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Review – Olympus Stylus Epic (aka mju II)

There are quite a few things about film photography that still excites me to this day. The “faults” of a film image compared to the crisp/clean digital image, the sound of a roll winding, the process of loading film, etc. One different thing that the Olympus Stylus Epic offers me, however, is portability. Unlike my other film cameras that are still relatively bulky, Stylus Epic is one camera I always bring with me wherever I go, regardless of what other camera I may be bringing as a main camera.

Back in the mid 90’s the Olympus design team came up with really slick, fashionable, and technically capable consumer pocket cameras for the casual shooters and the more serious photographer looking for a decent camera to fit in their pockets. Like in 2009, pocket cameras pretty much covers bulk of the inventory of camera stores and the competition is still. Even back then, big names such as Canon and Kodak pretty much dominates the sales chart, so it’ll take Olympus quite a feat to unseat the big names.

Consistent with the rest of the Olympus Stylus line, the design of the Stylus Epic is very sleek. With a sliding clam shell protecting the front cover and acting as a main power switch, coupled with rounded and recessed buttons surrounding the exterior of the camera, you can slip any Olympus Stylus into your pocket without any troubles.

Another plus for Stylus owners is that Olympus pride themselves of producing sturdy and durable cameras. Most Stylus models are weather-proof and you can shoot in the rain or at the beach without worrying about water seeping into your camera. Quite a feat for such a small footprint and light weight of a camera.

The most unique aspect of the Stylus Epic, however, is the lens. It’s a fixed (prime) lens with a fast f/2.8 35mm lens. Yes, an f/2.8 lens!

The lens is razor sharp and works wonderfully in low-light.

Let’s start with the negatives, however, just to get it over with.

1) Hair-trigger shutter.
2) Hit-or-miss focus
3) Exposure prefers wider apertures (fast shutter speeds), DOF is thin as the camera prefers to use wide-open apertures.
4) Default flash mode is on.
5) Small viewfinder

Let’s get to the fun part of this little wonder.

1) Razor sharp images.
2) Intelligent flash mode
3) Fast response
4) Weather sealing
5) Compact size and weight
6) Good battery life
7) Simple to use
8 ) Cheap

If you like to shoot film, especially black-and-white street photography. Go grab yourself an Olympus Stylus Epic. Just load it up with ASA 400-800 film and just keep shooting. The camera is so small and unassuming, no one will even notice you taking a photograph. In this digital age, they’ll probably laugh at you for being poor and cheap for still using film and a mini camera, at that.

With a camera this small and this capable, you’ll have no excuse not having a fast-responding camera when that Pulitzer moment jumps in front of you.

Here are some more images for you to check out.

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