As I cut the electric tape to the proper lengths, I wondered if I had made a mistake in loading a roll of film into another Olympus camera. The last Olympus I took out was the cult-classic Stylus Epic (MJU 2). All the reviews had been in favor of the tiny wonder. Because of the reviews and popularity, the cost of these humble-looking cameras has sky-rocketed. The last time I looked, some of these cameras in mint condition were approaching $800.00; this price not even including the battery! After I had developed a test roll of film at a local trail system, I put the camera I purchased for $5.00 up for sale on Ebay. Two hundred dollars later, the little wonder was on its way to the west coast.
It is not that the camera worked terribly. In fact, everything functioned as it was designed to. This included no light leaking or seized up motors. I was just not impressed. I did not see what all the hype was about. Perhaps my Olympus had some slight lens distortion? Regardless, I was not hesitant to earn an almost $200.00 profit on a thrift store find. And to this day, I have absolutely zero regrets. The buyer of the camera also came away with quite a bargain.
Since the day I packed up the camera carefully in bubble wrap, I have used a handful of other cameras to great success and satisfaction. At no point have I thought about the Olympus on its way across the country. I enjoyed my Nikon’s, Vivitar, Ricoh’s and Fuji cameras immensely. I even ran a roll of film through a Minolta compact before parting ways with it. My only regret? A sought-after Nikon LF35 AF 1…of which I donated…I often look back at the pictures I took with that camera with mixed feelings. Happy and sad. And confused: why do humans often let go of those things which will be dearly missed? The old saying, “if you love it, let it go” may be relevant. I now own a Nikon LF35 AF2 (of which I am running through a test roll…a possible user report in the works), but its just not the same. It sounds like a Lifetime Channel romance flick: Man finds the perfect women, man lets her go, man realizes he was wrong, man lives with regret. I live with that regret. Again, no such feelings exist for the Olympus Stylus Epic.
Two Primes are Better than One
The taping complete, I gazed at the camera with an excited apprehension. Would I end up being disappointed again? Would I put my heart on the line, and trust the Olympus with a nice roll of film? It was already too late, I had committed myself. Our first date? A trip to Lake Michigan to visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes. After I inspected the tape-job for any possible flaws, I pressed the shutter button to allow the cameras motor to wind the film to the first frame. So far so good.
So what attracted me to this Olympus? Unlike other cameras of the period that featured dual focal lengths, this camera came equipped with two prime lenses, not a prime and ‘modified telephoto’ (a second lens moved into position behind the prime) like others (Fuji DL-400 for example). This is where I became intrigued. Would the two primes satisfy my longing for an Olympus that lived up my demanding expectations? Even my time with an Olympus OM-1 and OM-PC ended in mixed feelings. At this point, I am hopeful. Besides, those two lenses sure look nice.
Is this camera the one… a true love story? I remain cautiously optimistic. What do you think will happen? Will the camera earn its keep among the other cameras in my collection, or will I decide to part ways with yet another Olympus? Only time will tell. As of Sunday the 10th of February, I am on the fence.
Until next time, get outside and breathe.