Everyone remember bridge cameras? No? Wiki can catch you up, if you don’t. It’s good for that. But, it’s been a while since I saw anything come across the old news feed that could really be called a bridge camera.
And then Olympus trotted out the Stylus 1.
Yowza that is a good looking camera. But looks of course aren’t everything, and it’s the old cliche of what’s on the inside that matters here. It’s got a 1/1.7″ BSI CMOS sensor (the larger of the standard point-and-shoot sizes, seen in popular models like Canon’s Gx series pro models) strapped behind a 28-300mm equivalent f2.8 constant lens. Yes, f2.8 constant. Yes, a 300mm f2.8, in a point-and-shoot. And, what’s better is that the lens still folds in almost completely flat when the camera is off.
I, at least, am impressed. Time was a lens like that left you with something that looked like an early DSLR, except you couldn’t change the dang lens. Now, you can fit a 300mm f2.8 in a cargo pocket. I love living in the future.
If the Stylus 1 seems to call to mind the new E-M5 and E-M1 cameras you wouldn’t be wrong, and even Olympus is touting this as the compact version of that heritage. It inherits the same body styling (minus the weather-sealing, sadly), plus the tilting 3″ display and EVF as well as what claims to be a similarly fast AF system. It’s also got built-in wifi which can be used with their app (still iOS and Android only, no love for us weirdos on WP still) to use the camera remotely and share images over for all of your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Flickr/500px needs. It’s got 12-bit raw, 1080p video, an external flash hotshoe compatible with all Oly/Panny/Leica flashes from the 4/3 standard, wireless flash control for the subset of those that support it (with full 4 group support), 7 frames-per-second continuous shooting, built-in digital neutral density for up to 3 stops (a feature I wish more cameras would include these days), native ISO from 100-1600 (expandable to 12,800), and all the bracketing and customization settings you might know to expect from an Olympus camera.
It’s a bit of a beast.
There’s some compromise, though, as you’d expect. Like, a minimum shutter speed of 1/2000 second (and not 1/4000 or 1/8000 like a pro DSLR). And uh, hrm, I guess the inherent limitations of using a 1/1.7″ sensor, but those aren’t unique for most advanced compacts since that’s a common size. There might be a compromise in the flash x-sync speed, but their specs aren’t helping me out there so the jury is out yet. Otherwise, a pretty impressive camera. And, it can be yours in December for $700 in “Jody Grober” black only. But why wait until December when you can put your name on our wait list for one now with no obligations and no money upfront, hm?