OLYMPUS STYLUS 1 LENS
The lens is a true gem. It has a constant aperture of F/2.8 and in 35mm terms covers 28-300mm. The camera is still only 6cm in depth with the lens retracted.
Optically there’s not much to complain. I noticed some chromatic aberrations, but they are easily removed in post process. Sharpness is excellent in the center and seems to be quite good in the corners on wide angle and even better when zoomed in. Flare control is only average, but this is typical for lenses of large zoom range.
The lens has a built-in 3-stop ND filter which can be useful for bright daylight shooting or to get long exposures. The lens cap is also a nice detail: it opens like a flower and can be removed when you want to attach a lens adapter to use filters.
Below: samples at widest angle and maximum zoom.
LCD AND EVF
LCD has a now standard 3 inch diagonal and 1 million dots. It is tillable up to 90 degrees upward and 45 degrees downward. Touch capability is built-in what is great for focusing and image reviewing. Sadly, it does not support multi-touch nor is as sensitive like LCD displays found on Samsung and Canon cameras. Viewing angles are excellent, but I think comparable Canon and Panasonic LCD displays show better colors and sharpness. It is not a deal breaking difference but it is visible when you know what to look for.
Electronic viewfinder is one of the bigger positive surprises on this camera. This is definitely one of the best EVF’s ever used in compact cameras! I later realized this is the same unit as used in E-M5 (how did I miss that info when it was announced?). It is big, bright and very detailed. The downside is that it does not show main menu system – surely a glitch that could be upgraded with next firmware. Quick menu is displayed as is the case with the image playback though. EVF has a proximity sensor – when you raise the camera to your eye it will engage automatically.
OLYMPUS STYLUS 1 SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY
Sensor has small dimensions – 1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm), but it has a reasonably low 12 megapixels. Image quality is rather good for a sensor of this size; I noticed a bit dull colors from default settings and a lack of dynamic range compared to cameras with larger sensor but compared with similar sensors, Olympus is among the best. Fine details are well preserved in images what becomes evident when working with RAW files. Canon S120 has equally big (small) sensor and images from Olympus look way better (better lens is also contributing).
High ISO is reasonably good; you can get excellent shots up to ISO 800, but shooting above that can be a problem. You can shoot it up to ISO 12,800 though, but I would recommend it. Constant F/2.8 and image stabilization make low light shooting easier, but keep in mind this is a very small sensor; this camera gives its best in good light. If you shoot low light regularly, you might be better with a DSLR or mirrorless for the same price.
Sony RX100M2 costs the same as this Olympus, has bigger sensor in smaller body with better image quality but far less zoom and variable lens aperture. It also does not have EVF (the new Mark 3 has it; I’m still waiting for that one to arrive for review).
OLYMPUS STYLUS 1 MEMORY AND BATTERY
Olympus Stylus 1 uses Li-Ion battery capable of around 250 shots on average. This is relatively good result. External charger is delivered in the package. Camera is compatible with widely available SD memory cards.
MENUS AND RESPONSIVITY
Menu system is of identical design as is the one found on PEN and OMD cameras. Through quick menu you can adjust main setting like WB, ISO, drive mode etc. Main menu system also has a familiar look and hides a wide range of advanced options. If you never used Olympus camera before, it will take some time for you to get used to it.
Menus are fast but not instantaneous. There is a short but noticeable lag when you call quick menu (third of a second or so) and this is the case with OMD and PEN cameras also. The camera starts up and is ready to shoot approximately in one and a half or two seconds.
If you ask me to choose one thing that is special about this camera, auto focus would be it. This thing flies! Good light, low light, wide angle, maximum zoom, Stylus 1 does not care. It is fast as OM-D or DSLRS in good light and gets a bit slower in lower light but still there is not a single compact camera that is as good as this one, and I tried most of them.
OLYMPUS STYLUS 1 VIDEO RECORDING
Video recording is available in Full HD (1920×1080) at 30 frames per second. Stereo microphone is built-in, but there is no 3,5mm input for better external microphone. Olympus Stylus 1 can also record slow motion videos: 640×480 with 120fps and 320×240 with 240fps.