Olympus has expanded its compact camera market with the new premium Stylus 1 compact. It's like an XZ-2 in OM-D E-M5 clothing with a 28-300mm f/2.8 zoom thrown into the mix.
Many were anticipating a large sensor for this model, but Olympus has stuck with the 1/1.7-inch 12-megapixel offering as found in the XZ-2. The Stylus 1 is all about balancing features, build quality, price and capability in a near-pocketable package, measuring 116mm x 87mm x 56.5mm. Well, it is pocketable... if you have large pockets.
The Stylus 1 features a 1.44m-dot electronic viewfinder, 1,040k-dot tilt-angle touchscreen LCD panel and has all the manual control you'd expect of an advanced camera. A mode dial and top thumbwheel head up the controls.
On the front there's a lens ring that can either "click" between settings - idea for aperture value adjustment - or, via the flick of a switch, will rotate smoothly to cater for zooming, manual focus or whatever you programme the camera to do via its menus. Two programmable function (Fn) buttons are also on board.
The Stylus 1 does look like a mini DSLR in many respects, even if its sensor size is nowhere near such a DSLR scale. But as that lens offers a maximum f/2.8 aperture irrelevant of the equivalent focal length, and there's built-in optical image stabilisation to ensure preview stability at the longer end of the zoom, we can see the appeal of this small-scale snapper.
There are plenty of other features on board too: built-in Wi-Fi for picture sharing, "art filters", and a three-dimensional virtual level display. We won't list it all here as we've gone into far more detail in our hands-on preview based on time that we spent with a pre-production Stylus 1.
The Olympus Stylus 1 will go on sale at the end of November, priced £550 at launch.