on December 18, 2013
This will need to be a multi-part review but I wanted to post my first resolution test results and a few impressions before Christmas buyers ( at least those like me :-). I was delighted that under full daylight conditions the Stylus 1 compared favorably to my full frame Nikon at the extreme zoom range (300mm equiv.). At mid range it was close to my Panasonic GH2 and my Sony RX100 (100mm equiv.) but slightly less. And at wide angle (28mm equiv.) it was slightly better than all but the Nikon. If the subject is strong and the shooting conditions good I doubt any of my friends would notice a difference between any of these cameras.
Another favorite use for me is macro photography, orchids to insects. I tested the Nikon Coolpix P7800 and was very disappointed in it's focus speed and it's macro capability. Low light focus was not good but the real disappointment for me was that it only does macro at full wide angle (same for the Sony RX100). And while the Coolpix macro focus kept hunting the Stylus was quick and solid. Macro for the Stylus is a 1" subject fills the frame horizontally. Another important feature for me is good close focusing at modest zooms and here the Stylus was very good (a 1.5" subject filling the frame at a better zoom/working distance). (Many will note that these are advantages of a smaller sensor.)
The Stylus feels substantial, not quite as rock solid as the amazing little Sony RX100, but much more solid than the larger super zooms I have used. It has a bit of a retro look and feel that I enjoy, more angular, the viewfinder protruding toward the back. The EVF is wonderful for such a small camera. Focus / shooting speed are very good, outdoor color natural for my few shots so far, lots of control and a wonderful manual focus system (really a treat). My impression to date is that this is by far the best small / belt-case-size camera for my particular needs. The Sony RX has great optics and low light capability but in the rain forest I need the extra zoom range and better macro working distance. The micro four thirds cameras are exciting but not quite equal to my full frame and too big for the belt (with longer lenses). The Stylus 1 is impressive where I need it.
Two annoying issues.
First, you can access many settings using the touch screen but in some lighting situations the shadow of your hand shuts off the screen (thinking you have your eye up to the viewfinder). The place to change this is located in the Utility menu, OK, but better would be to assign it to a function button (not possible).
Second, the camera ships with the 2x digital extender assigned to the fn1 button. That makes it very easy change and then think you just haven't pulled back to wide angle somehow. I assigned this button to force center focus, nice to be able to do this quickly.
A shot a sequence of comparison photos to post but it seems Amazon is blocking that again. Jerks. At 40mm (equiv.) and f2.8 or f4.0 the crispness of the Stylus was amazingly close to equaling the Nikon D600 (tripod). It drops off a touch at f5.6 and f8.0 shows some softness. Disabling image stabilization on a tripod seems important.
I should have noted how quickly you can access many settings by simply clicking the center "OK" button and then selecting one of the 22 icons for further adjustment (ISO, IS, ND filter, RAW, vivid,focus, flash, WB, Face, and so on). Fast and efficient but you need to be a little bit quick before the display returns to shooting.
Cases: First I tried the Click Elite, too small. Next was the Lowepro Dashpoint 20, still too small. Finally the Lowepro Apex 60, snug fit but a some practice and a little lift on the back lip of the case and in it goes.
See posted cushion 5x7 photos cut from 20" x 30" blowups. It took some effort to match the Nikon's color and sharpness and conditions were perfect for the smaller sensor but amazingly hard to tell the final results apart. Indoor oil painting copies for a publication for a small reproduction were acceptable but the larger format and a perfect 50mm f1.4 showed its advantages.
Modifying the uploaded Amazon photo captions seems to have deleted them. The two cushion photos are 5x7s cut from the middle of 20x30" prints taken outdoors in perfect lighting. The first one is taken by the Olympus, tripod, IS off, ISO 100, 1/800 @f4.0, auto WB, 9mm (42mm equiv.), quite a bit of photoshop color and sharpness work but great results. The second is labeled "Nikon" and taken by Nikon D600 24-85mm at 40mm, ISO 100, IS off, 1/400 at f8.0 no photoshop required.
The third is a nice working distance shot of a pineapple.
Indoor trampoline photos taken without flash at ISO 1600 are generally correctly exposed and focused. Noise (shadows)and grain are visible in an 8x10 but acceptable (much like 35mm tri-x film). Of course this is large sensor territory but a modest print of a great subject and not many would care.
on December 19, 2013
I got this camera a few days ago so this is a REALLY preliminary look at it with some initial observations which I'll add to as I use it more.
First the odd:
I use panorama mode fairly often and I was surprised to see the panorama mode in the Stylus 1 is the same as in my old Olympus SP 565 UZ (circa 2008) - antiquated. Many cameras now allow you to select panorama mode, slowly pan the camera and the camera handles all the heavy lifting - it decides when the end of the first scene occurs and the second begins, and stitches them accordingly. The Stylus 1 requires the user to take picture 1, remember where the end point is, pan the camera so there is overlap at this end point, and then take picture 2. Etc. AND it then requires the individual pictures be stitched together off-camera with either the Olympus software or something like Photoshop. Very cumbersome & very old style.
