Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 Review

Introduction

So. My comparison of the Pentax to the Olympus didn't have every single detail in it. I may have some further thoughts in reference to the Olympus that shine a positive light on it. It's no secret that I, personally, prefer the Pentax Zoom 90-WR, but I'm gonna play devil's advocate in this review, and give the Olympus a fighting chance.

Design

It is tiny. Absolutely tiny. Therefore it is definitely one hand operable, and that is very rad. It is great for street photography because of that. In the daylight, it functions relatively well if you don't get the light-leaks like I did. But it is absolutely great for the streets in gold because people don't think it is as scary of a camera, and therefore don't shy away as much.

It starts out at a relatively wide 38mm (same as the Pentax) and zooms to a decent 80mm. Though it isn't as good as the Pentax in sharpness or zoom range, it sure gives it a kick in the pants for size and weight. And even though the Pentax is very ergonomic, the Olympus beats it by a moderate margin. It is just more comfortable.

 The light-leaks that showed up on almost every photo from that roll, along with some flaring.

The light-leaks that showed up on almost every photo from that roll, along with some flaring.

I find the Pentax to be easier to operate, due to larger, and more strategically placed buttons, but still. The Olympus is a dream to shoot in the moment.

I fear for the durability of the camera. It is made of cheap late 90's plastic, and that isn't good. The camera feels like it could drop and die on the spot, but I've heard that some people have the opposite response when holding the camera, so it could just be me.

Though it doesn't feel very durable, the clamshell design of the camera is going to keep that lens from getting scratched and smudged. BUT that is still another moving part that could fail. And that is the theme of the negative aspect of the design. It has a lot of moving parts. The flash is motorized, and pivots on, what looks like a rather complex point, due to the springy nature of it. And that scares me. When the flash is registered as down, it is not going to take photos. And when the flash breaks, it might do the same. So heed my warning. It could fail on you, and that is bad.

Results

It takes some very crisp photos when it focusses properly. The colors pop from the lens, and the contrast is wonderful when it gets a proper exposure. I sure will give it that!

 Taken on Fuji Superia 800

Taken on Fuji Superia 800

The lens reproduces color pretty well (although the film definitely had something to do with that).

The leaks on my particular copy of the camera are definitely a stylistic choice if you want them. But no promise it'll be the same on yours. Just a warning.

The autofocus is one sore point for the camera. It just doesn't cut it in my opinion. Though, that is the thing about film point-and-shoots. They don't always nail the focus. At night in particular, my Pentax wiped the floor with the Olympus.

 Taken on Fomapan 100.

Taken on Fomapan 100.

 Fomapan 100. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what happened in this photo. Sorta cool though.

Fomapan 100. Honestly, I'm not entirely sure what happened in this photo. Sorta cool though.

Features

It has quite a few features. Though considering it was made in 1998, towards the end of wide-spread film camera development, that isn't too huge of a surprise. It has many shooting modes. It has a lot of flash settings. It has a decent zoom.

If you still want it.

Here is a link to where you can buy it. If you buy it (or anything else) via this link, you'll be supporting me at no extra cost to you, but in all honesty, if you want to save $5-10, then go with eBay. It might be less reliable. But pick your poison. It's been discontinued for a while, so there's always a chance of it functioning incorrectly.

But for my money, a the Pentax is the way to go. It's cheaper. More rugged, and takes more pleasing pictures to my eye.

Or, if you feel like shilling out hundreds of dollars, or going on an epic thrift store search, you could go with the much beloved Olympus Stylus Epic with the fixed 35mm lens at f2.8. I haven't tried it out, but I've heard wonderful things

You could go with a Contax T2, but I see no need to place that kind of money on the table. Sure it has great optics, but it's a point and shoot. Don't worry about it.

Instead, what I truly recommend is to go to just about any thrift store, and pick up a film point and shoot. It's less about the equipment, and more about who is taking the photo. With a film point and shoot, you have essentially a full frame interchangeable sensor, and amazing optics for a really cheap price. The only limit is the imagination of the photographer and the laws of physics. Everything but the composition is done for you, and though it is a creative limitation, there is nothing wrong with that! Don't be afraid if the camera doesn't have a review online. Film point and shoots aren't supposed to be perfect in my mind. So long as it is in good condition and works, that roughly $10 you spend in the Goodwill is a bargain. 

Update

Holy crap! The camera is running for around $200 on Amazon! Don't. Just don't.