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226 of 251 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olympus XZ-2 vs. Nikon D7000 and Canon G1X
Hello everyone, I was on a trip in Kobe, Japan recently when I saw this Olympus XZ-2 in one of the stores. Being a long-time Nikon/Canon person and looking for a pocketable camera, I decided to give Olympus a try and bought the XZ-2 with the optional automatic lens cap. I used this camera extensively during my trip and I wanted to share my experiences.

I'm no...
Published on November 16, 2012 by va1800

versus
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Picture were hit or miss, new 1.3 firmware seems to be a great improvement
I previously owned mostly Panasonics (a simple point and shoot and lx5), but after I had some problems with both of my panasonic cameras after a year of working, I decided to try olympus this time.

The interface and menus seem a lot more complicated, and less intiutive on the olympus, I mostly shoot in the iAuto mode, and the pictures seem inconsistent. Even...
Published 14 months ago by Deepa Mohan


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226 of 251 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olympus XZ-2 vs. Nikon D7000 and Canon G1X, November 16, 2012
By 
va1800 (Baltimore, Maryland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
Hello everyone, I was on a trip in Kobe, Japan recently when I saw this Olympus XZ-2 in one of the stores. Being a long-time Nikon/Canon person and looking for a pocketable camera, I decided to give Olympus a try and bought the XZ-2 with the optional automatic lens cap. I used this camera extensively during my trip and I wanted to share my experiences.

I'm no pro photographer - I just love taking pictures. Some of the gear I had in the past are Canon XSI with the kit lens, Canon 50D, and several Canon point-and-shoots including Canon S95. Some lenses I had were Canon 50mm f/1.8, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 24-70mm, Canon 24-105mm, Canon 70-300mm, and Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8. I recently switched to Nikon - currently I have a Nikon D7000, a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 lens, and a Nikon 16-85mm lens. As the usual story goes, I also wanted something small and light where I could take with me instead of my D7000, so I purchased a Canon G1X as well - hoping that it would destroy my S95 in the IQ department. The G1X turned out to be a bad experience for me. First, it's not really pocketable - it's apparently smaller than the D7000, but you cannot carry it inside a belt bag. Second, it does not have the usual Canon colors - there is something wrong with the G1X colors, it's just not pleasant. Third, the camera is slow, I mean really slow as an 80-year old grandma. Fourth, forget about macro - it's just not a G1X thing. And fifth, it has a slow zoom; f/5.8 exactly on the tele end. The only thing G1X does really well is noise at high ISO - ISO 1600 pictures are virtually noise-free.

Comparing the XZ-2 to G1X, XZ-2 is considerably smaller (though it has great ergonomics). In fact, XZ-2 is even smaller (apparently, not thinner) than a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone (I posted a picture of them next to each other). With an after-market hand-strap, I can easily carry the XZ-2 in a belt bag. The camera is fast and responsive, unlike the G1X. It has a super fast f/1.8-2.5 lens so it rarely needs to go up to high ISO's. Note that G1X and XZ-2 have the exact same zoom range: 28-112 equivalent. But G1X is f/5.8 on the tele end whereas XZ-2 is f/2.5. This means that, on the tele end, in a situation where XZ-2 needs ISO 400, G1X would need ISO 2000. Thus, even though XZ-2's high ISO capabilities are not as good as G1X, it does not really need that kind of capability thanks to its fast lens. Regarding macro, XZ-2 can focus as close as 1cm, which is worlds better than the G1X.

Now, the most critical difference: XZ-2 colors and auto white balance just blow those of G1X out of the water - as simple as that. XZ-2 has the same imaging processor as in the crazy-popular Olympus OM-D, so now I understand. With both my Canons and Nikons, I have to use the standard picture style for people pictures and the vivid picture style for travel and scenery; both with some amber shift, to get the colors I like. In XZ-2, I almost always get beautiful, jaw-dropping, splendid, fantastic, great, awesome colors with just the neutral picture style with no tweaking what-so-ever.

