The Olympus Stylus 1 is the latest serious compact camera from Olympus and features a bright f/2.8 10.7x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilisation, an electronic viewfinder, a 12 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor and full manual controls. The Stylus 1 is priced at £549.99, and is available in classic black.
Olympus Stylus 1 Features
If you view the Olympus Stylus 1 next to the Olympus OM-D E-M5
, you can see where it draws it's retro SLR styling from, although if you put a 10.7x optical zoom lens on the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the camera and lens combination would be significantly larger, and currently there is no single lens with such a zoom range with as bright an aperture - the closest is the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6
, and if you wanted a constant f/2.8 aperture, you'd be looking at the Panasonic 12-35mm
, which gives you less reach and costs around 4 times as much just for the two lenses alone.
Also shared with the Olympus OM-D E-M5, the Stylus 1 features a 1.44million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF), and a larger eye-piece, as well as eye-detection to switch automatically between the rear tilting touch-screen and EVF.
Olympus Stylus 1 Vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 - The Stylus 1 features a familiar layout of buttons and controls, although without the weather sealing of the E-M5, the Stylus 1 has more stylish silver buttons.
12 megapixel BSI 1/1.7inch CMOS sensor
i.Zuiko Digital 10.7x optical zoom lens
28-300mm equivalent, f/2.8, ZERO coating
Optical image stabilisation
3inch tilting touch screen, 1040k dots
Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), 1.44million dots
Dual-axis electronic level
Fn1, Fn2 function buttons
P,A,S,M shooting modes
Analogue / Digital Hybrid Control Ring
Wi-Fi and remote operation
11 Art Filters and 5 different frame / art effects
1080p Full HD Movie with stereo sound
High-speed movie recording (120fps/240fps)
ISO 100- 12800
7fps continuous shooting, 200 shots
Olympus Stylus 1 Handling
- The camera comes with a removable lens cap / screw on lens cap that automatically closes when the camera is switched off, and automatically opens when the camera is switched on, protecting the lens when the camera is not in use, and also making sure that you don't lose the lens cap. There is also a 1.7x (TCON-17X) teleconvertor available, which takes the telephoto reach to 510mm equivalent, along with a conversion adapter (CLA-13) for the Stylus 1. The TCON-17X is compatible with the Stylus 1, XZ-1, and XZ-2.
There is a zoom control on the left hand side, as well as a control ring surrounding the lens, and another control wheel on top of the camera. The rear of the camera features a high resolution 3inch tilting touch screen, as well as the 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) with both providing a clear and detailed view. The EVF features dioptre correction, with built in eye-detection to automatically switch between the EVF and screen when held up to your eye, and there is a small button on the right hand side to manual switch if preferred. There is a built in flash, which is popped up using a button on the left.
The top of the camera features the mode dial, flash hot-shoe, control wheel, shutter release with zoom control surrounding it, the on/off button and a dedicated video button. There are a total of two dedicated function buttons, with one on the back where your thumb rests, and another at the front with a switch. The function buttons can be customised, and the function of the switch can also be customised with the default setting being to switch on Manual focus. In addition the function of the video button can also be changed. The zoom speed can be set to low or normal when using the left zoom control. When pressed, the front function button goes through a number of options and you can then use the control ring surrounding the lens to change the options.
– The rear touch screen tilts up and down, a control wheel surrounds the lens, and pressing the middle OK button will bring up options on the rear screen making it easy to change settings, and the options and menus are almost identical to the menus you find on the Olympus PEN and OM-D Micro Four Thirds cameras. A number of features including the Art filters and Story frame modes can be operated using the touch screen, although the main menus are controlled using the 4-way controller on the back. The menus have a large number of options and settings, and it can take a while to get used to them, although the built in pop-up explanation can help here.
- The bottom is where you'll find the battery and memory card compartment, and the camera takes the same battery as other Olympus PEN cameras. Battery life is rated at 410 shots according to Olympus / CIPA testing standards.
- 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 Stylus 1
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
Shot to Shot without Flash
Shot to Shot with Flash
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
7fps (34 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash
Continuous Shooting - RAW / RAW+JPEG
7fps (22 shots / 21 shots)
Focus and shutter response speeds are impressive. Switch on time is also impressive considering the amount of zoom on offer. Shot to shot time is also very good, and continuous shooting is quick at 7fps for 34 shots when shooting JPEG. It then takes 16 seconds before you can enter playback, when using a Class 10 card. Shooting raw images it's possible to take 22 shots before slowdown, and the camera takes 40 seconds to write these to card when using a Class 10 card, or 35 seconds when shooting JPEG and raw.
Olympus Stylus 1 Performance
Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database
, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.
Olympus Stylus 1 Sample Photos
- There is no red-eye in the portrait photo taken with flash, and exposure is reliable. Photos show good colour and detail in a variety of shooting situations.
