Olympus Announces the Stylus XZ-2 High-end Compact Camera

Olympus Stylus XZ-2

It appears that the high-end compact camera market is heating up with every major camera maker launching their latest models. Not wanting to be left out, Olympus launched their Stylus XZ-2, a high-end compact camera with a fast 6-24mm (equivalent to 28-112mm on 35mm full frame) f/1.8-2.5 4x zoom lens. This is an upgraded version of the previous XZ-1 released last year, offering 12 megapixels of resolution instead of the XZ-1’s 10 megapixels. It also features the same TruPic VI processor found on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, bringing high image quality and processing speed into a compact camera. Like the other high-end compacts, Olympus has touted this to have excellent high ISO performance, allowing you to capture blur and noise-free shots even in low light.

With the prices of the mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (and non-interchangeable ones too) cameras, one may wonder if there’s still a market for these high-end compacts since their prices can be rather close. Personally, I think there still is, and there’s probably still a good use for them.

Such cameras are now made with lenses as fast as f/1.4 (e.g. Panasonic Lumix LX7) and this is something that the mirrorless cameras not have yet. Most of the mirrorless cameras are not as pocketable once there’s a lens attached, and if you use a pancake lens, you lose out on the longer focal lengths. High-end compacts on the other hand offer a decent zoom range with a fast aperture and good high ISO performance, all in a nice compact package. And that’s important for some photographers.

YS: When the XZ-1 first appeared, the f/1.8-2.5 lens was special, since it kept a decent zoom range while keeping a fairly large aperture. Fast forward to 2012 where there are cameras like the Panasonic LX7 and the Samsung EX2F and their f/1.4 lenses, and the Olympus doesn’t look as special any more. Shows you what a few years can do if you’re not careful about the competition.

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