Olympus Stylus 1 review

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Olympus Stylus 1 is a camera from a so called prosumer class which was very popular around 10 years ago but neglected since because of cheap DLSR cameras. Lately, many manufactures started to produce them once again as there is a demand for small cameras with high image quality and manual controls. Stylus 1 has all the bells and whistles that should make it popular: 12 megapixel CMOS sensor with RAW file format compatibility, 28-300mm zoom lens with F/2.8 constant aperture, Full HD video, WiFi, EVF, tilt and touch sensitive LCD and many others. I was quite indifferent to this camera at the time of the announcement. Big zoom, small sensor, probably bad electronic viewfinder (most EVF’s on compact cameras were garbage until now so why expect better?) and surely average image quality… Boy I was wrong! It is not revolutionary but almost all aspects of Stylus 1 were way better than I expected. Keep reading to find out what0s so good about it.

GENERAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Announced: 2013.
  • Type: Prosumer
  • Dimensions: 116 x 87 x 57 mm (4.57 x 3.43 x 2.24″)
  • Weight: 402g (with battery)
  • Sensor: 1/1.7″ (7.44 x 5.58 mm), 12 MP (3968 x 2976 pixels)
  • ISO range: 100 – 12800
  • Image stabilization: Yes (in the lens)
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: Built-in pop-up flash + hot-shoe + flash remote commander
  • Continuous shooting: 7fps
  • LCD screen: 3″, 1,040,000 dots, touch sensitive
  • Memory card: SD, SDHC, SDXC
  • Battery: Li-Ion
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 @ 30p, 1280 x 720 @ 30p, 640 x 480 @ 120fps, 320 x 240 @ 240fps
  • Connectors: USB 2.0, micro HDMI, Wi-Fi built-in

CONSTRUCTION AND HANDLING

Olympus Stylus 1 had quite high build quality for compact cameras standards. The camera is tightly assembled and uses plastic of good quality. I do wish Olympus used soft rubber for grip and thumb rest though; right now it is from some soft plastic but it’s not a big deal.

The camera handles very well. Grip is not very protruded but in combination with excellently shaped thumb rest it is possible to hold the camera for prolonged periods of time without hand fatigue.

In use, Stylus 1 generally feels and operates like OM-D. Menu system, AF speed and the possibility to personalize externals controls are a copy of those found on E-M5 or other mirrorless cameras from Olympus.

Control dials have good response when rotated; they have just the right amount of frictions but are still easy to rotate. The one around the lens uses the ingenious solution seen on Olympus XZ-2: control ring has “clicks” but with the flick of a special switch beside the lens it rotates freely and controls manual focus. Buttons on the back are relatively small and are not protruded enough (menu and playback buttons especially).

There is a small built-in pop-up flash above the lens, but the detail that makes is extremely usable is the option to wirelessly control Olympus flash units up to three groups just like OM-D can. Hot-shoe is also present.

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6 thoughts on “Olympus Stylus 1 review

  1. Great straightforward review. I own the stylus 1 and it is a great camera. Your review is interesting and not overly long.
    I find the super control panel (scp) along with being able to customise function buttons 1 & 2 so very useful and rarely have to go into the menues. Image quality for a camera of this size is amazing also being able to emulate many dslr`s and isolating subjects with the fast lens if desired.
    Best, Geoff

  2. Excellent review and pictures. Thanks. I was wondering in the RAW sample photos when you use the expression “To taste”. What did you mean exactly. Did you change any of the internal settings like noise reduction or noise filter?

    Regards

    • “To taste” means I’m adjusting images in Adobe Camera Raw till I get the look I personally like, that can involve exposure, curves, noise, sharpness, colors, white balance, lens correction etc. I consider straight out of camera images as incomplete and unfinished; PC editing software is a second part of image creation, like dark room was before the advent od digital.

  3. Hello Ivan,

    I recently discover your cameras reviews on YouTube and I find them very professional, unbiased and extremely educational. I have highly recommended your blog to some family and friends.

    I have been looking for a smaller, lighter and more up-to-date camera than a standard DSLR and I fell in love with the Nikon Coolpix P600 ($425 1/2.3 sensor) until I saw your review on it. You are right, if the average image quality is not all that great then all the bells and whistles may become irrelevant.

    I did a new research with different criteria (image quality and sensor size in mind) and I fell in love again but this time with the Olympus Stylus 1 ($650 1/1.7 sensor) and you seem to agree this is a good camera.

    Unfortunately I believe the price of this Olympus camera is too high for a point and shoot. I would rather consider instead a DSLR Pentax K30 ($425) for which I already have a few lenses (but a K30 is not an up-to-date camera and carrying all that equipment around is not very convenient and/or practical if just taking a few photo in the park or small social gathering).

    I will really appreciate if you could give me some advice.

    What would be the next thing (already in the market or about to enter) closest to the Olympus Stylus 1 but within the $400-$450 range?

    My main feature’s list in order of preference would be:
    1-Image quality (sensor size?)
    2-Wi-Fi (as much control as possible with my android)
    3-Good zoom (at least 300mm if at all possible)
    4-Viewfinder (nice to have)

    Thanks in advance.

    • Tnx for your praise, i am happy when people find my work usefull :)

      It will be hard to find camera with all these features you mentioned up to $450.

      NEX-6 with the kit lens is now on sale on Amazon: $500 down from $900 what is a brutal deal and killer camera, but you don’t get telephoto without buying another lens that would cost $240 (55-210).
      http://camerahoarders.com/sony-nex-6-review/

      Olmypus XZ-2 is a great choice (on sale now also for only $300), but no telephoto and no viewfinder. Nikon P7700 is also excellent, but has everything except wifi and viewfinder.
      http://camerahoarders.com/nikon-p7700-vs-olympus-xz-2-review/

      Olympus E-PM2 also falls into the price range but telephoto would require another lens:
      http://camerahoarders.com/olympus-pen-e-pm2-review/

      Take a look at this litlle fellow:
      http://camerahoarders.com/nikon-coolpix-p340-review/
      It has everything except telephoto and viewfinder, but probably the best IQ from 1/2.7″ sensor I’ve seen and fits in any pocket.

      As you see, at the price range you mentioned you will have to give up on a feature or two from you list, you’ll just have to decide which one. Or pay the bigger price to get them all. Or find a killer sale somewhere :)

      Personally, I would go for that NEX-6 on sale and learn to live without 300mm zoom, it has image quality way above anything with small 1/2.7″ sensor, perfect viewfinder, wifi, excellent handling and a growing system of lenses.

  4. Pingback: Nikon Coolpix P600 review | Camerahoarders.com

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