I’d been scouring eBay for an Olympus MJU-II cameras for ages. Prices can be ridiculous, varying from £30-odd to £100’s….! It’s a case of playing the long game, watching every one that comes up for sale and waiting for a bargain.
The one which was to become “mine” came up, so I did the usual last minute sniper bid and picked it up for a tad over £50. It isn’t perfect — the battery door doesn’t fasten close and I have to use gaffer tape — but I can live with that, rather than pay stupid money for one in perfect condition.
I love the way compact film cameras work; simplicity itself. Load the film, fire it up and you’re away. With the MJU II, all you need do is place the film in its slot and line the leader up before closing the back. The camera then automatically winds the film on to the first frame.
It’s a very easy little camera to use and ease of portability is its main plus point. It’s tiny! I placed an SD card next to it in the image above to give an idea of scale.
It’s worth remembering that with the MJU II, the flash is set to auto mode by default, so if you don’t want flash you have to make a point of turning it off every time you open the clamshell lens cover.
Like the battery door, it’s no big deal for me, although it may bother some people.
The actual camera itself is for some reason a lot smaller than I had imagined it would be. This a bonus really as it easily slips in my pocket or with the long lanyard that came fitted, it goes around my neck and into my jacket.
The camera is operated by opening the sliding clamshell front, which reveals the lovely Olympus Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 lens. In the viewfinder there’s a cross hair and framelines with red and green operation lights. Focus distance runs from 1.2ft to infinity and coincidentally (or not), the supplied lanyard is 1.5 ft long, so it can be used as a good enough distance measure for close ups.
It focuses quickly and a half press of the shutter button will hold the focus and exposure, allowing you to recompose before you fire the shutter. A slight downside tough is the size of the view finder, it’s very small and takes a little getting used to.
Looking at the images, it produces a great dynamic range, with detail in the shadows and highlights when shooting in bright light. The meter is spot on. Incidentally, the film used in these pics is Agfa Vista.
ISO is automatically set via DX coding on the film canister and the flash has five modes in total:
- Red eye reducing
- Fill in
- Night scene
- Night scene red eye reducing
There is a 12 second self timer and a function to enable spot metering instead of the normal 2-zone system used.
And that’s it….it winds on automatically and rewinds itself at the end of the roll.
Really, that’s it…. Simple!….it really is that easy to use, and so light you almost forget you’re carrying a camera!
As I mentioned earlier, these little beauties are getting really popular again and it’s pushing the price up and up. In a way this is a good thing because it’s stopping me buying another one.…it’s controlling my GAS for me!
I have only put one test roll though it up to now, a roll of the budget Agfa Vista but I love it already. It produced very pleasing colour tones and is nice and sharp. My next roll will be Ilford HP5+ in order to see how it produces black and white images.
All in all I’m very pleased with this little beauty, I tend to have a high turn over of cameras, but this one is a keeper!
Olympus µ[mjuː]-II technical specification
|Camera name||Olympus μ[mju:]-II / Stylus Epic|
|Camera type||Point and shoot|
|Manufacturer||Olympus Optical Co. Ltd (Japan)|
|Manufacture dates||1997 onwards
9 models in total
|Lens||35mm - f/2.8-f/11
Four elements in four groups
|Viewfinder||"Real image viewfinder"
Parallax correction guides
4 sec - 1/000 sec
|Focusing||Active multi-beam autofocus
0.35m to infinity
|Metering||Automatic 2-zone exposure control or spot metering
|ISO||DX coded: ISO 50-3200 in single stop increments
ISO 100 default when unable to read DX markings
|Flash||Built-in with auto, red-eye reduction, suppressed, forced/fill-in, night scene modes
0.32-4.1m (ISO 100)
0.32-8.2m (ISO 400)
|Loading||Auto load and rewind
Manual mid-roll rewind
|Date/time stamp||Yes - QD versions only|
|Weatherproofing||Yes - splash resistant|
|Power||1x CR123 / CR123A (3v)|
|108 x 59 x 35mm (WxHxD)
Weight: 135g (without battery).
|Accessories||Optional RC-200 remote control (3-second timer)|
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