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olympus xz-2: the 'shouldn't be forgotten' premium compact

Discussion in 'Olympus Forum' started by rbelyell, May 28, 2013.

  1. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i enjoy candids. whether street or family/friends, i like being unobtrusive and capturing spontaneous moments, slices of life, tiny stories, senses of place. i am therefore always in search of the most compact, unnoticeable tools. i settled on the gxr m mount as my 'premium' camera in part for the size, but also in part because the articulating evf allows me to shoot in 'waist level' mode, which is much more unobtrusive than staring someone down whilst pointing my lens at them. ive gotten photos i never would have with this method.

    but sometimes you dont feel like carrying that cam around your neck, or you dont want to be limited to a single FL etc. you want something to plop in your jacket or dangle from your wrist. maybe you also want a zoom. so ive been trying/reading about many of the new crop of 'serious compacts' that might fit that bill. and while i hate not having a vf, i was very intrigued by the xz-2's articulating screen that allows 'touch, focus, fire', 28-110 fast 1.8-2.5 lens, all in a pocketable little bundle. i looked around, and really, theres not very much on the web, either review or blog wise, compared to leica, fuji, panny and sony. ive always been an oly fan, so i thought i'd give it a whirl. wow, have i been impressed.

    first, size wise, it seems 'chunky' because the lens diameter is wider than many of its rivals. but it is actually less wide, less deep and ever so slightly lighter than the fuji x10/20. its certainly jacket, and also cargo pant, pocketable. its eminently easy to 'wrist carry'. check.

    second, feel. pretty damned solid, nice textured grip. with the lens extended we encounter one of the really unique features of the oly: next to the lens is what looks like the 'timer' switch on a film cam. in the 'on' position the lens ring turns in stepped, detente fashion and controls aperture (i shoot in A mode; in S mode it controls SS). flip the switch and that same ring now moves in stepless fashion to control zoom! when in manual focus mode, this setting allows for pretty smooth manual focus-better than the original incarnation of the fuji x100! even though youre focusing on an lcd, which i hate, the magnification plus manual control really makes it easy and effective, if not downright pleasureable. no ones done this before! two checks!

    third, as you get ready to shoot, you pull out the articulating screen, fold it horizontally, hold the cam at chest level, touch the screen wherever you want the focus to be, and bam! photo! AF is not instantaneous and is not as fast as focusing through half pressing the shutter, but not enough of a lag to be really bothersome. and at least imo, fully compensated for by the overwhelming stealth factor. and if you want, the xz-2 also accepts any of olys external vf's! check and check.

    fourth, i shoot jpegs. i fully understand the supposed benefits of raw, but i shoot jpegs. and for the money i spend on cameras, i expect the jpeg engine to deliver at this point on the technology continuum. the cams i use now, the ricoh, the fuji x100, and many others ive enjoyed using in the past, all delivered great ooc jpegs and left plenty of headroom for me to play around with in LR, whether shadow/highlights or WB. and, given the small sensor, i found the xz-2 really delivers in this vital area. pictures really pop, have good resolutiion and very good micro contrast and clarity throughout the frame. i like clarity throughout the frame. its the way my eyes still see, and very often its what i want to reproduce in my images. no problem with the oly, whether macro, portrait, scene or landscape, results are crisp and clear. as for high iso, its pretty darn good up to 1600 (i turn off noise reduction), at which point the overall picture still useable but you can see loss of detail when zooming in. at 1.8 the lens is very fast, and many times that will result in lower iso than you will get in the same scene with competitor cameras. plus oly has always had excellent in camera image stabilization, and the xz-2 is no exception. really big check.

    so at the end of the day, i'm really not sure why this camera doesnt get any press and seems overlooked by enthusiasts/hobbyists. it seems to me the perfect travel companion. and if youre a 'street shooter', i honestly cannot imagine a better tool for your trade in a compact cam. and frankly from what ive experienced and seen of its competitors, it has better IQ than most, and is more versatile than others. at $600usd, its the same price as the fuji x20 and i think the sony rx100, but a lot more than the lx7. highly recommended. below are some examples of what it can do in different situations.

    P5260010. P5260015. P5260024. P5270014. P5270119.
     
  2. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i seem to be unable to post more samples, sorry!
     
  3. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I carry the LX7 for much the same reasons. But the XZ-2 might have been my camera if the LX7 wasn't on sale, lol.

    Nice write up -- you should blog it as a "camera review" too if you have a blot? Even your title feels like that.

    If I have one criticism: You could use capitals at the beginning of sentences though. The reason for that convention is making scanning paragraphs much easier and less like a "monobloc". Using all lower case in long paragraphs hurts readability.
     
  4. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    I'm listening but I need to know costs & potential viewfinder?
     
  5. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    I can see your photos: House, block party, Italian Ice, flower -- they're all there I think.
     
  6. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    thanks john! about the caps, i very much appreciate your CC; as a child i was hit with the ee cummings stick.:smile:

    i had about 5 more photos of low light and landscape. they werent accepted, with a symbol that said i exceeded my limit. so i tried a separate post and that didnt work either, same result.
     
