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Showing 1-10 of 134 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 152 reviews
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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on August 25, 2014
I have had a very long series of pocket cameras, from Panasonic LX-3, LX-5, LX-7, to Olympus XZ-1, and now XZ-2. This is the best of them all.
The controls are excellent, and the ring around the lens makes it a pleasure to change the settings. This is also the first pocket camera on which manual focus is usable, thanks to the smooth focusing possible with the lens ring.
The image quality is excellent: in the open, during the day, there is not much difference between the quality I get from this camera and the quality I get from a DSLR. The RAW files are also very good, and allow a good degree of manipulation with photo editing programs (Capture One is my favorite).
The only less than shining spot is the video quality: the camera focus hunts more than due when filming, and what's more, the click clicks of the focusing are clearly audible in the video. The only solution I have found is to switch to manual focus when filming.
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on July 28, 2014
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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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2016
This is a nice small camera with lots of functions for its size. I prefer the flip up lcd for shooting waist-level street photography or all around street use. Controls are fairly well laid out, but we are missing a dedicated EV compensation dial which is becoming standard on all enthusiast cameras regardless of size. The lens ring control used to change either Program shutter/fstop combinations OR aperture when in S mode, or speed when in A mode, is a little scratchy in general (hard to move, seems to grind unnecessarily). For street photography you can hold this with one hand comfortably.

Given the small sensor size (1/1.7") the camera does really well. But as is common with smaller cameras, the lens is a bit of a let down when shooting wide angle and any aperture wider than f4. The images are soft. Stopping down to f5 and details sharpen us nicely. It seems the further you down through f8 it just gets better and better.

If you can get a used one, even here on Amazon Warehouse for like $200, and you want a small shooter, it's a good deal. Sadly, there is no EVF. The downloadable PDF manual is good but not in enough detail for answer all questions clearly. Although I shot 400+ images and only used about 30% battery, you may want to pickup a second battery and an external charger. In camera charging may be a trend but it's not nice or practical.

Use these custom settings I found on the Internet and have verified: for Monochrome : Picture Mode -> Monotone -> Contrast +2, Sharpness +1, for Color: Picture Mode -> Vivid -> Contrast +1, Saturation +1, Gradation Normal

Some of the settings I have seen suggest to reduce noise filter that is applied. I tried those and generally do NOT agree with that. IQ suffers. There may be cases, say for Bulb or long night time exposures where you want to try reducing noise reduction or noise filter. But I would not reduce noise filter for normal daytime shooting.

ONE thing to note, when comparing my digital Nikon (6mpx APS-C) images from 2006, this camera with it's 1/1.7" sensor clearly and soundly produces better images than good cameras from ten years ago. For this reason, and given the solid performance of cameras like this, and the Sony RX line, I feel that the 1" sensor will be THE primary enthusiast format in the next 5 years. This is really going to put the squeeze on M 4/3. IQ of a 1" RX sensor of 2015 is roughly on parity (or better by 14 points at dxomark) than M 4/3 sensors from 2009. I agree that M 4/3 will trying to keep increasing quality but they only recently are seen to break out of the 16mpx ceiling. Given the IQ coming out of 1" sensors with fixed lenses, it remains to be seen whether there is any compelling argument for an ILC at the 1" size. Nikon may have sensed the potential in going to CX in the J1 and skipping M 4/3 all together. But there is a danger in being too far ahead of market as we have seen. The recent announcement of the Nikon DL bodies with 1" sensor seems to be where Nikon is readjusting course.

*****

Here is another set for color from Olympus XZ-1 tips from Jonathon Donahue.

Start with Program mode instead of I- Auto, Aperture, Shutter, or Manual.

On the screen menu that you see after pressing the back OK button --
1. Select Auto-ISO. The XZ-1 will try really, really hard not to go over ISO 200 -- and that extra stop, from, say ISO 100 to 200, will give you super low-light pictures, with a camera-set shutter speed fast enough to handhold.
2. Next, going down the menu, select 1 Vivid. Then press the little Menu button on the back. Go to Picture Mode, select Vivid. Press the right arrow key, and set Contrast to +1, Sharpness 0, Saturation +1, Gradation - Normal. Important: do NOT set Gradation to
Auto, or some other stuff will stop working.
3. Next, select white balance - Underwater (the fish icon). On the back-button Menu, go to WB, press the OK button to select the fish icon, then press the right-arrow. Leave A (amber) at 0, in the middle... but set G (green) to -1.

Between this and the Vivid setting above, you'll get beautiful pictures, indoor and out, daytime, twilight, and in the dark.
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on June 7, 2016
Great little camera, almost a DSLR (not quite), and easier to take along, much better user interface than all other DSLRs I've used (I used Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic GH3), it's now my hiking and general travel camera. The DSLRs definitely take crisper higher resolution photos and have larger sensors.

