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What are the features of the XZ-1?

The Olympus XZ-1 is the first compact digital camera to feature an iZUIKO digital lens -- a smaller, built-in version of the legendary ZUIKO® Digital interchangeable lenses featured in Olympus DSLRs. It's fast (f1.8-2.5) and super-bright with a 4x zoom (6-24 mm; 28-112 mm equivalent in 35 mm photography). Its wide maximum aperture allows photographers to blur backgrounds for selective focus, a technique not possible with most compact digital cameras. The f1.8 maximum aperture also enables the use of lower ISOs in low-light situations, further enhancing image quality.

The camera's large, 1/1.63-inch (approximately .6-inch diagonal) 10-megapixel CCD produces low-noise images in dimly lit situations such as night scenes and indoor shots.

The XZ-1 offers full creative control. In addition to three auto-exposure metering modes, it allows Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual Exposure modes. In addition to standard autofocus, the camera offers two Macro modes, AF Tracking and Manual Focus options. The Macro modes offer extreme close-up capabilities. In Super Macro mode, the lens will focus to 0.4 inch. (At that distance, a twenty-five cent coin would fill the frame.)

The XZ-1 has a Drive mode permitting sequential shooting at rates up to 10.2 frames per second. The camera also has options for three-frame auto exposure bracketing and white balance bracketing.

It can also record HD movies (720p/30 frames per second) and SD movies (VGA/30 fps) with sound. Due to the silent zoom design, you can capture movies with audio while using optical zoom, with additional zoom available via digital zoom.

The XZ-1 includes six Art Filters designed to facilitate artistic expression. Art filters apply creative effects like Grainy Film texture or Pop Art vibrancy to both still pictures and HD movies.

For added convenience, the Scene mode lets a photographer quickly apply camera settings tailored to specific shooting scenarios. There are 18 preset scenes, including Panorama, Multi Exposure and two underwater scenes.

Images can be framed and played back on either the high-resolution, 2.7-inch LCD screen or the optional VF-2 electronic viewfinder (sold separately).

The XZ-1 can wirelessly fire the Olympus FL-36R and FL-50R electronic flash units in their SLAVE mode for off-camera flash illumination. The camera's built-in flash serves as the remote flash controller. (Flash units are sold separately.)

The camera accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC media for removable memory in capacities ranging from 128 MB to 64 GB.

The XZ-1 ships bundled with imaging software on a CD-ROM. The disc contains OLYMPUS ib (Windows only) and OLYMPUS Viewer 2.

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Where can I find the documentation for my camera?

This camera is packaged with a paper Quick Start Guide and an electronic Instruction Manual, located on a CD-ROM. If lost, you can download a replacement manual in PDF format by clicking here.

Adobe Reader® is required to view the PDF files. The software is available as a free download from Adobe's web site.

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What kinds of settings can be applied using the control ring and wheel controller?

The settings that can be applied with the control ring (around the front of the lens) and the wheel controller (on the back) vary based on the selected shooting mode.

Shooting mode
Settings that can be applied
By the Control Ring By the Wheel Controller
P (Program) / Low Light ISO sensitivity Exposure Compensation
A Aperture (f-stop) Exposure Compensation
S (Shutter Priority) Shutter speed Exposure Compensation
M (Manual) Aperture (f-stop) Shutter speed
C (Custom Mode) * *
SCN (Scene Mode) SCN Exposure Compensation
ART (Art Filter) Art Filter Exposure Compensation

It is not possible to adjust the settings with the Control Ring and Wheel Controller when the shooting mode is set to iAUTO because that is a fully automatic mode.

* The functions of the Control Ring and Wheel Controller in the C (Custom) shooting mode vary depending on what settings were selected by the photographer via the Custom Mode Setup option in the Setup menu.

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What are the P, A, S and M modes on the Mode Dial? How are they used?

The P, A, S and M modes are advanced shooting modes. These are essentially non-AUTO modes that allow the photographer more creative control by enabling more control over shutter speed and f-stop settings. Briefly, the advanced shooting modes and their applications are as follows:

  • P (Program shooting) – Allows shooting using an aperture and shutter speed set by the camera. In many respects it is similar to the iAUTO mode. Unlike the iAUTO shooting mode, the program shooting mode allows full access to the menu settings for greater creative control of the camera.
  • A (Aperture Priority shooting) – Allows the aperture to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over depth-of-field. The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the shutter speed automatically as the f-stops are changed. In the Aperture Priority shooting mode the f-stops are changed using the camera’s Control Ring.
  • S (Shutter Priority shooting) – Allows the shutter speed to be set manually, thereby giving the photographer control over stopping action or reducing camera shake. The camera compensates for the exposure by changing the aperture automatically as the shutter speeds are changed. In the Shutter Priority shooting mode, the shutter speeds are changed using the camera’s Control Ring.
  • M (Manual shooting) – Allows the photographer to set the shutter speed and aperture independently of each other. Exposure is determined by testing or by using a light meter. In the Manual shooting mode the shutter speed is set using the Wheel Controller and the aperture is set using the Control Ring. The effect of changes in the shutter speed and aperture are shown on the LCD screen.

