(Update: C-41 sample images added)
Reasonably priced alternative
If you’re anything like me, you’ve watched in horror, how the prices of Olympus MJU II (a.k.a Olympus Stylus Epic) has got way out of hand. Maybe you’ve been on a lookout for an alternative? If that is the case, Olympus AF-10 might be just what you’re looking for (also known as Olympus Infinity Jr.). This is an excellent and really underrated point and shoot camera.
I recently picked up Olympus AF-10 from a flea market. I paid 3,60€ for it. It was practically free and in a very good condition. I didn’t think much of it at first, because flea markets are full of 90’s plastic cameras. This one seemed somehow less plasticy though and I was intrigued to try it out. I’ve owned a bunch of MJU II’s and it somehow reminded me of it. I’ve been in the market for a nice PS camera, but really haven’t yet found my true love. Could this be it?
So how does it compare to Olympus MJU II?
The build quality isn’t as solid as MJU II, but very good none the less. Way better than most plastic cameras of the same era. It doesn’t have a zoom, but a 35mm fixed focal length, which was of course a huge bonus. Olympus MJU II goes all the way up to f2.8. AF-10 goes to f3.5. In that regard, it isn’t as good as MJU II, which was of course a slight turn-off for me. It had a surprise on it’s sleeve though… something that made me like it way more than MJU II.
Olympus MJU II has couple of dealbreakers. If you don’t want to use flash, you’ll have to turn it off every single time you turn the camera on. Hugely annoying. Here’s where the AF-10 outshines MJU II. It too has a similar feature, BUT it is the easiest thing to modify. I even found directions for the job from 35mmc.com.
Olympus MJU II has an electronic flash setting, but AF-10 on the other hand features an analog toggle switch. Closing the lens cover will push the switch back to ‘auto’ every time you turn the camera off. Behind the sliding lens cover, there’s a tiny plastic tab, that can be removed very easily with a hobby knife. After that, whenever you set the flash of ‘off’ it’ll stay that way forever. No accidental flashing anymore! This is something you simply can’t do with Olympus MJU II.
The most deligthful thing about the Olympus AF-10 is the price. I paid 3,60€ for mine and in terms of quality, it isn’t too far behind Olympus MJU II. It is an amazing MJU II alternative with a fraction of the price. #bangforthebuck
For what it is, Olympus AF-10 is really well made camera. Sure, it’s plastic, but it feels solid. The mechanics feels precise, as you’d expect from an Olympus camera. Olympus MJU II feels even more solid… as it is a premium camera, but AF-10 isn’t too far behind. The lens cover slides and clicks very smoothly with no wiggle.
All in all, the camera is very fast and snappy. It definitely isn’t as laggy or rattly as most point and shoots.
The lens is a 35mm f3.5 Zuiko lens that renders really sharp and pleasing images. The image quality came as a total surprise, because who’d think that a plastic camera that cost less than 4€ would render tack-sharp images.
The auto-focus really hasn’t let me down so far. 35mm lens has a pretty good depth of field even with large apertures to begin with but the actual auto-focus works like a dream too. The camera basically takes an initial distance metering with a half-press (via laser or something) and focuses quickly, by moving the lens, just before pressing the shutter button all the way down. The viewfinder has a focus point in the middle of the screen that you can lock down for re-composing after focusing. Pretty hi-tech for a cheap plastic camera!
Styling and size
The pictures doesn’t really do justice to camera. It is actually a very pretty product. MJU II may look even more epic, but AF-10 definitely is a sleek design. Judging from pictures, it doesn’t look like much, but in real life, it’s actually much nicer than you’d expect. The size is also very reasonable. It’s like a small soap box, that fits nicely in the pocket.
Somehow I’ve been enjoying my Olympus AF-10 way more than MJU II. I’ve owned couple of MJU II’s and I really wanted to like them. Their appeal lied perhaps more in the hype surrounding them. In reality though, I didn’t get along with them too well, even though I’m interested in the idea of owning a nice point and shoot camera. MJU II has such a good reputation that I automatically assumed to like it. I’ve always ended up selling my MJU II’s and I definitely wasn’t expecting to like the AF-10 this much. For that price, I of course had to grab it and I’m glad I did. I’ve been carrying it in my camera bag most of the time and shooting about one roll per week with it. It’s great for casual shooting around the house. I don’t use it for anything too serious. It’s really small and light weight to toss into the bag though so there’s no reason not to carry it. It’s a good back up and addition for my main camera. All in all, I’d highly recommend checking AF-10 out if you want something similar to MJU II, but can’t find one with a reasonable price tag.