Olympus XZ-1 Review . Part 1

XZ-1. (Shot with E-PL2, SOOC)

XZ-1. (Shot with E-PL2, SOOC)

XZ-1. (Shot with E-PL2, SOOC)


I am reviewing the XZ-1 compact point and shoot digital camera from a professional photographer point of view. All my opinions are entirely personal. I always do my best to be fair, to point out the weaknesses I find. I may not be the fussiest person on earth to nick pick on each camera’s weaknesses cause I am a strong believer in “Overcoming the Limitations of your Camera”. I am NOT writing this review in the most technical engineering way like dpreview.com

I’m writing this as a user, with a background of using various formats film cameras, various brands of DSLRs, mirrorless digital cameras and digital compacts. My first DSLR was the 6MP Canon D60. (NOT the current 60D in case you got it mixed up). My first camera was the Canon A-1.

I believe Images SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) is the BEST way to show.

Even before going into details… I CAN’T WAIT to TELL YOU that: “Finally I have found a compact digital which can give me ABSOLUTELY CLEAN ISO1600 file, and at F1.8, focusing at night IS FASTER than the Olympus PEN E-PL2 with it’s NEW 14-42mm mk2 lens! In fact, there were situations when the PEN could not achieve focus and the XZ-1 DID at the snap of fingers!!!”

shot in lowlight mode, ISO320, F1.8, 1/30sec

Aperture Priority, ISO1600, F1.8, 1/30sec.

Aperture Priority, ISO1600, F2.5 at 112mm, 1/1600sec.

100% Crop from the above image, I can't find any noise!

Amazing Image Stabilization!!! Shot is Shutter Priority Mode, 1/2sec, ISO100, F4.5.

Pinhole Art Filter

Genting Highlands, iAuto Mode, ISO100, F2.5, 1/200sec.

I assure you, ALL images are SOOC. The only thing I did was adding watermark. I have selected a few images to put here. There are MORE in my flickr site in High Resolution for pixel-peepers! However, due to restrictions from Olympus to post original resolution pre-production images online, you will need to have a Flickr Account, ADD me, SEND me a message, and I’ll make sure you can see them.


96 thoughts

  1. Hello David, I just found your website and I am very interested in this amazing-sounding XZ-1. I just added you on Flickr and was wondering if you can give me access for more sample photos. Thank you! And I look forward to Part 2.

  2. PSYL, check ur flickr! Thank you!

  3. Hi David
    I think I found you on flickr, but I cant see any of your pictures.
    My name on flickr is Boki_ , I hope after you add me I’ll be able to see your pictures from xz1

  4. I just added you on Flickr. Can give me access for your sample photos?

  5. Hello David,

    many thanks for this review. It’s amazing to see the performqnce in low light but to be fair, if I don’t see much noise, I can detect a quite heavy detail blurring. All in all a great performance though, when considering the tiny sensor. Amazing too, if the AF performance is as good as you tell… But I’ve detected some vignetting in good light situations. Could you send me more pictures in daylignt at all focal lengths and at the maximum aperture (i.e. between 1,8 and 2,5).

    Thank You

  6. antaress7373@yahoo.com

    January 7, 2011

    Hi David,

    I would be very interested in seeing your sample pictures for the XZ-1. Please allow me to take a peek 🙂 Thank you.

  7. Done. pls check ur flickr.

  8. did you pixel peep in ur flickr? if you haven’t, pls do so and comment in the flickr specifically where the blurring is, so i can understand you better…

  9. you gotta add me as contact and i’ll do the rest…

  10. Kenneth

    January 7, 2011

    Hi David, i added you on Flickr. Pls let me see the fotos. My nick is equinox_er. Thank you!

  11. Adameckw

    January 7, 2011

    Hi David, I’ve just added you to my Flickr contacts (my Flickr nick: Adameckw). I’d like to see your full size samples from XZ-1.

  12. williamhiap

    January 7, 2011

    Hi, I just add you in my contact. I am interested with the sample that you take with XZ-1 too. Thanks in advance. 🙂

  13. yamahafj

    January 7, 2011


    Added you on flickr. Looking forward to seeing those Olympus-pics…


  14. how’s the video performance? why would Olympus be so braindead and choose MJPEG as the format????

  15. It’s AVI format. Will try to post some video in flickr at a later stage… so far, IMO, video quality is excellent.

  16. Johan St

    January 8, 2011

    Thank you for your early review of this camera. I’ve just added you on Flickr, I’m really excited about this little camera and would like to see the other photos. Could you confirm if the camera uses autofocus on video mode? Thank you very much!