Can XZ-2 beat Nikon D7000? Of course not. Even at ISO 100, D7000 pictures are sharper and cleaner with much better dynamic range than XZ-2. But that is not the point. You would take XZ-2 to places only where you can't bring along your DSLR gear. And as far as that purpose is concerned, XZ-2 gets the job done nicely.

Some other fun things I like about XZ-2: It has a dual-mode ring around the lens. Just grap it for a program shift - it's that easy. In addition, it's got a beautiful high-res tilting screen with excellent color tonality. And the best part is, it is touchscreen! Yes! That's what I'm talking about. I can scroll through images with the swipe of a finger, I can zoom in and out, and I can set the focus point by touching on the screen. If I want, I can set the camera to focus first and then immediately take the picture. Brilliant. Thank you Olympus. Once you start using a touchscreen camera, you will never want to go back (just imagine the last non-touchscreen mobile phone you had).

To wrap things up, Olympus XZ-2 is a great little fun camera that I can whole-heartedly recommend to fellow enthusiasts. It's not the cheapest point-and-shoot around, but I believe it is worth it. I suspect that XZ-2 will be a popular carry-everywhere camera once it is released in the U.S.
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81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great little camera - *nearly* a replacement for your ILC... but focus issues, February 16, 2013
By 
pablolie (bay area, california) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
Many years ago I owned an Olympus OM4. Then convenience won over. I got a Canon Prima 115 (which took awesome snapshots) and then the digital era dawned, and I had a number of compacts ans semi-compacts (Leica Digilux, Canon G and S series). One day, the Olympus E-PL1 came out, and I decided I wanted to explore more options. An E-P2 followed. Then the OMD EM5. And a stable of lenses. I am a huge fan of M43, which combines great tools for the job at hand (lens quality and decent sensor size) with convenient portability. But even the OMD EM5 sometimes is too cumbersome to carry around. Yet with phone cameras becoming decent snapshot tools, in my opinion you do need a very special compact camera to make it worth taking around. Something that offers you creative options in a compact format. Enter the Olympus XZ series.

For my compact needs, for several years, I had a camera that did the job awesomely, and probably still could: the Canon S90. And if I didn't own a number of Olympus M43 cameras, the Canon S series would be my go-to choice. I loved the S90. But I did get the XZ-1. I replaced the S90 with the XZ-1 because I simply grew into the Olympus on-camera and off-camera process. If I use it with my M43, why not use it in my compact? No the XZ-1 is not the most compact "compact", but it's still compact enough that I lost it while on a trip. I forgot it in a restaurant and naturally someone with a good eye for quality snatched it.

So I recently (and unwillingly) replaced the XZ-1 with the XZ-2. The same things I loved about the XZ-1 are things I love in the XZ-2, namely:

* Lens quality and IQ: enough has been written about this. No, it will not beat your $4K Nikon with a $1k lens in low light, but hey, I am not even sure why people waste so much time debating this stuff on the web. fact is, in many conditions a good compact like the Canon S series and the Olympus XZ series (and others) take pictures that are truly all the quality you need, come on. You can blow them up to the size of a billboard. Amazing how far camera tech has come.

* Between the very fast lens (pretty unique for it to stay fast throughout the range) and the creative tools and the post-processing on-camera tools you can do very, very cool stuff in a very streamlined process, provided you learn the features of the camera (mandatory with Olympus cameras in general, imho).

* While there is a lot of talk about the difference between the XZ-1 and the XZ-2 sensor, I honestly couldn't care less. I find the differences minute and find both cameras can take amazing pictures. And I do own the OMD EM5 and the Oly 75:1.8 and Panny 25:1.4 lenses, among others, so I am not comparing lightly.

