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Review: Olympus XZ-2 compact camera

Date

Reviewed by Terry Lane

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Price: $600
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THE LOW-DOWN

This 12-megapixel camera is the top Olympus compact. It has a bright f1.8-2.5 lens with a focal length of 28mm-112mm (film equivalent). Image stabilisation is by sensor shift. The high-resolution 75mm LCD swivels on one plane. There is a switchable control ring around the lens that can select aperture, exposure compensation, zoom or manual focus. All controls and menus derive from the company's micro four thirds cameras, including the accessory port for optional viewfinders, microphones and lights. In many ways the XZ-2 is like a compact system camera but with a fixed lens and smaller sensor. Construction and ergonomics are excellent.

LIKE

The image quality is very good for a compact, especially when shooting RAW. The modest zoom range pays off in stellar optical quality.

DISLIKE

The camera uses the excellent touch-sensitive Super Control Panel from the micro four thirds range. But by default it is hidden inside a secondary layer of menus. And the user manual is on disc. We guarantee not one customer in a million will find the Super Control Panel - which is just about the best feature. Unbelievable!

VERDICT

Olympus has secured its place in the top echelon of compact cameras with the XZ-2. This model is a delight to use and its versatility is extended with the sharing of accessories with the micro four thirds cameras. We used the optional VF-2 electronic viewfinder, which is brilliant. The camera has thoughtful touches such as the right-hand grip that can be removed or attached as the mood takes you - again, a feature similar to the micro four thirds cameras. Olympus's signature Art Filters are included and it all comes in a rugged, handsome body. We like it.