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Olympus XZ-1Lori Grunin gives us a First Look at the XZ-1, the new digital camera from Olympus at CES 2011 in Las Vegas.
Hi I'm Lori Grunin, senior editor with CNET and I'm here at CES with the pre-production version of the Olympus XA1. The XA1 is Olympus' answer to the wildly popular Canon S95. By that, I mean, it's a large-sensor compact with an extremely fast lens. In fact it's the fastest in its category at the moment, which has-- it has an F/1.8, 28 to 112 mm equivalent lens. That's a 4X zoom, which, for this class intended for enthusiast shooters, that's a pretty typical lens because you don't want too big zoom because then the lens gets very not great. It's a pre-production version, which means I really can't make any judgments about the image quality or the performance, but I can talk about the design which, for the most part, I really like. It's not as small as the S95, but that can kind of work in its favor. It's a little smaller than the Panasonic LX5, which I find to be a very good size. My one issue is the body feels very slippery. It's gonna come in also white enamel version so that maybe less slippery because you can grip enamel a little better, but there is a little rubberized thumb piece here and that's really important because it's the only thing that makes it feel like I actually not gonna drop the camera any minute. Another issue I have is the lens cap; It's one of these-- Oop, there goes the lens cap. But in all other respect it's very nicely design. It has full-manual feature set. It has a nice big 3-inch OLED display. The interface is very straightforward and it's a camera designed to be used in manual modes not just leave it on auto. Well, it doesn't have an optical viewfinder. It does take Olympus' add-on electronically finder. The biggest thing about the XC-1 is that it uses an S95-like control dial on the lens and that something that everybody really likes about the S95. Frankly, you feel really artsy while you're shooting with it and for a lot of people, that's part of photographic experience. The innards are very similar to a lot of the other competitors in the category. It's a 1/1.6-inch 10 megapixel CCD. The interface is very straightforward. It uses a scroll wheel instead of the separate navigation buttons to navigate around. But in other ways, everything where you expected to be if you've been shooting with digital cameras anytime in the past 2 years. In addition to the fast lens, the other thing that affects the little light performance is its ISO sensitivity. This tops out at ISO 6400, which as I said I haven't shot images, but that's probably even higher than you would wanna go; thankfully, the fast lens may compensate for that. Depending upon how you feel about it, one of the nice or not nice things about it is that it charges through USB that, of course, means that you have to charge the battery in the camera. It also has Olympus' art filters which accompanies really into special effects that happened at the time of the shooting. The camera shoots 720p video. It's, you know, AVI MPEG and it's kind of the pain because it's got a specific movie mode on the dial even though it does have a direct access record button. I don't think that this is really camera that you would want to use for shooting with movies. In many case, I'm really looking to shooting with the final version of this camera. It's an exciting category, not quite the interchangeable lenses, but a lot more portable and less hustle. I'm Lori Grunin here at CES and this is the Olympus XA1.