* The *is* one big performance difference between the XZ-1 and XZ-2, and the XZ-1 actually wins it: the XZ-2 has very erratic focus behavior, especially at short range in the higher (>75mm) range. I attribute this to the fact that the XZ-1 had normal, macro and super-macro focus choices, whereas the XZ-2 did away with regular macro, trusting the cameras intelligence to establish what is required... and it fails often. Ugh. Hopefully this is something they fix in firmware asap. Update 3/25/13: it seems that either I have configured something or have somehow adapted to the XZ-2 ways, and now I rarely encounter the focus issue. So there seem to be ways around it.

* This is a very personal thing, but it makes the XZ choice easy for me: I truly like the Olympus post-processing tools. One tool I love (and which subjects I photograph also love) is the Olympus ePortrait tool. Think me crazy, but it is the main reason I picked XZ over anything else. It makes taking smooth, flattering portraits so easy. Your own mileage might vary there: I know you can do the same thing in Photoshop Elements (which I also own to do other stuff), but it takes *longer*. The Oly ePortrait is smart and under-marketed and perhaps under-used by owners.

* The noticeable difference between the XZ-1 and XZ-2 is video. The XZ-1 took HD video, but the limit was 7 minutes. With the XZ-2 you get nearly 30mins if your SD card size allows for it.

* The XZ-1 however beats the XZ-2 when it comes to feeling "compact". I know this is personal choice, but I have very little use for articulated screens, nor for the grip. I would have preferred the abilities of the XZ-2 to be packed in a body that feels even more compact than the XZ-1, not less.

* First thing I did was to remove the silly huge lugs Olympus mounted on this camera and which further pulverize the illusion of it being any more portable than the OMD: exactly the same lugs, and I did remove them from the OMD too. And only a cheap neck-strap, not a wrist-strap included? The XZ-1 only included a wrist-strap).

* As a scuba diver, the underwater cases for the XZs are great, and the very open lens all the way through the focal range is awesome (the Canon S also has a great and very compact case, but the lens gets really slow in the long range, and we are starved for light underwater)...

Yes, I do think Olympus for now has over-priced the XZ-2 in a very competitive market segment. Hence you can only read 5 reviews of it as I write this down. The price will come down inevitably.

But I think the Olympus has a great little lens, great IQ, fancy creative tools and that ePortrait thing going for it. There are other great cameras in this segment, but if -like me- you are invested into Olympus post-processing or you like the tools available (they are fun if you explore them), the XZ-2 has some key strengths. If you are a portrait shooter you should definitely check Olympus' ePortrait feature out - it's pretty awesome. I will refrain from making generic statements about "better than ..", because no big camera company has fools designing cameras and the available products in this market niche are all very capable. I am sure the Sony RX100 is mind-blowingly amazing for just $100 more, but because I am invested in Olympus processing I hope you understand where I come from saying that, to me, it was a semi-easy choice. I say semi-easy because you can still get the XZ-1, a great camera that does a lot of the same thing equally well, for $200 less. The XZ-1 is fantastic too. :)

In the end, I had to -at least for now- take a star away from the XZ-2 because of focus issues and because it feels less compact than the XZ-1. The XZ-1 still gets the full 5 stars for price-performance and would be my recommendation until Olympus fixes focus behavior on the XZ-2, which is problematic for my shooting style.

On the focus issue, here are some things I wrote elsewhere:

Here is my theory...

I recently replaced my lost (sigh..) XZ-1 with the XZ-2. At first I was totally taken back by the temperamental focus behavior, which the XZ-1did not display. Then I noticed 2 things:

1. The camera seems to hunt more in the >75mm range, which with a fast lens at shorter distances means a lot of the area around your subject is blurry.

2. Olympus has done away with the macro focus mode the XZ-1 had. The regular focus range covers macro to eternity, and the super macro is extreme stuff.

My pet theory is these 2 factors conspire to overtax the focus algorithm.

So I tried to make things easier for the focus algorithm: no more multizone crap, AF area is now center square only... As I mostly use center weighted exposure stuff too. Try it and se if it makes things easier. Things improved for my shooting style.

Focus also suffers from shake. If IS works, focus algorithms work harder. Go higher ISO, 1600 is finally usable in a compact.

