Olympus Infinity Tele: Part 2

If it does not bring you joy, why keep it? A great question. I am always struggling to keep my camera collection to a minimum. Every so often, I find a camera that I find too hard to resist, and purchase it right away. I read the reviews, clean it up, and with nervous anticipation, load a roll of film and hope for the best. If the results from the test roll look promising, I keep the camera, storing it away with my others.

In most cases, I end up keeping the camera around for a few months, to see if I still feel the camera is worth keeping. That is, does the camera continue to bring me joy? I have a strong feeling this will be the fate of the Olympus Infinity Tele. Over the past couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to test out the camera with 37 Kodak exposures.

What Does Love Have To Do With It? 

On the 20th of February, my wife picked up my developed film, which had been transferred to a compact disc (37 jpeg files).  That same night, I put the disc into my computer, and waited the few seconds for the files to pop up on the screen. The moments before the images are displayed often seem to slow to a crawl. The anticipation of what the frames captured from behind the lens–the magic of photons being projected, and captured for human eyes. This is what I love about film photography: the unknown, the anticipation. The wait was finally over!

As I scrolled through the images one by one, reliving every moment I shared with the Olympus, I was both satisfied and disappointed. The images were well exposed, sharp and generally pleasing. One aspect of the exposures I was not prepared for was the color. I typically shoot with Fuji film, so I was not prepared for the rich and saturated tones of the Kodak film. My next thought being: how will these colors impact the sepia treatment I utilize in Adobe LightRoom?

After seeing results like these, I am looking forward to shooting with Kodak film in the future. (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2019)

There must have been some magic in the air, because I am smitten with the results produced by the camera’s lens and film. This is especially true of the landscapes rendered by the 35mm prime lens. In this regard, I love the performance of the Olympus Infinity Tele. And if one cannot love the images produced by a camera, why keep it? Where there is no love, there exists no joy. Below are some additional images:

Sleeping Bear Dunes as viewed from the beach of Empire, Michigan (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2019)
Two of my favorite things: snow and pine trees in Traverse City, Michigan (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2019)
Another view of the Dunes, from Glen Haven, Michigan (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2019)

While I love the images produced by the camera, I am not too fond of the proximity of the lenses to the edge of the camera body. In more than a couple of instances, my finger found its ways into the frames I composed. This is the first camera I have used where this ruined otherwise perfect frames.

Even with my smaller hands, my finger holding the side of the camera body made numerous unwanted appearances. (copyright The Wilderness Journal 2019)

Final Impressions

When I began writing this post, I had planned on going deep into an analysis of the camera. But as I continued on, I began to change my mind. Much like my user report on the Ricoh TF-500, here are my thoughts on the Olympus:

  • I love the fact that it uses two prime lenses
  • flash control and override
  • Clamshell design is simple and intuitive
  • Viewfinder is relatively bright and accurate to compose images
  • The camera is deceivingly lightweight
  • I wish the camera did not rely on two 3 volt batteries (again…why not AA/AAA batteries?)
  • The finish looks a tad cheap, and is slippery
  • The motors inside the camera are quite loud: it may sound broken, but it is not
  • Images are sharp and well exposed, even in the telephoto lens…creating great family portraits
  • Terrible tripod mount…seriously

In the end, this camera is a great find, and if you happen to come across one, give it a chance. After all, true love often blossoms amidst chance encounters. The third time is the charm. This Olympus is a keeper.

Until next time, get outside and breathe.

-Adam K.






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