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Wednesday, February 02, 2011
A Renaissance!

This blog has been quiet for a time. We are focusing efforts on a new product that should be out soon. However watching the 2010 fall season and into the New Year unfold, there have been a lot of new cameras. Most are evolutions from previous models. Last year also saw the coming of age of the still camera/video ability - all good.

A camera that has caught my eye is the Olympus XZ-1. I have always had a sweet spot for Olympus. Twenty years ago I bought a ME-Super in my late teens. It was an almost pocketable SLR. Great little camera, great lenses. Then Olympus produced the C-3040Z, C-4040Z and C5050Z digital cameras which featured some of the brightest zooms to ever appear on compact cameras. Then we slipped into the dark ages of long dark zoom lensed cameras.

Is Olympus our modern day Medici family? Leading us out of the darkness into a camera design renaissance? In our “Top 5+” page we put the Olympus XZ-1 second after the Canon S95. The only issues being the bigger size of the XZ-1 and lens cap. However we are having second thoughts. The XZ-1 has taken the better of the two other forerunners in the high end compact category - the Panasonic LX5 and the Canon S95.

It has the brightest lens, without the compromise of being too short a focal length, a really useful 28-112mm lens range and a very reliable exposure system that makes a photographers hit rate that much higher. The XZ-1 has a good ISO even though it is seldom used because the lens is so fast, and a very fast internal processing easy to use interface. I also appreciate Olympus has gone the understated route with its design. I have never understood the benefit of a flashy camera other than “big face”. For better photography, the lower key the equipment the better.

The future looks bright!

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