So while things are better for me, I think Oly made a mistake doing away with macro mode. With this lens the focus algorithm just can't cope with all the variables.

I hope a forthcoming firmware update either fixes this or brings back regular macro mode.
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70 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great camera overall but a worthwhile upgrade from the XZ-1?, February 24, 2013
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
I think the Olympus XZ-2 is a great, if overpriced camera but there is one key aspect that upgraders from the XZ-1 might think about before going to this model.

The camera feels solid and well made and comfortable to shoot with. It's a little bigger with its predecessor so it's not as compact. But it's not as big as the Nikon P7700. The LCD is decent on back. The touch screen works very well for touch shutter/touch focus. However, one thing I've noticed that autofocus performance suffers a bit using the touchscreen vs. using the shutter button on top. It's not really bad but you do notice it. I suspect a firmware upgrade might fix that.

The dial up front is great. It feels much more solid than its predecessor and now, like on Canon's S-series, you can customize it to adjust whichever settings you want. I personally am not a manual focus person but if you are into manual focus, this is the best enthusiast compact you can buy. With a flip of that switch on the front of the camera, the lens ring can be used to manually focused and it works very well. Battery life could use some improvement, it seems like it drains very quickly when using the touch screen.

The camera has very good autofocus performance for the most part and in most shooting conditions. Shot to shot times are good. And I encountered no delays when shooting in RAW and writing to the card (but it is advisable to use a Class 10 SD to maximize performance). The lens is a little slow to zoom in and out, which other enthusiast compacts have that issue, but some don't (Canon G15).

The menu system could use some streamlining, to be honest. I really hate having to dig into the menu system to adjust things like exposure compensation when other cameras in this price range have it as a physical dial. It's highly recommended that you read the manual first to find out where everything is. It's also important to read the manual, so you can understand the depth of the features on this cameras. Olympus really went all out to put an enthusiast feature set on this camera.

As far as image quality is concerned....I would say the camera overall does have a noticeable improvement over its predecessor in a lot of areas. But one area which I think the XZ-1 still does better is color performance. Not that the XZ-2 is terrible in that regard, but the XZ-2's colors just lack the punch that the XZ-1 had and aren't as contrasty. You can of course adjust the parameters as you see fit but even so, I still think the XZ-1 has better colors in most instances. The XZ-2, however, has a little bit better detail capture and much improved ISO performance. Photos at ISO800 on the XZ-2 look much cleaner than from the XZ-1 and much more detail is retained. However, with such a fast lens, it's possible that you may rarely have to use ISO800 for shooting. The camera also has a tendency to overexpose, so it's important that you dial in some negative exposure compensation.

I think the XZ-2 is a solid camera and competitive in a number of areas. But if you are an existing XZ-1 user thinking about getting the XZ-2, there's a chance you still might like your daylight photos from the XZ-1 better due to the reasons mentioned above. You just have to decide whether the other aspects of the camera make it a worthwhile upgrade. If you're deciding between this and the Sony RX100...I think the Sony RX100 has better image quality but the XZ-2 provides a more enjoyable shooting experience overall (and still produces decent photos). You might find that XZ-2 offers a lot more features for the money and deem it worthwhile to sacrifice sensor size for a camera that packs a lot more into it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Image Quality and Full of Great Features, December 6, 2014
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
I won't compare this with a DSLR, but I will say this: I was very surprised by the image quality and really can't imagine why I would want more detail in the photos I've taken so far. That may sound odd, but the amount of detail and rich colors this camera turns out really surprised me. It has so much going for it and $300 is a great price (if it's higher now, I'd wait to buy until it drops again. Olympus seems to do that every couple of months. The week after I bought it the price went back up to $599 for a few days, then dropped down to $199. What a deal! But I like it so much that I have no regrets for buying it at the $300 price and still think that was a deal, too!))

