The Olympus XZ-10 is a serious compact camera, it is smaller than the XZ-2, features a 5x optical zoom lens and a 12 megapixel back-illuminated sensor. It is available for £329.99.
Olympus XZ-10 Features
The Olympus XZ-10 has a 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and iHS Technology to delver premium image quality. There is a 5x optical zoom lens which is a 35mm equivalent of 26-130mm and has a maximum aperture of f/1.8 to allow the maximum amount of light possible into the camera, ideal in low-light conditions. This will allow defocusing effects similar to what can be achieved on a DSLR. The zoom can be extended to 10x with super resolution zoom.
As well as auto mode, which adjusts all the camera settings automatically, there are full manual controls, and you can also shoot in RAW. The XZ-10 comes with a built-in ND filter so you can adjust the exposure time in any scene. There are eleven Art Filters to help you take creative photos, such as dramatic tone and diorama. You can combine different shots to create collages, selecting from different themes and applying an Art Filter.
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound. The XZ-10 can also record high speed 720p HD videos at 120 fps.
The XZ-10 has a very small metal body, it's a little on the heavy side, but comfortable enough to carry in your pocket. It has a rubber grip on the front with a square rubberised patch for your thumb on the rear.
There is a mode dial placed on top of the camera alongside the shutter release, zoom rocker and on / off switch. On the rear are movie record, playback, function, menu and info buttons as well as a rotating wheel. This can also be pressed to activate controls such as exposure compensation, flash and self timer. The function button gives you access to many shooting options such as white-balance, ISO, image size and much, much more. It's quite an extensive set of options, but useful once you get used to it and can be customised.
When in aperture and shutter speed priority modes you can use the ring surrounding the lens to change the respective settings. The rest of the menu system is fairly easy to navigate. The screen has a resolution of 920k dots making in crisp and clear to view and, as it is also a touch screen, can be used to set the focus and release the shutter.
Battery life is rated at 240 shots according to CIPA test results, which is OK and should be enough for a day of shooting. 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.
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 - Sequential (JPEG)
Continuous Shooting - Sequential (RAW)
Continuous Shooting - Hi-Speed (JPEG only)
All of the continuous shooting sequential modes record at full 12 megapixel resolution, the hi-speed shooting mode is limited to 3 megapixels. When shooting RAW in sequential mode, there is a significant slow down after three shots.
Olympus XZ-10 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 XZ-10 Sample Photos
Sample Photos - Images are impressive, with good colour reproduction and are well exposed. When shooting portraits, skin tones are good and images are free of red-eye.
Olympus XZ-10 Lens test images
Lens Performance - Detail is good throughout the images at both ends of the lens, with no signs of any significant purple fringing. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm, with allows you to take decent macro shots.
Olympus XZ-10 ISO test images
ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 100 and remains so at ISO 200 and 400. At ISO 800 you see a slight reduction in image quality, with areas of the images becoming soft. Noise worsens at little at ISO 1600, but not much. At ISO 3200, quite a substantial amount of detail is lost, with a slight smudged appear in places. Large amounts of detail is lost at ISO 6400, but for resizing and sharing on the web, image quality is OK at this highest ISO setting.
Olympus XZ-10 White-balance test images
White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent studio lights, the auto white balance (AWB) has a slight colour cast, with the incandescent preset taking the better picture. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB performs well, with a magenta cast when shooting with the fluorescent preset.
Olympus XZ-10 Digital filters
Digital Filters - The XZ-10 comes with a range of magic filters to help take unique pictures, we've included a number of examples above.
Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD. Video quality is good, you can also use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.
The Olympus XZ-10 is a slighter cheaper version of the XZ-2, but offers slightly more optical zoom. It is a smaller and lighter camera, but this does mean you sacrifice the tilting screen. The XZ-10 also lacks other features such as Wi-Fi and GPS which you might expect to find on the latest serious compact cameras. Put this aside, you'll still find an ample set of features, including 5 fps continuous shooting, full 1080p HD video recording and a close focusing distance of 1cm. There's also full manual controls and RAW shooting. The XZ-10 is very reasonably priced, it is one of the lowest priced serious compact cameras around. It produces decent images and is therefore easy for us to highly recommend.
The Olympus XZ-10 packs a lot of features into a small, pocketable body for a very reasonable price.
Olympus XZ-10 Pros
Fast f/1.8-2.7 lens
Decent image quality
5x optical zoom
1cm minimum focusing distance
5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution
Compact metal body
Aperture and shutter speed control ring
Full manual controls and RAW shooting
Screen has a 920k dot resolution
Good value for money
Olympus XZ-10 Cons
AWB wasn't excellent under our studio lights
Fairly low battery CIPA rating
No Wi-Fi / GPS
Lacks auto-panoramic mode
A super wide-angle zoom aimed primarily at landscape and architecture photographers with a more affordable price and a slightly wider range than the camera makers' own models...is there a catch? We aim to find out.
3 Aug 2009 11:34AM