The Olympus XZ-1 features a 1/1.63-inch sensor, which is slightly large than the sensors used in most other digital cameras. It’s even larger than the sensor in the PowerShot S100, which measures 1/1.7-inch. The effective resolution of the sensor is 10 megapixels. The user interface of the XZ-1 is very intuitive and Olympus has put the jog dial and the ring around the lens to good use. If you’re a beginner who doesn’t know anything about exposure settings, the iAuto mode works wonders. It automatically detects the type of scene and accordingly sets the white balance, shutter, aperture and ISO for optimal results. Here, the user can set the image resolution, video resolution (HD or SD) and flash.
3-inch OLED display at the back
The OK button at the center of the d-pad has easy to understand options, such as colour saturation, colour temperature, brightness and background blur. The user simply has to select an option and use the jog dial to adjust the parameter’s intensity. There’s also a section called shooting tips, which shows techniques on how to capture great photos of children, pets, flowers and food, in simple language.
Program mode and semi-manual modes are for more adventurous users who want to experiment with parameters, such as ISO, white balance, metering modes, ND filter and macro mode. There’s also a super-macro mode, which allows shooting subjects from as close as a centimetre. The manual mode offers control over the aperture and shutter speed as well. The Scene and Art Filter modes have functions that anyone will enjoy. Besides the regular bunch of presets, which includes kids, pets, beach, night scene, portrait, landscape and so on, you get multi-exposure and panorama mode. With multi-exposure, you shoot one frame and then you can overlay it with the second shot. Panorama mode isn’t as simple as Sony’s Sweep Panorama, but it’s somewhat similar. While shooting the successive frames (to the left or right), you have to pan the camera in accordance with a crosshair that assists alignment. You can shoot up to three successive frames and the panorama is stitched by the camera. The Art Filter mode has a collection of filters that yield effects, such as Pop Art, Soft Focus, Grainy Film (black and white), Pin Hole, Diorama (similar to toy effect) and Dramatic Tone. When used well with appropriate scenes and subjects, you can get very creative shots.
The video recording function will be a slight disappointment for those who want full HD videos. The XZ-1 supports recording only up to 720p. Coming to the dial around the lens, it lets you select the ISO in Program mode, shutter speed in Shutter Priority mode and aperture in Manual and Aperture Priority modes. It also lets you select scenes and art filters. When rotated in playback mode, it rotates the picture. However, you cannot customize the function of the dial. Also there isn’t a button to which you can assign your own function. Had it been there, it would have been possible to assign functions, such as metering and ISO, which come very handy.
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