A mid range, highly dependable, point and shoot camera, with an impressive lens and a pseudo-panoramic feature.
The Olympus OZ 10 (also known as AF-10 Mini in the US) is a relatively unknown point and shoot camera released in the mid 90s. There is very little information found on the internet about this camera. The little that I have searched, and my personal observations, serve as basis for this review of sort.
This camera build is compact, and can very much fit your pocket. It is tear drop in shape, much like the more famous Olympus Stylus. Although the shape is rather non-traditional compared to other cameras, such makes this camera easy to slide in and out of a belt pouch, if you have one. I also like the design because I can hold the camera in shooting form, in one hand, with great ease.
The lens is 35mm in focal length, and is protected by a sliding lens cover that doubles as a power switch. According to some sources, this camera is said to be auto-focus, although I have reason to believe that it is actually focus-free only. Exposure is automatic, with a maximum aperture of f4.5 and a minimum of possible f16. Based on my test, the shutter speed is slowest at 2 seconds. However I am not sure of its fastest shutter speed. The ISO cannot be set manually, which leads me to think that this camera recognizes DX codes. A competing theory would be that it operates only in one ISO setting (say, ISO200) and simply relies on the film’s latitude. This is a possibility since the camera operates even if there is no film loaded. A website indicated that the Olympus OZ10’s ISO range is from 100 to 400. Based on my test, both ISO100 and ISO400 films were well exposed and are safe choices (by implication, we can include ISO200 as well).
Loading, advancing and rewinding film is done automatically by the camera. It has a digital display on top that serves as film counter. Once the counter reads 36, the camera will automatically rewind the film. With that, this is not the camera you would like to use for a double projects, except for when you are already loading a pre-exposed film. If you load a 24 exposure film, there is a dedicated rewind button that you can press with the use of a ballpoint pen, when the counter reads 24. The camera also has a self-timer button.
An integral flash is also available for night shots, or for backlit subjects. There are four flash settings: auto, slow synch, fill-in, and off. Every time you open the lens cover, auto flash serves as the default flash setting, even if the flash was off when you closed the cover prior. If you like to sneak up on unsuspecting subjects, or if you like mirror shots, it would be a good habit to turn the flash off every time you open the lens cover, especially with when there is limited light.
Beside the view finder, there are two light indicators; the green one for the battery, and the orange one that indicates that flash is ready. The camera runs on 2 AA batteries by the way.
Another interesting feature of this camera is an ergonomically positioned switch for pseudo-panoramic frame. If there is an interesting landscape view, switching to pseudo-panoramic would be a good idea.
Other than some limitations in technical specifications, there is nothing to actually dislike over this point and shoot. The lens is remarkably sharp. I love using it during day time for taking street snaps. There is a bit of a shutter lag though, and that might be an issue if you’re trying capture precise and decisive moments as it is in street photography.
Based on my test rolls, there is also minimal parallax distortion, such that, what you see in the viewfinder is relatively an accurate representation of what the film will actually capture.
In low light situation where I do not want to use flash, there is a great chance for camera shake. It would be best to set the camera in a stable flat surface, or otherwise, use flash.