Camerlabs has a preview of the recently announced Olympus Stylus 1 plus two interesting comparisons between this new high end superzoom and two of its most obvious rivals, the Panasonic FZ200 & Sony RX10.
The comparisons make interesting reading.
Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Panasonic Lumix FZ200
The Lumix FZ200 is Panasonic’s flagship super-zoom camera and the model Olympus is most targeting with the STYLUS 1. Both models share DSLR styling, lenses with constant f2.8 focal ratios, electronic viewfinders, 3in screens, hotshoes, 12 Megapixel sensors and plenty of manual control, but their feature-set and capabilities are quite different.
In its favour, the FZ200 sports a broader optical range, with a 24x zoom equivalent to 25-600mm – this starts slightly wider than the Olympus STYLUS 1 and ends with a telephoto reach that’s twice as close. Indeed the FZ200, while out-gunned by variable aperture models like the Canon SX50 HS and Panasonic’s own FZ70 / FZ72, features the longest range of all the constant f2.8 aperture super-zooms. The FZ200’s screen is also fully-articulated, so can twist and flip to any angle including back on itself for protection, whereas the STYLUS 1 screen can only vertically tilt. The FZ200 additionally sports a microphone jack, albeit with a 2.5mm socket that will almost certainly need an adapter for most third party microphones.
In its favour the STYLUS 1 boasts a slightly larger sensor, a 1/1.7in type versus a 1/2.3in type. The viewfinder may share a similar resolution, but on the STYLUS 1 the image is much larger, whereas it’s quite tiny on the FZ200. The body is around the same height, but 1cm narrower from the front and most importantly half the thickness and two thirds the weight, making it much more pocketable. The screen is also higher resolution and touch-sensitive, and the STYLUS 1 also features built-in Wifi with smartphone remote control.
So the STYLUS 1 is comfortably smaller and lighter, sports a slightly bigger sensor and Wifi, but the FZ200 counters that with double the telephoto reach not to mention slightly wider coverage at the other end of the scale. As an older model, the FZ200 is also cheaper, costing around two thirds the price of the STYLUS 1 depending on your region. Certainly if the longer range, fully articulated screen and lower price are key factors for you, the FZ200 will be a better bet.
Olympus STYLUS 1 vs Sony Cyber-shot RX10
Sony’s Cyber-shot RX10 is another new super-zoom camera with a constant f2.8 lens, although one that’s unashamedly targeting a higher-end photographer than either the STYLUS 1 or FZ200. There are similarities between them all, but the RX10 is by far the most sophisticated, but equally the largest, heaviest and most expensive too, and while it boasts the largest sensor of the three models compared here, it also has the shortest zoom range too. In its favour the RX10 has the biggest and highest resolution sensor of the three models, the same 20 Megapixel 1in type that’s employed by the RX100 II compact. With 2.8 times the surface area of the 1/1.7in sensor of the STYLUS 1, the RX10 enjoys lower noise at higher sensitivities – you can preview what to expect in my Canon S120 review where I compared it against the RX100 II, so it’s a 1/1.7in vs 1in type sensor comparison. So the Sony enjoys the best sensor quality.
While the STYLUS 1 has a great viewfinder, the RX10’s is even better with a higher resolution 1024×768 XGA OLED panel. The lens starts out wider too at 24mm vs 28mm. The RX10 enjoys the best build quality too, being the only one of the three to boast weather-sealing. While it’s possible to connect external mics to all three models, the RX10 additionally sports a headphone socket, along with a manual aperture ring that can be configured to clickable steps or smooth adjustments. All of this coupled with manual exposures for movies make it the best video camera of the three models. The HDMI output can even be set to deliver 4k to compatible TVs – although this is just for image playback, not video capture. The RX10’s Wifi is also complemented by NFC for easier setup with compatible handsets.
In its favour the STYLUS 1 is much smaller and lighter: 13mm narrower, 15mm shorter and almost half the thickness, not to mention half the weight too. The telephoto reach on the Olympus is 50% longer, so while the RX10 zooms wider at 24mm vs 28mm, the STYLUS 1 zooms much longer to 300mm vs 200mm. The STYLUS 1 is also much cheaper, indeed depending on region it could cost almost half the price. So clearly with its touch build, bigger sensor and more sophisticated video capabilities, the RX10 is aimed at a higher-end owner, but it remains a compelling option if you want a high performance camera with a big zoom and great quality.
Dpreview has posted a detailed technical explanation of the new highly innovative sensor in the newly announced Canon EOS 70D and interesting reading it makes.
I can only agree with Dpreview’s summary of the new 70D. If this new sensor delivers on its promise of ultra fast AF, especially in live view then when combine with its other key features, the Canon EOS 70D could represent the best mid level APS-C DSLR in the market by some margin.
Mark Baynham (July 2013)