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What is the purpose of the C (CUSTOM) position on the Mode Dial?

The C (Custom) position on the Mode Dial allows the photographer to call up a selection of saved menu settings that are different from those currently being used. For example, if you are doing a project that requires a preset group of menu settings tailored to that project, they can be set in the camera’s menu and then be applied at any time by rotating the Mode Dial to the C position.

To set up the custom settings, first configure all of the options and settings that you wish to use. Many of these settings can be accessed from the Live Guide interface on the LCD screen; others must be configured from the camera menus available by pressing the [MENU] button. Once the camera is configured with the settings you wish to save, you must register the settings. To do so, press [MENU] and then use the wheel controller to scroll down to the wrench icon. This is the Setup Menu icon. Press the [OK] button to enter the Setup Menu. Use the wheel controller to scroll to Custom Mode Setup, and then press [OK]. Select SET, and then press [OK] to register the settings.

From this point on, turning the Mode Dial to C will cause the camera to shoot using the registered settings, which will be instantly applied.

To change the custom settings, simply configure the camera with the new settings and then repeat the registration process.

To remove custom settings and revert to the default settings for the P (Program Auto) shooting mode, repeat the process but instead of selecting Set in the Custom Mode Setup menu, select Reset.

Note: Exposure Compensation is not available in C mode.

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When the Mode Dial is set to iAUTO, why are some of the menu options deactivated (grayed-out)?

In the iAUTO shooting mode, the camera operates with a minimum of input from the user. Many shooting functions are controlled entirely by the camera; the photographer cannot change their settings. Therefore, the menu options that control those settings are deactivated (grayed-out).

The iAUTO mode makes it possible for the camera to automatically adjust a variety of settings on the fly, from shot to shot. The camera dynamically assesses the shooting conditions and selects the optimal shooting mode for those conditions before each shot. It will choose one of the following shooting modes: e-Portrait, Landscape, Night+Portrait, Sport, Macro or Low Light. If iAUTO cannot identify the optimal shooting mode from among these choices, the camera will use the Program Auto shooting mode.

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What are the purposes of the different Record Modes?

Record modes allow photographers to quickly and conveniently vary the quality settings used to capture and save images and movies in-camera. While it is possible to always shoot at the higher-quality settings and then process the images to lower file sizes later using a computer, it may be more convenient in some situations to shoot at other than the higher-quality settings. For example, it may be preferable to shoot using a lower-quality setting when the shot is intended for use on the Internet, where small file size is more important than rich detail.

Record modes can be selected from the Live Guide navigation interface.

This camera offers nine record modes for still images and two for movies. The benefits of each are outlined below:

  • RAW: This is the highest-quality record mode available in the camera, and it allows the photographer the most creative control in post-production. Images are saved to the memory card from the camera sensor with minimal image processing. Factors such as white balance, sharpness, contrast and color are unchanged so they can be modified later on a computer. Some photographers prefer to shoot RAW all the time for all subjects, while others may shoot RAW in situations that pose complicated exposure problems, such as wedding photography.

    Each camera manufacturer has its own proprietary RAW specification; therefore, special software is required to process RAW files and convert them to other image file formats such as JPEG and TIFF. The bundled OLYMPUS ib and OLYMPUS Viewer 2 software contain RAW processing and conversion functions for the Olympus RAW format, which bears the file extension *.orf. Third-party imaging software and operating systems may use RAW plug-ins or upgrades to process Olympus RAW files. Without them, they would not be able to read RAW images from Olympus digital cameras. Most photo kiosks, printers and photo labs cannot read unconverted RAW images.
  • JPEG: Four record modes create JPEG image files. JPEG is a compressed file format. When the camera processes a captured JPEG image and saves it to the memory card, it uses algorithms to discard some of the data to make the file smaller. The process of mathematically reducing a file’s size by discarding some of its data is called compression. When the image is opened on a computer, the JPEG algorithms reconstruct the discarded data.

