by Julia Burley
Olympus announces the Olympus STYLUS XZ-2
STYLUS flagship sets standard for high-end compacts Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 takes category by storm Ultra-bright, ultra-easy and ultra-high quality
Hamburg, 17 September 2012 – The high-end compact category has its game-changer. Like the award-winning XZ-1 before it, the new Olympus STYLUS XZ-2 brings startling quality imaging to the pocket-sized camera category with the class-brightest lens right across the zoom range. Only this time it also boasts customisable controls that make it easier for ambitious photographers to get exactly the shot they want – and fast. That’s in addition to a new touch-sensitive tilt screen, the powerful TruePic VI image processor, Full HD movie recording and FlashAir™ compatibility for sharing images directly on your social network. The XZ-2 is the sort of powerhouse compact professionals and hobby enthusiasts have been longing for – the near flawless hybrid that combines optical brilliance with the manual controls of a D-SLR with the unbeatable convenience of a lightweight compact. What’s more, it looks the part. It’s available in black, for £479
Number two by name, number one by nature
The XZ-2 is the flagship camera for Olympus’ new STYLUS range of compacts. At first glance, it’s mystifying how its engineers can generate such superb images from a camera of this size. A glance at the inscription on the i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens reveals their secret. The XZ-2 boasts a super-bright zoom lens with a 1.8 f-stop at a 28mm* wide angle.
Remarkably the XZ-2 lens retains much of this brightness with magnification, registering an unbeatable 1:2.5 at maximum 4x zoom. The result is expressive background defocusing and sophisticated bokeh, plus the flexibility to use short, blur-free exposure times in low light. The scope of shots open to XZ-2 owners is excellent. From 1-cm macros to expansive landscapes, the large-aperture lens combines with the 1/1.7” highsensitivity back-lit CMOS sensor and the same TruePic VI processor used in Olympus’ O-MD system camera. The result is true-to-life colour, rich detail and low noise – for images of the very highest quality. The XZ-2 captures effortlessly up to ISO 12800. Even in very poor conditions, gradation in dark and light areas of the image is good.
Dimensions of a compact, controls of a D-SLR
Usability is another feature that sets the STYLUS XZ-2 apart. Olympus has incorporated a customisable hybrid control ring that makes shooting faster and more intuitive. It gives you quick access to the camera settings you think are most important so you can decide how best to deal with different shooting situations. Without taking your eye off your subject, you can use the ring to adjust the zoom or focus in analogue mode or to fine-tune key program parameters in digital mode. A catch next to the ring lets you toggle between the analogue and digital ring modes using your second finger. In digital mode, you can adjust aperture, exposure and program shift in addition to flash and exposure compensation. As if that weren’t enough DSLR-style tweakability, you also have the option to assign your favourite digital functions to a second button on the back of the camera. Another bonus for seasoned photographers is the fast-response autofocus that you activate with a simple tap on the 920,000-dot, 3-inch hypercrystal LCD.
This intuitive display is tiltable to help with shooting low down or above head height.
Creativity built-in, add-ons available
The XZ-2 gives you the freedom to explore your creativity and share on your social network of choice. You can apply 11 Art Filters to Full HD movies and stills and post the results via a wireless FlashAir™ SD™ card using your familiar smartphone interface. To adapt the XZ-2 to your specific needs, take a look at the wide range of creative and practical accessories, including a matching external flash, electronic viewfinder body jacket and underwater housing. There’s also a sleek, matching black LC-63A lens cap that opens and closes automatically whenever you activate the camera. The XZ-2 will be available from late October 2012 for £479.99
· 1:1.8-2.5 super-bright, large aperture 4x wide i.ZUIKO DIGITAL zoom lens (28-112mm*) for superb image resolution
· iHS technologies for capturing exactly the shots you want with rich colour and low noise, irrespective of shooting conditions
· 12.3 Megapixel backlit 1/1.7” BSI CMOS sensor for high-resolution, superb-quality full-size movies, stills and prints
· Powerful TruePic VI image engine for faster recovery time and shutter release plus excellent image quality
· Low Light Mode for sharper, more atmospheric shots in low light
· 1080p Full HD Movie with stereo sound for capturing movies in the best image quality currently available in compact cameras
· Multi-motion Movie IS for recording Full HD movies with reduced blur while walking
· HDR Backlight Adjustment for ideal exposure when shooting against the light
· 3.0” hypercrystal touch-sensitive tilt LCD (920,000 dots) with fast response
· Touch AF for focussing automatically on the subject you touch
· Manual controls for fast and easy professional adjustments
· Hybrid control ring for fast, intuitive control of key program parameters, assigned by you, in digital mode
· Live Guide and i-Auto for easy operation – even by beginners
Creativity & Flexibility · 11 Art Filters and their variations for adding creative effects to HD movies and stills:
Cross Process, Diorama, Dramatic Tone, Gentle Sepia, Grainy Film, Key Line, Light Tone, Pale & Light Colour, Pin Hole, Pop Art and Soft Focus
· Art Filter Bracketing for generating multiple versions of a single shot to showcase different picture modes and Art Filter effects
· Accessory Port for compatibility with a growing range of accessories including an external flash, electronic viewfinder and external stereo microphone
Storage & Sharing
· SDHC™ and SDXC™ memory card compatible, including UHS-I support
· Eye-Fi Card compatibility for automatic wireless uploading of images to a website or PC
· FlashAir™ compatible for transferring password-protected images to selected smartphones and social networks
· Free iOS and Android software downloads for editing and sharing images in social networks via smartphone and/or computer
· High ISO up to 12800 for excellent imaging despite poor light
· Multi-Aspect ratios for the ideal format (16:9, 3:2, 4:3 or 1:1)
· Removable grip for personalising the camera with three alternative grip colours (red, beige and purple)
* 35mm equivalent.