The only caution I would give to someone considering this camera is to be sure the zoom will be enough for you. The zoom on the XZ-2 goes from 28-112mm (equiv) and the lens (f1.8 maximum aperture) is bright, sharp and accurate--also helps in low light. [That zoom doubles with the "2xs digital teleconverter" that you can enable through the button menu, so basically 28-224mm that way. See below*). For some people, that 28mm at the wide end will not be quite wide enough and others may want more telephoto than 112mm. However, the range is as good as or better than others in its class, and the aperture (f1.8 also makes it a better combination in terms of overall range and image quality in a relatively small package). In my opinion, at under $300, the Olympus XZ-2 compares favorably with the Panasonic and Sony cameras that are several hundred dollars more.

I like the colors, particularly on the "vivid" setting, and, although I generally always like to tweak settings (prefer multi-metering and spot metering to center, for example), I've been surprised how well iAUTO does. It's really great to throw it into iAUTO confident that I won't miss the shot. "P" is also good, even if you don't have time to change any setting.

*Digital Teleconverter. If you look in the Menu to change the Buttons (FN1 /FN2)you can select the Digital Teleconverter (x2). It doubles whatever focal length you've chosen--so you effectively get 224mm at the long end (it's digital, but not bad--and really good in a pinch, when you can't quite get close enough). I set it as one FN setting and save it in Custom 1. For normal use, I have FN1 set to "AEL (Auto Exposure Lock)" and use it with Spot Metering (for those interested. The regular Spot metering is fine but lately I've been using the shadow one to get a bit darker areas, still with some detail. Plus it's right next to "Multi" so it's easy to switch. There's also a "Spot Metering-Highlight" option for when you're at the snow or beach and need details in very bright surfaces.)

The rings that surround the lens are also an unusual and versatile feature. If you flip the switch at the bottom right of the lens, you can turn the ring for manual focus. If you flip the switch the other way, you can use the ring to select the aperture. In the Menu, you can also customize a button that sits in the middle of that switch. I have mine set to Picture Mode for general uses and Scene Mode for my Custom 1 settings (the custom seting with the digital teleconverter selected).

Tip: You can set the image quality to "Superfine", but it's not easy to find. First push the MENU button. Then scroll down to the Custom Menu (the little gear icon fourth icon down on the left side of the LCD). Use the right side of the Control Dial to enter that menu. Then scroll all the way to the bottom, to "Color/WB" and push "OK" (center button of the Control Dial).

This takes you to the Color/WB menu. Scroll down to the icon below "Color Space". It's a picture with the word "Set". Push the right side of the Control Dial again to enter that menu, then scroll through the settings, using M or L and SF.

Now, to record whatever image quality setting you want, return to the LCD, push the "OK" button on the Control Dial to see the regular menu (right side of LCD)... Scroll down, go past the aspect ratio choice (I set mine to 4:3), then push "OK" to enter the menu and select the one you want. Half-pressing the shutter will take you back to the LCD and you'll see the change already there. The XZ-2 also shoots in RAW, either alone or in combination with others. (I started with "M:SF" but now use "L:SF" or "L:SF + RAW").

This is a great little camera, with two custom modes if you find a combination of settings you want to save, and fun features in the ART and SCN Modes (including HDR when there's backlighting and a Double Exposure feature. The Panorama was a little disappointing, using the old "stitch" method where you have to line up the shots yourself. But it comes out okay.)

Flash. There's a pop-up flash that stays nicely out of the way, only turning on if you press the button to raise it. You can also use a hot shoe, or buy an EVF or a Clearviewer (about half that price). But the tilt screen (both up and down) is really good--nice and clear--and helps with many kinds of shots including in direct sun.

As mentioned above, I also was surprised by the sophistication and versatility of the design--like the dials around the lens that can be turned to select the aperture or--with a flip of a switch under them--to use for manual focus. Another surprise, since I use spot metering so often, was that Olympus included three kinds of spot metering--never seen that before in a P&S. There's regular and then if you're in a situation like snow or sand, one where you can meter off a highlight and preserve more detail/better balance. There's also a third one for metering off shadows. Very nice!

