Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Olympus Stylus Epic -- Photography in Your Pocket

There are some cameras that have many devotees. Take the renowned Olympus XA series, which I reviewed earlier. Those small 35mm cameras are proof that a small 35mm camera with a bit of automation, good design and excellent optics will provide one with a serious picture-taker. The XA series were eventually replaced with a more modern, sleek and automated Olympus Stylus Epic. The streamlined Epic, with its 35mm 2.8 lens is a far cry from the general run of small-aperture p&s cameras from the 1990s-2000s. Because of the built-in flash, DX-coding, autowind, and autofocus, the Stylus Epic is a very complete little camera. I recall reading several times in Popular Photography that it was the camera that "pros" kept in their bags when an SLR wasn't going to be able to be used. So, I guess that makes it a pocket pro camera.

The only problem I have is that the default on the Stylus Epic is to have the flash activated. So, before shooting, you have to press the flash button twice to deactivate it to keep it from going off. Pretty embarrassing if flash photography isn't permitted at the location, and most of the time flash isn't needed. Other than that, the camera autofocuses quickly, and is a pleasure to use. I keep mine handy in my messenger bag, where it sits in a pocket probably designed for a cell phone. I like the security of the sliding lens cover, and the single focal length of 35mm is really ideal for me. Really, it is a camera capable of being used for serious street photography -- without looking serious.

Justice and Monroe

From Grand Rapids, November 2008.

petaled path
Ann Arbor, May 2009. This photo has a 3-D quality to it when viewed in the largest size.

Some nice Epic links:


Kat said...

I saw the photo of the building and thought hey that looks familiar...then I saw it was indeed from Grand Rapids!! :)

Thanks for posting this. I may need to pick one of these up.

Also I hope to have my website up and running soon. On which I hope to have photography section. I'll let you know so you can check out some of my work.


Jordan said...

Great to hear that others appreciate this camera too.

I bought mine on eBay in 2002 or so for about $35. It was in rough cosmetic shape, but worked fine, and continues to do so. I still love using the Epic despite the fact that I do very little 35mm anymore. Actually, I put a roll of Reala through it recently and should get it developed...