Friday, January 03, 2014

Olympus Point and Shoots

Olympus is well-known for its classic line of SLRs, the OM series, and the compact metal-bodied rangefinder cameras such as the Olympus 35RC and similar models.  Later, as AF-bodied SLRs predominated the market, Olympus lagged behind Pentax, Nikon, Canon, and Minolta, and went to the point and shoot market.  Some classic examples from the 1980s are the XA series of compact cameras, and later, the Olympus Infinity series.  In the 1990s, the superzoom IS-series were amazing SLRs with fixed zooms and wonderful optics.  However, the Infinity series has aged well, and their tiny size and excellent optics earned them a spot in many camera bags.   Somehow, I have accumulated several different models - either as gifts or thrift shop finds.
Olympus P&S pocket cameras.
From the photo I shot here, the cameras are from rear to front, L and R:
Olympus Trip AF (1984) with 35mm f/3.5 with user selectable ISO 100 and 400 setting, thumbwheel film advance.
Olympus Infinity AF (1989?)(perhaps the first model)- 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens, auto-flash, focus lock, DX-code, self-timer.
Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic Zoom 80 Deluxe. (2000) -38-80mm zoom, AF, all-weather, panorama mask, quartz date, remote, and self-timer, auto-advance/rewind, DX coding.
Olympus Infinity Hi-Lite (date?) 35mm f/4.5 lens, auto-advance self-timer, flash setting, DX coding. A very slow lens for such a camera.
Olympus Infinity Stylus (1991) - the first of the "mju series" - 35mm f/3.5 lens, self-timer, flash setting, DX coding, auto-advance & rewind.
Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic (1996-2002) - 35mm f/2.8 lens, remote and self-timer, DX coding, auto advance and rewind, flash setting. By far, the most compact and most-desired of the mju series.

Today, you can pick up any of these cameras and their relatives for next to nothing.  All of them are competent point and shoot cameras, but the fixed focal length  and larger 2.8 aperture and Zuiko-labeled lens of the Infinity AF makes it a good buy.  The best of the lot is still the Infinity Stylus Epic.  If you have the remote control for it (a simple IR remote), this makes it even more versatile.  Used, the cameras still command the price of a really good pizza.  The excellent optics and compact form make it the clear winner. There are some good reviews of these cameras on the web - and I list two here.
Stylus and Stylus Epic
Olympus Stylus Epic

So, grab one, use DX-coded film cassettes and you are good to go.  Carry one with Kodak Tri-X for b&w and one with your choice of color film.  Great little cameras for wherever you go.

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