Gold Award from Dpreview for the Olympus XZ-1!


Excellent news for Olympus! Dpreview tested the new Olympus XZ-1 and gave the camera the GOLD AWARD! That’s what they say: “The XZ-1 combines simple direct controls with an excellent lens to create probably the best photographers’ compact currently available.
A few days ago Dpreview tested the Canon S95, the Panasonic LX5 and the Nikon P7000. The XZ-1 beats all of them!

Read the review and after that preorder the camera at Amazon US, Adorama, BHphoto, Amazon DE, Amazon UK ;)

  • The best compact without AE lock button? Well…

    • Voldenuit

      GF2 doesn’t have an AE/AF Lock button either (although the Fn button can be configured to function as one).

      Compact cameras tend to have pretty good metering algorithms, especially compared to DSLRs. Part of this is technical (compacts can measure exposure directly off the sensor, whereas DSLRs use a separate exposure sensor that is less detailed and configurable) and part of it is due to different market needs (compacts are designed for hands-off operation, whereas DSLRs are designed to be predictable so the user can override settings with confidence).

      It’s great that Oly has produced a class-leading enthusiast compact. If it’s nipping at the heels of m43, it should only serve as a wake up call to Panasonic to get off its ass with its sensor tech. There are still plenty of reasons to prefer one over the other.

      • Medved

        Also in general with Oly you can set ael metering at exposure (full pressed shutter release), so you can focus on something and reframe.

        And well if you need to lock exposure and not focus, that’s not really handy, but you can still apply the required exposure correction, or in manual tweak the speed or aperture.

  • I think dpreview disqualifies themselves more and more as the most important review site. The site should be renamed to news and advertisements .com .

    While the list of unreviewed Photokina releases is still very long (incl. the GH2 and E-5), they decided to give the XZ-1 review priority.

    I can understand their review delay due to the move to Seattle, but this really knocks the site off.

    A site called “dpreview” should base their content mostly – well – on reviews, where they were already quite weak in width (almost nothing else than camera body reviews).

    After the buyout to Amazon, dpreview lost most of its appeal. The reviews are still detailed and well founded, but this seems at the expense of a timely appearance.

    I have no clue what with an overal score of only 74% caused to give the camera the gold award?

    • Archer

      I think that DPR is driven by user interest, and the XZ-1 has gotten a lot of interest.

      • WT21

        A lot more than E-5. I’d bet my life savings on that one!

        • Astrostream

          or GH2?!

          • Wife

            Yes. It’s on the DPR frontpage. According to the way DPR measures interest in the past five days (the GH2 isn’t even in the top 10):

            Canon PowerShot G12
            Nikon D7000
            Canon EOS 60D
            Nikon D3100
            Olympus PEN E-PL2
            Olympus XZ-1
            Pentax K-5
            Canon EOS 550D (EOS Rebel T2i / Kiss X4)
            Sony Alpha NEX-3
            Sony SLT-A55

      • Reviews should not follow interest, in many ways they create interest. They should review unbiased. Its upsetting to see they review no OLY Zuiko SHG lenses

        Not even mentioned in there 70-200mm round ups and 28-70mm round ups. As if Zuiko SHG is not good enough of something.

        I understand they may not have done it because the E3 sensor (the best at the time) was not up to the job, but E5 been out and I bet they still wont do it.

    • Astrostream

      I totally agree with you Thomas

  • CRB

    Raw 2FPS for 50 shots, super sharp lens, excellent EVF (optional)…what not to like…..?…..

  • Look at the DOF comparison with M43 and APS-C (middle of page)
    It seems that ISO wise the compacts are sitting on the M43 tail – now also DOF is being similar – I questioned my reasons of even owning a m43 “big sensor” camera :0
    just sharing some thoughts…

    • “”XZ-1 should give greater control over depth-of-field than a Micro Four Thirds kit lens, since they tend to offer 7.5mm at 84mm equivalent.””


      • Greg

        Yeah but… except for tourism shots, what’s the point of going for m43 if you use it with the kit lens, really?

    • Steve

      I agree. The zx1 seems to be very close in IQ to a m43 with kit zoom, but in a smaller package (and a nice control dial around the lens). The faster lens on the XZ1 seems to offset the smaller sensor in both DOF and noise at the same shutter speed. It is too bad they dumbed down some of the controls and firmware. I guess they need to protect their PEN line.

    • I’m not too concerned, since the GF2 and Nikon were both stopped down to f/5.6, while the Olympus was shot at f/2.5.

