Olympus Stylus 1 Conclusion

Pro: Cons:
  • Bright, sharp 28-300mm eq. lens
  • Very good image quality at low ISOs
  • Small and lightweight for the quality output it can deliver
  • Reasonably priced by comparison
  • Ergonomically sound with a solid, professional feel
  • Built-in high-res EVF with eye detect
  • Tilting high-res touchscreen LCD
  • Highly customizable
  • Solid single-shot autofocus performance
  • AF/MF focus toggle switch
  • Variations of face/eye focus
  • Can yield professional-quality background blur
  • Automatic lens cap
  • Quick to startup
  • Excellent cycle times
  • Fast 8fps full-res burst mode
  • Deep buffers with fast buffer clearing
  • Useful scene/creative filters
  • 2-axis level gauge with 3D display option
  • Built in Wi-Fi
  • Very useful Super Macro mode
  • Flash hotshoe
  • Built-in strobe supports remote flash capabilities
  • Decent battery life
  • Full HD 1080p30 movies with stereo sound
  • High speed movies
  • RAW file support
  • Live control and the Super Control Panel offer easy tweaking of settings
  • 2x digital zoom and built in neutral density filter are handy additions
  • Voice memo function allows for tagging photos with recorded audio
  • Lens doesn't go as wide or long as some competitors
  • Corners are a bit soft at wide angle
  • ISO settings over 800 yield noise and lack of fine detail
  • Base ISO yields less fine detail than cameras with larger sensors
  • Mixed results with continuous AF
  • Can struggle to focus in low light
  • No in-camera HDR, handheld night shot or sweep panorama modes
  • Onion-ring bokeh effect occurs in background blur of certain subjects
  • Top shutter speed is 1/2000s (but built-in ND filter helps)
  • No external mic input

It's rare when a new class of camera comes our way, but that's just what the Olympus Stylus 1 is. Yes, it's a bridge camera, but in a compact body with a long, constant aperture zoom that still yields high quality images at lower ISOs and at a reasonable price, which does put it in a whole new class.

All cameras have limitations of some form or other, and the Stylus 1 suffers most when higher ISOs are needed, as the sensor is simply too small to deliver high quality over about ISO 800. And yet, the sensor is notably larger than typical long-zooms sporting 1/2.3" sensors, and this difference combined with the excellent quality of the i.Zuiko lens yields exceptional image quality at lower ISOs and better quality as ISO rises than these conventional models. The Stylus 1 falls far short in image quality as ISO rises compared to the Sony RX10, but to get that camera requires a lot more money and more space in your camera bag. It also falls short of the similarly priced Sony RX100 II, but can catch up when zoomed beyond 100mm eq. due to its much faster aperture at that focal length.

As long as you are aware of what you are giving up in the form of limited high-ISO performance, the Stylus 1 packs quite a punch for image quality, ergonomics, speed, customizability and its solid build, making it an attractive proposition for someone wanting all of this in a small package at an affordable price. With all that it has going for it, the Olympus Stylus 1 is indeed a bona fide Dave's Pick.

Place your order with trusted Imaging Resource affiliates now:

Follow Imaging-Resource.com on Twitter!


Buy the Olympus Stylus 1

Editor's Picks