Olympus XZ-2 review

The heavyweight compact Olympus Stylus XZ-2 is more than just a point-and-shoot

Olympus XZ-2 review
The 12MP Olympus XZ-2 updates the XZ-1

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The XZ-2's super-fast i.Zuiko Digital lens has to be this camera's standout feature, offering ultra-wide apertures and an impressive focal length range of 28-112mm, which sails past many of its hottest contenders, and produces sharpness straight out of the camera, which many of its peers fail to match.

Thanks to the lens, this camera is a must for low-light enthusiasts as it catalogues impressively crisp captures, even at lower ISOs, helped by the camera's image stabilisation technology that cements details even when shot at noticeably slow shutter speeds, and when executed hand-held.

We liked

The Olympus Stylus XZ-2 delivers much more than an average compact and essentially that's where its key strengths lie.

The manual focus ring, customisable function toggling, manual and semi-manual modes, touch-screen technology, tilt screen and creative filter palette are the most impressive aspects of its advanced functionality.

We disliked

Less intuitive to operate than many of its competitors, the XZ-2's menu systems aren't the most helpful or straightforward, and some of its operation processes are needlessly convoluted.

Also, priced at £479.99/AU$649/US$599.99, it is in keeping with its high-end compact peers, yet the relatively expensive price tag may put some shoppers off.

Final verdict

Although handling the device isn't as straightforward as Canon's Powershots or as intuitive as Nikon's Coolpix range, it does offer a plethora of shooting choice to cater for all levels of shooter; with manual and semi-manual controls for advanced enthusiasts, a dedicated auto mode (iAuto) and scene selector for novices, plus an art palette for keen creatives.

Overall the price tag is a little steep, considering that some low-end to mid-range DSLRs and CSCs can cost a lot less, but for those seeking an all-encompassing compact camera with a solid lens performance the Olympus Stylus XZ-2 has to be one of the best currently on the market.