High quality compact that combines D-SLR shooting style and looks with truly portable design
There is a lot of choice in the “compact” camera market right now but nothing that combines a larger high quality sensor with a versatile zoom range and full manual control yet remains truly pocketable.
The new Olympus STYLUS 1 premium compact does just that. Olympus engineers were determined the STYLUS 1 would stand out for its excellent quality. Mission accomplished. Of course they applied the same high standards to the compact design. The STYLUS 1 is a genuinely portable, slim, ‘anytime anywhere’ camera with the manual controls, eye-to-the- viewfinder stability and picture quality to satisfy the most discerning photographers, be they compact enthusiasts or D-SLR owners looking for a more compact, second camera.
A larger 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor heads an impressive list of credentials that includes a new and versatile, ultra-slim, constant-aperture 1:2.8 10.7x (28-300mm*) high-power i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens and a high-performance TruePic VI image processor. A premium high-definition electronic viewfinder, Fast AF and shoot-and-share WiFi round off a persuasive semi-pro package. The STYLUS 1 is available in classic black for £549.99, from late November 2013.
The STYLUS 1 at a glance
Ambitious photographers demand excellent picture quality. One look at the STYLUS 1 spec sheet and you know you’ve found it. Despite a casing depth of just 52mm, it has a brand new 28-300mm* high-power i.ZUIKO DIGTAL lens that offers a constant 1:2.8 aperture from wide to telephoto shots, with a 10.7x optical zoom. Olympus designed this lens to work seamlessly with its large-format BSI CMOS sensor, as well as the TruePic VI image processor that is already familiar to users of its high-end OM-D E-M5 system camera. Other tried-and-tested OM-D features include the rock-solid handling and grip that comes from the D-SLR-style casing and layout. For accurate and professional framing, there is the large, 1.44 million dot electronic viewfinder, Fast AF for near-instant, precision focusing via touch screen and built-in WiFi for real-time smartphone access – likewise all OM-D-proven. The STYLUS 1 has superb dynamic range and low-light capability, plus the same Hybrid Control Ring for manual or digital control of key settings that has proved so successful on the Olympus XZ series.
New leader, new lens
Compact users shouldn’t have to compromise on the single most crucial component of any camera – the lens. So for the STYLUS 1, Olympus developed a remarkable piece of optical engineering. The ultra-slim, ‘full- range’, constant-aperture 1:2.8 10.7x (28-300mm*) high-power i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens has the versatility and quality for everything from wide to telephoto shots. The large-diameter lens features a powerful, built-in VCM image stabilization mechanism that virtually eliminates camera shake and blur. Unlike lesser rivals, deliberate defocusing generates bokeh approaching D-SLR standards and the lens’ brightness enables high-shutter speeds even in dark scenes. Another significant advantage of the lens is only apparent when it’s not in use – it retracts fully into the camera body (behind an automatic lens cap), so the STYLUS 1 fits easily into a coat pocket. Bulkier cameras can’t match that.
What you see is what you get
What the lens is to image quality, the viewfinder is to ease of use. Unlike most compact cameras, for eye-on-camera shooting the STYLUS 1 has an electronic viewfinder. It’s the same very large, fast-response, high-definition model as the O-MD E-M5, that puts the EVF on many entry-level D-SLR style cameras to shame. 1.44 million dots, a level gauge and shadow highlighting make shot and pre-shot setting selection a joy. With VCM image stabilization mechanism readings visible in the viewfinder, it’s a lot easier to shoot sharp at long focal lengths. Automatic backlight control ensures accurate reproduction of dark and bright parts of the scene and there is no noticeable time lag. The STYLUS 1 automatically detects your eye behind the viewfinder and shuts off Live View on the tilting LCD.
Compact dimensions, D-SLR style
The STYLUS 1 measures just 116mm x 87mm x 56.5mm, which is less than half as deep as several bulkier rivals. Despite its diminutive dimensions, it looks every inch a professional camera. The front grip makes the classic black design easier to hold steady, leaving you free to focus on creative expression. The intelligent layout of the controls also makes the camera easier to operate. For example, you can operate the Hybrid Control Ring and zoom lever with your left hand and concentrate on the shutter release with your right. A lack of clutter and attention to design details such as button size, shape and surface texture is an inspiration to anyone who aspires to pro-standard creativity.
Control is king
The STYLUS 1 offers the ideal blend of effective, hands-on controls and intuitive, high-tech aids like finger-triggered Fast AF and Touch AF Shutter via the LCD. The customizable analogue / digital Hybrid Control Ring on the front lets you assign the parameters you adjust most frequently (e.g., aperture, shutter speed, exposure time and program shift) to the ring or sub- dial on the top of the camera. This way you can adjust them manually without taking your eye off your subject – in the style of a pro. In analogue mode, the ring turns smoothly for zooming and focusing. In digital mode, you can assign functions to a single menu and click through it with the Fn2 button.
Camera loves smartphone
Built-in WiFi combined with OI.Share software makes your camera one with your smartphone, which becomes a portal for image sharing. Pairing is quick and easy: one touch of the WiFi field on your camera display reveals a QR code, which you scan with your smartphone before opening the app. You then effectively mirror the LCD on your phone – to focus and release the shutter remotely via WiFi (in P, A, S, M modes) directly on the phone’s touch screen.
- Eye cup for electronic viewfinder. The EP-11 eye cup cuts out peripheral light for improved visibility in bright conditions
- Full-body jacket. This smart jacket protects your camera against damage and comes with a tailored cover.
- 1.7x teleconverter lens. Extend the focal length of your camera to 510mm with this high-grade lens via the CLA-13 converter adapter, and retain the outstanding brightness of a constant 1:2.8 aperture. Ideal for shooting distant subjects and animals unobserved.
Stylus 1 – first look
Olympus will be giving interested parties an exclusive first look at the new Stylus 1 during their latest pop-up event at Covent Garden’s Icetank space. The event will run from 2-9 November and features a series of workshops, seminars and debates on photography. More information on this event, including the full schedule, will be released shortly.