With all the interest in HDR, this camera does nothing to address that. I realize Canon has a patent on processing HDR shots in-camera at the pixel level, so I wouldn't immediately expect Olympus to have the equivalent feature. However, for those of us willing to do post processing of images to achieve HDR results, the camera does little if nothing to support this. For good HDR photos, you need at least 3 shots at -2 EV, 0 EV and +2 EV. The Stylus 1 has +/- 3 EV stops which can be manually set but you can only take a max of 3 BRKT shots with +/- 1 EV for each shot. Even my old SP 565 UZ can take 5 BRKT shots albeit at +/- 1 EV. But then you get the 3 shots at +/- 2EV if you discard shots 2 & 4.
NO way to use filters! Even the "magnetic" two piece filter device won't fit. Sometimes you just need a polarizing filter to eliminate glare, so I guess I'm forced to hand-hold a filter in front of the lens when I need one - cumbersome at best...
Now for the good:
I took a few casual shots around the house and was blown away with the accuracy of the auto white balance - much better than a lot of my older cameras. And although I haven't done controlled testing, I took some hand held close-up shots at almost full zoom that were really crisp and clear - no noticeable camera shake. My other older cameras can't match this.
The constant f2.8 lens is fantastic - big difference from my other cameras, some of which start at f2.8 but go to 4.5 at full zoom. This is a great light gathering tool.
Having said what I did above about panorama, the Stylus 1 has an electronic level that can be enabled in the display that gives a visual indication of whether the camera is level or not in two axis. Nice feature and nicely implemented that eliminates the need for carrying a hot-shoe level or the need for levels on the tripod head although you'll still need one on the tripod base to make sure the panning section is level for panorama shooting.
Some have said the camera has a cheap plastic feel. I have not found that to be the case and in fact think it has a very solid feel, particularly for a camera this size.
Size - for what this camera does, it's really compact and one of the main reasons I bought it. As the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. I won't mind carrying this around but wouldn't think of the RX-10 (often mentioned as a comparable in reviews) as being my "go-to" or "take with me everywhere" camera as nice as it might be. And at half the price, half the size, and much lighter, the Stylus 1 wins hands down as my "go everywhere" camera.
So far very pleased.
And finally, I can't wait to try out the other features like Wi-Fi, etc.
on February 25, 2014
I am 80+ & only recently starting using a camera again, so all of you experts & advanced can skip this. The last time I regularly used a camera was in the '50s, it was a 35mm Retina IIIC that was stolen in Paris while I was in the service. I have used a small low-priced point-and-shoot shirtpocket digital camera occasionally for the past two years but have read too many reviews and wanted one that "did it all" and was pocketable. Right now this could be too much camera for me (auto is used a lot), but I take great pictures with it. I think this is probably the best all-purpose out today (& I predict this market segment will get crowded soon). This camera is not pocketable unless you're wearing a jacket w/roomy pockets, or cargo pants, etc., no shirtpocket model this (will be OK in a roomy purse). But it is small & easy to carry w/a wrist strap or stuff in a jacket pocket. From a practical standpoint (not expert) the closeups are great, maybe better than I realize, took a couple of beautiful portrait shots, one with the built-in flash, the zoom is terrific and used the moving picture once - outstanding mountain scenery and zoomed in on a doe. Like the viewfinder. It comes w/a neck strap but a wrist strap works better for me. Some buttons kind of small for this arthritic oldtimer but plan on using them often so will adjust. Comes w/battery & charger but I bought a Wasabi w/car charger & 2 extra batteries. Got a lot of photo ideas of people and places -- anxious to travel, shoot them & share them from a decent camera. Recently bought a new car . . . what I figure will be my last . . . this little jewel should be my last (& only) camera, my wife adopted the shirtpocket model!
PS---Shipped from Akiba Express, got here in good shape well before they predicted.
on February 20, 2015
Olympus did an excellent job with design and engineering of the stylus 1, such a sharp fast lens on such a little camera body, fits it between longer zoom bridge cameras, and the little compacts like the RX100. It's hard to compare it directly with some of the other point-and-shoot cameras trending these days; the Olympus Stylus 1 really has it's own niche. Bigger 1/1.7 sensor is just enough of an improvement to make a significant difference over the more common little 1/2.3 sensor. The zoom lens is a killer; not the longest, but an aperture of f2.8 across the entire range of a 10X zoom is very nice.
