Olympus XZ-1 vs Panasonic S1
The Olympus XZ-1 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2011 and February 2019. The XZ-1 is a fixed lens compact, while the S1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a 1/1.7-inch (XZ-1) and a full frame (S1) sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 10.1 megapixels, whereas the Panasonic provides 24 MP.
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 XZ-1 and the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1? 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 XZ-1 and the Panasonic S1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The XZ-1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the S1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Panasonic S1 is considerably larger (127 percent) than the Olympus XZ-1. It is noteworthy in this context that the S1 is splash and dust-proof, while the XZ-1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the XZ-1 has a lens built in, whereas the S1 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The power pack in the S1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|Olympus XZ-1||111 mm||65 mm||42 mm||275 g||320||n||Jan 2011||499|
|Panasonic S1||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1017 g||400||Y||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Canon R6||138 mm||98 mm||88 mm||680 g||360||Y||Jul 2020||2,499|
|Olympus E-M1X||144 mm||147 mm||75 mm||997 g||870||Y||Jan 2019||2,999|
|Olympus TG-5||113 mm||66 mm||32 mm||250 g||340||Y||May 2017||449|
|Olympus E-PM2||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||269 g||360||n||Sep 2012||499|
|Olympus XZ-2||113 mm||65 mm||48 mm||346 g||340||n||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||110 mm||64 mm||37 mm||313 g||300||n||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||110 mm||64 mm||34 mm||265 g||330||n||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||115 mm||72 mm||42 mm||334 g||290||n||Feb 2010||599|
|Panasonic S5||133 mm||98 mm||82 mm||714 g||440||Y||Sep 2020||1,999|
|Panasonic S1R||149 mm||110 mm||97 mm||1016 g||380||Y||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Panasonic S1H||151 mm||114 mm||110 mm||1052 g||400||Y||May 2019||3,999|
|Panasonic FZ200||125 mm||87 mm||110 mm||588 g||540||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||111 mm||68 mm||46 mm||298 g||330||n||Jul 2012||499|
|Panasonic FZ150||124 mm||82 mm||92 mm||528 g||410||n||Aug 2011||499|
|Panasonic LX5||110 mm||65 mm||43 mm||271 g||400||n||Jul 2010||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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The XZ-1 was launched at a lower price than the S1, despite having a lens built in. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Olympus XZ-1 features a 1/1.7-inch sensor and the Panasonic S1 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the S1 is 1741 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 4.4 and 1.0. The sensor in the XZ-1 has a native 4:3 aspect ratio, while the one in the S1 offers a 3:2 aspect.
With 24MP, the S1 offers a higher resolution than the XZ-1 (10.1MP), but the S1 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 2.13μm for the XZ-1) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the S1 is a much more recent model (by 8 years) than the XZ-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the S1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Panasonic S1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the S1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus XZ-1 are 18.3 x 13.8 inches or 46.5 x 35 cm for good quality, 14.7 x 11 inches or 37.2 x 28 cm for very good quality, and 12.2 x 9.2 inches or 31 x 23.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
Unlike the XZ-1, the S1 has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (96MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Olympus XZ-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the S1 offers substantially better image quality than the XZ-1 (overall score 61 points higher). The advantage is based on 6.4 bits higher color depth, 4.1 EV in additional dynamic range, and 4.8 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
| DXO |
|Panasonic S1||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||25.2||14.5||3333||95|
|Canon R6||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4k/60p||24.2||14.3||3394||90|
|Olympus E-M1X||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||..||..||..||..|
|Olympus E-PM2||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.2||932||72|
|Olympus E-PL3||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||20.9||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PM1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||1080/60i||21.0||10.3||499||52|
|Olympus E-PL1||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.5||10.1||487||54|
|Panasonic S5||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/60p||..||..||..||..|
|Panasonic S1R||Full Frame||46.7||8368||5584||4K/60p||26.4||14.1||3525||100|
|Panasonic S1H||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||6K/30p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the S1 provides a better video resolution than the XZ-1. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/60p, while the Olympus is limited to 720/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the S1 has an electronic viewfinder (5760k dots), which can be very helpful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the XZ-1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. That said, the XZ-1 can be equipped with an optional viewfinder – the VF-2. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Olympus XZ-1, the Panasonic S1, and comparable cameras.
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The XZ-1 has one, while the S1 does not. While the built-in flash of the XZ-1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the S1 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Olympus XZ-1 and the Panasonic S1 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.
The XZ-1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the S1 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The S1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the XZ-1 only has one slot. The S1 supports UHS-II cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s), while the XZ-1 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD 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 XZ-1 and Panasonic Lumix DC-S1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the S1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the XZ-1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Panasonic S1 (unlike the XZ-1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The S1 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Panasonic. In contrast, the XZ-1 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the XZ-1 was succeeded by the Olympus XZ-2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus and Panasonic websites.
So what is the bottom line? Is the Olympus XZ-1 better than the Panasonic S1 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus XZ-1:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Ready to shoot: Has a lens built-in, whereas the S1 requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (111x65mm vs 149x110mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the S1).
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2011).
Reasons to prefer the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 10.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 57%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (61 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (6.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (4.1 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (4.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/60p vs 720/30p).
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
- Easier framing: Has an electronic viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 614k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (9 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More flexible: Takes interchangeable lenses and can thus be used with specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (400 versus 320) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-II standard.
- More modern: Reflects 8 years of technical progress since the XZ-1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the S1 is the clear winner of the contest (31 : 7 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports 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 XZ-1 and the Panasonic S1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Travel-Zoom Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XZ-1 or the S1 perform in practice. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Olympus XZ-1||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2011||499|
|Panasonic S1||+ +||88/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2019||2,499|
|Canon R6||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Jul 2020||2,499|
|Olympus E-M1X||o||..||4.5/5||5/5||..||Jan 2019||2,999|
|Olympus TG-5||+ +||..||4/5||o||4/5||May 2017||449|
|Olympus E-PM2||..||77/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||499|
|Olympus XZ-2||+||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||599|
|Olympus E-PL3||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Jun 2011||599|
|Olympus E-PM1||86/100||71/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2011||499|
|Olympus E-PL1||86/100||69/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2010||599|
|Panasonic S5||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2020||1,999|
|Panasonic S1R||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2019||3,699|
|Panasonic S1H||..||90/100||..||..||..||May 2019||3,999|
|Panasonic FZ200||+ +||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Panasonic LX7||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||499|
|Panasonic FZ150||+ +||76/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2011||499|
|Panasonic LX5||+||73/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2010||499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
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 make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Olympus XZ-1 vs Panasonic S1
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 XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||28-112mm f/1.8-2.5||Leica L mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2011||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 499||USD 2,499|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Sensor Format||1/1.7" Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||7.85 x 5.89 mm||35.6 x 23.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||46.2365 mm2||847.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||9.8 mm||42.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||10.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3664 x 2752 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||2.13 μm||5.94 μm|
|Pixel Density||21.81 MP/cm2||2.83 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/30p Video||4K/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic V||Venus|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||34||95|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||18.8||25.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||10.4||14.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||117||3333|
|Screen Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Viewfinder Type||Viewfinder optional||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||5760k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||614k dots||2100k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/2000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||2 shutter flaps/s||9 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||up to 1/8000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.1|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||full HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus XZ-1||Panasonic S1|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||320 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
111 x 65 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.6 x 1.7 in)
149 x 110 x 97 mm
(5.9 x 4.3 x 3.8 in)
|Camera Weight||275 g (9.7 oz)||1017 g (35.9 oz)|
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