      It really speaks more to the kit zoom lens available with each camera, instead of what the sensor is capable of. If you use prime lenses, or are interested in Panasonic’s upcoming bright zoom, the m43 sensor will provide much more control over your depth of field.

    • Duarte Bruno

      Sure, it’s a match against a kit lens but put on a Konica Hexanon 57mm F1.2 and you’ll see what thin DOF is.
      Better yet, 50mm F1.4 lenses are all over fleebay for grabs.

    • cL

      Not only that, when you look at the RAW quality (I don’t know why DPR rate its RAW quality fairly low), it’s pretty good.

      They compared it with Panny LX5, Canon S95, and Samsung TL5000. Only Canon’s image quality comes close. If you compared JPEG quality with RAW quality, you can observe the following:

      1. ZX-1’s RAW output is as sharp as JPEG output, signifying its weak anti-aliasing.
      2. Canon’s RAW is very unsharp, telling me it’s processor does a lot of sharpening….
      3. All JPEG outputs looks sharper than their RAW outputs (Canon’s case, significantly sharper), except for Samsung’s, which is very blurry. And this is at ISO 100…. (looks more like some DSLR’s ISO 3200).

      Like others have mentioned, Olympus has more or less hits themselves in the foot. ZX-1’s output is so close to a DSLR, many will just get this one and skip E-PL2. The only problem I see with ZX-1 is color banding and other small sensor related problems (dynamic range issues). Yes, for people who just want a one zoom lens solution, this is just it. The i.zuiko lens on this camera does a good job.

      • Archer

        Not really. An E-PL2 is a much more versatile machine. Although I’d love to have both: one for always, one for some really interesting projects that I work on that I really can’t do with a compact.

        • cL

          There are a lot of things E-PL2 would do that a compact like XZ-1 can’t for sure, but this is entry-level market segment, mostly upsell from lower-end compacts. Most people would be happy to own an XZ-1, which would have bought an E-PL2 and forget about changing lenses or any pressure from sales people telling you you should buy a better lens.

      • WT21

        I was looking at the samples today, and I’d agree there’s a weak AA filter there.

        This has got me a bit tempted for a “pocket” cam!

      • napalm

        skip the E-PL2? i dont think so… IQ is similar up to ISO400, but from ISO800 and up, the detail is already washed out yet the E-PL2 still holds it til ISO3200. there is only so much a compact can do, there are still advantages to m4/3

  • NoName

    “Excellent news for Olympus (and for us)!”


    Is this model supposed to be better than the new small m43 models? If it is, what’s the point of this whole site — and is it really good news? If it is worse than the new small m43 models, so what? What on earth are you raving about?

    • Henrik

      If you have followed this site during the past months youd know that many of us are interested in this camera and thats probably why he says its good news. Also theres no need to be rude.

      • Astrostream


    • admin

      Hi NoName!
      The good news is that Olympus made a good camera and I hope the next pro PEN will also hit the attention of our readers.
      P.S:: Thanks Henrik!

      • tom


      • Anonymous

        Positive thinking :)

    • lh14

      would you recommend this over the new GF2 then? I’m in a dilemma :(

    • Robbie

      Well, you can choose to ignore it though I know it is hard.
      Just like I can’t ignore your post.

  • yep … XZ1 = more sales, therefore reviewing it fits the dpreview business model (which is link bait for its parent company Amazon)

    the missing E-5 review is a bit of a sales vs click through non-starter, shame on DPR, but they are a business not a fan site.

  • Ross

    If you say Olympus XZ-1 quickly you will be delighted with it’s name (maybe) – Olympusexy One. :)

    • tom

      LOL, that’s good

    • Neonart

      Bravo Ross! Could Olympus marketing have been that clever!? Doubt it.

    • Zaph

      I was trying to make this work and just couldn’t. Ah, that would be because I say zed instead of zee. :-)

      • Ross

        Yes, as an Aussie, I had to swallow my pride & go the American way to get this. The real English way tends to trip your tongue & it may have been thought of by an American English speaking Japanese.

  • Rob-L

    XZ-1 scored 74% and got a Gold Award. The similar Samsung TL500/EX1 scored 73% and got a Silver Award? Huh? Is 73-74 the cut off point or is DPR full of it? Plus, as of today the TL500 is half the price of the XZ-1.

    • Michael

      look at the raws.. the xz-1 has much more detail at base and high iso!

      i would that 90% of the people who bought a m4/3 camera only with the kit lens would be better of with a xz-1. the 2 stop faster f stop offsets worse noise and bokeh capability.

      m4/3 + kit lens just became obsolete.

