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Olympus XZ-1 Digital Camera Review$499.99
The Olympus XZ-1 (MSRP $499.99) is a spectacular addition to the high-end compact camera family. We're happy to see Olympus re-entering this market, especially with this 11-megapixel sensor and gorgeous new Zuiko lens. The hardware lets the camera churn out great photos, despite having such a portable form factor. For manual control enthusiasts, the XZ-1 has even more to offer: a slick control ring around the lens, full manual exposure options, and an accessory port that you can use for Olympus' optional EVF.
Most cameras in this price range have at least one weakness, but we're not really sure what the XZ-1's weakness is. It came out near the top in just about every test we ran: sharpness, color accuracy, and noise (in both bright light and low light). The XZ-1 also impressed us in the intangibles: it's a great-looking camera, it feels substantial, the buttons and dials are of exceptional quality, and it's even easy to use.
The only area where the XZ-1 slips up is in video performance, which was as unimpressive as we've come to expect from this category. Video recording just isn't why people buy these cameras.
Video performance aside, the XZ-1 is already one of the best cameras we've seen this year: an early contender for compact camera of the year.