Test: Olympus Infinity Stylus (Mju-1) versus Infinity Stylus Epic (Mju 2). Moment Of Truth.

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by maciek_stankiewicz, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. Having both of these famous, cult cameras
    Olympus Infinity Stylus a.k.a. Mju I and Olympus Infinity Stylus Epic a.k.a. Mju II
    I decided to perform a honest test, compare both side-by-side, shooting the same scene with both cameras and write a short review based on my observations.
    Methodology:
    It wasn't simple because different max apertures ( f2.8 and f3.5 ) and Stylus' limited shutter range being 1/15s... For night shots cameras were mounted on the same tripod. The same fresh Fuji Superia 100 from the same box (of 3 rolls) were used. Lenses were cleaned before the test (pic.).
    Please use file mames as a reference. "Stylus" was used for Mju I and "Epic" for Mju II.
    Most of images are resized to appear on the page (letter "s" added). Full size unadjusted images appears as a shortcut. First image is always from Infinity Stylus ( Mju I ).


    Camera feel, controls
    Both cameras are small, well designed. I like Stylus' design more, feels better in my hands, Epic is really tiny, little to small for me, but You need to judge it by yourself. Shutter button on Infinity Stylus got much nicer action with firmer stop while pressed half-way. With Epic it's easier to take picture by accident...

    Lens quality

    As You can see both lenses are of high quality, very high quality for a P&S camera.
    Test pictures are showing Stylus Epic being little sharper, especially in the corners... Also Epic showing less vignetting... Some people likes vignetting but my kudos goes to Olympus engineers who built faster lens with less vignetting and better optical quality... That's what I call improvement!


    Light meters:
    Light meters almost agreed. Pictures from Stylus Epic are little brighter and more on the cold side. I like the exposure from Infinity Stylus more...

    Auto Focus system
    Both cameras are using Active Auto Focus (near Infra red beam) to measure the distance.
    Test pictures showing that Infinity Stylus have problems even in quite contrasty scenes, which is a serious problem and might be a photographer's nightmare... Epic is much better here, correctly measuring distance even in night shots.

    Bottom Line:

    Both cameras are well designed. Infinity Stylus feels better in hand, got nicer controls and feel but Stylus Epic is showing big improvement in most important areas: Lens Quality and AF performance.
    I really liked Stylus' shutter speed limited to 1/15s, that will let You catch the action, picture may be underexposed but not ruined due to 1s exposure... But we're talking about really low light conditions, in low light Epic with 400 film is doing fine. You need to think about that difference.
    Pictures from Stylus looks little better to my taste (little vignetting, warmer colors, little darker) but corner softness, even in daylight (pic. Garden crop) is too much for me to accept...
    I hope You found this post interesting. Please share Your opinions/thoughts about these cameras.
    Now, the PICTURES!

