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03-17-2011, 04:40 AM   #1
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Olympus XZ-1 equivalent from Pentax ?

Just merely curious ... It seems that the XZ-1 is the perfect form factor for somebody who doesn't want to lugg around a huge DSLR, but get very decent performance with RAW processing. Olympus screwed up the firmware as well as some details that would have made it the real perfect tool (probably not to vandalize their micro 4/3s sales).

Wouldn't that be the perfect niche for Pentax, who over the years always had the better "user interface" ? More so than the APSC/EVIL approach, which is just a rehash of the DSLR theme, without too much size reduction ?

03-17-2011, 04:47 AM   #2
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There's stiff competition from Panasonic, Canon, Nikon, Sigma and Olympus already, and to be honest Pentax point'n'shoots haven't really been known for their great quality and performance so far, so the high-end compact market would be a really tough crowd to please for Pentax. I don't know about the user interface of the XZ-1 but I've heard no complaints about the LX-5 or S95 concerning this, so that is not enough of a selling point.

The market is a small one, too, being eaten into on one end by cheaper compacts and on the other by mirrorless and sub-$500 SLR's, which offer much better flexibility and quality for the same price. I don't think it's likely that Pentax will be getting into this.
03-17-2011, 07:21 AM   #3
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I would not compare the LX5/S95/XZ-1 class to traditional point and shoot, given their different bias towards a larger sensor and some reasonable glass. It's kind of understood that in the 1/2.33 sensor market there is not much you can do to differentiate yourself. However in the 3/2 or 1/1.63 market we are talking about more serious tools.

Also please consider that price is not the issue there. It's mainly the formfactor that makes all the difference in the world. I do own a nice K20D/50-135mm setup (plus of course assorted other lenses). But I find myself more and more using my Wife's XZ-1. It doesn't need an extra bag, and you can be part of the action, rather than being the observer from outsite with your big, heavy DSLR.
03-17-2011, 12:27 PM   #4
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Sure, I think Pentax could have a niche product there if they did a rugged, waterproof model with a great lens. Especially since many people who want rugged cameras don't like changing lenses, and it's nice to have a zoom for nature photography.


Last edited by Michael Barker; 03-17-2011 at 01:28 PM.
03-17-2011, 02:03 PM   #5
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I agree... cameras like the LX5/S95/XZ1 really shouldn't be compared with run-of-the-mill point-and-shoots. What's more, I have no doubt Pentax could do a bang-up version of this kind of camera - provided Pentax actually did the job, as with its DSLRs. No contracting out to Sanyo, or whoever, as they do with their P&S devices.

But I have to wonder if - assuming rumors about a camera with a sensor size smaller than micro four-thirds are correct - Pentax's first mirrorless offering might actually straddle the market space between the LX5/S95/XZ1 class and larger mirrorless cameras. Given the relatively short zooms ranges of the LX5 and S95 (the XZ1 being a bit better), a kit zoom and maybe one fast prime might be all you'd need on the new Pentax. I'm just thinking aloud here.

But I identify with BizzaBoy's remarks... I find myself drawn to my LX3 and micro four-thirds kit more and more these days. I was about to begin collecting DA Limited primes and was already planning on a K-5 purchase at the end of this year. Both might still happen... but I'm giving it more thought.

Whatever Pentax has planned, I wish they would just do it already. The world is moving fast.

EDIT: BizzaBoy, what is it about the XZ1's RAW processing that's a problem for you? I will say this: Olympus has a reputation for getting jpg processing so right that most of the time dealing with RAW isn't worth it. That's certainly been true with their micro four-thirds cmaeras.

Last edited by Biro; 03-17-2011 at 02:10 PM.
03-17-2011, 04:01 PM   #6
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Many on the Olympus forum (at the Other Place) are not happy with XZ JPEGs, describing the JPEG engine as "smearing" detail in certain situations. The examples are striking.

Those who've converted raw with the ACR RC report much better handling of noise versus detail. Apparently the XZ1 does not allow the user to administer NR levels, requiring developing in raw to get detail in low-contrast images.

Adobe seems to do that better than the Oly converter - supporting the contention that there isn't much advantage to raw when using the Oly converter.

I was looking at it for a handy, belt-mountable "indoors" camera where I could avoid flash (often) but still get good images owing to fast lens and high-ISO competence. Let's face it: I wanted K-X performance in a pocket or belt-size package.

m43 would get me there, maybe, with a pancake lens. I would prefer something like a 28-140mm range, similar to the G11/12 but not so heavy.

OK, I know I'm dreaming.
03-17-2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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It sounds like a firmware update could fix things. I certainly hope so for everyone's sake because it sounds like the XZ1 could even be better than the LX3 if one had control over noise reduction.

