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October 30, 2012

Curiosity factor: Olympus XZ-2 samples, hands-on, previews, ISO comparison

Photokina 2012 brought us a lot of new cameras, making 2012 a record-breaking year in terms of new camera models announced in 2012 by the major camera manufacturers.

One of the resurgent camera segments in 2012 are/were fixed-lens cameras with RAW, both at the customary 1/1.x" sensor size and also jumping all the way up to 35mm full frame with the Sony RX1. The camera that perhaps raised the most eyebrows - because of its uncompetitive price - was the Olympus XZ-2, which added "Stylus" to its name. The camera was announced at $600 and surprisingly/stubbornly it remains at $600, currently in pre-order state.

Olympus XZ-2 Previews, Hands-on Reports and Samples
With that as a preface, there was a flurry of Olympus XZ-2 previews, hands-on reports, and samples published on the internets this week. Here they are:

+ ISO comparison (JPEG and RAW) at Focus Numerique compared to the Panasonic LX7, Canon G15, Nikon P7700, and Sony RX100
+ Robin Wong: macro and concert photography and street shooting
+ real-world JPEGs and one RAW (.ORF) [the last one] at
+ first look at The.Pho.blo.grapher
+ preview at ItMedia Japan (computer-translated)

A Closer LQQk at the Pricing Madness
Not sure what the reasoning behind the $600 price was. Some perhaps may suggest that Olympus wants to empty shelves of the previous model, the XZ-1. As of the time of writing, you can get three (!) XZ-1 cameras for the price of one XZ-2 camera. That's because the XZ-1 currently goes for $200 at Amazon by Amazon. Showing that there is a method to the madness and this is not a random discount, the Olympus XZ-1 case which includes a 4GB SD card had been offered for under $5. As of Oct-31-2012 recheck, the $5 case is sold-out... Some may suggest that Olympus wants to reframe the Stylus XZ-series line as a premium brand and a higher price "suggests" premium model. Some may suggest that perhaps Olympus has lost its grip on reality :)

Compared to the latest 1/1.x" (and above) models announced in 2012 by other major manufacturers, we have these competitive prices as of the time of writing:

+ Samsung EX2f down to $400 (started at $450, announced at $500)
+ Panasonic LX7 - trending towards $400, currently straddling the $410 price (started at $500)
+ Canon S110 down to $430 (started at $450)
+ Canon G15 at $500 (starting price)
+ Nikon Coolpix P7700 for $500 (starting price)
+ Fuji XF1 with 2/3" sensor for $500 (starting price)
+ Sony RX100 with 1-inch sensor for $650 (starting price)
+ for reviews of the above and other fixed-lens cameras with native RAW support, check the list of completed RAWsumer reviews

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