  7. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i added the cost, $600usd. as i said, it takes any of olys evfs for the pen series.
     
  8. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Yes, even the new VF-4 is compatible with it. I have the XZ-1 and love it for its CCD sensor, I'll never give it up. Ditto the GRDIII. I *love* CCD sensors, no idea why.

    I think the XZ-2 was overlooked by many because there have been so many serious compacts released. The Sony RX100 with its 1" sensor has outshone most of the others... I don't know why... I'm no pixel peeper and on the web, I can't really tell the difference in just looking at photographs.. its nice... and will print up better than some... but... and then theres the issue of whether Olympus is going broke or not... personally, I dont care. If Olympus goes broke, my camera won't break or suddenly stop working. and if it does, I'm sure there are enough camera techs around to fix it, if its worth fixing.
     
  9. ReD

    ReD SC Hall of Famer

    Mar 27, 2013
    The add on evf is about double the cost of the camera I'm currently using. Much as I like Olympus the X-10 wins on this count. I think you have to be more of an enthusiast (or more indulgent) to justify the extra cost. It's a shame.
     
  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    The Olympus VF-3 is running about $150, the VF-2 about $100 more. The latter is a quality item the has more than repaid the investment I made in it when I used it on my E-P2. Even when I got rid of my Pens to shoot the EM-5, I kept the viewfinder, knowing it would come in handy.

    It did. I have an E-PM2 coming, though I thought long about the XZ-2. With the Panasonic 14-42 PZ, though, the E-PM2 will not be substantially bigger, and I'll still get the sensor that comes with the E-M5.

    If I hadn't got a really good deal on the E-PM body, I might well have opted for the XZ-2. Your photos are effective advocacy for it.
     
  11. entropic remnants

    entropic remnants SC All-Pro

    Mar 3, 2013
    John Griggs
    Ha ha! I loved ee cummings! I myself am a failed poet... actually add failed musician, etc. lol!

    I didn't know you'd posted more. Well I think that's based on a time limit thing. You can "open up" the system by donating if you ever get motivated to do so. I was here for awhile before I did. This and MU-43.com are the only two forums I belong to because of the quality of the communities here.

    I owned a VF-2 with my pens and it is a great piece of kit to have.
     
  12. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    yeah i found the vf2 indispenible when i shot the ep2 for a couple years. if price concious, one can pick up a used one for about $150usd, or get a new vf3 (silver only) for about the same price. i think i will be rebuying a vf2 soon...
     
  13. zensu

    zensu SC Rookie

    22
    Jul 20, 2012
    Montgomery, AL
    Bobby
    I also highly recommend the VF-2, it's a very essential piece of gear if you shoot outdoors plus it can also adjust it's angle 90 degrees. It works great on the XZ-1 and E-PL5!
     
  14. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I believe the Sony RX100 is the main reason we don't hear a lot about the XZ-2. Suddenly, most enthusiasts were all revved up over one-inch sensors. I think many of us expected the entire 1/1.16-1.17 inch class of cameras to be upgraded to the larger sensor size by now.

    But it hasn't happened and cameras like the XZ-2 and LX-7 show what can be done when the smaller sensor is paired with a fast, sharp lens. The only place where the RX100 has a true advantage is when one shoots wide open at 28mm.

    And here's another vote for the Olympus VF-2 and even VF-3. Watch for sales on the VF-3 - it has occasionally fallen to $99 even on Oly's own website.
     
  15. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    The touch-and-tilt screen on some of the Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras is great, and should be just as nice on the XZ-2 as well.
     
  16. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Does anyone know of the speed of operations on the XZ-2?

    I like my RX100, but it can be a little sluggish. Writing last RAW shots to the card on shut down. Start up. Zoom in/out is not that precise.

    Can anyone comment on the XZ-2 speed of ops, write time, etc?
     
  17. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Your photos look good and it's always helpful to be reminded of possibly "forgotten" cameras.:thumbup:

    Here's the section about how to post images...and specifically about the storage capacity for attachments (why you've reached your limit) with suggestions regarding other methods such as Flickr, etc.: https://www.photographerslounge.org/f19/how-post-images-forum-threads-45/
     
  18. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    And the fixed lensed ones can be forgotten at times here...:smile:
     
  19. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    ive had no problems with the write time, though i dont shoot RAW, or start up. honestly, i personally dont see any advantage to shooting this oly sensor, or the ep2-up to but not including- the omd sensor RAW, but thats a personal opinion.

    theres a split second focus lag when shooting from the touch lcd. if the rx100 zooms via lever, theyre never precise, and the oly's is no different. you can also zoom the oly through the lens ring, and that is more precise, but it does 'lag' a bit.
     
  20. zensu

    zensu SC Rookie

    22
    Jul 20, 2012
    Montgomery, AL
    Bobby
    I "upgraded" from the XZ-1 to an E-M5 and love it. I've hung onto my VF-2 because it is just so great. Your XZ-2 comments remind me of a few of the things I miss about the XZ-1 and also a few of the reasons I upgraded which are now fixed in the XZ-2. I'm thinking or should I say rethinking a great compact camera for easy carry.