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January 12, 2011

High Picture Quality Close to SLR Using a Large f.1.8-2.5 Lens

New Flagship Compact Digital Camera OLYMPUS XZ-1

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OLYMPUS XZ-1

Olympus Imaging Corporation (President: Masaharu Okubo) is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of the OLYMPUS XZ-1, the new flagship of the company's compact digital camera lineup. Featuring outstanding picture performance that comes close to SLR quality in a slim profile with a high quality finish, the OLYMPUS XZ-1 is scheduled to go on sale in late January 2011. This camera is the commercialization of the concept model announced at Photokina 2010, the world's largest visual equipment exhibition held in Cologne, Germany, in September 2010. To mark the release of the OLYMPUS XZ-1, OLYMPUS will launch a special campaign to offer a cleaning cloth to the first 7,500 purchasers.

Main Features

  1. i.ZUIKO DIGITAL 4X zoom lens - the first ever designed for a point and shoot digital camera - with a large f1.8-2.5 aperture that assures maximum brightness from wide-angle to telescopic. This combines with a large 1/1.63-inch high-sensitivity CCD sensor to achieve high picture quality close to that available from SLR cameras.
  2. TruePicV image processing engine - the same as used in the OLYMPUS PEN series - optimizes high picture quality, while Art Filters provide the user with exciting new tools to express creativity.
  3. Live Guide interface guides novice users through various expert photographic techniques to help achieve the desired image, while the interface for advanced users provides direct control over camera functions using the control ring and control dial.
  4. High-quality styling and finish with slim, attractive metallic body and OLED (organic electro luminescence display).
  5. Accessory port for connecting a choice of accessories including an EVF and external stereo microphones.

Since its launch in July 2009, the OLYMPUS PEN series has grown rapidly in popularity both among those who already use an SLR, as well as former compact camera users who are trying out an SLR for the first time. The reasons for this are simple - compact design, SLR picture quality, and easy operation. The OLYMPUS PEN series represents a dramatic reduction in size and weight thanks to the elimination of the mirror from the mechanism, while maintaining high SLR image quality and optimizing the performance of state-of-the-art ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses. At the same time, Olympus has also been innovating the user interface so that even beginners can control the camera intuitively through the Live Guide interface.

However, not everyone who wants the high picture quality of an SLR is prepared to deal with changing lenses. Other users want a camera with high picture quality and lower size and weight than an SLR as a sub-camera for their SLR cameras, but don't need it to be of the interchangeable lens type. For these people, Olympus has developed a compact camera with a fixed zoom lens and near-SLR picture quality. First announced at Photokina 2010 in September 2010, this new compact digital camera offers all the benefits of a PEN camera in a compact, fixed-lens format.

The OLYMPUS XZ-1 incorporates a ZUIKO-brand wide-angle/4X zoom - the first ever in a compact digital camera. The open f-value of the lens at the wide-angle position is as bright as 1.8, but the lens is also very bright at the telescopic position with an aperture of 2.5.

The image sensor size is 1/1.63 inches, which is very large for a compact camera. This CCD sensor achieves high sensitivity by restricting the number of effective pixels to 10 million. The image processing engine is the same TruePicV as that used in the Micro Four Thirds System cameras. The lens, image sensor and image processing engine are all highly effective in low-light conditions and work together to produce images with high SLR-class picture quality that is noticeably superior to that of ordinary compact cameras.

The OLYMPUS XZ-1 also features the new Live Guide interface, which has already proven popular with the OLYMPUS PEN Lite E-PL1. Live Guide makes it possible for users who are unfamiliar with photographic terms and advanced techniques to intuitively adjust such factors as "color saturation" and "hue". The XZ-1 also incorporates six Art Filters from the OLYMPUS PEN series.

The OLYMPUS XZ-1 is also designed to meet the requirements of advanced users for manual control over composition. Manual exposure and manual focusing are both possible using the control ring on the lens and the control dial around the cross-cursor keys on the rear panel.

The body, which is available in black or white, has a slim design with a metallic outer finish. A 3.0-inch OLED (organic electro luminescence display) is provided on the rear panel. It is capable of reproducing a wide range of colors and contrast, enabling the user to experience the high imaging performance of the XZ-1 in both recording and playback.

With the introduction of the OLYMPUS XZ-1, Olympus's broad product line will effectively cover the needs of virtually any type of user. Bridging the gap between compact cameras and new generation system cameras, the OLYMPUS XZ-1 offers a unique combination of SLR performance and compact camera convenience that will satisfy a wide range of customers.