BTW, GJL... have you actually held the G12? I did the other day. The back half of the camera is now plastic (that may have started with the G11) and it's a bit lighter than older Canon G-series cameras. And, despite the mixed reviews, don't rule out the Nikon P7000 (28-200mm zoom) until you've played with it.
03-17-2011, 11:53 PM   #8
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This is the product slot that could be filled with the rumored 2.5x crop MILC.

BTW.. Someone who know if the premium compacts are designed and manufactured by less known companies and branded as Oly, Pana etc.? If not, chances are slim that Pentax would build a compact from scratch on their own imho.

03-18-2011, 12:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Supernaut Quote
This is the product slot that could be filled with the rumored 2.5x crop MILC.

BTW.. Someone who know if the premium compacts are designed and manufactured by less known companies and branded as Oly, Pana etc.? If not, chances are slim that Pentax would build a compact from scratch on their own imho.
Well, I read all of them use the same 2 sensors. The Panasonic and Olympus use the 1/1.63" (I think?) sensor and the Canon and whoever else, Nikon? use the 1/1.7" one.

I am guessing they designed the rest themselves though...?
03-18-2011, 01:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
I agree... cameras like the LX5/S95/XZ1 really shouldn't be compared with run-of-the-mill point-and-shoots.
I realize that the sensor is slightly bigger and there are a lot more manual controls, but certainly image quality is far closer to a point-n-shoot than to a DSLR.
03-18-2011, 06:34 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hawk1500 Quote
Well, I read all of them use the same 2 sensors. The Panasonic and Olympus use the 1/1.63" (I think?) sensor and the Canon and whoever else, Nikon? use the 1/1.7" one.

I am guessing they designed the rest themselves though...?
The Panasonic (and everyone forgets the Leica rebrand) and the Olympus use a proprietary Panasonic sensor. The Canons use an exclusive Sony sensor. The Nikon apparently uses just another run-of-the-mill Sony compact sensor, though it may be the same size.
03-18-2011, 07:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
It sounds like a firmware update could fix things. I certainly hope so for everyone's sake because it sounds like the XZ1 could even be better than the LX3 if one had control over noise reduction.

BTW, GJL... have you actually held the G12? I did the other day. The back half of the camera is now plastic (that may have started with the G11) and it's a bit lighter than older Canon G-series cameras. And, despite the mixed reviews, don't rule out the Nikon P7000 (28-200mm zoom) until you've played with it.
Thanks for the update. I think I'm basing my G12 opinions on reviews and physical handling of the G10. I probably should look at it again as the focal lengths are right for me.

I have not handled the P7000 yet. There were a couple of cons in reviews that held me back, given the price.

As I have the Panny TZ-10 (ZS-7), I don't want to spend much money on another P&S unless it's just right. Fussy, but there it is.

In fact, the Panny's stabilization is good enough that I'm frequently getting acceptable photos at 1/10 second, sometimes 1/8. Gaining a stop on aperture and losing a stop on stabilization wouldn't buy me much. In the end, I'd like to work indoors with both a faster lens than the Panny and acceptable JPEGs, out of camera, at ISO 800. Without losing the Panasonic stabilization. Oh, well .....

Last edited by glanglois; 03-18-2011 at 11:35 AM.
03-18-2011, 03:14 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
Many on the Olympus forum (at the Other Place) are not happy with XZ JPEGs, describing the JPEG engine as "smearing" detail in certain situations. The examples are striking.

Those who've converted raw with the ACR RC report much better handling of
Yes, this was the RAW problem I was illuding to. Not that the smearing is really that bad, unless you are pixel peeping of course. But using LR3.4 or ACR6.4 along with ORF files makes this issue go away.
03-18-2011, 03:22 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Erik Quote
I realize that the sensor is slightly bigger and there are a lot more manual controls, but certainly image quality is far closer to a point-n-shoot than to a DSLR.
Actually the *slightly* bigger is more like 2 times bigger in terms of area. And the real intresting fact is that the lens is F1.8 throu to F2.5 on the far end. That means of lot of times you shoot with ISO 100 where with a DSLR with a kit-lens you'd end up using ISO 400 or ISO 800 ... That makes up a HUGE amount of image quality that gets thing very close to DSLR equivalent. I'd also say that there is no comparison to a point-n-shoot.

I am kind of raving here, because I simply had not expected this image quality I am seeing (remember I got the XZ-1 for my wife, who mostly uses iAuto mode ...).
03-20-2011, 12:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by glanglois Quote
I have not handled the P7000 yet. There were a couple of cons in reviews that held me back, given the price.

.....
From what I've heard the latest firmware helps with speed and focus. I've seen some very nice pictures out of the camera. I've got one on order now that the price has dropped a bit. I'll post back with some thoughts when it comes in.
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