    00a9Oo-450807584.jpg
     
  2. Lens Test (Mju II)
    00a9Ow-450809784.jpg
     
  3. Flare Test (handheld) Infinity Stylus
    00a9P0-450811584.jpg
     
  4. Flare Test (handheld) Infinity Stylus Epic
    00a9P1-450811684.jpg
     
  5. Night Scene - Stylus
    00a9P4-450813584.jpg
     
  6. Night Scene - Stylus (full size)
    00a9P5-450813684.jpg
     
  7. Night Scene - Stylus Epic (resized)
    00a9P8-450813884.jpg
     
  8. Night Scene - Stylus Epic (full size)
    00a9PA-450813984.jpg
     
  9. Night Scene (White Car) by Stylus
    00a9PC-450815584.jpg
     
  10. Night Scene (White Car) by Stylus Epic (resized)
    00a9PE-450815684.jpg
     
  11. Garden: Stylus (resized)
    00a9PI-450817684.jpg
     
  12. Garden: Stylus Epic (resized)
    00a9PM-450819584.jpg
     
  13. Garden Full Size: Stylus
    00a9PN-450821584.jpg
     
  14. Garden Full Size: Stylus Epic
    00a9PO-450821684.jpg
     
  15. Garden (Corner crop) STYLUS
    00a9PR-450823584.jpg
     
  16. Garden (Corner crop) STYLUS EPIC
    00a9PT-450823684.jpg
     
  17. Closest confirmed focus / Bokeh Stylus
    00a9PV-450823784.jpg
     
  18. Closest confirmed focus / Bokeh Stylus Epic
    00a9PX-450823884.jpg
     
  19. Antique shop - Stylus
    00a9PZ-450825584.jpg
     
  20. Antique shop - Stylus EPIC
    00a9Pb-450825684.jpg
     
  21. Focus test - Stylus
    00a9Pe-450827584.jpg
     
  22. Focus test - Stylus EPIC
    00a9Pf-450827684.jpg
     
  23. Barbican wall, Warsaw - Stylus
    00a9Pj-450829584.jpg
     
  24. Barbican wall, Warsaw - Stylus EPIC
    00a9Pk-450829684.jpg
     
  25. Barbican wall, Warsaw - Stylus
    (original size)

    00a9Pm-450831584.jpg
     
  26. Barbican wall, Warsaw - Stylus EPIC
    (original size)

    00a9Pn-450831684.jpg
     
  27. OK, that's all :)
    Maciek Stankiewicz
     
  28. Excellent post, Maciek, and thanks for the enormous effort you've put into it. Our family had Olympus Stylus cameras for years, (though we do call them "Mju" downunder), and we ran the gamut through a range of fixed lens and zoom models. My favourite was always the Epic , though some of the later (but bulkier) zoom models were beautifully constructed and finished, and survived some quite severe treatment out in the wild and at school camps. They are a small camera for big hands, but they're designed to be "purse or pocket" cameras; I usually divide consumer-grade cameras of this era into the catergories of "Faithful Recorders of Reality" and "Tools for Creative Photography", and in my opinion the Stylus line takes pride of place in the first catergory .
    You've tested two similiar models, in some fairly challenging situations, and while the Epic is a pretty clear winner, the Stylus turns in a performance that most users would have been content with. Thanks for a really interesting report on your experiences.
     
  29. Excellent comparison, Maciek. I have often thought about doing a similar comparo of the same cameras (on a much smaller scale!) and am glad that you went to all the trouble to do this test. It's interesting to see how the cameras stack up against each other and to see the very clear improvements made in the Stylus Epic; it just makes me appreciate the Stylus Epic even more, but I also have a lot of respect for the Stylus. Like Rick said, some of the zooms from this family of cameras are pretty impressive as well. We have the 38-105 and the Stylus Wide 100 (28-100mm) and both of those have wickedly sharp lenses. Thanks for an outstanding and most informative post, Maciek!
     
  30. Great comparison Maciek. My boss owns an Epic raves about its quality. He could not work out the spot metering mode so I did some online research and found out for him! My dad owns a later zoom model. He bought it in the late 90's but sadly, the lens has now developed fungus. He will not be going digital so I have been looking for an inexpensive alternative. Sadly, he likes the the zoom models so would not be happy with the Epic despite being a user of the Konica C35 for over a decade!
     
  31. Thank You all for kind words!
    I just wanted to add that I had Infinity Stylus (Mju I) on a few parties, taking simple snapshots with flash and pictures were tack sharp, with very good flash performance.
    00a9UF-450887584.jpg
     
  32. Excellent test. In many ways the Epic was one of the most advanced single focal length P&S and now it and the original
    stylus are bargains. Thanks for posting.
     
  33. Hi, Maciek
    Congratulations and thanks for your tests. I'm also the happy owner of both cameras. I use the MjuII (a.k.a. "soap bar") quite often on trips for "diary" type pictures. I have, however two reservations on this nice camera. First, even when acquiring focus in advance, the camera memorizes the focus but does not actually move the lens until the button is fully pressed; this causes shutter lag that may be a nuisance in action shots. Second, I notice serious flare in night shots with lights in or near the field of view; see attached pic. And I'm surprised to see none of that in your night shots. Can other MjuII users confirm or not this flare? If other users state that point sources of light in night shots do NOT cause this type of flare, I'd consider buying another one, hopefully free from this "accident".
     
  34. Re: previous post. Clicking on "notify me" bypassed the picture upload
    00a9Vb-450905584.jpg
     
  35. Another one from the faithful MjuII. Train station of Baquedano, Chile Norte Grande. Thousands of tons of copper pass through that station on their way to Antofagasta (and to your electronic gadgets). And thousands of tons of sulfuric acid pass the other way to the copper mines.
    00a9Vr-450907584.jpg
     
  36. Great comparison, Maciek. I also use a Stylus (Mju II) as a walking-around camera, usually with Portra 400 or Ilford XP2. It's an excellent camera for backcountry hiking-- good lens, weighs nothing, and fits in a pocket.
    I have two cautions about it. First is, it only reads certain film speeds. You can't use it with slow film (I believe < ISO 100), and it won't recognize funny ISOs, like Portra 160. If I remember right, when it sees a film it doesn't recognize, it sets itself to EI 100. This is not a real problem, because I always want to use EI 400 anyway, to let the aperture stop down a bit.
    Second thing is I agree with Bernard-- mine is pretty flarey, and your results are better than mine. The flash shot below is an extreme example, with a bright light source right in the frame. No lens would cope well with that, but it gives you an idea, very similar to Bernard's first shot. I also find I have to be careful and shade the lens in the daytime if there's a lot of bright sky, beach, or water around.


