Customer Review

127 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Olympus XZ-2 vs. Nikon D7000 and Canon G1X, November 16, 2012
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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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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 18, 2012 10:30:43 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 23, 2012 6:04:11 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 8:42:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2012 8:15:07 AM PST
S. Vogt says:
I thought this camera was supposed to be out at the end of October in the US...wonder why it has been delayed. **Update: B&H shows this camera starting to ship on Tuesday 12/5**

Posted on Nov 21, 2012 5:56:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 21, 2012 12:54:02 PM PST
F. Meszaros says:
Thank you for your review.
I just got an XZ-2 off of eBay couple days ago.
And I can say it outperforms the XZ-1 in everyday.
I was thinking to buy an evf for it but I am very happy I don't need to because the articulate display works great in sunlight (you can move it) and has a much better resolution than the XZ-1 and it is touch sensitive. Focusing is just so so fast. The built quality is first class it is almost like not a point and shoot category more like a Pen camera. The front ring is super useful and works wonders. The photo quality is outstanding in jpeg and have not seen the raw yet. Yes the price is a bit more than a G15 or a P7700 but less than a RX100 but in my experience the XZ-2 is a better camera than all the above.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 3:00:18 PM PST
LG says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 3:45:15 PM PST
W. Andres says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 3:18:37 AM PST
ronnbot says:
@LG: It's totally relevant. Knowing what other cameras the reviewer owned/used gives me some context. In particular, the G1X is a competitor in this high end P&S segmet so the direct comparison was useful, and if you actually bothered reading the entire review before leaving a comment, you would agree.

Posted on Dec 13, 2012 5:37:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 13, 2012 5:37:56 PM PST
Tennyson Lee says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 9, 2013 5:01:00 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 9, 2013 5:02:51 PM PST
LarryMcJ says:
The only area I think the G15 outperforms the XZ-2 is in noise reduction...just as it beat it predecessor, the XZ-1. Not saying it has bad noise reduction...it's way better than many cameras in its class, but it's just not as good as the G15. So if you do a lot of shooting in low light without flash, it might not be the very best camera. Or, if you must have a rangefinder, albeit the bottom of the rangefinder barrel, at least the G15 has one. Other than these two things...the XZ-2 is a wonderful camera

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 11, 2013 12:28:52 PM PST
You are speaking for yourself, which is even a worse mistake. Past experience of performance and feel is invaluable, and I woulkd like to know when it's there,

If you never drove anything but a wagon, you might think a Ford Fiesta was a Corvette, right ??

Posted on May 21, 2013 4:05:43 PM PDT
Interesting, useful review, particularly your comments regarding the relationship between aperture and ISO (and so noise), factors that can often get overlooked when pixel-peeping on dpreview.
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