Everyone seems to be on a point and shoot camera craze these days. Thanks to celebrities toting these small and pocketable shooters, their popularity (and price) have skyrocketed in recent years.
You have the usual suspects: Contax T2/T3, distant cousin the Yashica T4/T5 super, Nikon 35/28 Ti, Ricoh GR, and the very tiny Olympus Stylus Epic (aka MJU). Anyone who’s seen the recent Robert Frank documentary “Don’t Blink” will notice him using a small, black point and shoot camera. It’s the Olympus MJU II or Stylus Epic.
This article is NOT about that camera! These images were made with the last version of the popular Olympus Stylus line of cameras, the Olympus Stylus 80 or MJU iii. It was introduced in 2004 and was in many ways a more advanced camera than previous iterations. It’s “all-weather”, has 11-point autofocus, camera shake indicator and spot-metering.
I’ve been very happy with the results from this camera paired with the Ultrafine Extreme 400 film. This film outperforms its price point. A 100 ft bulk roll will set you back $39.95, half the price of the same 100 ft roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 or ILFORD HP5 PLUS. I’ve compared my results from all three film emulsions and honestly can’t find any benefit of using the more expensive black and white films from Kodak and Ilford.
I shoot film mainly to document my family. Although I own and enjoy using medium and large format cameras, I use a point and shoot the most as my everyday carry camera.
The Olympus Stylus 80 is sharp, easy to use, and a truly pocketable camera. Anyone new to film photography and looking for a point and shoot will find it more than capable. Don’t buy a camera just because a celebrity has been seen using it, even if that person is Robert Frank!
There are many more options out there that are cheaper but will be as much fun to use.
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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