Olympus Stylus XZ-2 iHS revealed with flagship aspirations

There's a brand new compact digital camera here in the Olympus camp and it's aiming for greatness with Stylus XZ-2 iHS on its name tag and high-performance point-and-shoot action on its list of checkmarks. This device has the lovely 4x optical / 4x Digital zoom iZUIKO DIGITAL f1.8-2.5 large-diameter lens favored by the predecessor to this device from Olympus and adds a hybrid control ring, a touch-sensitive tilt screen, and a TruePic VI image processor. You'll be rocking with Full HD movie recording as well as FlashAir compatibility to rock and roll with your smartphone or mobile-connected tablets instantly – social time!

Inside you've got a 12-megapixel 1/1.7" high-sensitivity back-lit CMOS sensor teamed up with the same processor you'll find in the impressive Olympus OM-D E-M5 we reviewed earlier this year. That's the TruePic VI processor and with it combined with the lens, you'll have faster recovery time as well as shutter releases on a regular basis. You've got up to ISO 12,800 with the device's speedy f1.8 lens for full-resolution photos that look excellent even in dim conditions.

The hybrid control ring is what Olympus lets us know is the world's first of its kind. Here you've got function settings able to be assigned with ease and switches between digital operations and analog with little effort. You've also got touch controls, of course, with the XZ-2's touch screen on the back with Live Guide and a user interface quite similar to the OM-D we've reviewed and the PEN shooters also just revealed today.

This camera will be available in November of 2012, just in time for the holiday season, and will be appearing with a USB cable, video cable, Lithium-ion battery pack, battery charger, shoulder strap, Olympus ib software CD, manuals, registration card, and a healthy dose of love from Olympus. This unit will be available for an estimated street price of $599.99 USD and will be available in any color just so long as its black. This unit has an accessory port – as you may have noticed – so you'll be able to be compatible with what Olympus notes is a "growing range of Micro Four Thirds accessories" – fun stuff!