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The Olympus XZ-2 is the update to the Olympus XZ-1 and sees a number of improvements and upgrades in comparison to the previous model, including a new 12 megapixel sensor, Full HD video recording, a new grip, a tilting screen and a front function switch. The camera also features the same processor (TruePic VI) and menu system as the Olympus Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras.
With an updated design and interchangeable grip on the front, as well as the function switch on the front that can be used with the control wheel surrounding the lens, the XZ-2 is hoping you will take it much more seriously. With it comes an increased price compared to the previous model, so you would be forgiven if you are expecting improved performance from the camera.
- 12.3 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
- Wide 4x optical zoom lens f/1.8-2.5
- Optical image stabilisation
- 3inch tilting touch screen
- RAW, Flash hot-shoe
- Full HD video, stereo sound
- ISO100 - 12800
- 1cm Super Macro
- 5fps continuous shooting
- Fn1 / Fn2 button
- Removeable grip
Handling - The control wheel around the lens acts in two ways, the first is to let you change settings depending what mode you're in, and will click as it turns so that you're aware of how much you've turned it. The setting changed can also be set by pressing the front Fn2 button, this makes it easy to switch through the different settings and make adjustments. The second way the control wheel works, is by flicking the front switch surrounding the Fn1 button, the wheel becomes click-free letting you smoothly control manual focus or optical zoom. The front grip is an excellent addition and the rear rubber grip for your thumb works well to help give you a good grip of the camera.
The addition of the tilting touch screen makes the camera a little more bulky, but also helps adjust settings, such as focus position or touch focus. On top is the flash hot-shoe, as well as the Olympus Accessory Port 2, which is shared with the Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras so that you can add an electronic viewfinder or other accessories if wanted. Build quality is very good, although charging is through a USB cable and adapter, with the battery in the camera, which may disappoint some, especially if you want to use a second battery.
Menus – The camera uses the same menus as the Olympus PEN and Olympus OM-D E-M5 cameras, and for anyone who's used one of these camera, the menu system and operation of the camera should be extremely familiar to them. The custom menus give you extensive control over settings and options and can seem daunting at first glance, although thankfully they are colour coded, and there is built in help.
Battery life - Battery life is rated at 340 shots according to Olympus / CIPA test results, we were able to take over 300 before the battery went flat. The battery is an updated model compared to the XZ-1 with higher battery rating of 1270mAh (vs 925mAh), and the battery is made by Sony.
Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.
|Olympus XZ-2||Sony RX100|
|Wide - Focus / Shutter Response||0.2||0.3|
|Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response||0.2||0.3|
|Switch on Time to Taking a Photo||2.2||2.2|
|Shot to Shot without Flash||1.1||0.9|
|Shot to Shot with Flash||1.5||2.1|
(shots before slow down)
|5fps (25 shots)||7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)|
|Continuous Shooting - Flash||1fps||1.6s|
|Continuous Shooting - RAW||5fps (4 shots)||4fps (13 shots)|
The camera focuses quickly and shutter response is very quick. The camera also shoots at 19fps at 5 megapixels. Full resolution JPEG shooting is at 5fps continuously for 25 shots before slowdown, although only 4 shots can be taken when shooting RAW, after this it takes roughly 6 seconds before you can go into playback mode, although it does let you shoot again after roughly 3 seconds.
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Olympus XZ-2 Sample Photos
Drive | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Thoresby Hall | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Night Shot | 25 sec | f/8.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Portrait Flash | 1/100 sec | f/2.1 | 12.0 mm | ISO 200
Sample Photos - The camera is capable of taking a well exposed and detailed photo with excellent colour. Flash performance is reasonable, although the camera preferred to shoot without the flash, and when used was quite weak. A benefit of this is little to no red-eye in portrait photos.
