Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS Digital Camera Review
The XZ-2 is a solid upgrade to the beloved XZ-1, but it falls behind in terms of image quality.
In good light, the XZ-2 is a capable video performer, though it does have a few odd quirks. Generally speaking, artifacting and trailing are kept to a minimum, and the 30fps set framerate in 1080P and 720P shooting provides a smooth viewing experience. However, our motion test did show some odd "tearing" behavior in high-frequency movement areas (see the black and white wheel in the attached video). This problem is evident when the video is playing but disappears as soon as it's paused, which leads us to believe it's a codec issue.
In dim light, artifacting becomes much more apparent and trailing becomes a real problem, but video playback is still smooth and reasonably pleasing to look at. The sensor's poor low-light sensitivity does produce a slightly underexposed image, though, and this problem only intensifies the lower the light gets. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.
Video was acceptably sharp, with roughly 625 lw/ph of both vertical and horizontal sharpness observed in bright light. Interestingly, sharpness didn't fall off at all in our low light test, though image quality is affected in other ways. Moire, on the other hand, was a problem in both good and poor light—it was among the worst we've seen from any camera, and should be visible in everyday shooting. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.
Low Light Sensitivity
In our testing, we found that the XZ-2 required about 25 lux to achieve 50 IRE on a waveform monitor. The 50 IRE mark represents the BBC’s minimum acceptable broadcast quality, and serves as our bar for low-light sensitivity. By way of comparison, the Canon G15 hit 50 IRE at just 3 lux—a truly astounding achievement for a small-sensor compact camera. On the other hand, the XZ-2's performance is strictly mediocre, and that fact is reflected in its low-light stills ability as well.
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