The pockets of photography enthusiasts have become something of a fresh battleground for camera manufacturers. Increasingly, impressive compacts try to combine performance and manual controls, while remaining svelte enough to be slipped in a pocket and carried everywhere. Olympus aims to achieve this with its latest high-end compact camera – the STYLUS XZ-10 – by borrowing features and styling from its PEN range of mirrorless cameras.
The Olympus XZ-10 features a 12 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch type CMOS sensor. While that's smaller than the 1-inch-type sensor we saw in our current enthusiast compact of choice, the Sony RX100, Olympus claims it's still capable of turning out "outstanding images" even in low light, and the ISO range is 100-6400 accordingly.
A 5x zoom lens offers a 35mm format equivalent of 26-130mm and is suitably speedy with F1.8 at the wide end of the focal range and F2.7 at the telephoto. A TruePic VI image engine offers fast recovery time and shutter release, with continuous shooting available at 5 fps for 200 frames. Full HD 1080p movie recording runs at 30 fps while 720p adds a 120 fps high-speed mode in 20 seconds bursts.
For users who don't want to rely on the camera to make all the decisions, there's PASM modes and a control ring around the lens which can be used to adjust settings such as aperture and shutter speed, while the Fn button on the rear could be used to access ISO or metering. Also on the back is a 3-inch LCD with 920,000 dots and touch AF, meaning you can use the screen to focus by simply touching your subject.
Because the XZ-10 is FlashAir-compatible, after inserting an optional FlashAir card users can connect their smartphone running the OI. Share app (for iOS or Android) and upload images or video to social networks. Another interesting feature is Photo Story, which takes a group of selected images, applies art filters and puts them into pre-prepared layouts that are ready for sharing.
The Olympus XZ-10, which measures 4 x 2.4 x 1.4 inches (102.4 x 61.1 x 34.3 mm) and weighs 7.8 oz (221 g) will be available in brown, black or white from late March for €400 (that's around US$545).