      • Jules

        If the xz-1 compares to LX-3 or S95, the zoom speed and focus speed is that of a compact camera. Painfully slow.

        And what do we know about the future plan of the 90% of the people who bought m43 with only the kit lens? Stick to just one lens? I would bet that 90% of them don’t even know themselves ;)

        • Michael

          you should not forget that people here dont represent the average camera buyer ; )

          just because you and me would not choose a xz-1 over a bigger sensor mirrorless cam doesnt mean the average joe doesnt.
          just look how many nex cameras sony sells even if the controls are pretty bad and they only have a 16mm prime.

          did you look at the raw samples at dpreview.. details is much much higher than s95 lx5 tl500

          • Jules

            I don’t think that the average Joe will look at raw files, let alone to know what they are.

            I don’t mean to say you got it wrong. There are many clueless buyers out there.
            And I give that to you, the current NEX bodies are a complete mystery to me.

  • spriggers

    Interesting…. This camera has the same length as the NEX 5, is a bit taller than the NEX 5, and a bit thicker than the NEX 5. Although you add even a 16mm 2.8 on the NEX and it becomes thicker.

    Great looking camera though and best in it’s class. But I think I would prefer the sensor of a NEX and sacrifice some thickness though. This looks to be the best portable camera in it’s range though with the most impressive lens setup in such a great package.

  • Boss

    I love Olympus, and am in the processing or getting an EPL2 to replace my E-620 right now. However, I think my LX5 produces slightly better images than the XZ-1. The LX5 got a 73%, so basically ranked it second, but I think you may want to look at it before buying the Olympus…

  • BK

    I think Ross has given the XZ-1 its proper nickname to be known as from this day forward. : )

    • Ross

      Thanks, but I can’t take all the credit. Someone by the name of Cathrine started it. Give me the Olympusexy One. :D

  • Slobodan Dimitrov

    Didn’t beat my Canon S90!

    • napalm

      yeah that’s funny coz S90 got a 75% but only silver award. now xz-1 has 74% and gold?!

      • Voldenuit

        Because times and expectations change.

        A camera from 5 years ago may get 90%, but it probably won’t be as good as a camera today that got 75%.

        If they don’t use some form of sliding scale, we’ll end up with cameras that score 110% but are still crap compared to their modern peers.

        • napalm

          that’s not how reviews should be. ratings are done for the time they were rated. you base it with the standard of that period. and a 75% getting a silver then a 74% getting a gold doesnt make sense any which way you put it. why not rate it higher like 77% or 80% then give it a gold? or if its really only 74%, it should have a silver as well.

  • napalm

    sad to see all that detail in RAW that is lost due to the NR that we cant turn down (why Oly? Why?!)

    I guess it’s best to shoot RAW for low light situations, but it’s just so “un-Olympus” to choose RAW over the JPEGs when they are touted as having the best in-body jpeg processing on their 4/3 and m4/3…

    • Zaph

      Agreed. Hopefully, it was a time-to-release issue they’ll fix both that and the lack of the AEL button in a firmware update.

  • at

    I don’t agree with it. You cannot achieve any usable details with its RAW noise performance at ISO1600 which cannot compete with S95, LX5 and even TL500 at all.

    • napalm

      noise can be cleaned, but detail cannot be added

  • David

    I hate to say it, but at the end of the day I see a camera that costs more than an S95, is not truly pocketable like an S95, and takes only marginally better pictures than an S95.
    Am I missing something?
    Why does this camera cost $100 more than an LX-5 and $70 more than an S95?

    I’ll probably get one, but that’s only because I already have a VF-2, otherwise I would take the Canon over the Olympus.

    • napalm

      it’s sold at the same introductory price as the LX5. over a few months the price will stabilize and be nearer to LX5 price (though it depends where you are located)

    • DonTom

      It has a slightly bigger sensor than an S95 (or G12 for that matter), and the ability to mount an EVF.
      In this whole field, it is all about marginal gains anyway, whether you are talking about IQ, noise, low light ability, size, flexibility or DOF.
      If you already have a VF2, like the Olly jpegs and want shallower DOF from your compact, this is a no-brainer and worth the extra money.

    • Martin

      >Why does this camera cost $100 more than an LX-5 and $70 more than S95?

      Well what about the much more capable lens? This does not count for you?
      For me it looks like being worth of $150 more compared to the S95..