ZUIKO brand

It was in 1936 that the Takachiho corporation, forerunner of today's Olympus Optical Co., Ltd., introduced its first camera, the Semi-Olympus I. The camera's lens was given the name Zuiko, a Japanese word that means "light of the gods." It was an auspicious name, chosen partially because the lens had been developed at the Mizuho Optical Research Laboratory (in Japanese, the first character of the name "Mizuho" can also be read "zui"), and partially because the corporate name, Takachiho, is a Japanese word that means "mountain of the gods." But more than the name, it was the extremely high quality of the lens that sparked comment at the time. And ever since, Zuiko lenses have been featured on succeeding generations of Olympus cameras. The Zuiko lenses are widely acclaimed for their remarkable resolving and imaging power, and became one of the world's most respected high-performance lens brands.

Other Features

  • Dual IS combining the CCD-shift image stabilization and high ISO sensitivity
  • Multi-motion function for stabilizing the image during movie shooting while walking
  • Low light mode that adjusts the ISO sensitivity automatically up to ISO 3200
  • AF illuminator for accurate focusing even under low light
  • 18 scene modes including "Multi-exposure" and "Pet"
  • Dedicated movie button for instant start of HD movie recording (AVI Motion JPG 1280 x 720, 30 fps)
  • RAW format shooting capability
  • Magnified display for use in manual focusing
  • Accessory port for connecting an accessory such as the EVF, external stereo microphones
  • Multi-aspect function providing selection of four aspect ratios including the "square picture (6:6)"
  • HDMI terminal for high-quality reproduction of both still images and movies on a TV screen
  • Multi-Mix Slide Show for playing slideshows with five kinds of background music, plus audio dubbing (post-recording) function
  • e-Portrait function for representing smooth skin
  • Highly precise 324-area metering system
  • Tracking AF for keeping a moving subject in focus
  • Shadow Adjustment Technology for shooting both subject face and background beautifully
  • Bulb shooting capability (max. 8 min.)
  • New image management software [ib] and OLYMPUS Viewer included
  • Mechanical ND filter built in
  • CUD (Color Universal Design) approved

Main Feature Details

1. i.ZUIKO DIGITAL 4X zoom lens - the first ever designed for a point and shoot digital camera - with a large f1.8-2.5 aperture that assures maximum brightness from wide-angle to telescopic. This combines with a large 1/1.63-inch high-sensitivity CCD sensor to achieve high picture quality close to that available from SLR cameras.

i.ZUIKO DIGITAL lens with 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28mm to 112mm and aperture of f1.8-2.5
The first camera lens to be branded with the ZUIKO imprimatur, this lens is a wide-angle/4X zoom lens covering the focal lengths equivalent to 28 to 112mm on a 35mm camera. At the wide-angle position, then lens is very bright with an open f-value is 1.8, while at the telescopic position, excellent brightness is achieved with an aperture of 2.5.
Meeting the same rigorous quality standards applied to the ZUIKO interchangeable lenses for SLR, this lens manifests uniform, sharp imaging performance from the center to the periphery and enables clear image reproduction with minimal ghosts and flare.
One DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens element is used to achieve a large refractive index and high aberration elimination capability. In addition, an HD element and Super HR (High Refractivity) element also contribute to the reduction of lens depth and lens elements with their high refractive indices. An EDA (Extra-low Dispersion Aspherical) element is used to prevent color aberration in the telescopic range. Taking advantage of the same materials and lens technology that go into the manufacture of advanced SLR lenses, this lens is able to offer outstanding brightness and picture quality.
The "i" at the beginning of "i.ZUIKO" includes the meaning of "eye", "integrated", etc.

Large 1/1.63-inch high-sensitivity CCD sensor
Compared to the previous 1/2.33-inch, 14-megapixel CCD sensor, the new CCD sensor has double the light receiving area per pixel. It achieves optimum balance between facilitating a smaller camera and lens, while providing high picture quality and sensitivity.

2. TruePic V image processing engine - the same as used in the OLYMPUS PEN series - optimizes high picture quality, while Art Filters provide the user with exciting new tools to express creativity.

The image processing engine is the same TruePic V used in Olympus's new generation system cameras. Supporting the enhanced imaging capabilities of the lens and sensor, this image processing engine optimizes the raw images to produce near-SLR-quality pictures with extraordinary depth, detail, and vividness.
Using the same engine as the PEN series has also made it possible to include the popular Art Filters. Six Art Filters are available, including the new Dramatic Tone filter recently introduced on Olympus's flagship SLR, the E-5. These filters make it possible for everyone to enhance their photographs and movies with exciting effects that express their own unique vision.

