During one of my regular charity shop forays I spotted a boxed Olympus iS-300 bridge camera – a fixed-lens 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) dating from the late 1990s. It’s solidly built and handles nicely, though one review I found online somewhat unkindly describes it as being ‘grandpa chic’.
Launched in 1999 its was the seventh generation, and penultimate model, of Olympus’s iS series bridge cameras which launched in 1991 with the iS-1000 (also known as the iS-1 and L-1000 in different markets). Olympus referred to them not as an SLR but ZLR – zoom lens reflex. The Olympus iS-300 has a fixed, motorised 28-110mm autofocus lens with a variable aperture of f/4.5 – 5.6. Despite the relatively modest widest aperture the viewfinder image is surprisingly bright, brighter than some 35mm SLR cameras I’ve used from the same era. It was succeeded in 2002 by the final model in the range, the iS-500, a similar design but with a slightly longer zoom lens.