The only disadvantages are that it doesn't zoom very far and, while it fits easily in a big coat pocket or a purse, and isn't really "pocketable" otherwise. But it's a great little camera--I love the nice mostly metal build, the well thought out design and, best of all, the image quality. (Good auto-focus and low light performance as well. Action shots aren't its specialty, but there's a burst mode and a fast lens, so for me, that's good enough.)

ETA: I didn't mind the "lens cap on a string" or that it pops off whenever you turn on the camera. But when I saw this alternative capGeneric Lens cap for Olympus XZ-1 XZ-2 for $6 I thought I'd try it. It's a funny concept--basically the "leaves" are just very lightweight so the lens gently pushes them out of the way as it extends, no electronics involved. Olympus has their own version that is $20--it doesn't stick out as far (this adds about 1/2") and has 4 leaves instead of 3, but seems to have more gaps between them than this cheaper one does. I think this cap looks much better--more professional to not have the cap popping and hanging there--and you don't have to remember to take it off before taking a picture. It just screws in, fits well, no disadvantage that I can see (other than adding about 1/2" to the lens--but it's not really "pocketable" anyway). I'm keeping the regular one with me, too, in case of a very dusty or sandy place because the leaves--even Olympus' own design--don't protect quite as well as a solid cap. But, for me, this generic, inexpensive cover made a nice, improvement over the one it came with.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly well designed and built advanced P&S camera, August 31, 2014
By 
T. L. Throop (Stevensville, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
This camera was purchased about 14 months ago, soon after it was introduced, It's intended use was for an upcoming trip to Iceland and Norway. I know, I know, Rule number one is to never take brand new camera equipment to important photo events. But I didn't want to lug my full size rig (well, full size as in micro 4/3 ILC---they still weigh more and require at least 2 or 3 lenses and that adds significant weight and space to an already crammed suitcase or carry on). So I bought the Olympus XZ2 and shot most of my images with the control knob set on automatic, or at least P. The landscape shots in Iceland turned out reasonably well, and nearly every one who viewed them were impressed with the quality. But the real surprise came at a week-long International Jazz Festival we attended in Molde, Norway. We were sternly warned before each performance that we were not to use flash under any circumstance or else we would escorted out, and we were usually limited as to what time frame we could shoot (generally only the first two songs, sometimes three). With it's highly sensitive f/1.8-2.5 lens the XZ2 took amazing images of jazz artists performing in dark venues with minimal lighting. On average, I'd say, for every 5 photos I took, at least 3 would be nearly tack-sharp and blur free. In the months since, this has been a very handy little camera to have around when you don't have a DSLR or ILC close by. And even though I have upgraded my micro 4/3 ILC to the new Olympus OM-D-E-M10, when plans call to travel by air with the subsequent weight and space restrictions, it's the XZ-2 that makes the trip. After 14 months I now feel comfortable enough to use the camera's more advanced features, controls, and settings to get truly great results. Highly recommended. But do plan on devoting considerable time with the owner's manual to familiarize yourself with all the possibilities this little jewel has packed into such a small body.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Firmware version 1.3 turns this into a pocket monster., July 14, 2014
This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
I was initially disappointed with this camera when I first got it. The focus issues other reviews have mentioned in low or even medium light were just frustrating to deal with.

After the 1.3 version update (released earlier this year) - its fantastic. You can take not only usable, but fantastic photos in incredibly low light - even for an SLR. ISO 800 @ f1.8 is around1/50th of a second in a very, very dark bar, concert or room. I'll post some photos up as an example but wanted to at least get the verbiage out. Colors in low light are very, very good. Camera was always easy to use and completely customizable for your preferences (to much to really even say - you could spend 30 minutes at a camera store before you figured out what you liked; most of the physical controls, and entirely the touch screen you can set it however you like - one of the reasons I purchased the camera).