    JPEGs are useful because their quality settings can be manipulated from the camera menu. The two factors that comprise JPEG quality are image size (determined by pixel count -- that is, literally, the number of pixels in an image) and compression ratio.

    The jpeg image size options in this camera are L (Large), M (Medium) and S (Small). The compression options in this camera are F (Fine) and N (Normal).

    The JPEG record modes in this camera are identified by a label that indicates their respective size and compression settings. The LF (Large Fine) and LN (Large Normal) JPEG modes have preset pixel dimensions and compression ratios that cannot be changed. The M and S JPEG modes are configurable. Customization of the desired Pixel Count and Compression settings is accomplished via the M S Settings function located in the Camera Menu.
  • RAW + JPEG: Four record modes save both a RAW and a JPEG image when a picture is taken. This can be advantageous when shots are intended for use in multiple media or when the medium in which the images will ultimately be published has not been determined.

    As with their counterparts in the JPEG record modes, the LF+RAW and LN+RAW modes have preset pixel dimensions and compression ratios that cannot be changed, while the M and S RAW+JPEG modes are configurable. Customization of the desired Pixel Size and Compression settings is accomplished via the M S Settings function located in the Camera Menu.

    When shooting in a RAW+JPEG setting, the JPEG image is processed using the selected settings in the camera, whereas the RAW image is unprocessed.

    One practical application of shooting RAW+JPEG is when using the Art Filters. The processing of the Art Filter will be applied to the JPEG image, but not to the RAW image, so if you shoot using Art Filters you will also have a normal RAW image which can be processed later.

The movie Record Modes are HD Quality and SD Quality, both of which can be shot with or without sound. The frame size in HD mode is 1280 x 720. In SD mode, the frame size is 640 x 480.

To select a record mode from the Live Guide navigation interface, first press the [OK] button and then use the Up and Down arrows on the keypad to select the image size icon (for still images) or the movie quality icon (for movies). Use the Left and Right arrows on the keypad to choose a new record mode, and then press [OK] again to activate the setting.

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What is the purpose of the Scene mode?

The Scene Mode (SCN on the Mode Dial) optimizes the camera settings for specific shooting conditions. All of the settings applied in the 18 available scenes can also be applied by controls in the camera menu, but applying them manually can be time-consuming. In addition, amateur photographers may not have a deep enough knowledge of photography to select the appropriate settings for some situations that advanced amateur and professional photographers would employ.

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What is the purpose of the Multi. Exposure scene?

The Multi. Exposure scene allows photographers to take two exposures and combine them on a single frame. Pressing the shutter button once captures the first image. The image is saved and displayed as a semitransparent overlay on the LCD monitor so that it can be used as a visual reference when composing the second image. Pressing the shutter button a second time captures the second image. The two images are then combined and saved.

After the first shot is captured, the camera settings can be changed for the second exposure.

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What is the purpose of the Art Filters?

The Art Filters apply unique image processing beyond what is available through menu settings in the camera. The results can be very dynamic and dramatic. The Art Filters available in this camera are:

  • Pop Art
  • Soft Focus
  • Grainy Film
  • Pin Hole
  • Diorama
  • Dramatic Tone

The best way to become familiar with the look and capabilities of the Art Filters is to shoot some tests by photographing the same subject with each filter. Through this process, you will become familiar with the applicability of each filter in relation to subject matter. If you shoot in the RAW+JPEG record modes, only the JPEG files will be processed using the Art Filters – the RAW files will not be affected. However, the Art Filter effects can be applied to the RAW files later using the OLYMPUS ib or OLYMPUS Viewer 2 software.

The software can also be used to further process JPEG images that were captured using an Art Filter.

Art Filters can also be used when shooting movies; however, due to the longer processing times required by some of the filters, the frame rate of the movie capture may be slower. This will result in movie playback that will be less smooth than the default capture rate of 30 frames per second. Here, again, shoot some tests to determine how the Art Filters will perform when shooting movies and whether or not this will be satisfactory for your purpose.

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Can Art Filter effects be applied while recording movies with this camera?

Yes. The frame rate may be affected depending on the art filter.