  • DonTom

    What I find significant is how much interest there is in the high end compacts like this. Going by the figures above, 12% of views on DPR in this sector (G12 + ZX1), vs 3% in m43.

    Most smartphones these days cover the low end compact spectrum, so folk are looking to the top end to replace their old compact cameras.

    A decent portion of these users will be doing another migration in 2 years time as phone cameras improve even further. Mirrorless may be where they go next, seeking even shallower DOF and better IQ in a still manageable package.

    So yes, this is good and relevant news for m43.

  • let’s remember that the OlympuSexyOne is just a compact!

    while it is being compared to an m43 camera, the m43 are ‘only just’ compatible to APS-C cameras and only then with a decent lens up front – this is the m43 must do thing to sit along side cameras with much bigger chips!

    I think (apart from some crazy brand loyalty) the big wow of the XZ1 is that it can share you PEN accessories … and is it also true that you can maaster the FL-36R and -50R with this camera?

    as a system: m43 body (not including the EP1) + lenses + flash guns … plus this compact! it’s a great fit. and if course the f1.8 is a real headline grabber, and probably very useful. it’s surely a tempting camera even if it is very very close to the EPL2 body price. bodes well for the Olympus pro m43 if that can also join the extended system. Oly looked close at the Canon g12 and the pan lx5 zone here me thinks

    • napalm

      i might buy it but a firmware update to be able to adjust the NR will seal the deal. for now, i’ll wait for a price drop first.

    • Mr. Reeee

      It’s tough to make any sort of judgement based on a few reviews. The DPReview image samples are pretty impressive, though. And the few shortcomings like compression could indeed be tweaked and improved with a firmware update.

      I agree that the EPL2 might be a better choice given the choice of lenses, etc., for not much more money or size and weight.

      Still, not having seen or handled either camera, I’d like to see and feel them first.

      As far as the O’SexyOne goes, being able to add the Oly viewfinder is a nice bonus! And it would make a nice travel camera. I have a waterproof Olympus which is perfect for outdoorsy stuff… NO worries about weather, like recently in the pouring rain in the Costa Rica rainforest. Now if a camera like the O’SexyOne were able to be waterproofed, without resorting to a nasty, bulky plastic box, it could be amazing!

  • MDLSoft

    Here in Spain, I paid 375€ for the EX-1, actually the S95 is priced at 365€, the LX5 at 420€, the G12 460€… for me I’ts really cheap if we think that it’s a new camera and the price will drop in a few months (the shop where I bought it sometimes have the lowest price ever at first time, maybe as promotional)So I have to wait about 4 weeks to receive it.

    I agree with the lack of AF/AE lock and no options of NR in JPG, and even more, can’t configure function of front ring, 30fps in PAL region (25p native), but anyway I think is the best choice for me. I hope Oly fix some of these tnings in a firmware update but i dont believe it.

    About gold award I think that it’s difficult to value, if each year the new camera is better than past, in a few years we could see 110%? or maybe beyond this, 200%?
    Maybe the awards should be more explained, I think the XZ-1 is only compared with their own generation, and here it wan win this award, maybe next year with a EX-2 with only a few changes, could be a excellent camera too but not as good or have as impact as the XZ-1 have now.

    I`m sorry about my bad english.

  • I also wish DPReview would get around to reviewing the E-5, oh well, I’m getting my money’s worth…

    As for the the XZ-1, this scratches me right were I itch. I wish it were something like 24-85mm instead of 28-112mm, but that’s not a deal-breaker for me. Otherwise it looks really impressive and I think would be just about the ultimate traveling camera for me. I’m so much more excited about this than the Fuji, but they are two different things.

    • Ross

      I think the lens attachments for the EPL-2 may also fit on this (but then the IQ may not be as good or not as bright). Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

      • Ross

        Then again, maybe not.

      • Olympus had a Facebook Q&A this afternoon, and I asked if this had filter threads on the front and they said no. I’m kind of disappointed by that, as I was hoping to be able to mount this to one of my telescope lenses for afocal astrophotography. It would also have been nice to use the lens attachments too.

  • … and of course the XZ1 is just that little bit more pocketable ;)

    what is the saying, something like: the best camera in the world is the one you have with you!

  • Point & Shoot her

    I own LX5 and EX1, XZ-1 is going to be my third P&S. It looks like a really good camera. The great thing is that I can use the VF-2 finder I use on my E-P2 on XZ-1. I’ll probably sell E-P2 and GF1, keep the viewfinders for XZ-1 and LX5 :-)

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