Olympus Stylus 1 Lens test images
- The camera has good dynamic range for a compact camera, and detail is good at both the wide-angle and telephoto ends, although images are slightly softer at the telephoto end. The camera has an impressive "Super Macro" mode that lets you focus close to the subject, as well as creating a nice background blur. The lens copes well with the sun in the frame, unless shooting directly into the sun. There is some barrel distortion at the wide end, although very little distortion at the telephoto end, and very little vignetting seen. Some purple fringing and chromatic aberration can be seen in areas of high contrast, although the majority of the time this is not an issue.
Olympus Stylus 1 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance
- There is low noise at ISO100, 200 and 400, although with a slight loss of detail at ISO400, and again at ISO800 where there is less fine detail. Although noise is well controlled with ISO1600 providing good results. Noise is stronger at ISO3200 with detail and colour lacking, although results are good for a compact camera. ISO6400 shows a further increase in noise, as well as a drop in colour, and this setting is likely best avoided, unless resizing or processing further. ISO12800 is best avoided altogether. The camera gives a range of noise filter
options including Off, Low, Standard and High - we used the Standard setting for these photos.
Olympus Stylus 1 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance
- Auto White Balance (AWB) performs well under tungsten or fluorescent lighting, and the presets often produce a slight colour cast. There is the option to set white balance to "Keep Warm Colour" when shooting in tungsten lighting, and can be useful for capturing the mood of a scene.
Olympus Stylus 1 Other sample images
Olympus Stylus 1 Digital filters
Digital Filters -
There are a large number of Art Filters and Photo Story modes that can be altered and customised. The camera saves both the edited photo as well as the original raw files so you can go back to the original if you want. Unfortunately there is not an automatic panoramic mode, instead just a panoramic assist scene mode. There is no automatic HDR mode either, instead you need to use the exposure bracketing feature and create the image manually on your computer.
- The camera records full HD video with stereo sound, and optical zoom is available. Wind noise reduction was off when recording the video below, and the camera is a little sluggish to focus when using the optical zoom during recording. The camera also features high speed video at 120fps and VGA resolution or 240fps and QVGA resolution.
Value For Money
The Olympus Stylus 1 is available for £550
which makes it good value for money, with a bright f/2.8 10.7x optical zoom lens and built in EVF. The following cameras are some of the alternatives available:
Canon Powershot G16
, 5x optical zoom, OVF, £499
Panasonic Lumix LF1
, 7.1x optical zoom, EVF, £329
Nikon Coolpix P7800
, 7.1x optical zoom, EVF, £450
Sony Cyber-shot RX100 II
, 3.6x optical zoom, optional EVF, £575
Sony Cyber-shot RX10
, 8.3x optical zoom, f/2.8, EVF, £1049
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 Stylus 1 Verdict
The Olympus Stylus 1, by using the styling of the Olympus OM-D series, which itself was styled on the old and classic Olympus OM SLR series, has not only brought about a stylish compact camera, but it's also brought about a genuinely useful and somewhat unique digital camera. The Stylus 1 offers a high quality electronic viewfinder, a bright f/2.8 10.7x optical zoom lens, and a larger than standard 12 megapixel sensor, bringing together an enjoyable camera to use, with impressive image quality for such a compact camera. It would be difficult to get a similar amount of zoom and image quality without spending more money, as well as ending up with a much larger camera, and the closest competitors are the Nikon Coolpix P7800
with 7.1x optical zoom, and it's only the Sony Cyber-shot RX10
with 8.3x optical zoom that matches the constant f/2.8 lens.
The Olympus Stylus 1 is an excellent jacket pocket camera with an impressive feature set, as well as high image quality and full manual controls. It would make an excellent take everywhere camera, and really stands out as one of the best compact cameras of the year. While there are a few features we would have liked to see, such as built in HDR and panoramic creation, as well as improved video focus, we can easily put these to one side as the camera is so enjoyable to use, and delivers impressive image quality.
Olympus Stylus 1 Pros
Constant f/2.8 aperture
10.7x optical zoom lens
3inch tilting touch screen
High quality electronic viewfinder
Classic camera styling
Compact pocketable body
Good noise performance
Very good image quality
2 year warranty
Wi-Fi built in
Olympus Stylus 1 Cons
Doesn't automatically stitch panoramics
Slow focus in videos
Lacks auto-HDR mode
VALUE FOR MONEY
Olympus Stylus 1 Specifications
|35mm equivalent||28mm - 300mm|
|Sensor Type||Back-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)|
|Sensor Size (width)||7.3mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||5.5mm|
|Screen resolution||1.04 million dots|
- Face Detection
- Touch AF
- AF Tracking
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/2000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Scene modes
- Program Variable
- Centre-weighted - Average
- ESP Light Metering
|ISO sensitivity||100 - 12800|
- 1920x1080 FullHD
- 1280x720 HD 720p
- 640x480 VGA
- 320x240 QVGA
|Optical Zoom with Video||Yes|
|Battery Type||BLS-5 Li-Ion battery (included)|
|Box Contents||Camera Body, Automatic Lens cap, Eyecup（EP-14), BLS-5, BCS-5, USB cable, Shoulder strap, CD-ROM (OLYMPUS Viewer3), Instruction manual, Warranty card.|
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