The following table shows the frame rates (in frames per second) when shooting movies with each art filter:

Art Filter HD mode SD mode
Pop Art 30 fps 30 fps
Soft Focus 6 fps 10 fps
Grainy Film 6 fps 10 fps
Pin Hole 2 fps 5 fps
Diorama (Sound is not recorded.) 2 fps (recording); 15 fps (playback)
Dramatic Tone 15 fps 15 fps
No Art Filter 30 fps 30 fps


  • In the Art Filter shooting mode, the optimum shooting settings are preprogrammed for each scene effect. For this reason, the settings in some modes cannot be changed.
  • Some art filters may produce "grainy" images.
  • Art filter effects are not applied to RAW images. If the RAW record mode is selected when the camera enters Art Filter mode, the record mode will automatically be set to LN + RAW.

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What kinds of in-camera editing functions are available for this camera?

A number of in-camera editing functions are available from the camera's Edit menu. To access the Edit menu, please do the following:

  1. Display an image in the Playback menu.
  2. Press the [OK] button. RAW Data Edit or JPEG Edit will be displayed.
  3. Press the [OK] button again.

The following in-camera editing functions are available:

  1. RAW Data Edit - The image is processed using the camera's current settings. If different settings are desired, adjust them before selecting the RAW Data Edit option.
  2. JPEG Edit - The following table shows the available functions:
    Function Operation
    Shadow Adj This function brightens areas darkened by backlighting and dim lighting.
    Redeye Fix Corrects redeye caused when a subject's eyes reflect light from the camera flash back to the sensor. The correction may not eliminate all redeye effects in some images.
    Crop This tool is used to crop a part of the image. Use the zoom lever to scroll through the available templates to select the desired size of the finished shot, and then use the directional arrows on the keypad to position the template over the content to be included in the final image. Only images taken in the 4:3 aspect ratio can be edited.
    Aspect Changes the aspect ratio from 4:3 (standard) to 3:2, 16:9 or 6:6. After selecting an aspect ratio template, use the directional arrows on the keypad to position the template above the content to be included in the final image. Only images taken in the 4:3 aspect ratio can be edited.
    Black-and-white This changes the picture color to black & white.
    Sepia This option lets you create sepia-tone photographs.
    Saturation This option increases the color saturation of the image. You can preview the effect on the monitor.
    Resize This option converts images to 1280 x 960, 640 x 480 or 320x 240. Images that are not taken in aspect ratio 4:3 (standard) are converted to the most applicable size. Images can be converted to a smaller size; they cannot be coverted to a larger size.
    e-Portrait This option makes the skin of the subject(s) smooth. The correction may not be applied in some images.

    Note: JPEG Edit functions cannot be applied when:

    • the image is recorded in RAW format
    • the images have been edited on a computer
    • there is insufficient space remaining on the memory card
    • the image was taken with another camera.

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What does the ND (neutral density) Filter do?

When the ND Filter is enabled, the amount of light that reaches the sensor is effectively reduced by 3 steps, as though you had changed either the shutter speed or aperture value.

The neutral density filter is especially useful in bright shooting conditions, when the camera would otherwise choose a faster shutter speed or smaller aperture than the photographer requires to create a particular creative effect, such as a blurred background in an outdoor, daylit portrait or "running water" in a well-lit stream or waterfall.

For example, if you set the ND filter in an environment that would call for a 1/250 shutter speed, you could take pictures with 1/30 shutter speed without changing the aperture value. (The brightness of your image will be left unchanged).

The ND filter can be turned on or off using the Live Guide control, as follows:

  1. Press the [OK] button to display the Live Guide.
  2. Use the Up or Down arrow on the keypad to select the ND filter.
  3. Use the Left or Right arrow on the keypad to turn the ND filter on or off, and then press [OK] again.

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What is the aspect ratio (horizontal-to-vertical ratio) when shooting movies?

The aspect ratio (horizontal-to-vertical ratio) varies based on the selected record mode.

When HD (1280 x 720 pixel) is selected, the aspect ratio is 16:9. When SD (640 x 480 pixels) is selected, the ratio is 4:3.

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How much continuous movie recording time does my camera have?

When recording HD movies, the maximum continuous recording time is approximately 7 minutes. When recording SD movies, the maximum continuous recording time is approximately 14 minutes.


  • After the maximum movie length for one clip is reached, additional movies can be recorded provided there is space remaining on the memory card.
  • Regardless of memory card capacity, the maximum file size for any single clip is 4 GB.
  • SD, SDHC or SDXC movie cards with a speed class of 6 or greater are recommended for recording HD movies.
  • The file format of the movies is AVI Motion JPEG.
  • When shooting movies with an Art Filter, the displayed recording time may vary from the actual time. Movies recorded using the Diorama art filter play back at high speed; the recording time is adjusted to reflect the playback time. Therefore, when recording the movie, the remaining time value will advance more slowly than usual.