Here's what it comes down to: There are much longer zooms, but nothing that comes close in a camera so small that it goes in a small camera bag clipped to your belt or drops down in a jacket pocket. It's more convenient, so you'll have this camera with you more often. And that is the most important feature of any camera. Big system cameras with a bag full of expensive lenses don't get better pictures if they're back in your trunk, or worse at home in a closet, while you're out hiking. Besides numerous Canon and Nikon cameras, I have owned a couple of Olympus EPL-1s, an XZ-2 and now the Stylus 1; I can sort my Lightroom library of 30,000+ images by camera and immediately see, that more of my favorite images are shot with this camera than any other. Two reasons I think: it consistently shoots bright sharp colorful images without too much technical finessing, and because it's so convenient, it's the camera I grab more often than any other. Google: "Stylus 1 Robert Wong," look through his amazing images shot with this camera, read his suggestions for how to get the most of it.
on December 31, 2013
I shoot for hobby. I have had this camera for 2 days. I absolutely love it. it's a perfect size, nice weight and comfortable to hold. It takes great pictures and appears to have a good battery life. I was drawn by the fact it had two things I wanted: A viewfinder essential for outdoor shots in bright light comand a built in flash convenient for everyday indoor shooting. ( Note the low light performance is so good, the flash might not even prove nececssary/ There is a shoe for another flash or viewer. Operation seems very easy to figure out. The only drawbacks were that the 120 page instruction manual is on a CD, and the battery charger is larger than average- it is two pieces and has a heavy long cord and is cumbersome. I am not looking forward to lugging it around when I travel. Perhaps soon they will come out with a compact travel charger. There is a printed manual available if you call , so I ordered one. I recommend this camera, expecially for someone like me who finds the new compact digitals to be too small to hold or operate comfortably.
on July 15, 2014
This is an awesome camera. I have a DSLR that is getting a bit older and I found myself longing for some of the new features. I am only an amateur photographer but I enjoy the hobby frequently. However, with all the changes in mirrorless cameras recently, I just couldn't see myself committing to a new body and lens set until things settle down a bit more.
So I decided that I would try to get by with the smaller sensor for now and that I might gain some from the portability. So far (2 months), I have been very happy that I made the purchase. I have been on 2 trips since I received it and even though I took both setups, I have used the Stylus One to shoot 95% of my photos. And while it has an amazing feature set, the primary reason for that is that I can slip it in my cargo shorts pocket and carry it everywhere.
Now I will admit that there are times where a little more bulk (size) just feels better, especially compared to how my dslr feels hanging from my Black Rapid strap. Ready to grab and shoot with just the right size in the hand. (Unfortunately, I have not found an option like that for the Sylus 1. So small that it just bounces around on a strap.)
However, I couldn't be happier with the photos I have captured and the ease of use, features and especially the portability.
on May 4, 2014
For 10 years I shot thousands of photos with my trusty Canon Powershot G3. I was always surprised at how sharp and clean the photos were. But I got to a point where I needed a real viewfinder, a bigger LCD, and better video capability. I also wanted an EVF so I could shoot videos using the viewfinder. After a lot of research, I settled on the Sony NEX 6 with the 16-50mm kit lens. After taking photos for a couple of weeks, I was disappointed at how soft the photos looked, even at low ISO and with the sharpening turned up in the camera. The camera also seemed to underexpose shots taken in full daylight. Jaggies were very present in the RAW files. The photos simply were not up to par with my G3, even though the NEX 6 has a much larger and more advanced sensor. I was quite surprised.
I went back to square one and thought about what I really wanted: A nice viewfinder; a bigger and brighter LCD; good video capability; portability; a level gauge; and possibly a wider zoom range than the G3's 35-140mm range. The choice came down to the Panasonic FZ200 or Olympus Stylus 1. I settled on the Stylus 1 because of the smaller size, larger sensor, and the reputation of the Olympus JPEG engine. After shooting with the Stylus 1, I was quite impressed. The autofocus is very fast, the viewfinder is very clear and bright, and the camera is portable. The photos looked sharp and clean, at par or even better than the G3 at low ISO. The image stabilization is so good I am able to shoot photos indoors without flash, and when needed, the high ISO photos were much cleaner than expected. Video is adequate, although the NEX 6 video was smoother.