  17. Dennis de Reus

    January 8, 2011

    Hi there – I am also very very interested in this camera and would love to see the photos. I have sent added you as a friend on my flicker account.

    I was going to buy the pana lx5 but will now wait.
    I am on a mac so does us the movie file compatible with iphoto?

  18. bel fegore

    January 8, 2011

    Hi David, could you please add me… thanks and best wishes

  19. Hi, David – nice review and images. I would love to see more. I don’t know which David Chau you are on Flikr, but would you add me? I’m Brittographer on Flikr. I love the quality of the low-light shot you did of the street restaurant… excellent. I’m shopping for a good point and shoot for a backup on a trip to Europe.

    Best wishes from Texas, USA,


  20. Hi,nice work,David. I would love to see the sample photos in Flickr. I already added you as a contact, my username is cristiano007. Thanks in advance.

  21. Hi David, Please add IgorVo

  22. Hi,
    How does it compare to samsung ex1?

  23. Roberto

    January 8, 2011

    Just added you on flickr. My nick there is AraLunae.
    Please, let me to see the Olympus photos.

  24. TO ALL: Just add me in Flickr and I’ll allow permission to you all to view the sets. Please give me some time to respond as I am NOT 24hrs online. I’ve added you ALL so far. If anyone is missed out, please send me a flickr mail to tell me. Thanks Everyone!!!

  25. From http://www.clubsnap.com/forums, it seems that EX-1’s jpegs are pretty bad… I’ll try to get a EX-1 to test at a later stage…

  26. Please add me in flickr if you haven’t do so, Frank.

  27. Britt, Link to my flickr is in the blog post. My nickname is “mysimplestcamera”, david CHUA not chau. Sorry, due to too many responds it’s best that you add me in Flickr so I can keep track easily…

  28. David Liaw

    January 8, 2011

    Hi, also added you on flickr. Looking forward to the olympus pics. Thanks!!

  29. oiramredoersch

    January 8, 2011

    Hi David,

    please let me see the XZ-1 photos.

  30. David Liaw

    January 8, 2011

    Ops.. my username should be dcnliaw. Thanks

  31. Bien Enrico Ah

    January 9, 2011

    Hello David. I added you already. May I look into the photos taken from XZ-1? Thank you.

  32. Brandon B

    January 9, 2011

    Hi David. I would be interested in seeing your Flickr photostream of picures taken with this camera. I just added you as a friend and my Flickr name is BrandonB00. Thanks!


  33. knabooo

    January 9, 2011

    Hi david, will you accept myself – knabooo at flickr. Thanks

  34. Hi, I added you as a contact in my Flickr account (darkerforces) and I’m not sure what to do next?

    I’d like to see the high res photos of the X-1.

    Sorry, I’m a little rough around the Flickr edges.

    Thank you.

  35. hi, i have just added you in flickr, would very much like to see the xz-1 sample pics.. thanks in advance!

  36. FlamingJune1967

    January 10, 2011

    Wow! I just logged into my flickr acct. for the first time in 5 years!! Thanks for the review. I am extremely excited about this camera! Can you confirm auto-focus during video? I can’t seem to get an answer on that anywhere.

  37. Can you please let us know if the XZ-1 has a menu option for pixel mapping? Thanks Dan

  38. Yes, AF is available in video mode.

  39. Thank you for your review! I’m holding off on the dlux5 till I see more results on the xz1. Pls send me photos. I just added you on flickr. Tell me, how is the macro capabilities of this camera? It was something I love on the dlux. And does it have fast AF? I wasn’t thrilled with the AF on the PEN so I’m hoping this is much improved.

  40. Yes, pixel mapping is available in menu.

  41. Pls check ur flickr. Macro is at 1cm n AF is fast.

  42. Thank you for this short review. I added you in Flickr and I’m waiting for the pics access. sigusal at Flickr.

  43. alex ruggier

    January 11, 2011

    hello david, please allow access at flickr to alexruggier.

    thanks, alex.

  44. clement.lee

    January 11, 2011

    Hi David, request for access to XZ-1 shots pls.

  45. To ALL,

    Pls check ur Flickr. Thanks.

  46. Can you hook me up on Flicker I added you. Thanks

  47. Hi David, this camera looks amazing. please add me to flickr – oliver_pen

  48. Also I understand the camera has no provision for AE/AF lock is there a adequate work around?

  49. Thnx for the pre-review…Please add me to the XZ-1 photos request for flickr…rwk9999. Thanks!