Olympus Stylus Epic/MJU II Zoom 80 Review

As far as compacts go, Olympus is known for making many of the best, ranging from the XA to the Stylus Epic. And with the Olympus Stylus Epic gaining cult status, people are becoming more and more interested in its zoom counterparts as well. Most agree that the best of these is the Zoom 80 model. While its range isn't quite as big than the others, this actually results in a sharper lens, which is good since image quality is a big problem with a lot of zoom point-and-shoots. 

First off, I want to make it clear that the lens isn't as good as the Stylus epic, or even the original Infinity Stylus. Even at its widest setting it leaves something to be desired, and its IQ only gets worse from there. I wouldn't bother with its longest zoom settings unless absolutely necessary. However, as far as zoom compacts go, its really pretty good. Its far from the quality of the Leica Mini Zoom, but it's certainly better than the majority of zoom compacts. In terms of printing, I could definitely see myself making some 11x14's or even larger prints from this camera, especially with the shots at the wide end of its zoom spectrum. Don't expect crazy amounts of micro contrast or fine detail though. Lastly, you are very likely to get light leaks from the lens of this camera. Over time they tend to degrade and leave circular light leaks on the images, and this is a very widespread problem with these cameras. 

The handling of the camera is fine, nothing special but good enough for most applications. My only major complaint is the fact that it is so slow to turn on. If you've used the fixed lens model, the zoom 80 takes at least 2-3x longer. Aside from that, it is very fun to use. The classic clamshell design is really nice, and aesthetically it is definitely one of the prettier compact cameras.

The only other feature i think is worth mentioning is the flash. Its weak as hell. I don't think it would reach any more than ~15 feet, and with slower film It would definitely be difficult to shoot anything other than closeups at night.