Olympus XZ-1 low light performance.

lenshoarder

Veteran
Mar 7, 2012
I recently bought a XZ-1 with the hope that it would replace my trusty TX5 as my travel camera. I take a lot of low light shots so low light performance is important to me. I didn't have high hopes since many described the XZ-1 as being very similar to the LX5. The LX5 didn't make the low light cut for me. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of XZ-1 in low light. It's very good. While not as bright as the TX5, the image is much more pleasing. It even beats out my GF2 with kit lens. Below you'll find some comparison shots. The first set are taken with the automatic mode on the camera. The second set are all at ISO 3200. There were a variety of focal lengths involved. This is a quick test so I didn't try to match things. Mostly, they are close to being the same size except for the TX5. The image from that is a little smaller. I resized everything to match that. For comparing their relative low light performance, it didn't change each image's character.

Overall, I'm very pleased by the XZ-1 in low light or otherwise. As long as the ISO is kept relatively low, it's a great camera. At the $200 price point I bought it at, it's an amazing bargain. Just as I finally decided that the XZ-1 is a keeper, Sony pulls something out of it's hat. I really want the RX100 but the price is, err was, prohibitive. Sony, in a sense, made up the difference. More about that in another thread.

Here are the images. The cameras are the XZ-1, TX5, GF2 and NEX 3.

First, here's an image that's representative of how dark it was to my eye in person. If anything, it was a bit darker. Looking through the LCD on the back, I couldn't see the can.



These images were shot in the fullest automatic mode on each camera. All handheld.

XZ-1 F1.8 1/3 sec ISO 200


TX5 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200 (twilight mode)


GF2 F3.5 1 sec ISO 400 (Yes it's blurry. 1 second exposure handheld does that)


NEX 3 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 6400 (twilight mode)


Same series after auto level post processing.

XZ-1 F1.8 1/3 sec ISO 200


TX5 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200 (twilight mode)


GF2 F3.5 1 sec ISO 400 (Yes it's blurry. 1 second exposure handheld does that)


NEX 3 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 6400 (twilight mode)


All at ISO 3200.

XZ-1 F1.8 1/30 sec ISO 3200


TX5 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200 (twilight mode)


GF2 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200


NEX 3 F3.5 1/2 sec ISO 3200


At ISO 3200 auto levelled.

XZ-1 F1.8 1/30 sec ISO 3200


TX5 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200 (twilight mode)


GF2 F3.5 1/4 sec ISO 3200


NEX 3 F3.5 1/2 sec ISO 3200
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
I would never use my XZ (or any other small sensor compact) at ISO 3200. I know they *can* be used at that level but I find that the noise creeps up so much, its just not worth doing. If I cant get the shot at 400 and below, I just don't bother.

ISO 200

Harry's Cafe de Wheels by kyte50, on Flickr

View attachment 61660
Dinner's Over by kyte50, on Flickr

ISO 100

Before Dawn by kyte50, on Flickr

View attachment 61662
Pearl Brooch by kyte50, on Flickr

I can't think of anywhere I would be shooting in less light than those. the second of each group was shot under dim tungsten light. The cups in a restaurant, and the brooch at home.
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
While I'd rather have my E-m5 for such occasions, I've used the xz-1 up to 1250 with acceptable results. We're not talking a 16x20 print from such a file, but an acceptable 8x10. Below is one shot at 1250 of my dog on the bed. I used color noise reduction but no luminance reduction, thus we can see grain, but less than you'd have seen from film at this size and iso. I feel fairly comfortable using the camera up to iso 800.

 

Biro

Hall of Famer
Aug 7, 2011
Jersey Shore
Steve
While I'd rather have my E-m5 for such occasions, I've used the xz-1 up to 1250 with acceptable results. We're not talking a 16x20 print from such a file, but an acceptable 8x10. Below is one shot at 1250 of my dog on the bed. I used color noise reduction but no luminance reduction, thus we can see grain, but less than you'd have seen from film at this size and iso. I feel fairly comfortable using the camera up to iso 800.

View attachment 4919
I think you're right. I feel the same way about my Panasonic LX3. I hope the Lenshoarder was one of the people who got his XZ-1 for $199.
 

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