Olympus Stylus 1 vs XZ-2
The Olympus Stylus 1 and the Olympus XZ-2 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in October 2013 and September 2012. Both the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 are fixed lens compact cameras that are equipped with a 1/1.7-inch sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 11.8 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Olympus XZ-2? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Olympus XZ-2. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus XZ-2 is notably smaller (27 percent) than the Olympus Stylus 1. Moreover, the XZ-2 is markedly lighter (14 percent) than the Stylus 1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Stylus 1 nor the XZ-2 are weather-sealed.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Olympus Stylus 1||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||410||n||Oct 2013||699|
|2.||Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||116 mm||74 mm||66 mm||553 g||240||n||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||117 mm||81 mm||65 mm||534 g||250||n||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||119 mm||72 mm||60 mm||423 g||470||n||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Nikon P7800||119 mm||78 mm||50 mm||399 g||350||n||Sep 2013||549|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1s||116 mm||87 mm||57 mm||402 g||450||n||Apr 2015||699|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||114 mm||72 mm||42 mm||362 g||280||n||Jan 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic LF1||103 mm||62 mm||28 mm||192 g||250||n||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Pentax MX-1||122 mm||61 mm||51 mm||391 g||290||n||Jan 2013||499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The XZ-2 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 14 percent) than the Stylus 1, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a 1/1.7-inch sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 4.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the smaller-sensor digicams that favor affordability and compact design. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 11.8 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the Stylus 1 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 1 month) than the XZ-2, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the Stylus 1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Olympus Stylus 1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800. The Olympus XZ-2 offers exactly the same ISO settings.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|1.||Olympus Stylus 1||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||20.7||11.6||179||51|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||1.5-inch||13.0||4160||3120||1080/30p||21.5||10.8||581||58|
|5.||Canon G1 X||1.5-inch||14.2||4352||3264||1080/24p||21.7||10.8||644||60|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1s||1/1.7||11.8||3968||2976||1080/30p||..||..||..||..|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.4||10.2||573||55|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, and both provide the same movie specifications (1080/30p).
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Stylus 1 has an electronic viewfinder (1440k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-2 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-2 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Olympus Stylus 1 and Olympus XZ-2 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus Stylus 1||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||optional||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||5.2||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon G1 X||optical||n||3.0||922||Swivel||n||1/4000s||1.9||Y||Y|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1s||1440||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||7.0||Y||Y|
The Olympus Stylus 1 and the Olympus XZ-2 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Both the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 have zoom lenses built in. The Stylus 1 has a 28-300mm f/2.8-2.8 optic and the XZ-2 offers a 28-112mm f/1.8-2.5 (focal lengths in full frame equivalent terms). Hence, the Stylus 1 and XZ-2 provide the same view at the wide-angle end, but the XZ-2 has less tele-photo reach at the long end. The XZ-2 offers the faster maximum aperture.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 write their files to SDXC cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus Stylus 1 and Olympus XZ-2 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|1.||Olympus Stylus 1||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon G1 X||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1s||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the Stylus 1 offers wifi support, while the XZ-2 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The Stylus 1 was replaced by the Olympus Stylus 1s, while the XZ-2 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus Stylus 1 better than the Olympus XZ-2 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus Stylus 1:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 920k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More tele-reach: Has a longer tele-lens for perspective compression and subject magnification.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (410 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year and 1 month after the XZ-2).
Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-2:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better light gathering: Has a lens with a wider maximum aperture (f/1.8 vs f/2.8).
- More compact: Is smaller (113x65mm vs 116x87mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 56g or 14 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in September 2012).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Stylus 1 emerges as the winner of the contest (8 : 6 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus Stylus 1 and the Olympus XZ-2 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the Stylus 1 and the XZ-2 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Olympus Stylus 1||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||699|
|2.||Olympus XZ-2||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|3.||Canon G1 X Mark II||3/5||+||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||799|
|4.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|5.||Canon G1 X||5/5||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||799|
|6.||Fujifilm X30||4/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2014||599|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Nikon P7800||3/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||549|
|9.||Olympus Stylus 1s||..||..||..||..||..||Apr 2015||699|
|10.||Olympus E-PL2||3/5||83/100||71/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||599|
|11.||Olympus E-PL3||3/5||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|12.||Olympus XZ-1||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|13.||Panasonic LF1||3/5||+||..||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Pentax MX-1||3/5||..||74/100||4/5||4/5||Jan 2013||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Olympus Stylus 1 vs Olympus XZ-2
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||28-300mm f/2.8||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5|
|Launch Date||October 2013||September 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||1/1.7" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.6 x 5.7 mm||7.6 x 5.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||43.32 mm2||43.32 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.5 mm||9.5 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||11.8 Megapixels||11.8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3968 x 2976 pixels||3968 x 2976 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.91 μm||1.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||27.26 MP/cm2||27.26 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VI||TruePic VI|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||51||49|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||20.7||20.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.6||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||179||216|
|Screen Specs||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Viewfinder optional|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||1440k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||920k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||Lens-based stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Olympus Stylus 1||Olympus XZ-2|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||410 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
116 x 87 x 57 mm
(4.6 x 3.4 x 2.2 in)
113 x 65 x 48 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||402 g (14.2 oz)||346 g (12.2 oz)|
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