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Olympus XZ-10 - Image Quality and Verdict

By Paul Nuttall


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Review Price £300.00

Olympus XZ-10 - Image Quality

One of the main focuses of an enthusiast compact is always going to be the camera’s image quality performance. Although once again the Olympus XZ-10 does well in this area, it’s not without a few issues, and falls short of the this in this category.

As mentioned previously, the XZ-10 features a standard 1/2.3in sensor, much the same as your average compact camera as opposed to the slightly larger sensor found in competing enthusiast compacts.

One by-product of this sensor is that the XZ-10 doesn’t handle noise at higher ISO settings as well as some of its competitors. Results are fine up to ISO 800, but anywhere beyond that and the compact begins to suffer from noise reduction hampering the rendering of fine detail.

The sensor does, however, do a good job at rendering fine detail at lower ISO settings, with the 12.1MP resolution more than adequate for larger prints.

Olympus HZ-10

The XZ-10’s metering and auto white balance is a tad unreliable, too. The former sometimes suffers from being oversensitive and erring towards underexposur, while the latter presents the odd warmer result than desired.

Both of these issues are minor, however, and on the whole the model sports a good dynamic range, while colour reproduction is also pleasing.

Should I buy the Olympus XZ-10?

The Olympus XZ-10 is a solid enthusiast compact camera that does many things well, but it still has some rough edges to fix.

Its most direct competitors are arguably the Canon S110 and Nikon Coolpix P330, both of which feature similar specifications and are available at a comparative price tag. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash then the P330 is a bit cheaper and does just as well.

On the other hand, the Canon S110 is the same price just about edges the Olympus when it comes to overall image quality and reliability, while the likes of Panasonic Lumix LX7 continue to edge down in price.


The Olympus XZ-10 is a solid all-round performer that features excellent AF performance, an impressive touchscreen and good design. But it’s let down by its small sensor and a few reliability issues.

Next, see how it compares to our round-up of the Best Cameras of 2013.

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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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