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Improving upon their first  premium compact camera, Olympus has created the Stylus XZ-2 a refreshed and more capable version of the XZ-1 reviewed here. This new digital camera uses a 12 megapixels high-speed CMOS sensor capable of full 1080p HD video capture, up from 10 megapixels and 720p respectively.

Olympus Stylus XZ-2

The Stylus XZ-2 features an incredibly bright 4X optical zoom lens with maximum aperture of F/1.8 at the wide-end and a class-leading F/2.5 at the long end. This lens covers a useful 28 to 112mm equivalent range and is surrounded by a unique dual-purpose  ring. With the flick of a spring-loaded switch, the lens ring switches between a click-stopped front control-dial and freely rotating fly-by-wire focus or zoom ring. Each click is audible and has a positive feel to provide feedback at each increment. When it rotates freely, the ring provides a smooth glide with good feedback.

As a premium camera, the XZ-2 has full-manual controls, including custom white-balance and choice of metering, plus dual control-dials and an exposure mode-dial. Additionally, it has a standard hot-shoe for external lighting and a large tilting 3″ LCD with 920K pixels. Similarly to the OM-D E-M5, the XZ-2’s grip is interchangeable.

The new larger-than-usual 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor in XZ-2 can reach ISO 12800. Combined with the ultra-bright maximum aperture, the high-sensitivity sensor lets the XZ-2 operate in very dim light.

The Olympus Stylus XZ-2 is scheduled to be available this November for an estimated price of $599 USD.

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