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Low-light compact with photo story mode added to the Olympus lineup

By Leigh D. Stark | 4:56 pm 01/02/2013

Need to take photos in places that may not have a light? Perhaps you fancy yourself the artistic type? Well, Olympus has a new entry in its line-up which could match your needs.

Shown this week in Japan at the camera expo CP+, Olympus has unveiled the XZ-10, a new compact camera that marries arty modes with a low light F/1.8 lens and ISO sensitivity down to 6400, enabling the user to get shots in environments that might have lower light.

That F/1.8 aperture also means portrait images can have a lovely soft focus to them, with people in focus and backgrounds going creamy, the way many professional photographers tend to shoot their images.

The Olympus XZ-10 will be available in white, black, and brown.

Photographers who want this are probably used to using a real lens with a real zoom or focus ring, and while this camera is obviously a compact, Olympus is continuing with the work found in last year’s XZ-2 by adding in a control ring around the lens, which makes it possible to change shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation with a tactile controller.

Art modes are also being included, a staple in the Olympus cameras for over a year, and while you can expect 11 filters for special looks, this camera marks the first time that Olympus has let you tell a story with a special “photo story” mode.

This mode takes advantage of the 3 inch touchscreen LCD on the back of the camera, which can be used with your fingers to touch different panels in the photo story and create images that look either like comic pages or divided montages.

This is similar to the photo panel apps that are beginning to appear on smartphones, but instead on a camera.

Outside of the arty and low-light modes, you’ll find a 5x optical zoom lens capable of what 26 to 130mm would be on a 35mm camera, image stabilisation, macro modes, built-in ND filter, pop-up flash, support for Full HD 1080p video, and some other interesting video options with a 720p HD 120fps mode and a lower 480×272 HVGA mode with 240fps for high speed slow-motion video.

As per usual with overseas announcements, pricing and availability has yet to be announced for Australia, though we’d anticipate within in March for under $500.

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