One of the most fascinating parts of film photography for me is the almost limitless variety of cameras and lenses. More than 100 years of human ingenuity was devoted to creating a dizzying array of cameras that all did the same thing–expose film to light–in so many different ways. Finding myself at a time in life when I have enough funding to spend on what are now very cheap cameras, I have been able to indulge my curiosity. All of which led me last year to rediscover 1980s point-and-shoot cameras when I happened upon one at an estate sale.
Olympus Point & Shoot
This Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 115 (also known as the Olympus Stylus mju Zoom 115) was not my camera of choice per se, I came across it in a thrift store with a price tag of $3, and it looks cool, so thought why not? Despite the many rolls I passed through this camera, I decided I wanted it off my shelf. The reasons being, it’s slow to use, has bad ergonomics and a very unintuitive zoom rocker.
As I’m sure you are aware dear reader, the Olympus Mju-ii has in recent years become the darling of hipsters everywhere. The second generation Mju has become a statement of coolness, an accessory to your outfit, a bauble to be seen holding rather than shooting. Fashion (I’m told) is a fickle business, and only the exact thing will do. Anyone who was ever dragged to Clarks’ shoe shop as a child, when all they wanted was Doc Martins will know this to be true.
A film photography friend recently clued me in to the best local spot for thrifting film cameras (sorry, can’t say where – sharing the good thrifting spots is a trust not easily broken). I paid the shop a visit, and came home with an Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 ($6), an Olympus Infinity Twin ($6), and an Argus 110-format camera ($1). So far, all three have been excellent budget purchases, but the Stylus Epic Zoom has the most character so I thought it fit the bill for a mini-review here on 35mmc.
Well, what can I say? I fell foul of hype and hyperbole this year and I have learnt my lesson. I own a perfectly good Olympus Trip and a Rollei 35 but no that was not enough! I was heading to Thailand for the trip of a lifetime and wanted to accompany my digital camera with a point and shoot. Instead of using either of the two cameras I have (and am aware of how to use), I decided in a rash moment to get my hands on an Olympus XA3.