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About how large will a file containing one minute of movie footage be?

When recording HD movies, the file size will be approximately 254 MB. When recording SD movies, the file size will be approximately 135 MB.

File size will vary depending on shooting conditions.

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Where can I find information on how to use the bundled [ib] software?

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about [ib] are collected here.

Detailed documentation of the software's functions is available in the application's Help file. To access the Help file, launch [ib] and choose ib Help from the Help menu.

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The XZ-1 has five focusing modes. Which should I use?

With five focusing modes, photographers have great flexibility in setting up the camera for diverse shooting situations. The following descriptions will help you determine the best mode for each shot.

  • AF (Autofocus): In this mode, when the shutter button is pressed halfway, the camera focuses and then locks focus. Once the camera has focused, a beep sounds and the AF confirmation mark and the AF target light.
  • MF (Manual Focus): This mode allows the photographer to manually focus on the subject. When Manual Focus is selected, pressing the [INFO] button enlarges the center area on the LCD screen. The wheel controller or the Up/Down arrow buttons can be used to manually focus the lens. To turn manual focus off, press [INFO] again.
  • Macro: In this mode, it's possible to shoot subjects as close as 3.9 inches in the wide zoom position and 11.8 inches in the telephoto zoom position.
  • Super Macro: In this mode, it's possible to shoot subjects as close as 0.4 inches. The zoom is fixed and cannot be reset. The flash will not fire so shooting must be done using available light.
  • AF Tracking: This mode can lock onto a subject and follow focus the subject as it moves through the frame as long as the shutter button is held in the half-press position until the picture is taken. If another subject crosses in front of the original subject, the tracking may transfer to the new subject.

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The subject I want in focus doesn’t line up with the AF frame on the LCD screen. How do I get the camera to focus on the subject?

The autofocus lock technique can be used to lock focus on a subject that is not centered in the frame.

Position the AF target (autofocus target) on the subject and press the shutter button halfway down. Once the camera has acquired a focus lock, recompose the image and press the shutter button all the way down to capture the image.

As an alternative, use the AF target display function to select a different focus target. This camera has 11 focus targets; select the one that best accommodates the desired position of the subject within the frame. Be sure to reset the AF target display after you capture the shot. The AF target display function is accessed by pressing the [AF target icon] button.

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How do I use the different metering modes?

This camera provides three metering options that allow the photographer to have greater control over exposure. The metering modes are set in the CAMERA MENU. Descriptions and applications of the metering modes are detailed below:

ESP metering is recommended for general use. The camera meters the brightness at the center of the monitor and the surrounding area separately to capture an image with balanced brightness. When taking pictures against a strong backlight, the center of the image may appear dark.
Spot metering measures the exposure using a very small area in the center of the monitor and can be used to meter a backlit subject. Spot metering must be used very carefully because the brightness within the area on which the metering spot is centered can dramatically influence the final exposure.
Center-weighted average metering provides average metering between the subject and the background lighting, placing more weight on the center of the frame. Use this mode when you do not want the light level of the background to affect the exposure value of the main subject.

When Gradation is set to AUTO in the camera’s Picture Mode menu, the metering defaults to ESP and cannot be changed to the other two options.

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What is Exposure Compensation, and how is it used?

Metering systems in cameras measure light but do not have a way of determining what the subject matter is, so the exposure decisions the metering system makes may not always be appropriate for the subject matter. This phenomenon is called subject failure. As with Spot metering, the human touch may be required to arrive at correct exposures. Exposure Compensation allows the photographer to set up the camera to under- or overexpose in specific situations.

Exposure Compensation is enabled by pressing the Exposure Compensation button, which is also the Up position on the wheel controller. The values are changed using the left and right positions of the wheel controller. Exposure Compensation is disabled by setting the value back to 0.0 and pressing the Exposure Compensation button again.

The Exposure Compensation value is shown in the bottom center of the LCD screen as a plus (overexposure) or minus (underexposure) value.

The Exposure Compensation function can be set to under- or overexpose up to two f-stops in 1/3-stop increments.

It is important that you set the compensation back to 0.0 before shooting subjects in other conditions so that the subjects will be properly exposed.

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This camera has AUTO white balance, so why is it necessary to have white balance presets?

Having white balance presets grants the photographer more control over color temperature, which can have practical or purely artistic benefits. For example, daylight can be warm or cold. On a sunny day, early and late light has a warmer appearance than when the sun is high. The WB AUTO option might color correct for that warmth, thus taking away the ambience. Using the (Sunny) setting will preserve that warmth. The WB AUTO setting will also tend to diminish the red, yellow and orange colors in a sunset, so it is advisable to use the setting when shooting sunsets.