    [​IMG]
     
  37. Nice work! I like my stylus. I would really enjoy these cameras if they had manual ISO which can be used for exposure compensation and 25 speed film.
     
  38. I love my Stylus Epic, but never had the Stylus. On my second Epic, the first one I gave to my mother 12 years ago, and she's taken many nice family pictures. The lens is sharp and the f2.8 aperture allows indoor shots on 400 and 800 speed film without flash. It's easy to carry all day in a pants pocket and takes great photos on color negative film. Can't remember if I ever used slide film in it, may have to give that a try soon. I recently put in a new battery so it's ready to load and shoot.
     
  39. Wow, I've never noticed this "halo" effect...
    My Stylus Epic passed "flare test" very well, I'm not sure how to explain this phenomenon...
     
  40. Never got this type of flare with my Epic, but do get it on my Epic Zoom 80 from time to time. One pic may have it and
    another taken right after of same subject at same angle doesn't.
     
  41. Second, I notice serious flare in night shots with lights in or near the field of view; see attached pic. And I'm surprised to see none of that in your night shots. Can other MjuII users confirm or not this flare?​
    I own 2 or 3 of these, I've never seen anything like what you posted.
    The only beef I have with the Epic is the flash turning on every time the camera is turned on; when I forget to turn it off I sometimes get disturbed looks from people who didn't know their picture was being taken. Besides that, it's a little more resistant to accidental firing than my other pocketable, the XA.
     
  42. I still have my Epic,too. I have found it to be a reliable companion.
     
  43. Thanks for the excellent, thorough test. I've enjoyed using the Epic Stylus II (default flash annoyance aside), and will probably be using it a lot more since my beloved XA conked out (shutter locks out --- bad magnets?).
    [​IMG]
     
  44. Here is one from Stylus Epic and Ilford XP2 (cropped) :
    00aBz6-453207684.jpg
     
  45. Having both of them I can summarise my experience with them as follows:
    The mju-2 hast the better lens (4 elements vs. 3). In most snapshot situation (bright sun) this is not a problem. The lens of the mju-1 is for shure sufficient for the average snapshot user who takes one picture at cristmas, one at the birthdays and one when out with the familiy in the woods.
    The mju-2 has an IR remote. You can get them easily, but usually they go at high prices. Two models exist (round and rounded square), I have both and one of them is more accurate, just don't remember which.
    The mju-II can be put in spot mode. I use this often, although it is complicated to use the tiny buttons to set it.
    If you wear glasses, you need to look at each corner in the viewfinder of the mju-2 individually. With the mju-1 you catch them by one look.
    If you don't wear glasses, the viewfinder of the mju-2 will bend your eyelatches into the picture. At least this happens to me.
    The mju-1 lies better in my hand and has the smoother shutter release button. The mju-2 is to tiny and the insensible button contributes to shaking this camera more easily.
    From an ergonomic point of view the mju-1 is far superior and in practice looses nothing regarding compatibility.
    Tehnically and as optical performance the mju-2 is better.
    The ideal camera would be the guts of the mju-2 in the body of the mju-1.
    If a ranking is allowed:
    Yashica T3:
    optical quality: 10 points (if you find one that was not dropped)
    ergonomy: 9
    compactness: 8

    mju-2:
    optical quality: 9,8
    ergonomy: 7
    compactness: 10
    mju-1:
    optical quality: 7,5-8
    ergonomy: 9-9,5
    compactness: 9
    From my buys I found an unproportionally high percentage of Yashica T3 with problems either in the lens or the electronics. But I bought used, so I don't know the history of them.
    I hear the shutter button of the mju-2 is prone to failure and a spring under it must be replaced. Didn't happen to me, but I think the shutter button of the mju-1 is better built not only ergonomically but mechanically too.
     
  46. Sequel to the flare issue of the MjuII. Bought a second one at the charity. Tested night shots with bare light sources included. NO flare. Go figure. Maybe at some point in the production Fuji realized one ring or lens edge must be blacked our?
     

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