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.
The XZ-2 doesn't really give you any choice when it comes to video compression. You have the option of shooting at either 1080/30P or 720/30P, each using a H.264 codec in a.MOV container. There's not even a standard definition (VGA) recording option. To be honest, we don't miss it in the slightest, but those who don't yet have a HDTV may disagree.
It would appear that the only manual control available during video recording is manual focus (it's actually integrated rather well, using the "analog" setting on the lens ring). All other adjustments—shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and so on—are set automatically by the camera, regardless of the shooting mode you've selected.
You can shoot videos using scene modes and art filters with the XZ-2. To do so, simply turn the mode dial to SCN or ART, select the creative effect you want to use, and hit the big red button to start recording. Most scene modes do not affect the video framerate, but the art filters cause massive framerate lag, to the point that your video looks like a relatively fast-moving slideshow of blurry stills. Unless you're specifically going for a funky look, we can't really recommend it.
As described above, the XZ-2 allows for direct control of manual focus during video, using the customizable lens ring. If you choose not to avail yourself of that option, the camera will attempt to focus for you. In general, it's very accurate but also pretty slow. Tap-to-focus doesn't work during video, as it does during stills shooting, presumably because you can't shut off the automatic focusing without going to full manual.
The XZ-2 features an on-board stereo microphone that does a pretty good job of picking up clear sound. Like most other built-in mics, it also picks up the sounds made by the camera itself, which can be distracting if you do a lot of zooming or refocusing during a take. The built-in mic does have a wind cut feature, and it can be completely disabled if the user prefers. There is no traditional jack for an external mic, but the Olympus accessory port built into the hot shoe can be used to mount the SEMA-1 microphone adapter.
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