On cloudy days, the light seems colder because the clouds absorb the warmer red and yellow frequencies of the sunlight coming from above the clouds. Therefore, there is a (Cloudy) preset to record the images with a warmer appearance. Creatively, the preset can be used on a sunny day to give images a more “golden” appearance, or it can be used to make a sunset warmer.

The (incandescent light) setting compensates for the yellowish color cast of indoor lighting and candle light. This setting should be used for shooting subjects being lit with floodlights—for example, for posting to an Internet auction site. Creatively, the preset can be used outdoors in daylight to make the images appear more blue—giving a surreal feeling of coldness and moodiness.

The (fluorescent lamp) preset provides an options for fluorescent lighting. The preset is valuable when photographing in business and office environments.

The (Underwater) setting color corrects for the lack of warm tones when shooting underwater with the accessory PT-050 Underwater Housing (sold separately).

The White Balance options are displayed as icons on the LCD screen. In the camera’s menu, they are displayed by their icons and color temperatures in degrees Kelvin. Pressing the right arrow button in this menu reveals sliders that can be used to more closely fine tune the color rendition.

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With so many White Balance settings available, why and when should I use One-Touch White Balance?

There are many light sources and situations that are not covered by Auto White Balance or the other settings in the White Balance menu. Many noncontinuous light sources, such as fluorescent, mercury vapor and sodium vapor lights, do not have all of the colors of the spectrum. There are also situations in which many different types of lights are used in one environment. These do not neatly fit into what the camera firmware knows about white balance, so it is necessary to “educate” the camera about the specific light balance by shooting a white reference subject such as a white card and saving the data in the White Balance menu as a custom white balance setting.

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The automatic settings make Night Scene convenient for night shots, but I want more creative control. How should I set up the camera?

Creative night photography involves using the camera’s manual settings.

Two accessories are essential for night photography. The first is a steady tripod or camera clamp to stabilize the camera during the long exposures involved in night photography. The other accessory is a cable release. The XZ-1 uses the RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release (Item # 260237), which can be purchased separately from authorized dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store. Click here to order.

The cable release is plugged into the camera’s USB connector. The release button can be locked down for long BULB exposures.

To set the camera up for night shooting:

  • Turn the Mode Dial to the M (Manual) shooting mode. In this mode, the shutter speed and f-stop are entered manually — there is no auto exposure. The shutter speed and f-stop values are shown at the bottom of the LCD screen. The f-stops are selected using the Control Ring, and the shutter speeds are selected using the Wheel Controller.
  • Because night scenes have mixed light sources, you may have to change the WB (White Balance) setting. Experiment by using AUTO or one of the preset WB settings to find a desirable color balance.
  • ISO is also subject to testing, depending on the exposure time used. ISO 200 or 400 would be a good place to start. If the exposure is expected to go to the maximum of 16 minutes, ISO 100 must be used.
  • SHARPNESS should be set to –2. This is the minimum sharpening the camera can apply. Since night images are usually post-processed, it is best to begin with an unsharpened image because each step of post-processing of a JPEG image recompresses the image a little bit, degrading the image.
  • Noise reduction will automatically be applied at exposure times of ˝ second or longer. There is no menu option to select noise reduction.
  • The focus mode should be set to MF (Manual Focus). This will prevent the camera from changing focus during long exposures and yield more selective focus than if autofocus were used.

It’s a good idea to keep notes on your settings for future night shoots. You can also preserve your settings for future night photography by creating a Custom Mode Setup. Remember to reset your camera to its normal settings after your night shoot.

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How do I decide which ISO setting to use?

Think of the ISO values as film speeds. Low ISOs such as 100 are better-suited to situations in which there is a lot of light – outdoors scenes, for example. Higher ISOs, such as 400 and 800, would be used outdoors where there is plenty of light and fast shutter speeds are desired – sports and air shows, for example – or indoors for available light shooting. ISO 3200 and higher would be used where light levels are very low, such as indoors or at night. However, because the XZ-1 has a fast f1.8 lens, your choice of ISO can be more conservative.

The ISO value is set automatically when the Mode Dial is set to iAUTO, SCN or Art.

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How is gradation applied?

Gradation allows the camera to process images in various fashions suited to subject scenarios. It applies tools that affect the brightness and contrast of the processed image. The value of gradation is that the photographer can select the look of the image in-camera when shooting or change the gradation of a RAW image after the fact using the RAW EDIT function. (Changes are saved as separate JPEG images.)

