Olympus XZ-10 £349
30th Jan 2013 | 02:00
Will this make the ideal pocket snapper?
The latest Olympus premium compact camera comes hot on the heels of last year's XZ-2, but is not intended to replace it. Instead, the XZ-10 it sits alongside the XZ-2 as a cheaper and more flexible option.
Like its bigger brother, the Olympis XZ-10 has plenty of premium features, including an f/1.8 5x optical zoom lens. This boasts a wide angle of 26mm and impressively, the ability to retain a fast aperture of f/2.7 even at the telephoto end of the optic.
However, it has a 1/2.3 inch sensor - smaller than the XZ-2's. The ZX-10 boasts 12 million pixels though, and should still be able to reproduce plenty of detail.
Build quality and handling
Navigating the camera's controls is very similar to the XZ-2, and indeed, many of the other cameras currently on offer from Olympus - perhaps most notably the PEN series. If you're familiar with any of these models, this would make an excellent second shooter for your pocket.
Olympus says that the camera is around 40 per cent smaller than the XZ-2. We think this makes it a more appealing camera for those looking for something small and light to use every day. It does mean sacrificing certain elements (no room for a tilting or articulating screen, or a wide array of dials and buttons), but we can forgive something this sleek for that.
At the top of the camera is a mode dial for quickly switching between the various modes on offer, including fully automatic, semi-automatic and fully manual. It's also here that you can access art modes and the new montage feature.
This is a fun new feature that enables you to frame a set of pictures together in one montage. There are many apps available for smartphones that do this, so it's nice to see a similar function making an appearance here. A range of presets are available, which are good fun to play with.
Similarly, anyone who's familiar with Olympus products will know of the company's love for digital art filters, and many of those which are available on the PEN and OM-D range show up here.
It's great to see a touchscreen on a camera of this calibre, and although the model we used was a pre-production sample, we could already see that the capacitive device was very responsive and easy to use. It should be a great option for altering the autofocus point and even triggering the shutter release for those quick shots.
Around the lens is a ring which can be customised for different uses, including altering the aperture and shutter speed (when in semi-automatic and manual modes). On the back of the camera is a Function button for quickly accessing other key parameters, such as white balance and ISO.
As the sensor is physically smaller than the XZ-2's, it would be reasonable to assume that this will have an impact on performance. This is something we'll be extremely keen to test once a final review sample becomes available.
That said, we have reasonably high hopes for the camera as Olympus has consistently proven itself capable of producing high quality premium compact cameras.
The touchscreen worked well in reasonably bright light, though we'd like see how it does in very bright sunlight.
Although it's a shame the screen doesn't tilt or articulate, it's viewable from a good number of angles if you need to shoot from a slightly awkward position.
There are a large number of premium compacts currently on the market, with many producing excellent results. The Olympus XZ-2 is a very good offering, so it's nice to see the company thinking about ways in which the technology can be adapted for different audiences.
Although we've been unable to assess the image quality offered by the XZ-10, we're pretty confident that it will do a good job, and it's undoubtedly a very stylish offering.
Stay tuned for our full review as soon as a sample is available.