So initial cons were: really poor auto focus. I know it has been said "in low light and only with spot focus" but I experienced them all the time - I skipped firmware version 1.2 as I had stopped using it. I read about the 1.3 release a few months after it was released, and was actually looking at purchasing the new Sony RX100 v3 - updated to v1.3 and this turned instantly into the camera I wanted. Included software is pretty junky - there may be an update for that as well - also OSX software options don't exist from Olympus. Thankfully, there are far, far better (although, not free) alternatives.

Pros - Smallish (not small - it will not fit in your jean pocket), I throw it in a laptop bag and don't have to worry about lenses, or walking around with an SLR - these days though, when you bring a camera with you - it better be a whole lot better than your phone. This is. It now excels in low light. The lens is very, very bright, colors are rendered very accurately, the image stabilization allows for very sharp photos easily @ 1/30 - if you have a steady hand, I've taken keepers as low as 1/10, handheld.

The display is great; very high rez - if you need/want to manually focus, it will auto zoom the display to help you get it spot on. Thankfully, you probably won't need to except in certain cases (very low light, spot/highlight I have had issues with - I am assuming because of the light levels, there isn't enough highlight data to be accurate - the normal spot focus though now works perfectly).

The best feature of this camera are the features. f1/8 lens wide open, pretty good focal range (really good for a camera this small), control options - control options - control options - almost everything user interface wise can be set to as you want, and the rear display is super, super usable, and you can add/remove options as you want. Works for a beginner, to advanced (whatever that means - I don't find photography concepts to be particularly difficult, but have many friends who do). A key feature for any camera is its ability to make you WANT to use it, and make it work with you. This does that, and that is rare in a compact camera. It might have the best user interface of any compact camera that has ever been created - bold statement, and I'm not including any of the micro interchangeable lens cameras (the NEX-7 I'd put as champ of that atm) - it makes it easy for you to take the picture you wanted, rather than the camera wanted. I think this will end up being an overlooked classic in years to come.

It's a bargain now. I paid full price for it and kicked myself for it - I am not sure why all the discrepancies on the reviews and what the difference is between the camera versions, but I was certainly one of the ones who had massive focus issues - now I have no issues with paying the full amount (well, maybe 300 of them, but its just money). I would not have recommended this a year ago, regardless of the price point - I do now, 100%.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take a look at the Olympus Stylus XZ-2. I dare you..., December 9, 2013
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
About me. I'm not photo a equipment expert nor a professional photographer. I am a photo equipment enthusiast and love taking pictures. I have good eyes, good senses, and steady hands and I know quality when I see it. I look at 100% Crops, but I'm not a pixel peeper by any stretch. Here's some of the good stuff I've owned and used: Canon 60D; Canon Pro 1; Canon T4i; Pentax K-5; Pentax K-20; Canon G1X; Canon s95 and s100; Canon SX-40; Sony Apha Nex-6; Sony RX100; Olympus epm2; a couple of point and shoot Nikons that I don't even remember the model numbers; and a ton of glass to support the interchangeables above. Does that make me an expert - not by a long shot. I does makes me moderately informed.

