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Olympus XZ-1 Digital Camera Review$499.99
For lovers of compact camera video, the XZ-1 offers a couple of nifty features. For starters, you can shoot in both HD and SD, which we recommend for anyone that plans to throw videos straight onto YouTube. There's a dedicated video record button, which means that you can capture videos in just about any mode. Most image adjustments you make will apply to video mode as well.
Handling during video recording is pretty good, with the record button nestled in a protective ridge on the back of the camera. The button is off to the side and next to a textured grip, so you aren't likely to activate the feature accidentally. The full optical zoom range is available during video recording and the zoom is surprisingly quiet (so it doesn't interfere with audio recording). Audio is recorded using the camera's built-in stereo microphone.
The bit of bad news is that the XZ-1 maxes out at 720/30p. Of course, we don't have much love for point-and-shoot video recording anyway, so this doesn't seem like much of a loss.
Point-and-shoot cameras are never strong performers during our video testing, and the Olympus ZX-1 is no exception. Color accuracy during video was 9.16 (not a strong showing) and saturation was just 86.22%. These results aren't nearly as good as what the camera managed with its still photos, but that's often the case with cameras that aren't focused on video recording. More on how we test video color.
Video sharpness was equally unimpressive, with a horizontal sharpness of just about 450 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of about 500 lw/ph. Considering that many point-and-shoot cameras manage better—and high-end consumer camcorders are usually twice that—we wouldn't recommend using the XZ-1's video capabilities unless you're in a pinch. More on how we test video sharpness.