Olympus XZ-2 Lens test images
Wide | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Zoom | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Trees | 1/320 sec | f/2.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
1/5 sec | f/1.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
1/4 sec | f/2.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
0.3 sec | f/2.8 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
0.5 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
1 sec | f/5.6 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
1.6 sec | f/7.1 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
2 sec | f/8.0 | 6.0 mm | ISO 200
Lens Performance - Detail is very good for a 12 megapixel sensor, and the lens performs well at both the wide-angle or telephoto settings with detail to the corners of the image. The camera also has an impressive macro mode allowing you to place the subject roughly 1cm away from the front of the lens, in Super Macro focus mode. There is noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end of the lens, and there is some pincushion at the telephoto end, although purple fringing appeared to be fairly well controlled.
Olympus XZ-2 ISO test images
1/40 sec | f/2.4 | 18.9 mm | ISO 100
1/80 sec | f/2.4 | 18.9 mm | ISO 200
1/160 sec | f/2.4 | 18.9 mm | ISO 400
1/200 sec | f/2.8 | 18.9 mm | ISO 800
1/320 sec | f/3.2 | 18.9 mm | ISO 1600
1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 18.9 mm | ISO 3200
1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 18.9 mm | ISO 6400
1/800 sec | f/5.6 | 18.9 mm | ISO 12800
|ISO100 - 1/40 sec | f/2.4 | 18.9 mm | High-Res|
|ISO3200 - 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 18.9 mm | High-Res|
|ISO6400 - 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 18.9 mm | High-Res|
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is very low at ISO100 and ISO200 with some appearing at ISO400. Noise increases at ISO800 but is still relatively low, and detail is still present. At ISO1600 noise increases again, and fine detail is reduced. ISO3200 shows another increase in noise with chroma colour appearing (unatural banding of noise). Noise increases again at ISO6400 but colour saturation is still quite good. ISO12800 shows the highest levels of noise, as expected, and is best avoided.
Olympus XZ-2 White-balance test images
AWB Tung Warm On | 1/50 sec | f/2.0 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
AWB Tung Warm Off | 1/50 sec | f/2.0 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
Tungsten Preset | 1/50 sec | f/2.0 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
AWB Flu | 1/15 sec | f/2.0 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
Fluorescent Preset | 1/15 sec | f/2.0 | 8.5 mm | ISO 100
White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting, with the camera giving the option to keep warm colour switched on. The tungsten preset gives a slight green cast under tungsten lighting, however the fluorescent preset struggled with our fluorescent lighting. For the majority of situations, including mixed lighting the AWB setting produced good results.
Olympus XZ-2 Digital filters
Dramatic Tone B and W | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 9.8 mm | ISO 100
Sepia | 1/800 sec | f/4.0 | 9.8 mm | ISO 100
Cross Process | 1/640 sec | f/4.0 | 9.8 mm | ISO 100
HDR Backlight | 1/640 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
High Contrast Mono 1 | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
High Contrast Mono 2 | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Dramatic Tone | 1/640 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Pinhole | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Miniature | 1/640 sec | f/4.5 | 24.0 mm | ISO 100
Key Line | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Light | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Pale | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Soft | 1/500 sec | f/3.2 | 6.0 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour | 1/500 sec | f/4.0 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour Framed | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour Pinhole | 1/640 sec | f/3.5 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour Star | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Pop Colour White Edges | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 7.5 mm | ISO 100
Digital Filters - There are a vast array of Art Filters on the Olympus camera, 11 in total, with each one having additional options, such as Pop Colour Bright, or Pop Colour Dark. On top of the Art Filters, you can also apply upto 5 other effects (examples are shown above). Panorama mode - Panoramic mode is not available, instead just a panoramic assist feature, allowing you to stitch them together on your computer. The camera has an automatic HDR mode that will take a series of images and combine them into one for extended dynamic range.
Video - The camera records full HD video with stereo sound, and occassionally hunted for focus in low light. Manual controls as well as manual focus is available which we used for this video.
Additional videos can be seen on our YouTube channel, including one with optical zoom.