The Gradation options are found in the camera's Picture Mode submenu. There are four options:

  • AUTO – This option divides the image into detailed regions and adjusts the brightness separately for each region. This is effective for images with areas of large contrast in which the whites appear too bright or the blacks appear too dark. It is a form of Shadow Adjustment Technology. Photos with a greater range of light like landscapes and night scenes would benefit from this option.
  • NORMAL – No gradation algorithms are applied to the images.
  • HIGH KEY – Gradation is applied that best suits a bright subject, such as silhouettes on a foggy day. It processes images so they are bright with slightly higher contrast in the brightest areas.
  • LOW KEY – Gradation is applied that best suits a dark subject that NORMAL gradation would tend to process lighter. It can be used to make images that have a somewhat somber mood.

The best way to see the effects produced by gradation is to take the same shot with each of the options and in the camera’s Playback Mode, display them on the LCD in the four-shot display option to compare the differences. Remember to change the option back to AUTO or NORMAL after you have finished with a HIGH KEY or LOW KEY subject. You can also use HIGH KEY and LOW KEY creatively for unique subjects or scenarios such as a high key or low key portrait to create a mood.

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What is the histogram?

The histogram gives the photographer feedback on the distribution of the light and dark tones in the image. When it is enabled, it can be displayed on the LCD screen in real time by pressing the [INFO] button until the histogram displays as part of the LCD screen information.

The histogram appears as a graph. The left end (blue) displays the distribution of dark values such as shadows. The right end (red) displays the distribution of highlights. The region between the two ends displays the mid-tones. The green region in the display represents the distribution of tones in the center of the image for more critical assessment for setting exposure.

The histogram for each photo can also be displayed in the Playback mode. Select the image, and then press [INFO] to display the histogram.

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Does the XZ-1 support the Olympus wireless RC flash system?

The XZ-1 does not support the wireless RC flash system. However, it can fire the FL-36R and FL-50R flashes remotely using the built-in pop-up flash as a slave trigger. The camera's RC Mode function, located in the Flash Settings submenu of the main menu, must be set to On.

For details on using the flashes in the SLAVE mode, please refer to the manuals for the FL-36R and FL-50R.

Olympus wireless RC flash system flashes, such as the FL-50R and the FL-36R can be purchased from authorized Olympus dealers or online directly from The Olympus Store.

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Does Olympus offer a remote cable release for this camera?

The RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release is compatible with this camera.

The RM-UC1 connects to the same USB port on the camera that is used to connect the camera to a computer via the bundled USB cable. The RM-UC1 has a sliding lock to lock the cable release for BULB exposures.

The RM-UC1 is available from authorized Olympus dealers and also online directly from The Olympus Store. To order the RM-UC1 (Item #260237), click here.

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Does Olympus offer an underwater housing for the XZ-1?

Yes. The PT-050 underwater housing is compatible with the XZ-1. To purchase it from the Olympus Store, click here.

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Does Olympus offer a battery charger for this camera?

The battery can be charged in-camera using the bundled F-2AC battery charger or power from a computer USB port. To charge the battery outside of the camera, Olympus offers the LI-50C battery charger, which can be purchased from The Olympus Store by clicking here.

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I can’t get a sharp image using Night Scene. What am I doing wrong?

The NIGHT SCENE and NIGHT+PORTRAIT scenes are meant to take long exposures of skylines and city streets by leaving the shutter open for several seconds. Camera motion while the shutter is open causes blurriness. Therefore, it is necessary to stabilize the camera by bracing it against something solid or by using a tripod or camera clamp.

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Sometimes when I’m shooting in dim light I have difficulty getting the camera to focus. What can I do?

Digital cameras autofocus by detecting differences in the contrast between light and dark areas of the image projected onto the sensor. If the light is dim or the image has somewhat flat contrast, the camera may have difficulty focusing.

This camera has an AF Illuminator feature that uses the flash to illuminate the subject just before the exposure is made, thereby assuring focus.

To enable the AF Illuminator, please do the following:

  1. Press the [MENU] button to open the camera’s main menu.
  2. Press and hold the Down button on the wheel controller to scroll down to AF ILLUMINAT..
  3. Press the Right button on the wheel controller to enter the submenu.
  4. Use the Up or Down button on the wheel controller to select ON.
  5. Press the [OK] button.
  6. Press [MENU] to exit the camera menu.

