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Olympus XZ-10 Review

The Olympus XZ-10 is a serious compact camera with a 5x optical zoom f/1.8 lens and 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. Daniel Bell reviews.

| Olympus XZ-10 in Compact Cameras
Olympus XZ-10 Review: Olympus XZ-10

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 Review: Olympus XZ-10

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.

Olympus XZ-10 Review: Olympus XZ-10

Key Features

  • 12 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom f/1.8-2.7 lens (35mm equiv: 26-130mm)
  • Sensor shift image stabilisation
  • 3.0 inch 920k dot LCD touch screen
  • Aperture and shutter speed control ring
  • Full manual controls and RAW shooting
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100 - 6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
Olympus XZ-10 Review: Olympus XZ-10

Olympus XZ-10 Handling

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.

Shutter Response   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.8 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.4 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   1.5 secs
Continuous Shooting - Sequential (JPEG)   5.1 fps
Continuous Shooting - Sequential (RAW)   1.3 fps
Continuous Shooting - Hi-Speed (JPEG only)   19.2 fps

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 Review: Olympus XZ-10

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.

Value For Money

The Olympus XZ-10 is available for £329.99. Others to consider with bright lenses include the Pentax MX-1 at £386.54, Nikon Coolpix P330 at £290.00, Panasonic Lumix LX7 at £349.00, Canon Powershot G15 at £421.50, Nikon Coolpix P7700 at £369.99 and Fujifilm FinePix X10 at £349.00. For more serious compacts, have a look at our Top 10 Serious Compact Cameras.

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-10 Verdict

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.

  Olympus XZ-10 Review:
  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


Olympus XZ-10 Specifications

Max Aperturef/1.8 - f/2.7
35mm equivalent26mm - 130mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels12Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4032
Pixels (H)3024
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution920k
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • TTL
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity100 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting5fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery
Battery Life (CIPA rating)240shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLI-50B Lithium-Ion Battery, F-2AC AC Adapter CB-USB6 USB Cable, Touch Pen, Hand Strap, Operating Instructions, Warranty Card, Olympus Viewer 3 Software CD-ROM

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Photographs taken using the Olympus XZ-10

LonelyHe`s comingFragileSilverMorning shadowsA reader on the busStreet reflectionsShadowsMoment of the cityRhythm of Vilnius

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