Value For MoneyThe Olympus XZ-2 is up against a number of competitors, and is at the more expensive end of the market, in between the Panasonic Lumix LX7 and Nikon Coolpix P7700, although only the Samsung EX2F, Nikon Coolpix P7700, Canon Powershot G1 X and Olympus XZ-2 feature tilting or swivelling screens. Details can be found below:
|Nikon Coolpix P310 (lacks RAW)||16||1/2.33 inch||f/1.8 4.2x||£199|
|BenQ G1 (lacks RAW)||14||1/2.33 inch||f/1.8 4.6x||£203|
|Olympus XZ-1 (previous model)||10||1/1.63 inch||f/1.8 4x||£229|
|Canon Powershot S100||12||1/1.7 inch||f/2.0 5x||£309|
|Fujifilm FinePix X10||12||2/3 inch||f/2.0 4x||£338|
|Samsung EX2F||12.4||1/1.7 inch||f/1.4 3.3x||£379|
|Panasonic Lumix LX7||10mp||1/1.7 inch||f/1.4 3.8x||£384|
|Ricoh GR Digital IV||10||1/1.7 inch||f/1.9 28mm||£399|
|Olympus XZ-2||12||1/1.7 inch||f/1.8 4x||£429|
|Nikon Coolpix P7700||12||1/1.7 inch||f/2.0 7.1x||£449|
|Canon Powershot G15||12||1/1.7 inch||f/1.8 5x||£529|
|Large sensor compacts:|
|Canon Powershot G1 X||14.3||1.5 inch||f/2.8 4x||£449|
|Sony Cyber-shot RX100||20.2||1 inch sensor||f/1.8 3.6x||£479|
|Fujifilm X100||12||APS-C sensor||f/2.0 28mm||£599|
|Sigma DP1 Merrill||15.3/46||APS-C Foveon||f/2.8 28mm||£799|
|Sigma DP2 Merrill||15.3/46||APS-C Foveon||f/2.8 45mm||£799|
|Leica X2||16||APS-C||f/2.8 35mm||£1499|
You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.
Olympus XZ-1, with addition grip, controls, and features as well as improved menus and image processing borrowed from the latest Olympus PEN cameras. The camera has grown in size, but makes up for this with additional controls and a tilting touch screen, a rarity on serious compact cameras. The addition of the latest Art Filters and effects also borrowed from the Olympus PEN cameras is a welcome addition and the dual function control ring surrounding the lens is a clever feature. The Olympus XZ-2 price is quite high, but value for money is quite good, as the camera has a number of features and expansion options beyond what is available on other serious compacts, and delivers very good to excellent image quality making the XZ-2 worth some very serious consideration, and comes highly recommended.
|The Olympux XZ-2 is an advanced compact camera that delivers high image quality with great handling and controls.|
Olympus XZ-2 Pros3 inch tilting touch screen
Great image quality
Updated grip and handling
Bright f/1.8 - f/2.5 lens, with 1cm macro
Shares features and controls from PEN series
Updated menu system
2 year warranty
Extensive Art Filters and effects
Control wheel can be used smoothly for focus
Olympus XZ-2 ConsBarrel distortion at wide end
Lacks auto-panoramic mode
|VALUE FOR MONEY|
Olympus XZ-2 Specifications
|Max Aperture||f/1.8 - f/2.5|
|35mm equivalent||28mm - 112mm|
|CCD pixels||12.3Mp (Megapixels)|
|Sensor Size||1/1.7 inch|
|Sensor Size (width)||No Data|
|Sensor Size (height)||No Data|
|Screen resolution||920,000 dots|
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||60sec|
|ISO sensitivity||80 - 12800|
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Box Contents||Body, Lens cap, Li-90B , F-2AC , USB cable, Video Multi cable, Shoulder strap, CD-ROM(OLYMPUS Viewer2), Instruction manual, Warranty car|