So why the Olympus XZ-2? Like a lot of people I've been on an extended search for a GOOD bridge camera that's high on quality, not too big, not too small, loaded with features, an just simply takes beautiful photos. Because of its lack publicity and unimposing presence in the "favorites" market (have you looked at Snapsort lately - anything Canon or Sony is just about always going to come out on top when compared to anything Canon or Sony), Olympus had never been on my list of favorites either. But like a lot enthusiasts who eventually tire of lugging around the Canon OR Pentax OR Nikon behemoths (all the way down to the G1X) I was still reluctant to trade bulk and weight by sacrificing top of the line features and QUALITY. That's when I started looking at Olympus' line of Pen cameras and their point and shoot line of fix lens counterparts. The search led me first to the Pen epm2. WOW. This lttle gem with all of its available lens and accessories blew me away in both the quality and feature set categories. The epm2 then led me to start looking for an Olympus fixed lens alternative, and that's when I found he Stylus XZ-2. A day after I got it, I am convinced - I guess you could say, I'm a believer. This is one of the coolest "bridge" style camera's I've ever used and I've used some of the best including the Canon G-12 and the G1X as well as the old Pro-1. With its wide 1.8 telephoto lens it's fast, it's accurate, has an articulating screen, it can be fitted with some of the neatest accessories including electronic viewfinders, hot shoe flashes, audio microphone to mention a few. And the botton line - IT TAKES FABULOUS PHOTOS throughout its range of settings. So, Canon/Nikon/Pentax afficianados, want to treat yourself to something really different and really fun and inspiring? Take a look at the Olympus Stylus XZ-2. I dare you.....(heh, heh)
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent point and shoot, August 20, 2013
By 
chris d williams (beaverton, or. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
I'm not sure why I read about these negative reviews other than to think they are industry hatched. This camera has been splendid to use. The touchscreen has been cool. The camera reaction fast. I love the fast lens on this thing. My god, evening, morning, night, a great bright lens. Concluding, this is the best camera in the category as far as I can tell. Love it! and for so many more reasons.. CDW
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A camera to smile about, November 26, 2013
By 
Roald Olos (San Diego, California) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
Truly gives wonderful, lifelike color and detail in images - that is the stellar thing and particularly compared to other cameras in the range. It also is comprehensive in degrees of automatic and manual features. The flip-up/down viewfinder will surprise in its usefulness. Summary: I bought it for a professional use, very carefully researched, and found it gave a big smile.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So great I bought it twice :-/, July 28, 2014
By 
NYCGarden (Brooklyn, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black) (Electronics)
I waited and waited, then it was $299. Cheaper than my canon A series from 2003 (similar sensor size) and so much more to offer. This is a great point and shoot. It is completely customizable. Image quality is excellent below 400 for nearly any use (I print 13x19 inches and put 640x480 images on the web). One button ND filter for all those bright days shooting macro of plants and bugs. Macro is great. Touch screen focus points! F2.8 gives nice bokeh, especially when zoomed, for a little sensor. Almost every command is somewhat customizable. Love customizing the buttons, directions of dials, so many ways to view functions, etc. and saving to a C1 or C2 on the PASM dial. Flip screen would be better if it was vari, not up and down only, lens could have greater reach both wider and longer, but in this type of compact point and shoot model, they all have to make compromises on the lens length. The lens is great, pretty sharp, falls off a little at the corners, bright across the zoom as 1.8-2.5 can't be beat (although olympus will probably beat it on the replacement model). I love, LOVE, the lens dial for manual focusing and clicking F stops! This is one great point and shoot with full manual capability which I use almost 100% of the time in addition to my C1 (landscape) and C2 (macro). The menus are hard to get used to if you are used to Canon, but guess what -you can use the Live Control which is just like Canons "L" shaped menus. Once you set the features as you like you will not dig into the menus too much at all -it's all set and all you need is the one screen Super Control Menu or "L" shaped Live Control. It's all right there. In fact, there's three ways I can access my controls during shooting -its almost too much! An incredible price for a large-sensored (1/1.7) point and shoot (compare G series, or P7800) with bright lens. Only competition is Canon S series because it is pocketable, but offers less in other ways. Great camera -so good I had to buy it twice thanks to a swift handed criminal walking by where I had set the camera down for a minute.

I use the "natural" setting for colors. I'm glad that I have the opportunity to change saturation in camera. The screen is fairly accurate in color reproduction, or should I say I am not terribly surprised when I get my images on to the mac. Sure, on a bright sunny day, its harder to see the screen as it is with any camera in this situation. I touch screen my focus point and trust that my settings are correct and I'm hardly every disappointed.

Get an additional OLYMPUS battery (LI-90B) and charger (sadly mine was stolen, along with the case), you'll need it. The battery is small and on heavy use is not good for more than 4 hours or so.
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Olympus XZ-2 Digital Camera (Black)
$599.00 $469.00
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