Launched in 1986 as the successor to the AFL, the Olympus AF-1 was a product of intensive market research and design. It was the world’s first weather-proof camera that users can shoot with without worry of easy breakage and compromised performance. The AF-1 was also simple to use. Being a point-and-shoot camera, it can be easily taken out for quick shooting when needed – all thanks to its reliable auto focus system. Not to mention it was light and affordable: two good characteristics that any casual photographer can appreciate.
The AF-1’s main appeal was its durability. It could withstand rain and wet shooting conditions with its proper sealing and unique clam shell design, hence the nickname “Nuretemo-Pikaso” or “wet flash.” The AF-1 was simply one of those cameras that can churn out images regardless of the shooting conditions you’re in. Design-wise, the AF-1 has a unique focusing system. The user needs to press and hold the ‘focus lock’ button with the left thumb, aim at the subject with the central box, press the shutter release button then finally release the ‘focus look’ button to activate the shutter. It’s a quirky way to click the shutter but any shooter can memorize the process with enough practice.
When it comes to looks, the Olympus AF-1 can be easily distinguished as one of those 1980s-era point-and-shoots: the black fit and finish is slick, the shape is boxy with some rounded parts, and its lens and other components are grouped together.
Lastly, the AF-1 can produce clean and crisp images with the right lighting conditions. Its 35mm f/2.8 aperture Zuiko lens is sharp and wide enough to cover landscape shots and candid life stills. Colors are vivid and details are also pronounced. As with any camera and lens, proper handling and practice can reveal the AF-1’s strengths in this department.
Olympus AF-1 Technical Specifications:
Lens: Zuiko 35mm f/2.8 lens
Closest focus distance: 2.46m
Battery: CR-P2 Lithium, 1 pc
Auto focus: Yes, activated with focus lock button
Shutter speed: ranging from 1/30 to 1/750 seconds.
Auto-flash only: No flash override control
Film type: 35mm with auto-load and motorwind
Remaining film indication: mechanical counter
Take a look at some photos taken with the Olympus AF-1 by some members of the Lomography Community: