless connectivity the XZ-10 will work with EyeFI and FlashAir wifi flash memory cards. While there is no hot shoe, the XZ-10 has a pop-up flash and this can be used as a multi-channel controller for Olympus RC wireless control flash units.

Finally, here is a selection of menu screens to give you a feel for the XZ-10's operation, including the Photo Story feature.

So there you have it, the promise of Zuiko lens quality and typical Olympus attributes like Art Filters and sensor shift IS in a miniscule package. Is this a camera that ticks your boxes?

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Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview

DPNow Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview
H Olympus has produced a smaller and lighter version of its Stylus XZ-2 premium compact camera. In f... (more)

Dan in NC Re: Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview
I am interested in this camera because my Olympus C4040 Zoom and LG Rumor 2 cell phone cameras are d... (more)

Ian Re: Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview
I know there are some concerns about the smaller sensor size of the XZ-10 (The XZ-1 and XZ-2 sensors... (more)

Dan in NC Re: Olympus Stylus XZ-10 brief hands-on preview
Since I posted, I have missed a couple of opportunities where I really could have used a compact cam... (more)

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