Field Review: Olympus XZ-1 (Day 4)

Every year, I go to shoot the Pillow Fight in Union Square. Typically, I carry a DSLR with me. This year though, I decided to be a psycho and carry the Olympus XZ-1 and a Vivitar SF-4000. The combo did much better than I originally thought they would, until a problem occurred.

If you’d like to catch up on the rest of the review, you can check out Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3 accordingly.

When I said I was bringing a point and shoot, everyone I knew thought I was nuts. Everyone said that it would get damaged, not be able to focus fast enough and that the images weren’t going to be that great.

I beg to differ. These images were all processed in Lightroom 3, but it proves that you can still capture the essence of the event with a point and shoot.

Throughout the event, I shot in aperture mode mostly until my top dial was bumped too often out of place. Then I switched to manual mode, set the shutter speed to 1/200th, the aperture to F/5 and then just shot with direct flash from the Vivitar mounted into the hot shoe.

I was often wishing that the camera had a tilting LCD screen because trying to bring it up to my face to look at the LCD screen was difficult with people smacking my hands often. Indeed, sometimes I just got low and hoped that I got the photo: like this one of Gumby being assaulted.

The camera’s focus never failed at all, which leads me to conclude that even in the normal focusing mode, it will be able to capture most things that users will want to take photos of. Granted, I was also stopped down to F/5 with a small sensor camera.

I didn’t bother to use the art filters during the event for the reason that I knew that I could fix the images in post production if needed. The flash effect gave the photos a Bruce Gilden type of look in my eyes. He’s one of my big idols.

I was around 15 feet away from this guy as he scaled the pole, and using the camera’s zoom I was able to capture this image with the camera held out very far from my body. Once again, this demonstrates the great image stabilization abilities.

The camera got whacked a lot throughout the event and didn’t fail to cease working. The lens was even knocked in once but it kept ticking.

So if a point and shoot can endure this type of abuse, then it can surely stand up to most of what normal users will throw at it.

With that being said though, the hot shoe is a bit tight. Indeed, the Vivitar SF-4000 was hard to get out of there and has been on multiple occasions. It was so hard that the flash’s shoe actually broke after the event. As a criticism to Olympus, I’d encourage a less tight hot shot next time around.

And now, the Olympus XZ-1 review can conclude. Stay tuned!

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.