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Customer Review

42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my "perfect" camera, February 22, 2011
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i have always been a fan of Canon and have had these models over the past 8 years: Canon G1, G2, G6, Canon S2 IS, Canon EOS 350D, Canon S90... my favorite had been the G6 for the longest time with its F2.0-3.0 lens, but as times goes by, it started to wear out with a slight problem with the zooming control. it is a shame how newer models of the Canon G line do not have the fast lens anymore. less then a year ago, i got the canon S90. it is really compact, but the lens is not as fast. moreover, when i did a side by side comparion between a picture taken by my G6 versus S90, the G6 actually still takes better pictures. my Canon EOS 350D takes good portrait, though i find it hard to focus correctly for closeup with the tiny red dot, and it is hard to tell the mis-focus problem while taking the pictures via the optical viewfinder. as a result, half the pictures turn out good, half is out of focus. it is also too bulky to carry and take it in and out from the camera bag. therefore, my quest for a compact DSLR camera begin...

several months ago, i decided to purchase something other than a Canon and got a Panasonic Lumix GF1 with the pancake lens and a zoom lens. the camera is much smaller and the pancake lens is very fast, which is great. however, my initial fear of perspective distortion for portrait shots turns out to be true. even though 40mm should be a "perfect normal" lens, it is not. portrait shots taken from head to above waistline suffers perspective distortion. of course, i can change to the 45-200mm zoom lens for portrait, but first of all, it is not convenient, second of all, i lose the fast F1.7 lens and falls back to F/4.0-5.6, and lastly, it becomes bulky again.

well, my quest continues for a "perfect" camera with these simple basic key features:
1. fast lens
2. at least 4X built-in zoom
3. zoom-able video mode
4. pocket sized

with a fast lens, i can take natural low-light pictures without having to use a flash. i truly dislike using flash and avoid it whenever possible. in addition, i need a camera with a decent built in zoom for portrait shots, at least 4X. usually zooming suffers a smaller aperture resulting in slower speed. even with my very steady hand, i find very often that my objectives, usually children, cannot stay truly still. thirdly, being able to take zoom-able HD video. i find it hard to believe even Canon G12 is not zoom-able in video mode. with zoom-able HD video, i will not need to carry a camcorder anymore. given i am much more demanding in the quality of pictures and much less demanding in the quality of video, i still do need zooming when taking video. simply put, i just want a compact, pocket-able camera that does it all.

i was quite excited to read about this Olympus XZ-1 last month which answers to all my demands for a compact size camera. i used to own an Olympus when i was a teenager, back in the film days of course, and i had always been very happy with it. so i am very glad to be back using an Olympus again. 3 days ago, to my surprise, i received my XZ-1. it is everything it claims to be and fulfills my quest for the "perfect" camera. it is compact, light, with a super fast lens even at 4X zoom. with such a fast lens, i am foreseeing the ability to taking beautiful pictures. though these are some of the minor drawbacks i noticed for now:

1. it does not come with a charger. it only comes with a USB charger which means i cannot use the camera while i am charging. i have to purchase a charger separately. it is not a big deal, of course, but simply caught by surprise that such a "perfect" camera does not come with something so basic. the battery is very small, i will buy two more as backup.

2. some of the control settings, i.e. focus frame setting & spot metering are not intuitively layout that i have to review the user manual for instruction, which is only available from a CD, not an actual tangible book.

3. with AUTO ISO setting, it doesn't display the actual ISO setting when taking the picture :(

other than that, i am overall very pleased with the XZ-1. i was going to give it a 4 star for not having a battery charger, but to be fair, it really doesn't have anything to do with the camera itself other than a packaging issue, so i give it a 5 star for the genius who discovered the beauty of building a truly fast lens into a compact size camera.

i can now put all my other cameras aside :)

3.3.2011 update:

having played around with the camera a bit more, i noticed that the flash does not come on automatically even in iAuto mode. you need to "turn-on" the flash before that flash can do its thing. it is not a big deal, but just unexpected. anyone out there experience this? or i may have defective flash?

as far as picture quality goes, i compared a picture i took with this vs. my good old canon G6, all with default settings and A mode. it was a shot of my son in the dining room during the day. the picture from my G6 is slightly more "blue-ish" as supposed to the XZ-1's being slightly more "red-ish". individually, they looked perfectly okay, though in contrast, the difference is apparent. i would say the true color falls somewhere in between the two. more comparisons are to be done...
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 22, 2011 5:44:23 PM PST
DryHeat says:
Good review, exactly why I'm getting this P&S cam. Too bad I'm still waiting on mine. Amazon needs to get this in stock asap :).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2011 8:30:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 24, 2011 8:31:31 PM PST
Ragan says:
See B&H photo store for a charger that will fit your needs and it's only $16.50. How do I know this? Because this camera uses the exact same battery that another of the Olympus point & shoot camera uses, and my local photo shop person told me about it. :-) I'm waiting for my local camera store to get mine in stock.
Pearstone NM-4H26 Four AA NiMH Batteries with 4 Hour Charger (2600ma)

Posted on Feb 28, 2011 8:38:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 28, 2011 8:39:25 PM PST
Snowland says:
Charger with 2 batteries, looks to be matching OEM Olympus.

Search on eBay for: "B173s 2 Battery+Charger For Olympus XZ-1 TG-610 SP-800"
Seller: mzmshop

Posted on Mar 4, 2011 4:16:33 AM PST
Steven Brys says:
Thanks for the great review. You said you took a shot side by side with the G6 to compare image quality. I am curious to hear your thoughts on which camera gave the better IQ. I know that there are people who feel that the G6 is still one of the finest point and shoot camera you can get. I have a G6 and thought about upgrading to this camera. Your response would help me to decide whether to get an XZ-1 or not. Thanks very much.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2011 2:09:21 PM PST
doraemon says:
let's put it this way, i don't believe the IQ of xz-1 can beat G6, if anything, they are comparable. i hate to say this, but i still feel overall the G6 gives better image overall with the consideration of color tone. so sad canon drop the fast lens with the G line afterwards...though XZ-1 comes very close with the advantage of smaller size.

Posted on May 3, 2011 7:39:24 PM PDT
C. Adams says:
Hi, can I ask about the camera's packaging? I just got mine and it looks a bit dusty. Also, the date and time were already set. I suspect it was used and returned, but not sure. Did your camera come with the date and time already set? Thanks..

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2011 7:41:38 PM PDT
Snowland says:
@ C. Adams: mine came brand new as it should be. I would def complain & get a RMA # & return it ASAP !

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2011 5:11:30 AM PDT
C. Adams says:
Thanks for the quick response. I just set up a return. Your date and time were not set when you took the camera out, right?

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2011 7:53:39 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2011 7:53:54 AM PDT
Snowland says:
@ C. Adams: No, the dates/time was not set in the Camera settings. When i turned it on, i had to setup everything from beginning like it should from language

Def. return it who knows what the previous owner did to it or why he/she returned it.
You don't' want to take chance, especially when you paid $500 for this.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2011 7:57:58 AM PDT
C. Adams says:
Thank you so much, again, for your comments. Peace of mind is very important when spending $500!
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Location: east hanover, nj

Top Reviewer Ranking: 676,765