Here is a summary of the pros and cons of the Stylus 1:
1) Bright, clear EVF
2) Excellent LCD
3) Excellent 25-300mm equivalent zoom range
4) Light and portable
5) Good video capability (30p max)
6) Decent battery life
7) Quick autofocus, even in low light
8) Clean, sharp stills
9) F2.8 aperture on lens throughout zoom range
10) Integrated lens cap is a dream come true
1) Can't display ISO setting and level gauge at the same time
2) Can't display all photo settings at the same time in shooting mode
3) Flash photos are underexposed--need to increase flash intensity by +0.7EV
4) Buttons are too small
5) Not enough customization options for soft keys and dials
6) No in-camera HDR or dynamic range optimization
7) Video quality degrades a little when panning
8) Priced higher than the competition
on December 20, 2013
I haven't seen or heard anyone mention the touch screen feature on his camera. It is amazing! I gave this to my wife early and found this feature at once. A great surprise to me. For grandparents what an incredible tool. No more missed shots[trying to find shutter button]. Blurry images pretty much passé[ at 2.8 super fast]. The size of the display allows capture in low light for us vision challenged[ if you saw it you got it]. I will point out it is a technical marvel and not for those intimidated by it. The sensitively of the screen and control buttons will punish you until you figure it out but in the meantime the possibilities this camera possesses pays back handsomely.
on May 18, 2014
In recent years, my cameras have been Pentax K-5, Pentax MX-1, X-5, Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, and Olympus OM-D EM-5. I've sold all my DSLR gear (too heavy), and for convenience, have used the Samsung Zoom the most in the last 6 months. Recently, however, I used my EM-5 again on a hike and rediscovered how awesome it is, especially with it's weather resistance. I decided to upgrade my EM-5 by buying a bigger eyecup, and getting a 14-150mm lens, when by sheer coincidence, I came upon the Stylus 1, and it seemed to make the EM-5 unnecessary. Same EM-5 style, constant f2.8 28-300mm, but much slimmer than the EM-5, same top of the line Electronic Viewfinder, built in WiFI. The Stylus 1 seemed like the best camera ever!. I played with it at the shops, and used a friend's one for a day or two. Overall, I think the Stylus 1 is an incredible camera, when look at purely as a camera, but when price is taken into consideration, I think it's far overpriced and not good value for money. (of course it's a personal opinion)
- so many built in high end features, like WiFi, EVF, 3 inch swivel screen, EM-5 styling, higher end compact sensor, f2.8 aperture, 28-300mm lens- sure, not as far as Lumix's constant f2.8 camera, but it's a fraction of the size- an excellent performance/weight/size compromise, 7 frame per second with real shutter sound and tactile sensation, better button layout than the EM-5, very smooth bokeh (out of focus background), very customisable, built in flash. Also loved the fact it had a fixed auto lens cover. Nice to not have to fiddle taking lens cover on and off. Olympus lens caps for micro 4/3 lens are ridiculously thin and impractical so the Stylus has a definite edge in user friendliness here.
- for it's class of camera, focus is fast, shutter lag is minimal. Image saving to SD card seems quick sometimes, but not other times. I really don't know why there was half to 1 second variation is saving time. Must be how my friend's camera was.
- It feels plastic, as it is made of plastic, not metal like the EM-5, despite the same physical similarity. Thus it doesn't have the same subjective solidness. Sure I'm comparing it to the EM-5, a camera that was released at a much higher price point than the Stylus 1, but even when I compare it to cheaper cameras, it doesn't seem as rugged.
- Price. I know Casio has a f2.8 28-300mm camera competitor which is even more expensive, the Stylus 1 is really a long zoom version of the Olympus ZX-1/2 and Pentax MX-1 with a EVF.Both the ZX-1/2 and MX-1 share a 28-112mm (in 35mm format) f1.8-2.5 lens which produced fantastic bokeh. I honestly can't see the price premium. This is why I say the camera is a 5 star camera, but only 3 star when price is taken into consideration. Of course, if price isn't an issue, then forget all the other so called serious compact cameras like Canon s100/110, Pentax MX-1, Olympus ZX-1/2, and go straight to Stylus 1. The only possible improvements I can predict in the next incarnation of the Stylus 1 is a wider end, 22 to 25mm, instead of 28mm.
In the end, I decided to go with the 14-150mm lens to use with my EM-5 because the lens (second hand) was half the price of a new Stylus 1 (this is 70% of the reason I kept the EM-5 over the Stylus 1), I liked using the EM-5, and the EM-5 is a higher end camera with all that entails- faster focus, customisable evrything, fast image saving, larger sensor and sharper more detailed images. I don't think many people will be in the same position I was in, so might not agree with me. I've chosen the EM-5 over Stylus 1, and time will tell if I did the right thing. After all, everyone else here seems to love it!
Sorry for the rambling length. I tend to do that.
on October 11, 2014
This camera has been love at the first shooting session. It has surpassed my expectations. I wanted a camera with long reach, with a fast lens for low light photos, not large in size but making quality photos. I am happy with the results.
I much hesitated, comparing it to the new Lumix DMC-1000, but in the end the size and weight made me decide for the Stylus 1. I am happy with my decision
The camera is small and light, but feels very well in the hand. The EVF is superb, even with glasses. Focussing is ultrafast and sharp. Zooming is fast but easy to control.
I highly recommend it.