Should you find yourself wondering what would happen if the OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera and the XZ-2 compact had a baby, the answer from Olympus is the 12 MP Stylus 1 premium compact superzoom. Combining DSLR-like operation and performance and compact camera portability, the prothusiast camera features a 300-mm constant aperture zoom lens (with the option to extend the telephoto end via an adapter and add-on lens), a tilting touchscreen display and an electronic viewfinder, and built-in Wi-Fi.
Olympus says that the camera's 10.7x (28 - 300 mm) F2.8 i.ZUIKO zoom lens, which is made up of 12 elements in 10 groups, has same optical quality as the company's ZUIKO interchangeable lenses. It has built-in mechanical image stabilization, and when at rest, retracts fully inside the camera's body. The lens is edged by a hybrid control ring similar to the one found on the Stylus XZ-2 iHS. In digital mode, the ring can be used for zooming and manual focus, and analog mode allows control over camera settings.
To help it really live up to its superzoom status, users can mount a TCON-17x 1.7x teleconverter lens using a CLA-13 converter adapter, which will extend the telephoto end to 510 mm, but doing so will obviously adversely affect the camera's portability and convenience.
The Stylus 1 has a 12-megapixel 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor and TruePic VI image processor, ISO 100 - 12800 sensitivity, and is capable of full-resolution continuous shooting of 7 frames per second for a burst of 70 (JPEG) or 25 (RAW) frames. It borrows the Fast Touch AF system from the PEN series cameras, which promises super-quick precision focusing using the 3-inch, 1.04 million dot tilting LCD touch monitor.
The compact has also been treated to the same 1.44 million dot resolution LCD electronic viewfinder as can be found on the Olympus OM-D E-M5, with 1.15x magnification and 100 percent field of view. An eye sensor turns off LiveView on the touchscreen display when an approaching eye is detected.
This camera packs integrated Wi-Fi, too, which allows direct wireless connection with a smartphone or tablet for remote viewing, shutter control and settings adjustment via the free-to-use iOS/Android Image Share 2.1 app. Users can also geotag images using the smartphone's onboard GPS.
The 4.5 x 3.4 x 2.2 in (116.2 x 87 x 56.5 mm) Stylus 1 has a fully loaded weight of 14.2 oz (about 400 g), and is capable of Full HD video recording at 30 fps with stereo audio. Users can capture footage at up to 240 fps for those much-loved dramatic slow motion scenes, though the resolution will need to drop to 320 x 240.
Completing the specs are a pair of customizable function buttons, an exposure and a sub dial, and zoom control at the side as well as the front. It has a built-in, pop-up flash (though the camera also sports a hot shoe accessory mount), and is reported to be good for up to 410 shots between charges of its Li-ion battery.
Users are offered a choice of four aspects for capturing stills, and 11 art filters and five effects should help satisfy the creativity muse. An included Neutral Density filter helps prevent overexposure during motion blur shooting.
The Olympus Stylus 1 will be available in black from December for US$699.99.
The following video walks through the main feature set.
Product page: Olympus Stylus 1