Olympus X-15. Are you a fan of tighly-cropped shots that focus the viewer’s attention on your subject? If so, a long-zoom camera can be a great tool, and Olympus’ 2013 lineup includes two closely-related models you’ll want to consider. There’s one key difference between the pair, though, and it completely defines their character, so you’ll want to choose carefully.
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The Olympus X-15 is based around a 1/2.3-inch, 16.0 megapixel CCD image sensor with a 1.34µm pixel pitch. That differs from the SZ-16, which uses a CMOS sensor of approximately the same resolution, size, and pixel pitch.
Once upon a time, CMOS sensors were the less desirable, but that time has now passed. CCD sensors typically offer significantly lesser speed, leading them to lag on burst-shooting performance, have less responsive autofocus, lower video frame rates, and more. The advent of backside-illuminated CMOS sensors has also left CCD-based cameras dacing a significant deficit in terms of noise and sensitivity.
On the rear panel, there’s a three-inch LCD monitor with a resolution of approximately 460,000 dots. Exposure modes include Intelligent Auto (albeit only for still imaging) and Program, but Manual or Priority capture isn’t possible.
Available shutter speeds range from 1/4 to 1/2,000 second, and can be raised as high as two seconds in night mode. (That’s only half as long as the SZ-16 manages, again likely due to noise issues.)
At ISO 800 equivalent, a built-in flash has a working range of 6.9 meters at wide angle, and 3.0 meters at telephoto.
As well as stills, the X-15 also shoots 720p (1,280 x 720 pixel) high definition movies, at a rate of 30 frames per second, a significantly lower resolution than the 1080p mode offered on the CMOS version of the camera.
These are stored in Motion JPEG-compressed .AVI format> Also, unlike its sibling, the X-15 can’t shoot high-speed videos.