A while ago at the local thrift store, I stumbled upon a slick looking Olympus Mju-1 (Americans may know it as the Olympus Stylus). I immediately fell for it’s good looks, so I forked out the €1,50 and ran happily home to try it out.
On paper, the Olympus Mju-I is a pretty sweet camera: it handles 50-3200 iso film; has shutter times of 1/15 to 1/500 sec.; a minimum focussing distance of only 35 cm; a 3 element, 3 group lens and maximum f3,5. It has auto focus, a motor drive and an automatic flash, and it’s powered by a CR123 (A) battery, which I still had lying around from testing the Olympus AF-10 Twin. Oh, and did I mention it’s sleek, sexy looks? The rounded forms and clam shell lens cover make it slip easily into any pocket. It looked delicious, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I quickly shot a first roll, and before I had a chance to developed that one, I even shot a second roll.
You can imagine my disappointment when I saw my first pictures. Sure, I kind of botched the processing on the black and white film (I was in a hurry because I was in a Lomo race), but the unsharp pictures were a big let down for me. And when I developed the other roll, there were quite some blurry pics as well.
To be fair, there were some good (well, sharp) pictures as well. Close-ups, either with or without flash have turned out pretty good. As with most Olympus lenses I’ve tried until now, these pictures are nice and sharp. The flash is a bit strong to my taste, but on the whole, close-ups are okay.
So what happened with those other pictures? My theory is that it has to do with the auto flash. I usually forget to turn it off, and it usually fires, even outside in daylight. I’m guessing that when it fires, the autofoucus gets stuck at close-up. It would explain why most of the wide shots are out of focus and most of the close ups are in focus. A bug in the camera design? Not likely. The mju/stylus gets pretty good reviews on the internet. So I guess my particular mju is just broken. Or maybe I´m just a lousy photographer… I don’t know. For now, I’ll just consider this a camera for indoor parties and close-ups.