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Olympus XZ-10 - Design and Performance

By Paul Nuttall



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Olympus XZ-10 - Design

As is ever the case with this type of enthusiast compact, keeping the body small and pocketable is primary concern. As a result, the XZ-10 fits easily into most trouser pockets, and is small enough and light enough to be your take-everywhere compact.

On the whole, the XZ-10 is a well-designed bit of kit. It has a number of well thought out and welcome features, and none more so than the control ring.

This encircles the camera’s lens and can be customised and gives you direct access to any of the camera’s main shooting controls, including aperture and shutter speed. This control ring is a feature that quite a few enthusiast compacts lack, and it really adds to the shooting experience. It’s a serious plus in the XZ-10’s favour.

Although the mode dial is on the small side, it too benefits from some smart design. The dial itself is unobstructed from the side and as such can be turned with ease while shooting, while it also features a prominently milled edge to allow for a firm grip while turning.

The only real criticism of the camera’s design is that it could benefit from a slightly more substantial grip on both its side and its rear, but it’s not a serious complaint.

Olympus XZ-10 – Performance

While the overall level of performance of the XZ-10 is satisfactory, there are a few areas in which it is a little disappointing

One area of concern is the LCD screen. It features auto adjustment technology that acts swiftly in changes in light conditions. This can work to the screen’s detriment however, resulting in a relatively dark feed in light conditions.

The screen also suffers from image glare and, on occasion, can suffer from a slightly peculiar blue cast. That being said, you can of course adjust the screen manually to suit your shooting conditions, although it would be preferable for the camera to operate well straight out of the box.

On the plus side, the touchscreen element of the screen is excellent. It’s one of the most responsive units we’ve tested, featuring an impressively prompt level of touch focus in particular.

But it’s XZ-10’s AF system that’s the real highlight of the camera’s performance. The XZ-10 acquires focus in an instant at either end of the model’s focal range, and performs particularly well in good light, but with only a slight drop-off in darker conditions.

It’s also fast in general in operation, with start-up times in keeping with similar enthusiast compacts. Write speeds are also respectable, with the XZ-10 managing to capture five Raw and JPEG files simultaneously before the camera’s buffer fills and it begins to slow down.

Paul Morris

July 10, 2013, 12:19 pm

"While the enthusiast compact market is long-established, it's an area Olympus has only recently entered. The is its first attempt XZ-10."

If you mean that the XZ-10 is Olympus's first attempt, it isn't. It already released the pro compacts the XZ-1 and XZ-2. both with larger 1/1.6" sensors. Sure they are a little bigger than the XZ-10, but both are still most definitely compacts.

Geoffrey Jackson

July 12, 2013, 8:06 pm

Very good point. This camera suffers from occupying one of the slots next door to the XZ-2 in the Olympus range. If they equipped the XZ-10 with all the bells and whistles of the XZ-2 it wouldn't attract the criticism leveled at it here, but no-one would buy the XZ-2 and Olympus wouldn't have anything to sell where this item would just have left a gap.

Surely reviewers need to criticise within the boundaries of a product's target market? If not then a Fiat Panda would be "useless for being less comfortable than a Bentley Mulsanne", and a Bugatti Veyron would be "terrible for being more expensive than a Citroen C-1"... I chose automobile analogies out of cowardice, being in fear of the flak that photography analogies would have spawned.

antonio sesto

June 1, 2014, 10:26 am

I don't know why photographic reviews never contain information significantly different from what an interested reader may find in the camera brochure. If this is forgivable in the case of a basic camera, it is unacceptable in a review focusing on pro- or enthusiast-level equipment: enthusiasts look for answers that cannot be found on the official recommendation. I even find video reviews indicating the shutter release button and the on-off one.

Almost every enthusiast knows that a bigger sensor (or, more precisely, bigger light receptors) results in cleaner photos. So there is no point in writing that the Canon S110 saves better (noise-wise) pictures. There is no point in writing that this camera is physically smaller than the various XZ-2, LX-7, etc.

Better said, there is no point in writing *only* this information.

So, what information is missing? I have had a Canon S100: I sold it because the very slow lens forced me to always shoot at high ISO. The lens was f2 only at 24mm, but very very slow at the rest of the zoom range. Furthermore, with the lens zoomed in, the Canon S100 was able to focus in a reasonable time (without hunting) only at noon in a very sunny day of August spent on the Italian beaches. With dim light the camera was basically not able to acquire a focus point.

Question. In dim light, how does this camera compare with that Canon S110? Does the zoom lens allow to use low ISO settings? What's the point in providing SNR data: in the same place, same conditions, how do the two camera get the pictures? Is it possible to use low ISO settings with the XZ-10? In order to answer this question you need to actually use the camera because the answer depends also on the IS system.

Your review does not say anything that cannot be read on the producers' sites. Nothing that cannot be read on the various brochures.

But not only your review: basically all the reviews on the internet look like they have been written without having ever touched the camera.

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