* During movie recording using an Art Filter, the number of frames and presence/absence of audio recording vary depending on the type of the Art Filter.

Art Filters

  • Pop Art
    Enhances colors, making them stronger and more vivid, creating high-impact pictures that express the feeling of the pop art style.
  • Soft Focus
    Creates a fantasy world with this ethereal, otherworldly effect.
  • Grainy Film
    Recreates the strong presence of a monochrome picture, with grainy tone, making the subject stand out in a dramatic way.
  • Pin Hole
    Reduces the peripheral brightness to create a unique style and coloring as if the image is shot with a toy camera.
  • Diorama
    A rapid variation in the focus confuses the feeling of distance, while color and contrast are emphasized to create a surreal miniature world.
  • Dramatic Tone
    Represents real space in a more dramatic way by applying unrealistic tones of light and darkness based on partial changes in contrast.

3. Live Guide interface guides novice users through various expert photographic techniques to help achieve the desired image, while the interface for advanced users provides direct control over camera functions using the control ring and scroll dial.

Popular Live Guide from the OLYMPUS PEN E-PL1
When the mode dial is set "iAUTO", the camera determines the optimum shooting mode automatically, making sure that anyone - no matter what their level of experience - can shoot great pictures. But Olympus has also left room for more ambitious users to put their imprint on their images, rather than leaving everything up to the camera. For these users, a new user interface called Live Guide has been provided.
With Live Guide, even users without expert knowledge of photographic techniques can achieve the results they want. Using straightforward, easily understandable language free of technical terminology, Live Guide lets the user adjust parameters important in SLR photography such as saturation, hue, image brightness and background defocusing simply by selecting the corresponding icons and controlling the slide bars, while viewing the image on the Live View screen.
Live Guide also features "Shooting Tips", a handy selection of tips and tricks covering a wide range of photographic techniques such as the selection of the angle and composition on the display. By explaining the purpose and method of each technique in clear language, the Shooting Tips function helps users take advantage of advanced photographic techniques that will enable them to obtain more impressive results.

Camera control interface for advanced users using control ring and scroll dial
Turning the control ring on the lens makes it possible to adjust the setting of the ISO sensitivity, aperture or shutter speed. Manual operation is also possible using the control dial around the cross-cursor keys on the rear panel.

4.High-quality styling and finish with slim, attractive metallic body and OLED (organic electro luminescence display).

Beautiful metallic body in black or white
With two color variations of black and white, a super-slim body with a depth of just 25.5 mm (excluding the lens and other protrusions), and an attractive metallic finish, this stunning camera is great to look at and easy to carry. Seeking compatibility between operational simplicity and high-end performance has resulted in a camera that's ideal for capturing those unexpected scenes with the same brilliant quality you would expect from an SLR.

OLED (organic electro luminescence display)
The 3.0-inch organic EL display can display VGA picture data on a special layout of 610,000-dot pixels.
The display is capable of expressing deeper black than LCD because it can implement zero light emission status for expressing black. The wide angle of view ensures high visibility even during high- or low-angle shooting.
The rich color representation and high resolution of the display ensures high definition and abundant color representation of the OLYMPUS XZ-1.

5. Accessory port for connecting a choice of accessories including an EVF and external stereo microphones.

Accessory port for connection of an accessory such as an EVF or external stereo microphones
The accessory port at the top of the body accepts PEN series accessories*, such as the VF-2 Electronic Viewfinder, the SEMA-1 Microphone Set 1 capable of stereo recording, the FL-14 External Flash or the MAL-1 Macro Arm Light.

6. Underwater Case for the OLYMPUS XZ-1.

PT-050 Underwater Case
The PT-050 is the Water Protector for the OLYMPUS XZ-1 which offers waterproof integrity to a depth of 40 meters. Along with the manual shooting and control ring operation capabilities, perfect underwater shooting is possible using the internal flash with the supplied diffuser. The optional macro conversion lens and wide conversion lens are also usable with the optional 67mm-diameter lens ring.
The tone of the underwater is affected by various factors such as depth of water, weather or condition of the ocean. The OLYMPUS XZ-1 features Underwater White Balance to automatically detect and compensate the underwater tone, enabling high-quality underwater still images and movies with ease.
The OLYMPUS XZ-1's internal flash can be used underwater to trigger UFL-2 dedicated underwater flash unit.

* For compatibility information, please visit the Olympus website.
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