Olympus has managed to produce a compact camera that is a real joy to use. It's perfectly pocket sized, jumps quickly into action and has responsive controls that are sensibly laid out. The wide aperture lens also means the camera can be used handheld where some others can't and a greater degree of background blur is possible.

Although they are not completely without fault, the images are also very good provided the lower sensitivity settings are used. It's also worthwhile shooting raw images so that they can be processed through the supplied software, Olympus Viewer 2, which is really rather good.

It may not have as versatile a focal length lens as the Nikon P7000 and Canon G12, or some of the direct controls, but the XZ-1 has a much wider maximum aperture and is considerably smaller. Its controls are also more responsive than the Nikon P7000's.

Well done Olympus: you've made choosing a high-end compact camera much harder for enthusiasts.

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