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I went on vacation and used several memory cards. Now, when I’m downloading the images onto my computer and trying to save them, I get a message that says, “Image file_name.jpg already exists. Replace it with the new file?” What’s going on?

This camera has two options for creating file names for the images it captures. Selection is made from the camera’s main menu:

  1. AUTO - Even when a new card is inserted, the folder numbers are retained from the previous card. If the new card contains an image file whose number coincides with one saved on the previous card, the file numbers recorded to the new card will start at the number following the highest number on the previous card.
    Put simply, the camera picks up where it left off when naming files.
  2. RESET - When a new card is inserted, the folder numbers start at 100 and the file numbers start at 0001. If a card containing images is inserted, the file numbers start at the number following the highest file number on the card. If the card has been formatted, the file names will start with 0001.
    Put simply, the card starts naming files anew beginning at 0001. At some point, the computer will start seeing duplicate numbers. When multiple cards are downloaded in this setting, each duplicate file name will have to be renamed individually or else the like-named files will overwrite their predecessors when they are saved to the computer. The original images will no longer be viewable.

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When I try to select the PANORAMA function in the camera's menu, it is disabled (grayed out). Why?

The PANORAMA function requires that the shooting mode be turned to SCN and that Panorama be selected as the active scene. Then the type of panorama shooting can be selected from the camera’s main menu.

When a series of images are captured in Panorama mode, the images are “tagged” with information that indicates they are elements of a panoramic image. It also locks the exposure settings from the first image so there won’t be variations in brightness from image to image when the panorama is stitched. The information is used to stitch the elements together into an almost seamless single image.

There are three Panorama options:

  • AUTO allows the photographer to shoot three images that are automatically stitched together in-camera and saved as one image on the memory card. After the first image is shot, a pointer (a white dot with crosshairs) is superimposed on the live view of the second image. As the camera is moved to the right or left, a white target mark moves into the image. When the pointer is centered on the target mark, the camera automatically takes a picture and saves it. The camera then places another pointer and target mark in the live view of the third image. When the pointer is centered on the target mark, the camera shoots the last picture and automatically initiates and completes the panoramic stitch, saving the final image on the memory card.
  • Manual allows the photographer to shoot three images freehand that are automatically stitched together in-camera and saved as one image on the memory card. This option superimposes white lines to indicate overlap points for the stitch. Use of a tripod is recommended for this technique. Panoramas can be shot in right to left, left to right, up and down and down and up sequences.
  • COMBINE IN PC allows the photographer to shoot up to 10 images that can be imported into a computer and stitched together using OLYMPUS ib or OLYMPUS Viewer 2 software. Again, a tripod is recommended for this technique. Panoramas can be shot in right to left, left to right, up and down and down and up sequences.

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My camera is connected to my TV, but I don’t see my photos and movies. Why not?

Most televisions manufactured in the past decade provide a variety of input jacks so that multiple audio/visual devices (for example, a cable or satellite signal converter box, a movie player, a computer, a video game console and a digital camera) can display content on a shared screen. This eliminates the need to have separate screens for each device. Although many devices can be connected to the television simultaneously, the television screen usually can display content from only one device at a time. Therefore, when you connect your camera to the television, you must select the proper input source in order to view your images and movies.

The method for selecting input channels varies with brand and model, but in general the TV and/or its remote control will have a button for selecting a desired input signal. This button may be called "Source" or "Aux" or it may be a combination of various device labels, such as "TV/AV" or "TV/Cable/DVD." Pressing this button repeatedly will cycle through all of the input sources available to your television. Keep pressing the button until you see the camera menu on the TV screen. (The display on the camera LCD screen or electronic viewfinder will be blacked out.) If the camera menu does not appear, the signal is not reaching the television. Verify that the cable is properly connected.

If you have connected the camera to the television using the yellow and white AV cable bundled with the camera, look for source options named "AV," "Video," or "Aux." If your television has multiple sets of AV jacks, you may need to further choose between, for example, "Aux 1" and "Aux 2" or between "Front" and "Rear" jacks.

If you have connected the camera to a high-definition television (HDTV) using an optional HDMI cable so that you can view HD movies stored on your camera, look for a source option with "HDMI" in its name.

Please refer to the user documentation for your television or TV remote control for specific instructions and to verify that all source devices' cables have been connected to the proper input jacks.

Note: If the image quality on the screen appears to be distorted, the camera may be set to a video output format that is incompatible with the television. In the camera’s menu, check the VIDEO OUT setting. In North America, the setting should be NTSC. If it is set to PAL, change it to NTSC.

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