This one can be completely silent and unobtrusive (non mechanical shutter, so not sound, and the view screen tilts so I can pretend I'm just adjusting the camera while taking candid photos), is very responsive and fast, focuses quickly, and does well in low light. I've used it to "document" many places I've visited without anyone getting that "nervous/camera shock" look. The F1.8 lens lets plenty of light in, and is 4x zoom, a DSLR lens like this would cost about what I paid for this camera (I bought it used "almost new")
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on December 26, 2014
I have only had this camera for a couple of days and I'm very impressed with it. So far it has performed as expected and is exactly what I was looking for; superior to my Samsung Galaxy S5's camera, smaller and lighter than my Olympus E system, but doing just about everything my E's do. It accepts my existing Olympus flashes and remotes and it does raw! Its the missing link I was hoping it would be. Yes, there are newer, lighter and smaller advanced compacts available and the Olympus menus take some time to get used to, but it puts so much into its small form with its lens, sensor, IS, touch screen, tilt screen, etc. I absolutely love the control ring around the lens. When I use it, it feels solid and robust and at a Deal of the Day price of $179 I immediately jumped on it. Even at a $300 price it would still be a deal. I've owned different manufacturer's cameras and have been shooting SLR's since 1972. I've always loved Olympus' glass, their small cameras, and their innovative approach to photography equipment. One hint, get the LC-63A lens cap. It finishes off the camera. I hope this helps.
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on April 5, 2015
Sure you can buy much better cameras out there. For much more $$$$. For $200 this camera is absolutely a STEAL. I took it on a trip to South America as my ONLY camera and could not have been happier with the results. Image quality comes very close to a lot of DSLRs out there, and in a lot of settings this compact shooter managed to outdo my sister's DSLR. Complaints: charging is done via a proprietary cable directly plugged into the camera (if you lose it, that spells TROUBLE), and AUTO mode really did not behave well for me with some shots requiring a bit of finagling with M or A mode. If you're an enthusiast photographer who is learning, this is the PERFECT tool. If you're experienced but is tired of carrying the DSLR, this is the PERFECT tool. But if you're not a photographer, or an enthusiast, or you are just a tired photographer who just wants to point and shoot in Auto THIS ISN'T IT. Go with a Canon. Also the zoom along with resolution are just decent. Nothing to brag about. If you need some marvelously zoomed in shots, this will also be a disappointment.
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on December 25, 2014
I wasn't looking for a digital camera, but I saw it on Gold box special for $178 and it was an impulsive buy for me.
What can I say, I love this little camera! It has everything an amateur photographer needs plus much more.

If you just a beginner, then putting camera into "POINT-AND-SHOOT" mode will allow you to take fantastic pictures (and movies) without knowing anything about photography. If you are more advanced user you'll appreciate many options (controls) which most high end cameras have. Such as adjusting aperture control (to decrease or increase depth of field), Shutter speed control (for night photography or capturing sport events), and number of other very useful features.

Now about the price of this item. I was lucky to catch it on special deal, but even at $300 it would have been a fantastic deal. Currently the camera is sold at around $500 and that might be too high (and my ratings would have been more critical in that price range, but for $300 or less it is jus a perfect camera).
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on November 26, 2013
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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on December 23, 2014
I bought a xz-1 before after long wait and that was taken by my brother. I did not replace it with another xz-1 as our existing cameras were sufficient. Then amazon put this newer model on discount for less than $200. XZ-2 is a significant improvement over xz-1. touch screen is great. the overall build quality is much better and my initial impression is that its overall image quality is better.
This camera has a fast f1.8 lens which allows you to take pictures in low light conditions without flash. However, f1.8 in a smaller sensor such as this one does not yield the same depth of field effects as it is in APS dslr. I would definitely recommend a dslr over this one for image quality and quick focusing. but, you can pocket this small camera or put it in your purse and carry it everywhere. yes, it will definitely take better pictures than your iphone. I have a Nokia 1020 which is arguably the best camera phone and this one takes much better pictures with much better bokeh effects. one problem with this camera is its lens cap. the lens will push the cap when it is opened while the cap is on. if you get an automatic opening lens cap you can solve this problem. I think this automatic lens cap should come standard.
The camera has a nice manual focus ring which is very helpful. This ring can also set aperture value, shutter speed, etc but I prefer if each function had its own designated ring or knob.
The camera produces well-balanced jpeg's but I prefer taking raw and do post-processing.
At this price I can't complain too much about this camera but even at its full price this is a great unit.
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